Surviving life with a newborn and toddler

I had a baby.

The last time I had a baby was just over two years ago, around the same time that we began watching Game of Thrones.

Interestingly, I can remember virtually every storyline of Game of Thrones and yet I had forgotten many of the details of life with a newborn. Such as…

  • How it is that they sleep for 23 hours a day, and yet you only sleep for 20 minutes.
  • How it is that they sleep for 23 hours a day, and yet flossing your teeth now seems as indulgent as a luxury pedicure.
  • The amount of things it is possible to do one-handed, if you really try.
  • That it is not possible to put a bra on one-handed, even if you really try.
  • Just how damn cute they are.
  • How your world shrinks and nothing else seems very important anymore. Except where the biscuits are.

Those of you who read last week’s mindful birthing post will know that, after a less than ideal first birth, I was a touch apprehensive this time around. I’m thrilled to report that I was incredibly lucky and had a pretty wonderful experience. So, we were sent home soon after, with a not quite 24-hour-old baby and the toddler.

That first day was a hormonally-charged mix of deep happiness and also a tiny tinge of sadness. My little girl now seemed so big, and I struggled with not being able to orbit around her as I used to. She’s adjusting well though, and is ‘helping’ in small ways – like fishing out my boobs to ‘find food’ for the baby  (quite cute at home; less so on the 137 bus).

On that first day I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to be the kind of mother I want to be, to both these little people. I thought back to a book I read during pregnancy, The Mindful Mother (see the mindfulness books page), and inspired by Naomi Chunilal’s words came up with the following plan:

  • To wake up (reality check: ‘to get up’) each morning, remember how lucky we are, and make a choice to experience the day in a positive way.
  • To accept the tiredness, the sibling juggling, the endless nappies; all of it – without wishing any of it were different, or less smelly. To appreciate all the messy little details, just as they are.
  • To dig deep –  to find the energy to play with the toddler, or the grace to ask my husband how he’s doing, without entering into a competitition about who is most tired.*
  • To be kind and gentle with all of us, including me. To grab rest when I can, and to find small spaces for small things that I find restorative (fresh air, deep breaths, Pinot Noir).
  • To order more biscuits.

*I am most tired.

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31 Comments
  • Becky @ Educating Roversi
    May 1, 2016

    Congratulations on your newborn and your now family of four. If you can live by those rules, I reckon you’ll do okay! They seem like sensible rules to follow. #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 1, 2016

      Thanks Becky – not always easy, but I shall keep trying!

  • Lucy at occupation: (m)other
    May 1, 2016

    I undertook a mindful birthing course with my last pregnancy so I will scoot over to your posts on that now. I also will be (hopefully if everything goes ok) parenting a toddler and a newborn and your worries really resonate. I enjoyed this post very much and have signed up for email news for more on mindful parenting (and maybe digital flowers haha!!) #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 1, 2016

      Thanks lucy, and thanks for signing up! There will definitely be more to come on the newborn/toddler combo. Good luck to you as well with your family plans!

  • Mummy Rules
    May 1, 2016

    Congratulations! I have also just had a baby (now 10 weeks old) and I have a 2 year old so we will be having very similar experiences! The lack of sleep is absolutely the hardest bit; because unlike with number 1 you can’t catch up and ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ because the toddler needs entertaining/looking after! Also my toddler has started waking in the night between babies feeds which has resulted in my being zombie mum. On tough days I find fresh air, plenty of water and eating well keeps me calm. #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 3, 2016

      Yes, we are in the same sleep deprived boat! Thanks for the note, and hope you get more rest soon! X

  • mainy - myrealfairy
    May 2, 2016

    Well done for finding the time to write a post, well done for remembering where the laptop was and well done for remembering the biscuits really are the elixir of life x

    mainy

    #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 3, 2016

      Ha – thanks on all counts!!

  • The Speed Bump
    May 2, 2016

    Congratulations on your new arrival – hope you’re settling into life as a family of four! #KCACOLS

  • Conflicted Orange
    May 3, 2016

    Congratulations!! Aw i really do miss those newborn days (can you tell i’ve forgotten).

    I hope you’re learning to adjust to two instead of just the one fairly easily. Its going to take lots of time and practice to keep quadruple the amount of patience for everyone including yourself!

    I like your ideas so far of how to keep fairly sane. I’d love to read a follow up of how your method is going in the next month or so.

