Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn in tow will test your parenting skills!
I had written before about how chaotic it was for me when I came home with my second baby. It was a complete shock to my system. My life was utter chaos. Sweet chaos. But chaos nonetheless.
It was hard on everyone, including Caitlyn (my three year old).
For the first few weeks, it felt as if we were only telling Caitlyn:
– to ‘be quiet.’
– that I can’t carry her
– that she cannot sleep with me.
Only telling her things she cannot do.
Patience was very thin; energy levels were low. I was not prepared.
[bctt tweet=”Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn will test your parenting skills.” username=”cherralle_”]
Caitlyn threw the most intense tantrums during this time
During one epic tantrum episode, a ‘concerned neighbour’ came by to ‘check up on us’. At this point, I already SOSed (whatsapped) my husband to:
‘Please, COME HOME NOW! I don’t care what meeting you are in.’
Ava on the other hand, was a relatively calm baby. She needed to be continuously held and needed a lot of cuddling to fall asleep (as a newborn that was expected). Till today, Ava remains a very affectionate toddler, I think that is her vibe.
Regression hit us hard
Caitlyn reverted to waking up at 4 am during those days, and she wanted only me.
I only have two hands!
My thinking was that Caitlyn was three years old and she can remember. How I engage with her will have a lasting impact on her relationship with me and her bond with her sister.
Although Ava needed a lot of care and attention, I had to find a way to maintain a connection with my eldest.
Creating space to find one on one time with my three year old was vital for me
Although I felt overwhelmed, I carved out playtime with Caitlyn during my maternity leave.
Caitlyn was also on school holidays when Ava was six weeks old. So I had them both to myself. All day! Luckily I was not alone during the day. I had a helper in the day.
Here are six tips on how to juggle a three-year-old and a newborn.
6 Tips For Juggling a Three Year Old and a Newborn
Wear your baby
Wearing your baby provides you with an extra set of hands. I had a cloth wrap and a Tiny Love – Tiny Hugs Carrier. The Tiny Love Carrier was freaking amazing!
I loved it so much.
I could carry and cuddle our newborn baby while playing with Caitlyn.
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Recreate your family’s routine
Establish a new family routine. Before Ava came home, we had a lovely organized family evening routine. We had dinner together and cleaned up together. However, we could not sustain it.
We changed our whole routine. Brought Caitlyn’s supper earlier, so that at least she can be done eating by the time the bath routine started for the baby (around 17h00 ish). Then Caitlyn still needed to bath.
At that point I was not okay to do bath them together.
Come to think of it, this routine did not work out. Only when we placed the girls on a synchronizes evening routine, we started to settle. Now they eat and bath together.
It does not matter how chaotic it gets, at least I know there is an end in sight. Early bedtimes are a non negotiable in our home (unless there is a special occasion).
Let your older child help out and get involved
Get your older child involved by asking her to fetch things for the baby.
When I put the baby down, and we sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ I also got Caitlyn to sing it with me. It was much better than saying ‘keep quiet please, mommy is putting the baby down.’
When it was time for the baby to sleep, of course my three year old never kept quiet. She always seemed to appear needing something (loudly) at the very moment the baby was settling down.
[bctt tweet=” #3 Let your older child help out, by asking them to fetch things or sing lullabies to the baby.” username=”cherralle_”]
When the baby is sleeping, spend alone time with your toddler
When the baby slept, I was with Caitlyn. No sleeping when the baby sleeps for me.
I watched TV with her, brushed her hair, ate with her, etc.
If you have a caregiver, use them
If you have a caregiver, leave the baby with the caregiver for thirty minutes will be okay.
I started leaving Ava for short periods from about six weeks old. If she was fed, rested and happy it was cool. Taking Caitlyn outside (just the two of us) for some play time was great (tiring but it was necessary).
Watch a movie together
If you have to keep the baby on you, that is okay. Chill watching a movie and kill two birds with one stone.
Caitlyn and I get to watch TV together, and Ava gets her cuddles in as a newborn too.
Figuring out how to juggle a three year old when I came home with my newborn, was a challenging and chaotic time.
To be honest my first reaction was to prioritize the baby’s needs and let Caitlyn take a back seat. However, these actions made me feel sad and it saddened Caitlyn too. So I changed the situation.
It was stressful, but we needed to go through it, to create our own unique rhythm as a family.
Now, these two girls are so in love with each other. My favourite cheesy ‘sisters’ quote is:
Sisters are friends forever
18 thoughts on “Tips for Juggling A Three Year Old And a Newborn (Our Story)”
Thank you, it’s as if this post was written for me 😀. With baby due any day now, this has been on my mind a lot. I also bought a baby wrap just to make things easier, glad to hear it helped you. Big brother has already decided he’s going to help mommy with baby, as his dad has been telling (coaching) him. Let’s hope that actually happens.
Awhh so nice that your baby is coming. Yes the wrap and baby carrier is really amazing especially because we only have a way hands. All the best with the rest of your pregnancy.
I can so relate to this chaos, event though my eldest was much older than a toddler when we had our second. It is still quite a tough journey. Sweetest chaos ever though. These are great tips, especially for expectant moms with toddlers.
This post is telling me “don’t have a baby when you kiddie is three years old”. Sounds hectic! I love your tips though, especially the warnings.
Lol I just want to share how it is and not present only the Rosey side. 🙂 thank you for commenting.
I can deeply relate to this with a three year old and a 3 month old. It can definitely be challenging!!
These are great tips Mama! I especially love the baby wearing tip as I’m a baby wearing mama too!
Thank you! Glad they are helpful
having one 3 years old is handful enough. I reckon two kids are double trouble and double cuteness and love.
For sure, double the work and double the cuteness!
It’s hard, man. So hard! I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and those first 6 months or so were a rough transition, especially when you throw work into the mix. This is a good list of tips, especially about getting a regular caregiver (SO important!)
Thank you Ruthy. Yes having a caregive lr really helps
I could so relate. My oldest was 2.5 when my youngest was born. now they are 4 and almost 2
Similar to my kids ages. Would not have it any other way.
I did this now I’m about to have a 5 year old a 2 year old and a newborn!!
Awesome tips! And you are a great mom and am sure that Caitlyn is happy now 🙂 We are planning for our next kid, and these are the right tips , thank you
Thank you Sarah, all the best with the next baby 🙂