Two Kids Under Two

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi BPN!

    tl;dr - what kind of help worked well for you when your 1 kid family became a 2 kid family? Part time Nanny? And/or cleaning/cooking/chores help? Au pair? 

    We have an awesome 1.5 year old and hope for another soon. Live in 2 bdrm, current situation is nanny share (not at our house) 4 days/week and mother in law 1 day/week. We both work full time  

    Anticipating that 2 babies/toddlers is much harder.. and thinking maybe some additional help would be amazing for preserving happiness, marriage, sanity, etc at least for first stretch of having two kids, if not longer. Blessed to be able to maybe afford something hopefully.

    What are some options that have helped you most?

    Trying to think through variations of part time nannies (a few nights? Weekend? Pickup/dropoff/evening help w our then 2 year old and some cleanup help?)... or a nanny a few days a week plus a cleaning/cooking help 1-2x/week?... or something else..

    Thank you for any and all wisdom!!

    When we had our second, I completely outsourced cooking and grocery shopping for eight months or so. I used a meal delivery service and had fully-cooked meals delivered weekly to our house, which we heated for dinner every night. For breakfast, lunch, and staple foods I did grocery delivery once a week. This was a huge time and sanity saver. No one had time to cook when there was a baby to nurse/hold and a toddler to entertain, and if I ever had a rare spare hour, I sure wasn’t going to use it to go to a crowded grocery store. We also have our house cleaned every other week, but we’ve been doing that since even before we had kids. : ) Good luck and enjoy!

    I think a lot can change with your current family life between now and when this future baby comes so it's tough to plan but it's good you are thinking about. What helped us the most was full-time childcare for both (but fortunately I don't work full time so I had time during the week for 1:1 with each kid separately as well as my own "alone" time). Help from grandparents is great but we found that they could not handle both a toddler and baby. We hired a house cleaner every other week. Having so much less "alone" time for myself was the biggest adjustment so carving out that time and making it a regular "date" with yourself may be valuable (depends on your personality I guess!).  Also, mom guilt is real and I felt like my toddler was getting so much less of me but they really do adjust and the extra screen time she survived on for a few months is OK! The first year with two will likely be hard no matter what and there's no way around it but through it. Good luck :)

    Congratulations! I would vote for help with meals and cleaner 1x, 2x/month if you can swing it! Also feels any way you can limit the distance for drop offs (or have someone come to you) is so helpful! But after a long day even having to do lots of trekking around for drop offs and pick ups, what I was most grateful for was a solid meal and not having to do the deep cleaning.

    I think you're wise for thinking about this early on! When our second was born, we were caught by surprise by how hard it all was, and it took months to think through the kind of help we wanted and that would be most useful. Some of this is likely personal preference, but for our family, housekeeping help was the #1 thing that was useful. Neither my partner nor I wanted to be doing tons of laundry or washing dishes or keeping the house generally in decent shape when we were sleep deprived and taking care of babies. We've found that having someone come for an hour or two 3-4 mornings a week to do laundry, dishes, light cleaning, and general straightening up makes a WORLD of difference. We posted a Craigslist ad describing what we were looking for and got many responses. The other thing that we didn't have, but would have been wonderful in hindsight, is someone that could take our preschooler to/from school.

    One challenge for us was figuring out how Mom could do bedtime for both kids solo when the baby was breastfeeding at odd intervals and thus Mom wasn't able to be super present (physically, cognitively, emotionally) with our preschooler. This felt impossible for us so Dad was home for most bedtimes for a while. If you anticipate one of you will frequently be doing bedtime alone, it might be worth thinking through if there's anyone that might be able to pitch in to help, such as a grandparent or a babysitter. Best of luck to you - I hope your transition to two kids goes as smoothly as possible! 

    I think you're on the right track with the help you are thinking of - it's just a matter of how much. Perhaps find someone who is open to being flexible as you figure things out. I found the most difficult thing about having 2 little ones is the fact that your toddler is at an age where s/he still needs you a lot, and I really echo another poster's comment about the importance of a 2-person parental presence in the early months. You can divide/conquer better that way, whether it's the 4 of you doing family time, one adult takes one child and spends time, etc. It is really hard for one adult to take both children, esp. if both are awake! While I've gotten the hang of going out with a toddler and baby by myself these days, I still find doing morning/bedtime routines hard to do by myself (and get nervous when my partner says he'll be home late), as well as trying to put the baby to nap while keeping my toddler at bay. My parents helped watch both kids too as we also work full-time, but both of them said that they would not be able to take 2 on, if it were just one of them. I think if you can outsource the chores, start there (meals/meal prep, housekeeping). Just keep in mind that it is easier for you if you are a team of at least 2 because you are up against MORE than 2 (baby+toddler > 2).

    Such helpful advice!! Thank you all so much!!

  • Hey, does anyone have suggestions for surviving two under two as a somewhat temporary(ish) stay at home mom?

    My husband is heading back to work mid-April and we're trying to figure out what child care arrangement makes sense for us with a one mo. old and a 16 mo. old. Our 16 mo. old is currently in daycare 2 days/week and we have no idea if/when she'll get in any of the daycare/preschools she's on the wait list for (...which makes me a little screamy).

    I think I'd like a mother's helper for support 3-4 days/week but am open to co-op options near Rockridge, too. In addition to just needing some additional hands on deck for handling two, I am also looking to find time for my paid PT work 6-8hrs/week (plus, time to Do All the Things that parenting two requires and *maybe* even exercise once in a while??).

    Has anyone else been here (is here now)?
    What do you advise?
    Any suggestions for mother's helpers?
    Co-op options?
    Some other arrangement that makes this all feel more doable?

    ...Also, what are your strategies for handling meals, bedtimes and nursing with a rampant toddler afoot?

    I don't have anything tangible to offer in the way of references but it sounds like a Mother's Helper or a part time nanny would work well for you.  Mine are 20 months apart and now attending the same preschool, which is working out well.  But there was a period of time where we pieced together nanny-sharing during maternity leave, paternity leave, then found a great in-home daycare in Piedmont when they were under 3.

    I remember going on a lot of walks with a carrier and a stroller to both retain some sanity and get fresh air and exercise.  For dinners and bedtime, the only thing that helped (and still does) is - the earlier the better.  We did a lot of simple, healthy meals like beans and brown rice, roasted vegetables, grilled fish.  We pureed the non-meat items once they were 8-ish months.  For nursing, I would let my oldest play a game on my iPad when he was a little older for 20 minutes to give everyone a break (outside of air travel, we're mostly a non-screen family, but it was often about surviving/saving my sanity during the newborn days with the second.)

    Just that you're already thinking of all of these things so early on means that you're doing well to prepare!  Good luck and feel free to reach out for venting, local tips, etc.

    We had two under three and when I look back I think we should have lined up more help than we thought we needed as soon as possible.  This is because some options didn't work out and so we were caught short.  Yup, it'll cost you but how do you price your sanity and well being?  The other thing is to avoid huge stressors like moving or remodeling or changing jobs for the first few years...of course we did all those things :-)

  • Two under two tips

    (7 replies)

    Hi everyone! In a few months we will be welcoming Baby #2 when our Toddler will be 19 months. I am a little overwhelmed with all the advice when googling “Two under Two”. I’d specifically like to know from folks who’ve had small children close in age (doesn’t have to be two under two exactly!) what life hacks helped them in the first few months of the second arrival, esp. in terms of products to get. I’d like to be better prepared with equipment this time around... Did you find getting a nursing sling helpful? Do you think a double stroller is absolutely necessary? Is this the point of no return for getting that mini van we’ve been avoiding? I anticipate a lot of chaos and sleepless nights so just want to know what other parents found worked for them. I appreciate your thoughts and general advice also welcome!

    Hi hi hi!!! You are going to LOVE that you had them so close together ... eventually! Actually I loved all of it. My kids are 22 months apart and the weirdest thing was getting used to a newborn butt again. The nice big toddler butt is so much easier to wipe! 

    I wish I could post photos here, I have a picture of me with both kids asleep on me in the rocking chair, and I was trapped because my husband worked nights! Thank goodness for iphones. 

    Neither of my kids liked the sling, particularly. I did get a double stroller. I did not get a mini-van, but everyone tells me this was dumb (we have the same silver Honda CR-V that everyone has). I tried to transition the older kid to a bed, and I think that was moderately successful, but it's been seven years so I may have rose-colored memory glasses. 

    I just remember everything being hilarious. We all got the stomach flu and I remember yelling "don't barf on the baby!" and thinking "is this my life??" Hopefully you get more helpful advice than this. But really. Don't barf on the baby. 

    Amy K. 

    Congrats! We had 2 under 2 for 2 months :)  (22 months apart)

    It was crazy and exhausting but a blur and wonderful too. I baby wore the youngest and the toddler would go in the stroller for longer walks. Once the youngest was older they both sat in the double. We had a tiny Honda Fit and still do (they're now 3 and 5).  

    Whenever I nursed the baby my 2 year old would bring a book and sit on my legs and we'd read together - this was sort of like one on one time for us. I'm also a Montessori teacher and having the house set up for independence with my toddler was SUPER helpful - things such as plates and silverware down low, a dirty dishtub on the floor in the kitchen so they could clean up after themselves. is a great website for ideas.  Blessings on this new adventure Mama!

    I don't have any advice for you, but I am jumping on your bandwagon so I can read what others suggest. I too am expecting #2 and she will arrive in 1.5 months when my son is 18 months old. Best of luck! 

    My two are exactly 2 years apart.  I didn't find a double stroller necessary, by the time the baby was old enough to ride in it the toddler was fine to walk most places.  Before we reached that stage I usually wore the baby in a Moby or later an Ergo while the toddler was in the stroller.  Being able to baby wear was crucial, especially for those times you're trying to help your potty training toddler in a public bathroom stall while carrying a baby!

    A minivan doesn't seem necessary either, we have a Subaru Impreza hatchback and that's worked just fine, although it does mean we can't all go somewhere as a family and also give someone else a ride.  If there is any chance you might have a third though and you're in the market for a new car you should definitely get one big enough to hold the whole future family :)  

    The best thing we ever did as far as keeping our sanity was to start a biweekly cleaning service.  It wasn't too expensive and it just took a lot of stress off our shoulders.  The other best thing was abandoning our cloth diapers and embracing the Target generic multipack and Target's subscribe and save for diapers/wipes/anything else that you might run out of in the middle of the night when you absolutely need it.  

    I think having them close together was perfect, and we didn't have to face the dread of going back into the baby years after making it out of the wilderness.  At this point (6 and 4), they are best friends and can entertain themselves by playing with each other for hours.  We're just about to cross the milestone where they will both be at the same school and I am super stoked to have one pickup and one drop-off for the next 6 years.  Short term it will be hard and crazy, but long term it will be delightful!

    My 2 are just a little over 2 years apart - it's been a while since they were little, but the best advice I have is to get a carrier - sling, Ergo, Bjorn, whatever feels comfortable for you. I had an Ergo and it was indispensable for wearing the little one while chasing after the toddler. In fact, we never had to get a double stroller - I wore the little one, and the big one rode in a stroller or walked. By the time the little one graduated to the stroller, the big one was walking pretty much everywhere. We didn't get a minivan (and we now have 3 kids), although we did get a bigger car after the 3rd. But 2 in a Honda Civic was totally doable.  The first few months will probably be a little insane, but it sounds like you're ready for it - and the best part is you'll get all that insanity out of the way pretty quickly and then the kids will be able to play together and be at relatively the same stage of their lives as far as interests and abilities.

    OP here, thanks so much for all of your suggestions! Will definitely be getting a solid baby carrier and not going to stress about that mini van. :) Looking forward to the adventure!

    My two under two are now 16 and 18.  The first several years of having them both were a blur, but now I look back on the photos with fond memories.  A few of suggestions:

    Buy as little as you can get away with. Time will move so fast, it's a pain to purchase and then have to get rid of things when the house gets to cluttered.  I never used a nursing sling. Baby 2 nursed quickly so it gave me a moment to sit and rest or read to the toddler who would sit next to me. I avoided mini-vans at all costs. I had a VW Passat station wagon which worked very well.

