Having children close together in age has so many benefits, and as they grow, your children will spend hours playing together. But in the early days after you bring your second baby home, the task of parenting two children can seem overwhelming! Most mums admit to feelings of guilt and inadequacy in the first few weeks, many of the mums we spoke to said they wondered what on earth they'd gotten themselves into! But things do settle down as you all adjust to a new family member and a new routine. Here are some tips from mums in our OHbaby! community on how they made the transition go more smoothly for their family:
"Be kind to yourself because it's a very hard time and you really do get the 'guilts' from not spending as much time with the first child as you used to. It does get better and they will play together in time."
"I spent lots of time with my oldest while the baby was feedng. When she was sleeping I was sleeping or cleaning but when she was feeding, I was stuck in one spot and I capitalised on that by offering to read stories to my oldest."
"Try doing "big kid" activities when you're feeding. My 19-month old was given a shape sorter and we did that together for ages: she felt all grown up for being able to master it. I used to paint her nails too, or blow up some balloons and throw them to each other."
"I still sometimes think how much easier life would be if there was only one but then (our baby) is so fun and they get along so well I think he really benefits from having her. They actually entertain each other now and go down into each others rooms to play without me."
"You will get back into the swing of things and have enough time for two, it just takes a wee bit of time."
"My son went through a no sleeping time and it was really hard, I got my husband to get up to him during the night until he had to go back to work. I would still wake when I heard him calling out, but it was nice not having to actually get out of bed."
"I got my older daughter involved and taught her all about being a big sister. This made her feel really special and needed: she wasn't the baby anymore but she was the "big sister" with new responsibilities like bringing me a nappy or rubbing her sister's back for wind. She thought she was the bee's knees!"
"I never had any success in trying to do things with the older one when feeding the baby. I was probably lucky in that he was quite good at playing by himself, but I did try having a lunch box ready for feeding times with some snacks and I'd invite him to come and have a snack with the baby so that he felt included."
"I found that she enjoyed helping, I kept a special box with things like flannels and nappies that she could get for me, I let her help pick out his clothes, and when he was a few weeks old I started bathing them together which she loved."
"We started new routines, things I could do with my oldest while the baby was asleep like baking or watching a movie together with some popcorn."
"I agree with the reading idea at feeding times, or perhaps things like shape sorters or little touch leappads etc"
"I found i just had to be a little more organised than I was before. The hardest part for me was doing things for my son while the baby was screaming for one reason or another. I can remember one day trying to get him to daycare, baby was screaming, I had to get myself dressed, and he wouldn't listen to a thing I said. My dad popped in to visit right at that moment and as soon as I opened the door I burst into tears! He took my son to daycare for me while I sorted myself out."
"The biggest thing was trying to keep his routine the same as it always was as much as possible, and I think that's where we had our success as he felt secure that his life was mostly the same. It meant the baby was in a front pack sleeping a lot, but it was worth it in the end."
And remember, it gets easier… for everyone! It's not only you trying to adjust, your older child is getting used to having a newborn in the house as well!