FAMILY OF FOUR

You had one down to a fine art but then the goalposts changed. Here’s how the pros (AKA parents) manage when one becomes two…

Number two child is imminent and while you’ve picked up a buggy board and washed all the newborn stuff, what about the smaller things? The little everyday ways to make your life easier? We asked a load of parents to tell us the tips and tricks they’ve picked up along the way…

Activities and getting out and about

“Get a baby rubber ring for when you go swimming. It keeps the baby safe in the pool so you can take them both in together.” Rachel, mum to six-month-old Libby and four-year-old Rudy.

“I found playgroups with just one room or small confined spaces are much easier for keeping track of your toddler while you have a baby too. That, and playdates at home.” Kirsty, mum to one-year-old Alexandra and five-year-old Penelope.

“Wherever you go, have a bag of toddler-friendly little things, sticker sheet, small cars, interesting little toys from crackers, get a note book and write their name in it for them to copy or draw pictures in it to colour etc. Then when you need to see to the baby, voila!” Sasha, mum to three-month-old Toby and two-year-old Elijah.

Amusing them at home

“I had a cot in the living room with a mobile and toys for the baby to lie out of reach of my 13-month-old’s over-enthusiastic caresses.” Sarah, mum to four-month-old Gabby and three-year old Joseph.

“I used to put the baby in the papoose and the toddler in the backpack so I had free hands and could hoover the house and get jobs done.” Ben, dad to five-year-old Maya and seven-year-old Dylan

Feeding

“Get practised at feeding lying down, standing up and sitting on the floor of the loo while toilet training your eldest. Also try many many variations of ‘lying down’ games, ‘mummy is in hospital, you are the doctor’, ‘mummy is a car track (lying down)’, ‘mummy is a mountain range to set your dinosaurs up on (lying down)’ etc etc etc ...” Deepa, mum to 18-month-old Nevaan and four-year-old Esha.

“Give your toddler their main meal at lunch instead of dinner time so that you don’t have to cook late afternoon. For some reason that time of the day is always total madness.” Suze, mum to 13-month-old Kitty and three-year-old twins Clara and Issy.

“When you feed the baby, sit with the toddler so they don’t feel left out, maybe read them a book at the same time or watch a film together.” Sapna, mum to six-month-old Aruni and three-year-old Nadia.

Sleep and you time

“If your toddler is still having a big daytime nap, encourage your newborn into having one of their naps during this time. Feed them, lay with them, whatever you have to do to get in the routine so you end up with some time every day with both asleep at the same time.” Susannah, mum to 18-month-old Tristan and four-year-old Ezra.

“Try to go to bed at the same time as them occasionally. Find a good playgroup to keep the toddler entertained while you can have hot tea and a sit down.” Agnes, mum to 16-month-old Joseph and five-year-old CiCi.

“Simplify, and expect less of yourself. I just can't do everything I used to be able to. I used to have saxophone lessons, German lessons, and for now, that's out. I'll be able to do it all again one day but just not worth the stress of trying to fit it in right now.” Sade, mum to 13-month-old Ely and three-year-old Nala.

Further information

Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.

We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.

Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.

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