    I did get two second hand strollers. One an old-fashioned pram so the baby could sleep at the park while I focused some time with the toddler. The second a double jogging stroller once baby 2 was big enough for it. It allowed me to get some exercise taking them on long walks to the park where the toddler could play and I could sit or swing with the baby.

    Toddler announced he would no longer sleep in a crib around 18 months, so that solved the 2 crib issue.  It worked out well.  I didn't want to get a toddler bed, but we had a futon sofa. I put the futon on the floor, the frame in the attic and that's where he slept until he was ready for a regular bed in which he still sleeps.  This set up also allowed me to collapse with him and the baby when we all needed to sleep, but I didn't want everyone in my bed!

    The best advice I have is sleep whenever/however you can, take any help you can get, but most importantly, make time for everyone - time for yourself, even if it's just a walk around the block when your partner gets home; time for your partner, even if it's just sitting outside with a glass of wine while both kids are asleep; time for each child individually - from the moment the second it born and never stop.  That last one is really important when the two are so close together in age. It's easy to fall into having them do everything together, so be sure to give them each special time just with you.  It doesn't need to be a lot of time, but it's best if it's regular and consistent. The little moments count.  Once mine got a little older - 4 and 6, I began the tradition of taking a trip with each of them each year.  It started out as just a one night adventure, and has built from there. This year my son and I travelled for a week together exploring colleges and visiting family. My daughter and I visiting family and exploring NYC.

    Good Luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Newborn and 20-mo-old and no paid help

March 2008

Hi everyone,

My husband and I have a 20 month old very active little guy and I am 2 months away from delivering our 2nd, also a boy.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and so far, I have not felt the need for any additional paid help. A big reason for this is that my mom lives in a neighboring town and loves to have 'grandma time' with our son, usually twice a week (she still works full-time, so she will babysit in the evenings or on a weekend morning). I'm also lucky enough to have my sister living in the Bay Area, and she usually makes time once on the weekdays to come and visit. She's a working college student with an active social life so we never ask her to babysit, but having her visit and just hang out once a week is really great. My husband also works one day from home, and while his job keeps him busy, it's wonderful having him around for emotional support. Lastly, I've made a good number of mom friends. We've become close, and I hang out with at least one person, if not a small group, every day.

My son is a really active, high-energy kid, but knowing I have this extra help from my family and that I have a good network of friends has so far been more than enough to keep me happy and satisfied.

However, I'm starting to worry, because literally everyone I have talked with who has 2 little ones has some sort of paid help, whether that be a part-time nanny or a daycare, or a preschool.

This concerns me because I wasn't planning on getting any outside paid help at all. The main reason is because we have a big mortgage and precious little extra cash, but also because I didn't feel it was necessary, as I do have a good support network. I knew having 2 would be much harder than having 1, but I thought that people did it all the time, and I would, too. Now I'm starting to question that.

Anyway, I am hoping to hear from other stay-at-home moms who have 2 little ones, and have made it work without any outside paid help. I'd especially love to hear from women in my sort of situation (where family is close by and helps out fairly regularly) because all the moms I've talked with who have paid help do not have family close by.

That said, really, any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much! Anon

i'm a mom with 2 kids under 2 (21mo & 3mo) and both my husband and i work full time. although i don't stay at home, it sounds like you're doing a great job and have lots of support around you. my only advice from the perspective of having 2 young kids and learning how to juggle them is to make sure to carve out some time for yourself and time to bond with your new baby. use those times when grandma is around to nap, exercise, or do something YOU enjoy. i think you can manage without any outside paid help, but maybe it depends on each individual's lifestyle preference (e.g. wanting more time alone with 1 child, alone by yourself, etc). good luck! mom of 2

I have a 2yr old and a 4 months old baby. I'm a SAHM and I work from home part time. It is totally possible to do without paid help. I won't lie, it's not easy but it can be done. I would recommend getting a good baby carrier that lets you have your hands completely free (like an ergo or baby bjorn) so you can still hang on to the older kid when you're out and about. I also find it helpful to be specific when I need support from my family nearby. They want to help but sometimes aren't sure where to pitch in so they just end up coming over and hanging out. I say things like ''can you come over and help me give the kids baths and put them to bed?'' or ''can you come over and help me fold laundry and wash the dishes?'' ''can you watch the kids while I go grocery shopping?''. You can do it! Some people have 4 kids and no paid help. Just hang in there the first few months and don't feel like you have to stick to an exact routine. You have to be more flexible with meals and bedtime. You might also have to let your older one watch TV while you tend to the baby. I taped a bunch of PBS shows and just put the tape in when I need a minute to get things done. It doesn't make you a bad parent. Good Luck! anon

It can be done! Make sure you have a baby swing for your new baby. It was a lifesaver with mine. anon

Your situation sounds a lot like my sister's: she has two boys under two (and the first is *very* high energy). She is also a stay-at-home mom without help, and she has been able to make it work. We have family in the area, so she gets most of her support that way. She does an amazing job, though I know that at times she is tired (but who wouldn't be with two little ones?) Seems to me you'll be fine with the support system you already have in place. enjoy your babies

Congratulations! Two will be tiring for a while, but fun. And TOTALLY do-able without paid help, especially if you have family around. We have four kids - 7, 5, 20 months and 6 months. I'm a stay-at-home mom, and have had no paid help for the past 4 years (prior to that I was still working part time, and had childcare to cover those hours). Yes, it's crazy and busy, especially after school when all 4 are around and the two oldest have activities or friends over, but it can be done. What's been key for me this year, now that I have two under-2s, is a once a week babysitting swap with a neighbor. She takes my two littlest ones one day from 9-3 so I can volunteer in my older kids' classes, do some errands, clean the house, get a coffee alone, etc. I then take her two kids the next day for the same hours, so she can work. So one day is extra-zooy, and the other is great. Beyond that I have the occasional help from a parent (who is an hour away but will come down in a pinch) or my sister-in-law, with whom I also do short trades once in a while. For what it's worth, I know a lot of SAHMs who DO hire some help, but mostly they are women with 3 or more kids. And I probably know more who don't. If you feel you need it and can afford it, go for it - but you sound pretty together and pretty well connected with family and friends, so you should be more than fine. Sticking with four...

Hi, My kids are 13 months apart. They are now 4 (daughter) and 5 (son). We did not have any help and my husband commuted 2 hours a day to a very time consuming job. We did ok. I had my days where I cried and cried for my husband to come home. But mostly I would go somewhere that my son enjoyed and was safe like a park or the zoo or aquarium or library. Somewhere kid friendly. He could play in a safe atmosphere and get tired while I nursed the baby. Good luck!! mommy of 2

I'm not sure if I just want to offer reassurance, or I'm jealous, but I have two under 3 and paid help, and I'd swap situations with you in a second. My paid help sounds like it amounts to about the same time you get from your Mom being nearby. My family is all on the other coast. If you have additional friends or family who like spending time near your child than you should do just fine.

Yes it gonna be rough at times doing back to back diaper changes, and they'll both want you at the same time, but unless you have full time help that's going to happen anyway. I wouldn't put yourself in a financial hole if you have other help.

You can always hire some babysitting later if it turns out to be too much. Stressed with help

I can totally relate - my two are 22 months apart as well, and my firstborn is an exuberant, willfull little gal. :) First and foremost, count your blessings. You have family in the area... that is fabulous!! We've done it alone without a single family member being within 1200 miles of us, so I know you'll do great with the resources that you have. As for recommendations, we did a few things that made the first 6 months a little easier: 1) Get as organized as you can... with two, it seems like somebody always needs something from you, so this means having a stash of books for your toddler near the couch when you're nursing the baby, baby bouncers in all your busy rooms, detailed care instructions for family/sitters, etc... 2) Consider enrolling in some mommy-and-me type classes with your toddler, if you haven't already. (Arrange a sitter or a family member to watch the baby once he/she gets old enough to not-sleep through the class) We did co-op preschool and Kindermusik, and it gave my firstborn the dedicated mommy- time that she sometimes missed out on with the arrival of the baby 3) Host playdates... Everybody knows that playdates are a savior, but hosting them when you have another little baby is even better. You don't have to pack a single thing up, change anybody's schedule, etc... When my husband travels for work, my week is packed with hosted-playdates! Good luck and don't fret... You'll do great. This is a super exciting time for you - congrats and enjoy it! Mom of 2, too

Hi! Congrats on boy number two! I'm in your exact situation child-wise: I have a 23 month old boy and a 3 1/2 month old boy. It's really fantastic! I also stay at home full time (I teach piano lessons in the evenings one-two days a week). So, here's my two cents on the paid help question:

I really think it's ridiculous that stay at home moms say they NEED paid help! The only reason I can think of why they would say that is because they want time to themselves. For me, I feel like the time to be doing things for yourself is NOT when you have little children. You should be soaking up the little time that you have when your kids are young! Being a Mom is such a blessing and I really can't imagine shipping off one of my kids just to have some ''me time''. I feel like women today think that they should be able to have kids and everything else at the same time (posh lifestyle, work, etc.) and it's just not realistic! Also, because women are having kids older it seems like they get used to a certain lifestyle and expect to keep that up once they have kids - again, not realistic. I'm a young mother and so, obviously, most of my friends are young mothers as well. All of the stay at home moms that I know have 2-4 kids and are doing it all on their own. AND they're happy! It's totally doable as long as you accept the fact that you're a Mom first.

That said, I definitely understand that it gets a bit overwhelming at times. In order to stay sane, here's what I suggest: teach your kids to be independent (sleep, play, etc.) and help them learn that the world doesn't revolve around them (they have to make sacrifices with a new baby too!). Try to get the two boys to take a nap at the same time in the afternoon so that you get an hour or so to yourself to get things done, take a nap, or whatever. Other than that, just remember that you only get a few years before they're off to school - enjoy it!! Anon

I don't know if my input helps...but I had two babies (18 months apart) and my family is close by and helped a TON and I still had paid help.

I had a lot of paid help in fact because my first baby was SO high needs and I was totally freaked out about having another.

It may have been excessive, but I do not regret the paid help at all. I ended up having a very easy, calm baby but the extra help was a blessing. We hired a mother's helper who also did a ton of housework (which I think is more important than child care -- - they do the housework, so you can relax with your kids!).

I remember those months after my 2nd was born as a very relaxing time and enjoyable time.

Then, two years later our 3rd was born, we were a little more worried about money, plus my oldest (3.5 years) was in preschool so we didn't hire any help at all. Even though my family still helped out a lot, I wish I had had more help.

My advice is to hire some help. If you don't need it, you can always cut back. Hire someone who will do housework and cook for you. :) Anon

My girls were about the same spacing. It sounds like you have a great support network, so you should be fine. Two kids under two is a challenge -- one that is well worth and will pay beautiful dividends in less than two years when you have these sweet little built in playmates running around your house. For me, the respite was the gym. I took my girls to the YMCA for about an hour every afternoon while I worked out. My situation is a bit different as my husband travels about half the month. Most nights, there would not be any help from Daddy as he was on the road. I really needed some blocks of time to recharge.

When they were quite young, I needed one hour between afternoon naps and bedtime for myself. I am big believer that a happy Mom is a better Mom. That one hour helped me get to my happy place. There are plenty of ways to find what you need for you. DO NOT BE SELFLESS. You have needs as a person. You are not just a Mom. If you can't afford the gym daycare (mine was included in the $50/month gym fee, but most cost something additional), then just an afternoon walk between naps and dinner may do the trick. Or, maybe just simultaneous naps works for you. But, try to come up with a way that you get a few hours of downtime every day where you are not cooking, cleaning or minding the kids. Nap, read, answer e-mail or whatever...

