There’s a lot more to think about when you leave the house with two little ones in tow…
You’ve just got used to life with a toddler, but now you have a new baby on your hands – and it may feel like you’re back to square one. Every parent is different and your experience of this stage will vary depending on your baby’s sleep patterns, your birth experience and your toddler’s age. If taking your first trip out of the house with both little ones feels pretty daunting, don’t worry – we’ve got seven tips for getting out and about smoothly.
1. Prepare the night before
It might be tempting to collapse into bed as soon as the little ones are asleep, but taking five minutes in the evening to pack a bag can help take the stress out of the next morning. You’ll be feeding, changing and entertaining for two now, and as they’re different ages, you’ll need twice as many things. If you’re too tired to pack, simply writing a list before bed can help too.
2. Know when to leave
Time it so you head out just after your baby’s feed and nappy change, and if your toddler is potty-trained, make sure they go to the toilet. Try to leave plenty of time to get ready – you never know if your toddler is going to refuse to wear shoes that day, or need another big poo just as you step out of the door…
3. Don’t go too far
It’s early days and you’re still recovering from the birth – not to mention the on-going night feeds – so be realistic and don’t venture too far on your first few outings. Stick to easy, familiar places that are close to home, and don’t go out for too long at a time. If you used to go to a different parent and toddler group every day before your new baby arrived, you might find you have to cut back on activities while you adjust.
4. Try babywearing
If you carry your baby in a sling or baby carrier, it’ll leave you a hand (or two!) free to look after your toddler. Babywearing also has the bonus of keeping your newborn close to you at all times, which can be comforting for them. You can read about the safe way to babywear here.
5. Prioritise your toddler
When both your little ones are crying and need your attention – where do you start? A newborn’s needs are more basic, so see to your toddler first, and then move on to your baby. Don’t forget to bring something for your toddler to do while you’re feeding the baby too, like a colouring book, crayons or snack.
6. Let your toddler choose
To make your toddler feel special, go somewhere they will feel good about themselves, whether that’s your local park, or their favourite parent and toddler class. Your newborn doesn’t mind where they go, and it’ll be better for everyone if your toddler is somewhere that makes him or her feel secure and happy.
7. Stay in
While it’s nice to get out of the house every so often for a change of scene and adult conversation, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to keep up a busy social schedule. If you’re having one of those days and are feeling overwhelmed, cancel your plans and stay in – friends can come to you, and grocery shopping can be done online. You don’t want a negative experience to put you off getting out and about in the future, so if you’re not feeling up to it, have a fun day at home instead!
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