    I hope you’re enjoying your newborn and keeping you’re head above water! #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 3, 2016

      Thanks…maybe I should do a follow up. I’m just about managing to stay sane, albeit with the aid of a lot of chocolate…!

  • Petite Pudding
    May 3, 2016

    Glad to hear the second birth went well! IT is a big adjustment getting used to a newborn amd a toddler (you are the most tired!) but it does start to get easier. The tip about waking up and getting up positive is in my opinion the key to a happy house #kcacols

    • Liz Lowe
      May 4, 2016

      Thanks! That’s good to hear…I’ll keep on thinking the happy thoughts!

  • The Pramshed
    May 3, 2016

    Lovely post, I can imagine that life with two is so hard but also fantastic at the same time. I’m sure that you quickly adjust to a new way of routine, and get used to do many things one handed. I’ve just forwarded your post onto a friend who is due later this year, and will have a 2 year old. Chocolate, tea and cake are winner’s to making the world feel better. Claire x #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 4, 2016

      Thanks Claire, and thanks for sharing the post. Still knackered, but we are all getting used to each other quickly! X

  • Emma
    May 4, 2016

    love your positives. I used to be really down and get very upset but now I really try and start the day with positives – things to look forward to. and also just to accept that yes, I will be tired and yes it is bloody tough. thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

    • Liz Lowe
      May 4, 2016

      Thanks Emma, and I’m glad you’re feeling better. It IS such a tough job sometimes, but a great one too x

  • A Moment With Franca
    May 6, 2016

    Congratulations on your new baby! It is hard at the beginning to adjust to this new life of being a mother of two. I was really worried too, especially because between my 2 girls there are a 4 year gap so I wasn’t sure how my eldest daughter was going to react as she was not not going to be number 1 anymore. The first months are the hardest ones but then things starting settled and everything start working out much better. I think you are always worried but somehow you managed to take care of 2 and it is not that difficult anymore. Just having to share the attention is where you need to focus. I love all these positive tips. I agree with you that if you wake up in the morning with a positive attitude and accepting what you are going through is just a phase, things will be much better. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I’m so happy to have you. I hope (if your new schedule allows you) to see you again on Sunday, 🙂 xx

  • Madeline
    May 6, 2016

    Congratulations on your new arrival! It was so nice to hear you had a positive birth experience second time around. I love the advice in this post to just accept what is. I really do think that makes the hard parts a little bit easier, when we just stop constantly fighting against them. x #KCACOLS

  • Nursery Whines
    May 25, 2016

    The bra comment made me laugh. I’ve never managed it one-handed either. #bestandworst

    • Liz Lowe
      May 26, 2016

      I think it’s only The Fonz that can do it…

  • Fran Back With A Bump
    May 25, 2016

    Hats off to you. My oldest is 8 and the other is 3 months and that’s hard enough at times so can’t even imagine how hard it must be with a toddler!! #bestandworst

    • Liz Lowe
      May 26, 2016

      I think there are challenges whatever the age! Thanks for the note.

  • laura dove
    May 25, 2016

    Congratulations!! Glad to hear you had a good birth experience! From a mummy of five, with three under three, I know all too well how exhausting it can be with little ones, but you find a way to establish a routine and get through it however you can. I’m sure youll be fine! #bestandworst

    • Liz Lowe
      May 26, 2016

      I’m in awe of you!! Thanks for the lovely note.

  • Life as Mum
    May 25, 2016

    Oh yes I remember this well. My first was 2 years old when I had my second. Was hard! They are now 4 and 6 and I am pregnant with my third baby! I am dreading the big change but excited for the challenge

    • Liz Lowe
      May 26, 2016

      Oh wow…congrats!! I’m sure the older ones will love having a baby to help and play with.

  • Sarah Howe
    May 25, 2016

    Lovely post. I will be entering that world come September with a 3 year old. I think I will remember this and just go with the flow!! I’m glad you had such a smooth birth and your oldest sounds so helpful! hehe. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    • Liz Lowe
      May 26, 2016

      Thanks Sarah, and good luck for September!!

  • Jaylan - Diapers at Dawn
    May 26, 2016

    Congratulations! So nice to hear that you had a better birth than first time round, it must be such a big adjustment to have a new baby and a toddler but I’m sure you’re doing great. Your side note on being more tired made me chuckle, it’s OK to let the husbands think they are but we all know we are :o) x #bestandworst

    • Liz Lowe
      May 26, 2016

      So true! Thanks for the lovely comment x

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