Good luck. It's worth it. -you'll do great

I work as a nanny and almost all of my families really do truly need care for their children. I think that you have to measure if you really need a nanny. But from what you are saying it sounds like you made provisions to care for your children. For some parents who have the money they are able to take a break and go do errands that otherwise take much longer with children. For some people having a nanny may be more of a social status symbol. Some families only have a ''nanny'' (or ''mother's helper,'' or ''babysitter,'' or ''childcare provider'' or ''whatever-you-want-to call-it'') for one day or a few hours here and there. It can seem like a peer pressure thing or keeping up with the Joneses. I think that it is your decision and if you do not need regular childcare that is fine. I also think that it is important to give yourself a break and have a date with your partner. For myself I try to live my life with few regrets and I try to make decisions accordingly. Nanny in the know

it is so not ridiculous, on any level, to have paid help if you can afford it. Its great for your marriage, your self esteem, and your overall sanity. we will soon have a second, no family and will definately have paid help. I have a number of activities that give me joy other than being a parent - doing them helps keep me in balance, and be a much better parent. If you can afford it, I'd say go for a date night twice a month! appreciate more hands

Oh gosh the peer pressure! What people feel they need or can afford in terms of help is totally personal. Obviously tons of people around the world raise two children with a set-up similar to what you have. Even though yours are pretty close together, the new one will be able to to chill out in the baby carrier a lot of the time while you and the older one continue your usual thing, and pretty soon the older one will be 3, which might be a good time to start up some pre-school. We had no paid childcare until starting preschool. At the same time, since you are already planning to stay home with the little one, you will keep that flexibility to keep the older one home with you or start preschool on a very part-time basis. You can do it, you (and I) are lucky to have family nearby. anon

No worries!! I have three kids, the oldest was 4 when the youngest was born, and have not hired additional paid help during the day. My two oldest each went to one year of preschool before kindergarten. My youngest is in preschool two mornings a week now, he's four. My parents live in SF and were pretty helpful, but not as available as what you have. I would recommend that you find something to do for yourself after the second baby. I belong to the YMCA and I think that Childwatch is terrific. (I guess that might be like paid help.) Having two kids is like ten times as much work as having one, but also somehow easier, because you have so much experience already. I think that a lot of people get help because they feel overwhelmed. You can always wait until after the baby and then see how you feel. Joan

Congrats on the baby and you are in a very enviable position to have family in the Bay Area to help you out! Most of my friends do not have any family around to help out and although they have wonderful sitters, friends, neighbors, daycare providers, and supportive husbands, it really is very special having grandparents and relatives around to help out. I know one person that has her parents and her in-laws around and she is able to enjoy weekends with her husband while the grandparents watch the kids! She is actually the only person I know that has family around and the only one does not have a paid sitter or someone to clean her home.

One of the great things about having them close in age is that they will probably both take naps at the same time, so you can have a little time to rest or get things done around the house. And, after a few months, it is easier to have two than one (at least for me and many of the moms I know).

Good luck, sounds like you have a great support group and having your mom and sister around will make a world of difference! anon

Fears about having two under two

Sept 2007

I am almost 8 months pregnant with our second child; when the baby is born, our son will be about 1 week shy of his 2nd birthday. My anxieties about baby #2 are coming from a couple of different sources, the first being annoying comments from others. As soon as people (friends, family, strangers, ultrasound tech, whomever) learn of the kids\x92 age difference, I get all sorts of responses. A few choice selections: \x91Wow, did you mean to get pregnant again so soon?\x92; \x91I guess you\x92ll be giving up the next 3 years of your life\x92; \x91I want 2 kids, too, but I would NEVER do what you\x92re doing\x92; \x91Let\x92s hope you make it through the 1st 3 months!\x92 My husband gets it, too \x96 we ran into an acquaintance at the farmers\x92 market who, upon learning the news, punched my husband in the arm and said \x91You poor bastards.\x92 Aside from being terribly rude, these comments are really starting to shake my confidence. Is there no way to make this transition to 2 kids a pleasant family experience? I mean, I know I\x92ll be tired and overwhelmed at first and yadda, yadda, yadda \x96 but someone please tell me that they have survived a transition like this with sanity and family intact. I could really use a few reassuring anecdotes to offset this daily, running editorial. My other anxieties are more homegrown. I\x92m feeling much guilt about the arrival of a new baby changing the intimate, one-on-one relationship that I have with my firstborn, sometimes to the point that I even resent the idea of a new baby (even though we tried for her and absolutely want her). I worry that he\x92ll think I don\x92t love him anymore, or that I\x92ve betrayed him, or even that he\x92ll withdraw from me because he feels hurt and sacrificed. As an only child, I\x92m aware I could be projecting a little here, but again, any reassuring anecdotes about your family thriving after such a transition will be much appreciated. Thanks for any words of wisdom. Anon

First of all, an early congrats on the arrival of your second child! I have two girls who are 2 years 1 month apart. They are now 4 and 2 and they are wonderful friends. The older one went through a brief period where she was jealous of me nursing the baby, but after a few months she didn't even remember life without her sister. She now looks at pictures of herself when she was a baby and says ''But where's Ellie?'' She says ''We're a 4 family'' and always writes her name with her sister's name next to it. She loves having a sister and never once has said she feels left out. As for us-- life has changed from having 1 child, but it's twice as good. Twice as hard sometimes, too. I was worried I'd never feel ''in control'' again, but things kind of settled down once the baby was about six months old. So hang in there!

Finally, as for the people and their rude comments-- I got that sometimes, too. ''Wow- that was quick!'' Since when did a 2 year age difference become odd? Quite frankly, I'm glad I'm having the two closer together-- I'll be off on that trip to Italy I've been dying for while everyone else is dealing with baby #2 and is ''saying goodbye to the next 3 years'' for the second time!

Good luck! Another mommy of 2 in 2

Oh, boy. I frigging hate that feedback from everybody. I have a 6-month-old girl and a 21-month-old boy (no, not on purpose) and my life is hard but not THAT hard. I have a sense of humor and so do my kids. The thing is that there is bound to be hardship and tears, and nobody's previous experience can predict what yours will be, and nobody's lack of encouragement is going to help you through it. This is much like childbirth, in that your own challenges will surprise you no matter what you prepare for, and you WILL be okay, especially if you stay calm and shut out the noise.

I will say one thing I wish I had heard before, which is about the threat you feel to the bond with your first baby. This second baby is all about change, which is always a mixed bag. There IS mourning to be done over what is no more, but it really does settle into a better place. When my second was born, I spent some time crying over my first's difficulty accepting my preoccupation. And then other moms started saying, ''oh, yeah. I remember that. It was really sad for a short time, but it really does get better than it ever was.'' And it has. I just sort of resented everyone either being unrealistically cavalier about how it would be fine, or obnoxiously pessimistic.

Check out (mothers of many young siblings) for good ideas and support.

Find places like PriPri Cafe, where your older one can play safely while you nurse your younger.

GO TO THE GYM. They watch your babies, and you get sane and healthy.

Buy a Moby carrier, or something like it. Your younger will sleep as though in the womb, while you move around the world with your older.

Play games where your infant flies through the air to land for kisses from the older, creating positive and fun associations to replace ''intruder'' associations.

Have the older ''help'' you with changing diapers and massaging baby, etc.


Keep posting on BPN.

Best wishes. Jenn

I know, people can be so rude! When I was pregnant with my second -- mine are just over 2 yrs apart, and I planned it that way -- I got things like, ''Wow, you're really packing them in!'' ?? I think the doubts you're having are an entirely normal part of having a second kid. The good news is, 2 under 2 is totally do-able, and while having another baby definitely changes your family, it's not going to wreck it. I had the same fears about ruining my relationship with my firstborn, but like they say, your love really does multiply so you have enough for everyone, rather than having to divide it. I wish I could say the same thing for time(!), but you'll discover how adaptable you are. I think it's easier having the kids at the same stages in life together -- diapers, preschool, whatever. And eventually they play together, too. I'm 2 years into having 2 kids now, and honestly have no regrets. Hang in there and things will work out! Don't let the naysayers get you down

My sister's first two children were born exactly one year apart and this was by choice. Her 3rd child was born 3 years later and she regrets that she didn't have him sooner. She loved having babies #1 and #2 so close to eachother, because they bonded really well. They have lots in common and now, that they are in high school, they still hang out a lot. She feels that baby #3 was often left out, because he was so much younger.

Personally, I wasn't ready to have another baby until my child was at least 2 1/2. I know several people who have two children under the age of 2 and I admire the hell out of them! Sure, it's a boat load of work, but there are also tremendous benefits. I started 7 years ago and am now still having to confront going through another baby phase (we're trying to get pregnant again).

Aside from all that; I can imagine how frustrating it must be to hear other people's opinions about your family planning decisions. I'm very sorry about that, but know that there are many people who admire you. Another Mom

Dear Anon, I totally went through this when I was pregnant with my second son (they are 18 months apart).It's nerve racking enough to prepare for a new baby and then adding all that unwanted advice and scare tactics is just too much. Sure, it's going to be a lot of work, especially the first year. I intentionally had my sons close together and when people asked me why, I would just smile and say that I'm giving him a best friend for life. Make it more enjoyable for your immediate family by involving your older child in all the preparations, reading lots of big brother/sister books, and just doling out all the love you normally give. What surprised me the most was how easy the first one or two months were after the baby came. Sure, I was exhausted, but that's a given. I had all this help lined up the first few weeks, but didn't necessarily need it (except for the extra dinners in my freezer, we always need that!) When the baby started getting a bit older, and a little colicky, it got harder and people just assumed I was handling it. I had to learn to ask for help, to ask for breaks. Remember, the baby bjorn is your best friend! Also try to schedule one on one time with your older child. The new baby will get a lot of attention from outsiders so it's up to you to rally family and friends to take your older one on a special play date or do it yourself while someone stays back with the baby. And it does get easier. My boys are 4 and 2 1/2 and they really are best buddies and it makes my life a lot easier that they have each other. Kelly

I have two kids 25 months apart. Our adjustment took a while (maybe 6 weeks?) but I have to tell you, it is SO good having them this close together. My oldest doesn't even remember what it is like not having his little sister around. They are very close. To answer your main question, we are a very close family in general, intact, relatively sane, etc.

Once someone referred to our type of child spacing as the ''Done Plan.'' I actually thought that was pretty funny -- and true! My kids are now 7 and 9 and I am just done with the baby thing altogether. People who have kids very far apart almost have to ''start over'' with things that come with baby: diapers, sleepless nights, temper tantrums... I like our spacing and find that they have similar interests, which makes it easy to plan family outings and adventures.

Good luck and don't let the grumpy guys get you down. All done!

No matter where you go or what you do, insensitive people will give you their opinions about how you are living your life. It has little to do with the fact that you are having two under two -- when I had my second child four years after my first, I heard lots of opinions about how the spacing would prevent them from being close, how it's easier to have them closer together (which was especially hurtful because I had wanted to have kids closer together but miscarriages prevented that). Don't take it personally. Every family is different, lots of people have kids 2 years apart (even closer!), and people are just expressing their own issues when they comment on your life. You will be fine. Anonymous

Please do not worry about having 2 children under 2 years old--my mother had 4 in 5 years and although it was difficult keeping an eye on all of us, we always had enough for board games or bullying and are all incredibly close now in our 40s. The oldest had issues about no longer being the only child and tried to make up with attempts at perfectionism, the middle felt lost, the youngest was easygoing and smart from watching the mistakes of the others and, in my opinion as the oldest, got away with murder! None of us would change a thing if we could. Tracy

Two under two is hard, but it isn't the end of the world. And, about 18 to 20 months into the effort you get the pay-off, two kids who play together! My girls are 23 months apart (now 2 1/2 and 4 1/2) and are best friends. That makes afternoons hanging around the house sooooooooo easy. They share many interests, so I am not having to come up with two sets of activities.

