When I was pregnant with my second baby I knew life was going to change drastically. I did not realize how hard that change would be on me. I knew my toddler, 26 months old when baby arrived, would have a difficult time. I did not know that I would be crying along side her!
I was used to giving all my time and attention to my first child, Bunny. I did not have to divide my time or attention. She did not have to share. When my second baby, Baby Sister, came along, suddenly I had two little ones who needed me. I was tandem nursing. (Read more about tandem nursing here.) This posed a big challenge for me. Luckily I was able to nurse both babies at once. In the first few weeks Bunny nursed as much as, if not more than my newborn. This did wonders for my milk supply but kept me chained to the couch more often than not. However, this was a great way to keep Bunny entertained while Baby Sister nursed.
When Baby Sister was nursing and Bunny was not I wanted activities close to me to keep her busy and out of trouble. Books and puzzles were my go to. She was busy, happy and, most importantly, out of trouble. Lesson number one, your toddler will know the moment your newborn latches or the moment your newborn has a massive poopy diaper. Toddlers have this ingrained skill. They know you are incredibly busy and they use this time to get into anything and everything they should not be in!
I expected Bunny to have some regression. She was using the potty all by herself at this point. Once Baby Sister arrived, Bunny started having a LOT of accidents. Luckily this subsided within a few weeks to a month. Something I did not expect was for Bunny to scratch Baby Sister. This was not done in anger or to hurt Baby Sister. Rather Bunny would scratch Baby Sister when it was time for Baby Sister to move away from Bunny. For a diaper change, nap time, time to eat, anything. Bunny scratched Baby Sister a handful of times before I learned I could not trust her hands near the baby. Whenever Bunny wanted to come near Baby Sister I would have her put socks over her hands. This way if Bunny decided to scratch it would not hurt Baby Sister. Bunny was scratching for the reaction. I did not want to give her a reaction and I did NOT want my newborn getting hurt. The socks solved both problems!
Nap time was the hardest thing to figure out! Bunny still nursed to sleep and Baby Sister nursed to sleep then was bounced to sleep. Most days I would end up nursing (or bouncing as she got older) Baby Sister to sleep then nursing Bunny to sleep.
In the early days I had a hard time. I lost my mind most days. I yelled. A lot. Most nights I went to bed feeling like a failure and being grateful there was a new day coming where I could do better and be better. If you are in this stage, hang in there! It does get better, I promise! Your baby will grow and not need as much attention. Your toddler will learn to share your attention. You will grow as a person and a Mom. You can do this! One day at a time. If today is terrible, tomorrow is a chance for a better day.
Having babies closes in age (26 months apart for me) can be difficult but it is so rewarding. My two oldest are 4.5 years old and almost 2.5 years old. They are best friends and playmates! It is so worth it. They play together and love each other so much. They have a built in best friend! It gets better, I promise!