I think that people like to torment others. I heard a lot 'get your sleep now, because you will never get it again' type warnings with my first child. She was sleeping through the night at 8-weeks, so much for that prophecy. I got warnings of 'how tough it was going to be' with my two under two. Sure, changing two sets of diapers got old and dealing with the terrible two-and-a-halfs while still nursing a six-month-old, was a drag. But, I would have to deal with the issues at some point anyway. May as well deal with all the heavy stuff at once, rather than make your life torture for years on end. The pay-off is great. -been there, love it

First, Congratulations on the addition to your family! Second, don't worry. I have two boys a 3 mo old and a 26 mo old. I have hear all of those strange comments and I continually get stares when people see how close in age my boys are, but I have learned that there are also a lot of people out there who are two years apart from their siblings or have children that far apart. You should not worry about others and be happy with the new adventures that are ahead of you. I delight in seeing my oldest look at his little brother and kiss him. He loves him so much and it helps deal with the fatigue and anxiety.

My advice for you is get as much help as possible the first few weeks. That doesn't have to mean hiring someone but if you don't already belong to some kind of group or organization like a MOMS Club join one and sign up for meals to be delivered to your home. Ask friends and family to watch your older child so you can rest. If possible get a postpartum doula. Lastly, trust your instincts and talk through your anxiety before you give birth and after. mdr

I know exactly what you mean. Our 2 children are 16 months apart, and boy did I ever get comments when I was pregnant! I was surprised - my older brother and I are less than 2 years apart, so it seemed pretty normal to me.

I won't lie to you, the first year is hard. But it is so wonderful, and so much easier, to have kids who are close enough in age to enjoy the same things - the same excursions, the same music, the same books. The older one isn't sitting around bored stiff while you read them a baby book - they can still enjoy a ''baby'' book themselves. And this way, you get the baby stage over and out of your life that much sooner, so your life becomes easy again that much sooner.

I too feared for my lost relationship with my older child, and feel horribly guilty that I would not be able to give my second child that same one-to-one time. Fear not - your relationship with your second child will be different, but just as deep. It will grow in a different way, because s/he is a different person. And your older child will learn, grow, and flower as an older sibling.

So, ignore the nay-sayers (or give them your best icy stare), and enjoy your wonderful family! happy mama of 2

My twins were born when my older daughter was 22 months. The twins are now 4 months old and we have survived so far! We also moved when the twins were 6 weeks old, which I don't recommend. ;-) So at least you can console yourself by thinking of us! And we recently met someone with one 5 year old boy and 3 year old triplets, so really, it could be a lot worse! Is your husband/partner going to be able to take any time off? If so you'll be fine. If not you should really try to hire some help because the difficult thing is when you are tied to a chair nursing and your toddler wants to go out and play. But how hard it will be really depends on your toddler's temperament as well as the baby's. Our toddler is really spirited and energetic, and she's been way tougher than the newborn twins, which fortunately are very easy babies. I do think that in a few years it will be so wonderful having them all so close in age. Good luck! anon

I am not in your situation, but the majority of my friends with two children have them two years (or less) apart. It's totally do-able as they are all doing it and are doing fine. It's gonna be great!

It's a lot of work but you'll survive. I had twins when my son was 2 months shy of his 2nd birthday. It's exhausting to be sure, but you'll be fine. I can't believe that you get comments like that as I never did. Just respond to comments by saying ''wow, that was a really unfortunate comment'' and walk away.

It's totally normal to have these concerns. I, too, got some strange comments about having kids ''too close together''. My son was 26 mths old when my daughter was born. That was 3 months ago. Having a baby is the best thing for my son! He just adores her and loves to make her smile and laugh. I have to admit that it is a lot of work having two kids but that would be the case at any age of the first child! My only advice to you is to find help (childcare for #1) whenever you can. If you remember from #1, you'll spend a lot of time nursing so #1 got bored (read: mischief) often. It helps that your first child gets a lot of attention esp when the baby is born. I read and heard about giving gifts and not holding the baby when #2 meets the baby for the first time. I didn't do any of these things and he's taking to the baby really well. I made sure that he was a part of the pregnancy and knew what to expect when she came (looked at baby pics of him sleeping, nursing or crying!). Good luck. Enjoy every moment with #1! mom of 2

Congratulations on your expanding family! I have four children 7,5, 2 1/2, 15 months. And what I have learned is that it is difficult to have a baby and another child no matter what the age of the other child. There is no perfect age gap for siblings - there are too many variables (temperment, gender, personalities, etc.) So yes, it is going to be challenging for you especially the first 3-6 months. But as the baby gets more independance, your job will actually become easier because your children are closer in age. They will be closer to each other in interests, friends, ablitlies. So you are giving your children a great gift of a friend/playmate/ companion for life. Hopefully your children will form a close bond that will last their whole lives. I had the same fears about having the second child that I would somehow ruin my relationship with my first. But I found that our relationship didn't diminish in the least. We both had a new person to love. My oldest has learned that family can expand and she still has her special place in it. She is special because she is a big sister now. I have siblings and as we are facing our father's serious illness, I am so glad that I have them because I know I can truly share this with them and we can support each other. So my advice to you when someone says something indelicate is to smile to yourself and know that you are giving a very special gift to your son that he will have even after you are gone. been there - 3X

Hi, I also have children (girl and boy) who are about 22 months apart so I have been there! I never got the comments that you are receiving and they seem a bit strange - for all intents and purposes they are 2 years apart which is perfectly normal and ordinary so I'd just ignore all that the best you can. :)

As to keeping your sanity... well... I have to say, the first year to 18 mos were very hard and while I knew we would all get through it, I wasn't always positive that I'd arrive on the other side with my sanity intact!! And, frankly, I did feel like I had no life during the bulk of that time. It was also hard to juggle my older child and my feelings about how it was impacting her (much worse than the actual impact I think).

So not only is it physically difficult (hopefully you are much younger than me and it won't be so bad) but the emotional impact is tremendous as well.

Having said all that, now that they are 3 and 5 - its wonderful!! They are close enough in age that they enjoy playing together, with the same things for the most part, we don't have to plan separate activities for them, etc. We can often do joint play-dates (although we do them separately as well). They are very close and truly each other's best friend. I love that. Many people I know whose kids are 3-4-5 years apart have a much harder time managing everything as they get older because the kids aren't really able to do the same things at the same time. It's especially heart breaking to watch when the one who is 4 years older shuts the little one out of their room (although completely normal for them to need time to do ''big kid'' stuff).

Does make me feel bad about my own little sister who is 4 years younger and to whom I'm sure I was not always kind! We were never close as kids and I often think that the large space in our ages had a lot to do with it - although my parents could have done a better job with the sibling thing too. :)

I think basically that no matter what spacing you end up with for your kids, you will ''pay for it'' in the sense that it will either be harder at the beginning or harder as they get older. There is no perfect way to do it so just do the best you can - make sure to read Siblings w/o Rivalry and help them grow to be good friends. Then it will be much easier after the first year or two.

Good Luck, My kids are close too

Hi There - Sorry to hear everyone is so insensitive with their comments. Most of the world has kids closer together in age than the US upper mid. class, so take heart, it is do-able! I only have one child, but my 2 siblings and I are each just 16 months apart and were raised by a mostly single mom. Even though it may be tougher at the beginning, I think there are lot of benefits - kids closer together in age play well together; we had less of the sibling rivalry/ or maybe the closeness moderated birth order dynamics; we went (and go) through a lot of ''growing up'' together - hard to explain, but it's like having friends around going through some of the same stuff. I often ask my mom how she did it, and she always says we kids kept ourselves busy and she got help from friends and extended family when in need. So get help if ya need it at the beginning, but I think you're in for a lot of fun. Congratulations on your growing family. Mary

We have almost the exact same spacing as you and it has worked out GREAT! The older one *loves* his little brother and the younger one adores the older. They just turned 1 and 3 but it's been like this from the get-go. When the baby was about 6 months old, he was crying in his crib. By the time I got in there (like 15 seconds later), the older one had crawled into the crib and was patting him saying ''it's okay, baby.'' I am constantly surprised how sweet they are to each other.

Sure, your older one won't get as much time with you, but he'll have a sister to play with. And as they get older, that will be more important than time with you.

For getting 1-on-1 time, we take full advantage of the difference in bedtimes to take the older one to do special fun things at night. One of us stays home with the sleeping baby and the other takes the older one out. He'll go to his favorite sushi restaurant with his dad or I'll take him to the beach. As the little one is getting older and more interested in his own stuff, we take them both to the park or the zoo or whatever so each can follow his own interests.

There are some tough things about having 2. The hardest is that when my husband takes one off to do something, there is another one here so I don't get downtime. But that would be true now matter how we spaced them.

Sorry people are so rude to you. Maybe they are trying to be funny or maybe they are just clueless. But at any rate, you and your family are the lucky ones. Already thinking about a 3rd

I have 2 kids a week short of 18 months apart, and I am currently almost 8 months pregnant with baby #3, who will be almost 19 months apart from my middle child. So, I will have 3 kids right after my oldest child's 3rd b-day, and we couldn't be happier! I can't believe you are getting so much grief from people. Our situation was not planned, but like I said, we couldn't be happier and the kids love each other. They have a playmate for life and are never bored or lonely. In the beginning, it was tough b/c your hormones are whacked and you're tired (which really never goes away). I did have moments of sadness that I had messed up my oldest child's life, but he is so in love with his sister and misses her even when he goes to pre-school! Not sure how we will manage when baby #3 comes, but it's all good and children are such blessings! Don't get me wrong, there are days I get frustrated and even cry and wish I could just go to the restroom alone, but hugs, and hearing ''mama'' or ''i lobe you'', make everything good. Being a parent (esp. a stay at home mom)is the HARDEST job in the world, but it does get easier. Hang in the there! You will LOVE having your kids so close in age! shannon

My kids are 20 months apart. I got the same comments. Anyone you talk to will say they think THEIR spacing is perfect and everyone else is insane.

However, I do think two under two has its advantages. Primarily, my kids are close enough in age to be playmates. The first year was a lot of work, make no mistake, but now my kids are 6 and 4 1/2 and have been best friends since the younger was about a year old. They don't require a parent to entertain them all the time, because they entertain each other, and they are interested in the same activities.

I don't see this in the families I know with kids 3 or 4 years apart. Hope this makes you feel better. It really is do-able. mom of 2

My kids are 17 months apart, (now ages 3 and 4-1/2) and they are very close, have a very sweet relationship. It's wonderful. However, the addition of a second child can really knock you on your behind, especially when the older child is still quite young. My advice is to keep your commitments light over the next year, ask for help and find the support you need from other moms. And try, really really try (I say this as one whose babies are gone) to savor the baby-days despite the chaos because they will end sooner than you think. Congratulations, and ignore the people who say thoughtless things. Either they didn't think first, or they just have an odd view of normal (after all, a 2-year gap in kids is hardly uncommon!) Been there

You know? I think I had the same posting about two yrs ago, before my second was born. They are 15 months apart, and we still receive lots of surprised looks and strange comments like the ones you and your husband are receiving. But, if I could've planned things differently I wouldn't have it any other way. I gave my first son the biggest gift I could've ever given him: a little brother to play with, share with and laugh with. Don't get my wrong, it is a challenge at times and the first 6 months are definitely the hardest, but then you will see that it all kind of comes together. Best advice I received was: organize your time! Try to plan to have their naps close together or at the same time (so you can get a break). And start finding a sitter than is willing to watch the two so you and your hubby can have some alone time. That's what's working for our home, and for our sanity. Congratulations and enjoy the time you have them as babies, my boys are 3 and 2 and it all went by so fast! been there, still there

My kids are 19 months apart and we got a lot of the same comments early on. Is it hard? Sure. Is it harder than having them farther apart? I don't think so. Every age has its unique issues and challenges. Things that made life easier for us, especially in the beginning: letting my mother do laundry and letting people bring food for the first couple of weeks. Then we got to hang out with our kids and have fun, and that sort of set the tone. My parents gave my daughter a baby doll so she could take care of her baby while I took care of her brother. Didn't take her long to decide that the real live baby was more fun, but it was still nice. Now my kids are teenagers and they are really close. My best advice is just to relax and enjoy your kids. There are times when it will make you crazy but I think that happens no matter how you space your kids. Congratulations! Cathy

try to ignore people who make rude comments because they're biased, insensitive and unsupportive (although they probably don't realize it). i only have one son but i remember everyone kept saying things like ''get your sleep while you can!'' or ''oh god those first 3 months - hell!'' when i was at your stage of pregnancy and it made me anxious and annoyed. i kept thinking ''why would people who have gone through the anxieties of parenthood want to scare me when they must know that what you really need is support?'' i think some people just enjoy being in the role of the know-it-all and making others nervous makes them feel good about themselves (like they're in the know and you're the naive one). i'm sure it's not intended but that's the effect it has.

i met a fantastic woman in her 60's last year on a plane flight who said that, if at all possible, i should try to have my 2nd so that my kids were two years apart. she said she has noticed with her own 6 kids and others that the ones who are 2 years apart end up being the closest with one another. we decided to wait a bit longer and perhaps our two kids (if i get pregnant again) will be closer to 2 1/2 years or 3 years apart. she made such a convincing argument that i still feel sad that we didn't start trying a bit sooner. i have also talked to many others who feel this way. of course, as you already know, there are joys and challenges with kids but i think it's fantastic to have 2 under 2. one of my best friends had twins just as her older child was turning 2 and they are a fantastic family of 5. yes, it was a bit chaotic at first but they got into a routine and they are doing great. good luck and i'm jealous! anon

I think it's GREAT!!! Congrats! My two sons are twenty months apart and it has been fanastic. When the second son arrived everything was so recently imprinted on my brain that I immediately knew what I was supposed to do and how to take care of him. People don't mean to say cruel things, but sometimes they just pop out. It is what it is and you CAN do it and maybe because of the closeness in age your kids will have a close and strong relationship. Good luck and take the sentiments of others with a grain of salt! 20 months apart

Hi, My kids are exactly the same distance apart as yours will be; 6 days shy of 2 years apart. It will work out fine! Remember, people make rude comments sometimes, and you're pregnant; this combination makes things seem much more extreme than they are. Having kids 2 years apart is perfect. If you haven't already, buy your son some books about being the big brother. We read ours over and over again, and the big sister loved helping out and being asked about what it's like to be the big kid, once the baby came. We had one very rough day at the beginning, when I was nursing the baby, and the 2-year-old realized I could and would not stop nursing to get her what she wanted. But after that one meltdown, things were ok. Yes, the first 3 months will be rough--the lack of sleep, the change in everyone's schedule, but take help that is offered to you, ASK for help if you need it, and just enjoy this wonderful experience for what it is. My ''babies'' are now 7 & 5, and off to school... Congratulations! heidi

You're right -- remarks like the ones you and your husband are encountering are rude, not to mention rather clueless. Please know that there are plenty of us out here who have successfully, and happily, made this transition from one child to two!

My two children are 23 months apart. We, too, were trying for a second child, and were planning on two-and-a-half to three years between them. We got pregnant on the first try, so the separation was a bit shorter! I wasn't too freaked out, as my siblings and I were two years (or less) apart, and we all grew up just fine.

Be aware that once your new baby is born, you may very well have moments when you feel as though you've betrayed your first child. When my son was a newborn, I remember feeling as though my heart would break whenever my daughter -- the older sibling - - would cry about any of the myriad things toddlers cry about. In retrospect, I know the intensity of those feelings had a lot to do with postpartum hormones, which make me feel everything tenfold. This lasted about a month or so for me. If you can remind yourself of that hormonal effect -- and its temporary nature -- during your own postpartum months, you won't be nearly as likely to beat yourself up about it. Remember to take care of yourself as well as your babies!

Yes, I was tired during that first year, and yes, I felt like I spent a lot of time changing endless diapers and keeping baby brother out of the way of big sister's two-year-oldness. But this really started to ease up in a big way once my son was about nine months old. They are five and seven now, and very close. In fact, they're each other's best friends! I so enjoy hearing them invent games and play ''let's pretend'' together. Every time you feel guilty about not having as much one-on-one time with the second child as you did with the first, remember that your first child didn't have the joy of having a live-in playmate that your second one will. In the end, it all evens out!

Long story short -- that postpartum hormone-driven emotional rollercoaster ride is only temporary. Don't jump to any conclusions in the midst of it -- especially about whether you've betrayed your first child! And know that all the lost sleep and physical exhaustion of that first year as a parent of two really will be repaid when your kids are old enough to really interact with each other. Best wishes to you and your growing family!

Happy to have two babies


congratulations. i know this is an amazing time in your life and a huge change.

i had two under two. our circumstances were different - i had a tough adjustment to the first (boy) but worked through it. we then got pregnant by accident with our little girl (now 8 months). i was also upset about loosing the one-on-one interaction with my son. but, since infants are relatively portable in the beginning we maintained our relationship and did kind of wean into the change. he really has moments of loving his sister. but, he also has phases where he doesn't like her. i spend a lot of time trying to get them to focus on different toys. she is always going after the car he is playing with, or his train track. i use as much distraction as possible but it is still really hard sometimes.

don't hold the baby when you come home. focus on him. make him feel like it isn't a big deal.

i feel like my boy and i are closer than we used to be - partly because having his sister around has been a joy to me. they are both so special and i feel like i love them quite equally, but so differently. i was worried i would resent her, i don't.

it is extremely hard. it is true. the comments have merit. two isn't just double work, it is more like triple. sorry. i had to get help around the house to clean, get groceries without straining myself, etc. i know it is a luxury, but it makes life a little simpler if i can run errands alone. and you get so tired.

also, i have private time for both. i get a babysitter or nanny to come on off work days (i work a couple days a week) and take one or the other out and try to have a couple hours alone to make them feel like they don't always have to have the other one around. i know this isn't always reasonable for everyone, but i feel like i want to do it for them. on the other hand, this form of sibling socialization is really important for them to learn about love. and they will always have a best friend as long as you try to help them avoid competing (my sister and i still compete and i hate it, we are 16 months apart).

anyways, i think in the long run things will get easier, maybe in another 6 months or so, and they can start playing more together, napping at the same time for the same amount (she is on two naps still), etc. i am just tired most of the time and drained by the lack of private time right now. but, remember that all people manage the stress of children differently and i may find it more draining than you! beth

Having two babies is GREAT!!!!! My 1st son was 17 \xbd months when our second son was born. They are now 5 and 3 \xbd and are a great team. Having two close together is wonderful because once the little one catches up they have the same interests and abilities (almost). And you do the diapers all at once. Our boys like the same toys, same outings, same movies/videos, etc. The boys love to hang out with each other. The little one adores his brother but has his own personality. Big brother loves being a big brother but also likes to be a little guy too. And I love that we have two little kids.

I got the same comments, which continued at a tremendous volume when the little one was born. But I had a different reaction to them. I took them as a compliment, like the person was in awe of my amazing bravery and ability. Having two very young children is hard but you could reframe the comments as a nod to your dedication. And the comments will keep coming so you gotta do something to reframe or you'll be miserable every time you go out in public with the babies. Remember people make comments for different reasons. They may be trying to be friendly and make conversation, know nothing about children and are terrified of them, are remembering when they had kids and projecting, are trying to be supportive, are just curious, have no tact, etc....

Someone once told me something that was shocking but REALLY helped - the first year is biggest demand of your energy that you will ever endure. I am very practical and prefer knowing what's coming so I can prepare for it. For me just knowing this going into it was a big help because I didn't feel like I had to make it something else. This is not going to be year full of sweet hallmark moments. It will be a grouchy, messy, exhausting year. BUT this person also told me that it only lasts a year and it did. It wasn't a walk in the park after that but it wasn't so crazy anymore.

I know this is not what you asked for but it was more helpful to me than any sweet anecdote could ever have been so I hope it helps you. As far as your other worries. I had the same feelings but looking at it from the other side they were completely unfounded. Yes, your family's dynamic will absolutely change. You'll likely see sleep disturbances, clinginess, and some mood swings in your 2 year old, along with behaviors to match. But this is your child's way of processing this big new thing happening. He will not think you don't love him or that you betrayed him, these are all adult abstract ideas. Be understanding in his most difficult moments, carve out some time for him and you, and don't push him to be a big boy and you'll be fine. Mama of two babies

I have 3 under two. My births were spaced similarly to yours, but I had twins the second time around (now 4 months old). What a surprise. Sometimes I like to think to myself, ''at least I don't have triplets.'' Maybe you can think of me to feel like your load is a little lighter.

How annoying that everyone is giving you negative predictions about your future! I would come up with something charming and cheerful to use in response. Put people in their place, with a lovely smile. ''Well, I am glad it's happening to me, and not you.'' Or something more eloquent than that. People mean well--they are just saying something that is not helpful to you.

Line up a little bit of help for the first month or two. It's so nice to have a visiting aunt or grandma who can entertain one child when you feed the other or get them down to nap. Or while you nap. :)

I was heartbroken about the adjustment for my older son. I am an oldest child and hence might likewise be projecting. We found that keeping socially busy was a great help to him. We had play dates with his buddies. We had people bring us dinner and hang out to play. Ask that your visitors say hi to the oldest before fawning over the baby. Have a few small wrapped gifts on hand so that if somebody only brings a gift for the baby, you'll have something to help the big kid still feel special. Also, try to have alone time with the toddler. Outings are great. But just a walk around the block or a lingering bath time are good too. My boy really wants me to take over bedtime, rather than his dad.

Our oldest has good days and bad days. He has regressed a little and wants to drink milk out of a bottle from time to time. This i indulge--what's the harm? It's hard to know if his occasional temper tantrums are sister induced, or a result of his age. I figure he'd be having a hard time right about now either way. And I believe he's forgotten life without them around.

Good luck to you guys! hannah

My two daughters are 20 months apart, and the younger is 15 months old now. I have to say, it *was* really hard, the first six months after my second was born, but it's getting really good now. Having two kids is harder than one, that's all, in the same way that having one child is 'harder' than not having any. My friends whose kids are further apart in age don't really seem to be having more fun or less stress than we are.

I don't know why people seem to enjoy telling parents how hard it's going to be, having two kids under 2; they seem positively gleeful about the trouble they imagine you having, don't they? Unfortunately, the snarky comments don't stop coming with the birth; strangers daily say things to me like ''Bet you wished you'd waited longer between babies!'' or ''Wow, you really must have been in a hurry to make that second one!'' and such. The nicest comments I get are things like, ''Wow, you've really got your hands full there!'' and even that kind of rubs me the wrong way, on bad days when I'm ready to be rubbed the wrong way. Occasionally, people do say ''Wow, you three look like you're really having fun together!'', which always feel great, but doesn't happen often, even though usually we are actually having fun. So you have to develop a thick skin. For the yucky comments, I usually say something like ''Fortunately, I love them both very very much.'' If you say it very emphatically, it sounds a lot like ''mind your own beeswax'', and I think it's a nice thing for the girls to hear when some bone-headed grownup has just been cheerfully insinuating to them that I might regret their existence. Cory

Congrats! My second was born 12 days before her sister's second birthday. I thought it was just delightful!!! She loved having a new baby and the day after her sister was born when the baby cried she said ''mommy coming'' and patted her. She wanted to feed her when she began to eat and played with her all the time. It was nice for me to have them both little at the same time so I could have naptime to do my work.

Of course there are ups and downs to everything, but I think it is good to have them close so that the older one does not have years of being an only child.

People would say rude things, just different rude things, if they were farther apart! good luck and have fun! mom of now 4 and 6 year olds

Much depends on whether you have a job outside your home to which you must return within a short period. I am in my 70's, but had 3 children (by choice by the time my oldest was 3 1/2. It was hectic, but the children became good companions from an early age; we tried to spend some time (even if only 15 min. w/each one every day). Then fathers spend much less time w/kids; now most dads help out much more. When they are grown, chances are good they will be really close even tho' they will fight occasionaly when small. Disposable diapers are a big help; we had to have diapers in the wash by 7:30 am each morning or we ran out by noon. lila

Don't worry ! I have 3 under 3 yrs. ! Yep, I am 40 and we wanted to get going.... Anyway, the last 2 are a set of girl/boy twins. I get horrible comments, too ! Isn't that ridiculous ? You might need some extra help from a nanny, family friends - but- you can do it. Some days are pretty crazy - but- the children appear to be doing great ! The 2 1/2 yo girl loves the 10 month old twins. She ''helps'' us take care of them. I think having siblings is great for kids. My parents are both only children and I have seen them struggle w/ caring for their older parents and not having anyone to lean on. Gotta think ahead.... You will do great ! Just stay organized and focused ! Kelley

I have children that are 14 months apart, so I definitely understand your situation. So many people have made comments, but I try to let it roll off my back. Of course it is going to be difficult, but you just do it. I think any transition from 1 child to 2 is hard because it changes the dynamics of your family. It is an adjustment, but it is just that and then it becomes your normal. My kids love each other dearly and play constantly. Sometimes I feel like a referee, but I would not have it any other way. I am now pregnant with our 3rd, so I will have 3 in 3 about looks and comments from other people! Sometimes, I am bothered by it, but I am proud of our family and know I will adjust to this next addition. yes, my house will be crazy (and messy;), but that is part of it. I know that I will look back fondly on these years, even though some days I want to run away! The day my second child was born, I felt like I had a family...not that I did not before, but it felt fuller. I know you will feel the same way. anon

Our sons have just turned 1 and a year ago I was in exactly the same spot as you are. It has been an INCREDIBLE year and I am thrilled that our kids are 2 years apart (even though there are many nights I would like more sleep).

I really wanted to have kids 2 years apart (was actually hoping for 22 months) because my sister and I are 22 months apart and she is and always has been my best friend (except for her last 2 years of high school/my first 2 of college...but that is another story =).

So far, our guys get along famously. We took many of the ''common'' steps to try to set this up such as letting our oldest tell everyone the little one's name each time someone approached us; trying our best to never blame something on the baby (but to take responsibility ourselves...such as I can't do X right now because I am doing Y); let the big one pick out his own present to bring to the baby in the hospital; have the little one bring home a present to give to the big one when he came home from the hospital; etc.

The best thing that happened to us was that a photographer at the hospital was there when the big one came to meet the little one...and she set the big one on the bed completely surrounded by pillows...and had the big one hold the little one all by himself (we would never have been brave enough to do this). Boy oh boy, you should have seen how pleased our oldest was of himself. He just kept saying ''I holded by brodder! I holded my brodder!!'' To this day, he LOVES to hold his brother (though it is getting tricky now as the little one isn't so little anymore...and he tends to wiggle away).

The absolute hardest part was the first six weeks. If you thought you were tired the first time... As my sister told me, the hardest part is that you are up all night nursing the baby; and as soon as you both fall asleep, the big one wakes up...and was she ever right!!!

Also, I found that since my husband and I had to ''divide and conquer'' a lot of the time, especially at bedtime, that I was lonely for my oldest (though he was thrilled with extra Daddy time). On the flip side, I found that it was much easier to ''fall in love'' with the little one...because I was more confident and not terrified all the time.

My sister also gave me a bunch of books. The one I found most helpful was called ''Siblings without Rivalry.''

It will be exhausting...but it is wonderful. Funny how all the people always tell parents how hard it is to be parents, but they never mention how fun it is. We find our children to be hilarious...and they both enjoy and laugh with each other. Anon

I absolutely identified with your email! My daughter is 2 months old and is 18 months younger than my son. We wanted to have children close together and consider ourselves lucky. While this may have been a common age difference when we were young, it's less common now, and I've endured many of the same comments. That said, I've also received such support and encouragement from running into other parents who have also done the close thing.

On a day to day basis it's pretty tough, as I expected it to be at first. My son is in daycare part time and I recommend getting some time for just you and the new one if you are able to pull it off financially. For the first month I was so attached to my daughter that I felt more distant from my son, but now that we've gotten the hang of things, that closeness is back. The good news is that it is not as crazy as I feared and the joy of a newborn is amazing the second time around and also through our son's young perspective.

It is definitely harder taking care of two under two since they still need so much from their parents. But, I also know that this will bring closeness and joy throughout life. My husband is close in age to his sister and has treasured his close relationship with her his whole life.

I say respond to the comments with a quip about how this is just how you wanted your family to be - and it's going to be a crazy but beautiful ride!! Am there

My neighbor got pregnant very quickly with number two and she just said it didn't seem like ''as big a deal'' as with number one. She had the babe under one arm as she chatted, with babe number one running to and fro. Another friend said she (and her hubby) felt so much more confident and relaxed with number two that the later babe seemed more relaxed too, much cuddlier and less demanding. So there you go, two happy stories! local momster

1. As for the rudeness issue, I put on my ''Miss Manners'' thinking cap. How about this? Give the rude person a stony stare and say something like, ''How about them A's?''

2. As for the worries about child # 1, maybe you could ask your spouse, other trusted people, or your pediatrician if this is a common worry, and what kind of things they did, or could suggest. anon

I'm so sorry you're being scared by people's comments -- I remember getting the same treatment when I was pregnant with my daugher: my son is 18 months older than her. All I can tell you is that I couldn't be happier with our decision to have 2 so close. My husband's sister is 16 months older than him; his brother is 15 months younger; they had a great childhood together, and are still great buddies. That was part of the reason we wanted to have our 2 kids so close. And now that they are 9 & 10, I can tell you without reservation that it's been a great decision.

Here's why: Neither one remembers life without the other; The transition to 2 kids was easy on the older one, because very soon it seemed to my son as if his sister had always been there; They have been great friends at every age, and (maybe since girls mature faster?) have been interested in the same things at the same time -- no dragging a much older child to play at a park with the younger one, or trying to entertain a baby at an event meant for a much older sibling; My happiest memories are of ''floor time'' with the 2 kids together; Since the older child is still napping, you'll have time to spend with just the baby, time while baby is sleeping with just the older one, and maybe even some naps for yourself -- not so true with a larger gap in age.

A few things I did to ease the transition (although who's to say they helped): Gave a gift to my older child, wrapped, from the baby when we brought her home; Got a few small toys for friends to ''give'' my son when they brought a gift for my baby; Made a point of spending 10 - 15 minutes a day with just my son, telling him that no matter what else needed my attention, this was his time with me: I set a timer, & I didn't answer the phone, and at least once let my daughter cry for a few minutes, until my son's time was up (makes up for always being on call for the baby & putting off the older child's needs)

One final point about your concern for your son feeling displaced: I think it's a great gift to give a child a sibling. No parent can be all things to their child, and it's a benefit for a kid to have someone he can relate to on his own level, someone else on the ''kids team'', as it were. I'd recommend you read ''Siblings Without Rivalry''.

Good luck, and have fun!!! Susan

F*%k them! :) Don't listen to judgmental people, you will be fine! My mother had 8 kids in ten years and she loved every second of it. She said it was easier having them closer together. Just think how cool it will be for them growing up so close. My little brother is a year younger than me and it was never an issue for me either. Life happens and we all seem to adjust to what we need to. good luck, but don't worry! dee

Last year, my son was born 10 days before my daughter turned two so our situations are similar. Please ignore the rude comments you are getting. They have no idea how great it is! We still do everything we did with one (restaurants, travel, hiking, city, etc). My daughter (older) loves her little brother and is great with him. Yes, there is jealousy occasionally, but there would be no matter what the age difference was. And they play together already! If anything, I feel a bit guilty that the baby gets less attention than the older one did, but I think it's offset by the extra attention he gets from his sister whom he adores. I still get some alone time and my husband and I make sure we get some time without the kids too. Overall, I would say that the experience has been better/easier than I thought it would be! Please email me if you want more info. Kelly

First -- YAY for you! Good job following your heart and having two. We have two, EXACTLY two years apart (and I mean it when I say exactly!). We are one year into it and it CAN BE DONE! :) Ignore the comments! They speak out of their own experience, be it ignorance, fear, jealousy that you're doing something they are too scared/busy/selfish/unable to do, OR WHATEVER! Ok, here's some things from our house that might or might not be helpful at yours:

1) Prep your son & INCLUDE him in necessary changes. Read lots of books about babies, talk about and TO the baby. A great one we found was ''Hello Baby!'' by Lizzy Rockwell. I paraphrased the ''too old'' parts. Make any changes to living spaces that you can, Now, like adding the baby's bed, clothes, diapers, etc. and have your son help with the transitions.

2) Do NOT force the baby on your firstborn. When we came home from the hospital my oldest was totally uninterested in the baby and that was GREAT with me since I'd heard horror stories of the older one scratching out the eyes of the baby. My MIL tried to force the baby on my oldest and that REALLY irritated me. I did buy an *awesome* toy ''from the baby'' and presented it when we came home from the hospital. It kept him occupied but probably wasn't really ''understood'' that it was from the baby.

3) Others suggested having a basket of toys/books ONLY for nursing time so that it can be a special time for the older one in some way too. I bought a package of small toys to use as bribes for this time (or any other time I might need them!) and actually, never needed anything like this. Movie watching went up a little for a while (more Thomas, Seasame Street, etc). Oh well.

4) Find jobs for your oldest! A favorite job was to be in charge of finding and supplying the diapers during diaper changes. Also popular: being in charge of selecting & bringing a toy for the baby when we went out.

5) Someone suggested we keep baby care completely business-like while our oldest was around. When he was not around, snuggling, cuddling, ooh-ing and aah-ing over the baby could go through the roof. That didn't seem to be a big deal for us, but I tried to be aware of it especially at the beginning.

Finally, re: your guilt of changing the 1-on-1 relationship, resenting the baby, etc.: From my personal experience, this might take a while to change. I started to LOVE and really enjoy my oldest just before our baby was born. He was walking, talking, and more person-like. Adding a baby to that mix was hard. I was kind of shocked at my feelings of wishing it was ''just us three'' again after the baby was born. My husband asked if I didn't like the baby or didn't want her. That wasn't it at all! I was mourning the loss of our threesome and 1-on-1 time w/ my oldest that is close to nonexistent now. Those feelings came & eventually went, & now one year out I can say our oldest LOVES the baby. It is going well. Everyone I talk to says that having kids close like this is more difficult at the beginning, but more fun a little bit later.

You can do it! You're right.... you'll be tired, you'll be changing lots of diapers, it will be crazy... but wasn't it like that when your first was a newborn too?? :) --now two under three years... and still happily living to tell about it!

I can't believe how rude people can be! I would never even think some of the stuff people are saying to you. First, I think you need a good response that will maybe wake them up a little bit without you having to be rude yourself. How about saying ''Well, thankfully my good friends and family are happy for me''? To underline the fact that the person who is commenting is NEITHER. Also, I suspect that you look attractive, happy and energetic and these people want to pop your balloon. Some people are compelled to be that way, for some reason. I think that if you looked like a beaten down wreck of a human being, you wouldn't be hearing these kinds of things. So, take it as a weird form of compliment.

Second, as a parent, you always feel guilty for SOMETHING. Take me: I feel guilty my son has no siblings close to his age (his brother and sisters, from my husband's first marriage, are many years older). I'm sure you will have love enough for two. After all, did you ever imagine you could love your first so much?

Third, my mother in law had her sixth when my husband, the oldest, was only 7. Yep. She has often told me how she was sort of sickly and low-energy until she started having babies. She is now the most energetic woman on the planet. She got used to multi-tasking, and organizing, and is now, at 78, a human dynamo (and very youthful looking to boot). Maybe that will be you, too!! Fran

It's hard not to worry when that is all you are hearing. It is unbelievable the unsoliticed advice that people will give (if you can even call it ''advice''). I have 2 boys. They are 22 months apart (ages 25 months and 4 1/2 months). It has been a TON of fun. I think it's a great age difference. My older son was 22 months when I brought the baby home from the hospital, and he never acted out or seem ''slighted''. He was very curious about his new brother, and showered him with lots of love and kisses. Of course it's tiring, and you feel like you are constantly ''on'', but it's also a lot of fun. I think it's the perfect age gap. The key is to keep busy and get on a routine schedule. We get up early every morning (not by choice...), and we are usually out the door by 9am. Whether it's just a walk in the stroller, or a trip to the park for a few hours, the key is to get out of the house. We mix it up with zoo trips and Bay Area Discovery Museum trips, and outings with friends with similar aged children. Invest in a good ''baby wearing'' device (whatever your favorite is). You'll be using it a lot. It's imperative to keeping the little one with you and safe, while having the mobility to chase around your older child at the park or museum. I hope I have calmed some of your fears. Life is not over, not even for a minute. Cherish the time...because it will be gone before you even know it. If I'm exhausted or overwhelmed...I remind myself of this to refresh my spirit and attitude. Oh yeah, other relly helpful things have been good age appropriate tv shows/dvd's (Elmo's world, curiuos george, and Sesame Street are some favorites). This can buy you some peace and quiet when you need it (or a few mintues to fold laundry, etc). And the other helpful thing is getting someone to watch your older child every so often (I drop mine off at the ''tot-drop'' drop in preschool about once every 2 weeks or so from 9-12). Good luck! Enjoy your precious little ones. kirsten

You are going to be FINE!!!! While I don't have 2 under 2, I can relate to the feelings you have described and have weathered many of the similar comments you have received. People can be very rude and insensitve...IGNORE THEM! I, too, am an only child and had similar feelings/concerns stemming from that. I am also an older mom and stepmother to 6...believe me when I say EVERYONE had a choice comment. It is going to be challenging, no doubt. But your post conveys a very conscientious mother. For me, the first year was the hardest (mine are 2.5 yrs apart). I would recommend calling on friends and family to help you through the hard spots. Your son will do well if you keep him a priority. Do special things with him. If you plan to breastfeed, you will be spending a ton of time with the baby...let others do as much of the other stuff as you can (clean ups, diapers, clothes changing, random holding, etc.) which will free you up to be fully available to your son. I am happy to share tales of the rough stuff and the resulting joys...there are too many to put here. Just email me if you need more reassurance. Happy to Help. the_missus [at]

I know what you're going through! During the last month of my second pregnancy, I often would look at my two year old son and think that he had no idea what was about to happen! Yes, it was a huge transition for all of us. My first son had to learn to share our love and attention and I remember that crushing feeling of disappointment when I couldn't give my older son all the attention he wanted. And I was just so exhausted! But now, a few years later, the fog has lifted. My two boys (two years apart) are such good friends and they really, truly love each other. In fact today, after being at different schools for the morning, they had such a happy reunion with hugs and kisses. And there is nothing sweeter than listening to them talk to each other as they fall asleep and when they first wake up.

The first few months will be tough. Try to get as much help as you can. When friends & family offer to lend a hand, accept their help! You just need to get through the first few months and then it will get better, I promise. In fact, it got so much better that my two boys now have a beautiful, sweet little sister that they absolutely adore. Good luck, take care of yourself and try to enjoy this precious time. Embraced the Chaos

I am sure you will get a lot of replies to your post. My daughters are 25 months apart (now 5 and 2 weeks shy of 3). My situation is probably a little different than yours b/c my partner and I each carried and nursed one of our daughters, so when the children were infants our relationship to each one was very different. HOWEVER, I think that it is hard to have children no matter how far apart in age they are, it is hard to have ONE child, it is hard to have 2, etc. It is not a nightmare. No more of a nightmare than it ever is to be a parent. I believe there are unique challenges to any age difference, and you will have yours like others have theirs.

I love having my kids with the age difference they have, I am SO glad I have 2. They fight, yes. But they adore each other and are friends and are both such great kids.

So I would say ignore those annoying people. No one knows anything about how the experience is going to be for you and your family, not even you. Just for the record, I think a lot of people have those feelings about having a 2nd - whatever the age difference - I know we did; it is a loss in a way, but of course it is a huge gain too and totally worth it. Good luck! Mother of 2

My kids are slightly more than 2 years apart and it's a great age spread! When they were small, we went everywhere in the double stroller. Now, at 7 and 5, they are great friends and playmates and have been for a long time. Because of the closeness in age, they like the same things (books, videos, toys, outings) and can play with the same friends. You'll be fine! Plus, you'll be falling in love with your new baby which will soften the blow of any sleepless nights! In terms of people's rude comments, isn't it unbelievable! Good luck!

I experienced the same sentiments from total strangers when I was pregnant with my 2nd. My eldest is 25 mos older than her little sister - and it was FINE! Fine! I couldn't understand why people were so afraid for me. It was not that bad. And, don't people have children 2 years apart all the time? It's not like the first was 6 mos old when I got pregnant again - then maybe I'd understand some of the gasping. ;)

Don't let them bother you - it really is not that bad. Having a new baby is never a breeze, whether it's your first or your 15th (haha)! There are always adjustments you will have to make as a family, but you will figure it out and it will be wonderful. Good luck! michelle

Hi there, I'm sure you will get many responses very similar to mine, as I think all the things you are feeling are normal and familiar. Our two oldest girls, 21 months apart, are now 9 and 8. Looking back at their toddlerhood, I remember that although there was certainly busy and stressful times, it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The challenging aspects: two nap schedules, keeping one toddler quiet while the infant still needed to sleep, feeling either housebound with the infant sleep schedule or guilty for subjecting the infant to naps on the run. I highly recommend periodic babysitting to alleviate some of that and to carve out some special time with your older child. All those feelings of betraying our oldest vanished as we all bonded with, and grew used to, the presence of our younger child. Our older daughter was just as enchanted with her sister as we were, and part of that I think was her young age--she was not as threatened as a three year old would have been. Never once did she seem resentful or wistful for her ''only child days'' because frankly, she doesn't remember being alone. Today, they are very close. Not 24/7 peaceful, mind you, but they rely on each other very much for friendship, conversation, and still share a room this day. I love having two children just one grade apart--my nine year old is the ''scout'' for the curriculum hot spots that I anticipate will challenge our eight year old. As for those comments of insensitive or just unknowing friends, for the most part they are making the same jokes they've heard before, and I think the best response may be a distant smile and ''well, we're very happy and hope you understand we made this decision very carefully.''

Hope this helps. Our youngest is three years younger than our middle child, and that ''normal'' spacing was harder for us! best of luck! anon

Dear Two Under Two, I did the same thing as you and it really was one of the high points of my life. My daughter was 19 months when my son was born, and it was all great. She loved him from the moment she saw him at the hospital, she was too young ever to remember that she was first, it never seemed like a great amount of work to me--once you've committed to one baby one more is not that big a deal--and it was just fun watching them interact with each other and with you. It only really got a tiny bit hard once my oldest hit 4 and refused to nap. Even now that they are 9 and 10, it's amazing how close they are. That's not to say there aren't Moments...but still I consider myself fortunate.

It is fun and amusing to have two little ones; you'll be laughing more than you know. The phrase ''In for a penny; in for a pound'' is completely true but it's only for a very short time and that time comes with so many unexpected benefits--please do not worry. You will be more than fine! Relax and enjoy! Mom of Two

We had a similar experience when expecting number three, who was only 18 months younger than number two. My husband and I are amazed at how rude people can be (on a daily basis). Rude people aside, it has really been a wonderful experience and I expect it will be even better as they grow older and are practically the same age. Although it seems like you could never love anyone as much as your first child, you will find that your heart opens up and loves another just as much as the first. And, watching your older kids become big siblings is great fun too. Everyone adjusts quickly.

I found that my older kids did need extra attention, but they were really excited too. I tried to be sure they had plenty of time to go outside and run and play. I also gave them lots of attention for being the big sisters. Lots of hugs and cuddles and as much time in Mom's lap as possible. We have a big chair and I found that when I would nurse, everyone would be there together, reading books or whatever. When I would explain that I needed to help the baby, they usually respected's hard to ignore that newborn cry. My first child was 2.5 y when number two was born and I got her a dollhouse as a gift when the baby came and she would sit and play with that while I took care of the baby. I also saw that the older kids formed stronger bonds with dad during the newborn time, which is nice too. Hopefully, your ''schedule'' will be clear and you can just go with the flow for the first month or so.

Now, almost a year later, we cannot imagine life without the baby. It's still a game of give and take, but that's part of life and compromise.

It's going to be OK. It's going to be fun. It's all a wonderful blessing. When people make their commentary, I just smile and act like it's all a piece of cake and they don't know what they are missing. Plus, you are going to get your body back that much sooner, you'll be done with diapers that much sooner, etc., etc. Best Wishes

Hi there. I have 3 kids now, but my first two are just 17 months apart. I got the same comments, and worried that I was about to a) enter purgatory and b) then go straight to hell for ruining my 1st child's life. Now, 3.5 years after the 2nd one, I have a new baby and would have a 4th within 2 years like a shot (my husband thinks I'm on crack). For me, the first two being so close together was a huge advantage, and here's why:

1. You're still in baby mode. There's no big regression to sleepless nights or diapers, because you're still there.

2. Your experience with small babies is recent, but you also have the advantage of hindsight and know, for example, that you're not going to die from lack of sleep nor is the baby going to expire from crying for two minutes while you take a shower or pee in private.

3. Your first child will have zero recollection of life without the other child, and sibling issues are lessened. There was some minor 'when is the baby going home' stuff, but in about two weeks the 17 month old just seemed to forget that the baby had ever not been there. She got annoyed if I was unable to respond to her immediately, but would have been equally annoyed had I been watering a plant, rather than nursing a baby.

4. Two siblings so close together are excellent company for one another later on. Mine fight like weasles in a sack sometimes, but mostly get along well and are able to play peacefully and imaginatively together. And when the vicious gouging starts they're about the same weight, so one doesn't have an unfair physical advantage.

5. They share clothes. This is good because it makes your life easier and bad because if you forget that the pink t-shirt with sparkles is Child A's Most Precious Thing of All Time and you offer it to Child B you better get ready to duck. This obviously applies to toys, etc.

The one bad thing I experienced was that I found it very difficult to nurse the second one as long as I had the first, and gave up after only 3 or 4 months. The older one just didn't have much patience, and it made me feel rushed and stressed. My new baby is going to get nursed as long as she wants, because the older two understand that the baby wants to nurse and they have to be patient. And, because of the experience of raising two under two, I know that if I hear screaming from the other room while I'm nursing I don't necessarily have to dial 911 or get up from my chair.

My best advice is when people make stupid comments just ignore them. Don't even engage. Just smile and look forward to your baby, because you're going to love the little dickens like nobody's business and who gives a flying rat's ass what a stupid stranger thinks anyway? Abbi Waxman abbi [at]

There are pros & cons to having them at diff. ages. Bottom line, it's hard no matter what the age diff. is. I have two that are 20 mo. apart. My younger is now 15 months & the older almost 3. It was a VERY hard year, but when she hit 1, I felt that we reached a milestone! Now they are really starting to play & interact together. They will be better playmates in the end. We are 'moving on' with the baby things & I'm relieved that we didn't 'stretch it out'.

Some friends that have children with a bigger age gap have also had issues w/ the older sibling's adjustment. They may be more helpful & independant, but they were used to being alone for much longer & may feel more threatened.

My husband actually has a bro. that's 3.5 yrs. older & one that's 1 yr. younger & he felt that he & the older one were always at completely diff. stages, never 'played', etc. The younger was his roommate for 18 yrs., best friend, & playmate.

Some helpful suggestions when baby is born:
* give a gift to your older child from the 'baby' & vice versa
* put a picture of your older child in the baby's bassinet (will help empower the older one & make him feel included)
* have older child help in any way, ie: bottle feedings, etc.
* spend alone time w/ older child & explain that younger one will stay behind b/c she's just a baby
* when introducing the siblings, have the baby across the room from you initially & walk over (if possible) together w/ the older sibling (the last thing you want to do is breast feed at first sight, it's like walking in on your cheating husband)

My girls now look for each other when one's not around. It was hard, but the best decision I made! GOOD LUCK, it will get better & easier w/ time!!! ben

I was in a very similar position. My husband and I wanted our children close in age and I got pregnant when my oldest was 12 months old. I too felt guilt about potentially messing up his life - our lives - which seemed relatively smooth and easy. was I asking my mild-mannered, sweet little boy to become an angry, resentful terror? Our kids are 20 months apart and the first year was really hard. I felt like I didn't come up for air for the first 4 months and that was with lots of family support. As their needs get more similar, it gets easier to juggle. One of the best days that I can remember was when I could serve them both cheesy toast at the same time. Of course my eldest went through a rough stage where he was hitting a lot and I tried to give him as much positive attention as I could. I fobbed the baby off on anyone who would hold her so I could be with him (she didn't care). One of the advantages of having a baby while to other is still so young is that they forget more quickly what it was like to be an only child - it took my son 3 or 4 months. Now that they are 2 and 4, we are all reaping other benefits of having kids close in age. They play and fight together all the time. They are really close and try to help each other. They are like puppies together and they're learning about socializing from having to deal with each other - taking turns, being gentle, communicating, doing household tasks (they put silverware away and set the table and take dirty cups to the sink.) Because of their close age, I know this relationship will last many years.

You've done the right thing for you and you won't regret it. don't listen to people who haven't a clue about your life. no regrets

My kids are 23.5 months apart (my second was unplanned). I too got the whole range of comments during my pregnancy and throughout the first year. I too was terrified of what having 2 under 2 would mean. I was still realing from having my first, still not sleeping well & still overwhelmed when I got pregnant again. My 2nd didn't sleep well either and that first year was HARD. However, even during that exhausting, intense year, there were so many moments of joy, laughter, quiet contentment that I would go back in a second and do it all again. Watching my not quite 2 year old meet her brother, watching her make him smile for the first time, the empowered feeling of successfully buying groceries with one baby in the sling and one in the cart, seeing them both asleep in the backseat, camping with both of them snuggled up beside me, etc. Sure it was hard, but you just do it - you have to. Now they are almost 2 & 4 and they actually play together for extended periods of time, they share a room, they make up silly games together, they also fight and scream and drive me crazy, but they really do love each other. I was worried about losing time with my daughter and her feeling usurped too, but that worry passed. I do always have to consciously build in time alone with her, it's sort of automatic with the little one, but you have to make it happen with the oldest. She can't rememeber life without him and I know she's a richer person for having a brother. You're going to be fine. My advice is to get a good schedule, make sure you have time alone every week and time with your partner too. I had my eldest in a great home daycare two days a week for 4-5 hours too and it helped immensely. She loved it, got to play & be out of babyland, and I could actually nap when the baby napped or shop with just one kid, or focus on my little one. My husband and I each took one night off a week and had a date night every wednesday. We didn't do any of this when we had one kid, but it became our lifesaver with too. I was also much more persistent with the bottle and pumping with number 2. A king sized bed helped, despite all your intentions you'll probably all end up in there occassionally. For me, months 1-8 were rough, then it got easy at about 8-14 months, then it got harder again. It's still a huge handful right now, but it's also fun. I wanted a 3 year gap, but realize now that this was perfect for us. I love how close my kids are, that they'll be in the same preschool next year, that they like some of the same activities -and I'm only 2 years in. I'm sure it's going to get even better. It will be great -it will be what it is, it will be YOUR family. All the best. Happy mom of two under 4.

It is amazing what people will say! I have three kids (all two years apart) and I love it. I won't kid you, the first six months to a year is probably more difficult than if you had more space, but the rewards are totally worth it. First, your son will not remember a time when he didn't have a sibling. I have had very little rivalry between my kids. Your house, stuff, life, is all set up for having small children. Imagine having seven years between and having to go back to diapers and bottles.

The best part is that when your kids get older (even by 2 and 4) they will be enjoying the same activities. You can go to Fairyland or the zoo and they will like most of the same things. When you start to travel, activities can be geared towards both instead of having to choose between the roller coasters and the tot lot. Good wishes

Congratulations on your second child! That is so wonderful!

I have a friend whose kids are 20 months apart (younger one is now about 9 months). Another friend of mine will have kids 14 months apart (expecting #2 in December). My brother's first 2 kids are about 19 months apart (they now have 3, who are very close and play so well together!). Those are ones I can think of right now. I know that each of them did plan for the second child.

In each of the cases I've mentioned, the families are doing fine. Of course, I'm sure that the first few months were trying/at times overwhelming, etc., but they managed. ..and the level of difficulty will be different for families depending on the temperment of the babies.

I've also heard that if the kids are closer together in age (i think i heard less than 3 years apart), the older kid has an easier time accepting a younger sibling. (I know this was true in my brother's case, though i'm sure every case is different.) Naturally, they probably aren't always going to get along, but that's just normal sibling stuff.

I have a 6 month old, and we're already planning on when we want to try for #2 (I've even had family, friends & co-workers ask about when #2 will be!)

Of course, I also have friends who have said that would never want to have kids so close together, and friends with kids spaced several years apart. I don't go around telling my friends to have kids the way I plan to have them according to my values. To each their own. Every family has to do what's right for their own family.

As for your son -- you are giving him a gift of a sister. Just make sure you set aside some one-on-one time with him, and look for opportunities to make him feel included and special in his new, and very important, role as big brother.

I can't believe other people are projecting their own values so rudely and judgementally to you. That's too bad they are not more supportive. Try not to let it get to you, because you don't want your new baby girl growing inside of you to feel that guilt or resentment towards her now, or when she is born. She is truly a blessing.

Hope this helps. Congratulations, again. anonymous

I think there are a lot of wonderful reasons to have your kids close in age. I am looking forward to the replies to your post because my baby is now six months old, and I'd love to have a second very soon. My point of view comes from being very close to my sister - we are 14 months and 8 days apart. Since we were so close in age, we shared a lot of toys, clothes, books, friends, and interests. Now that I'm a mom, I'm asking my own mother how she did it. She claims that in a lot of respects it made her job easier, since my sister and I were able to entertain each other. My sister was an only child for such a short period, she of course doesn't remember the time when she was the only one. I observed my nephews grow up with a 5-year age gap, and that seemed to me more frustrating because they weren't into the same toys at the same time, and the little one was always so frustrated at not being able to do what the older one could - both in terms of motor skills and rules like holding an adult's hand in the parking lot.

I can't believe that people have made such rude comments to you. Please ignore them and consider yourselves blessed. If they are speaking from first-hand experience, then they should be able to offer constructive tips & tricks (like maybe which stroller to get, or naptime coordination or other things that worked for them), and if they do not have first-hand experience then they're just making off-handed comments. Yes, there will be some times when you are exhausted but that can happen regardless of age difference.

Other positives that I can think of is that if you use cloth diaper service, you'll notice you're saving money (cloth diaper service for two costs only marginally more than for one), and the number of years when you are dropping kids off at separate schools is reduced. Good luck and Congratulations! L

Hello Momma of soon to be two under two. I don't know if I can quell your fears, but I can tell you that my daughter is turning two on Friday and then I am scheduled to give birth to twins on Monday. So if anything, maybe you can think of me and know it could be crazier! I empathize with your concerns about your first born. I too have had those, but the reality is that there is enough love and attention to go around. Sure it is going to be hard in the beginning, but it will all balance out soon enough. Just think about how fast these two years have gone! As for the comments. I don't even know what to say to that except that people can be really dumb and inconsiderate. Please don't take any of it to heart - they just need something to say and so they say something they think is funny or sarcastic. What they are really showing is their insecurity. You are choosing to have a family and how you do that is really no one else's business. Be confident in your decisions, revel in the beauty of your family, and know that every day the kids get a little bit older, you get a little bit more capable handling two and you will have kids that are close in age and hopefully grow to be best friends. Good luck to you! And when all else fails, know that you could be doing this with twins!!! Mom with 3 two and under

i'm 36 weeks today and my daughter is 17 months. And though their dad lives with us, I do ALL the work. I feel overwhelmed mostly, and a bit worried as to who will take care of my daughter when I wont be able to for a week or so. Yeah it's extrememly fearful, but be glad that you have a husband that is in it with you (from what I understood from your post), I am doing it all by myself, and I know it can be done. So believe in you and your partner and your toddler, it will all work out. DOn't pay attention to those comments that haters (unintenionally) make. WHile yes for the next 2 years, you and I wont have sleep, and we may be a little naurotic from it, but in like 4 years it will be great. BOth of our kids will have someone to always play with and fight with and be kids with. THey will get each other more so than we will get them to an extent, because they are so close in age. So good luck to you and your family. ANd know that in many cultures outside of the US that is how it's done. And those families manage well. So will you. ericka

Don't worry, and don't listen to the naysayers! I have an 8-week old and a toddler who will be 2 this month. Although much depends on your particular situation, even though we are on a limited budget I am SO glad we decided to have #2. Granted, we tried to reduce the number of disruptions to our toddler's routine (he continues going to preschool, spends more time with dad when I'm busy), which I think makes a difference, but so far it's not been nearly as crazy as I'd imagined it in my mind. Our toddler always wants to kiss the baby, gets excited as we get excited with the baby's first smiles, etc. The first few weeks felt crazed, and I was nervous about our toddler's reaction to the nursing, etc., but our toddler seems to think the new baby is interesting.

Reading books about babies might help, or becoming a big brother or sister, even if he/she doesn't understand everything. Our toddler also enjoys telling mom/dad what to do (when the baby cries, he says ''baby -- more milk!'' or ''it's OK'' to the baby).

Although I do feel like my bond with #1 has suffered a bit -- I can't ''play'' the active way he wants when I'm nursing -- it is possible to squeeze in that special time. Pump so Dad can give the newborn a bottle occasionally once you hit that 4-week mark maybe. But overall, our life has gotten so much richer, and I can't wait to see the relationship develop between the two kids as the years go by.

Many people on the street have told me how ''brave'' I must be, but then others observe that 2 years is a great spacing that we will appreciate more after we get through the first year or two. Even though our #2 is an easier newborn than #1, I also have enjoyed feeling like there is a bit of a learning curve...I feel much more confident with the bjorn, the swaddling, nursing, and all the other newborn stuff. Best of luck to you! roxymom

Your fears about having two small kids is totally normal. When my second was born my first was still 4 months away from her 2nd bday. When my third came around, my second was 3 months from his 2nd bday and my first was still 9 months from her 4th bday! Having come out the other side I say you can do it! Have faith in yourself as a mom. Give yourself a break, know you'll make mistakes, know your house will not be spotless, know you and your kids may not be spotless but know that all they really need is your love. I too got all kinds of rude remarks, especially when I was pregnant with my 3rd. Yes, it was a crazy time, yeah I was totally exhausted but you know, looking back I wouldn't have done it any different. My best advice on how to manage is to anticipate your toddlers needs. For example, if you're about to sit down and nurse, make sure your toddler has gone potty, has a drink/snack, has something to do. You can even read to him while you nurse. I also suggest joining a mom group of some kind and/or looking into hiring a Postpartum Doula.

Try not to listen to the criticism of others. They are only voicing insecurities about themselves. You'll be fine. Tired, but fine. Megan

We have two kids who are about two years apart. It's great. They play well together. They keep each other in line. Of course they fight sometimes, but they also comfort each other. The first few months may be difficult, but nothing you can't manage. Second time around I found myself more calm and prepared. We made sure that we have one-on-one time with the first child who was very helpful in taking care of the baby ... bring a bottle, a diaper, etc.

We have known many families with kids two years apart. They all managed. You will too :) anon

I have two girls who are 21 months apart. My youngest is now 18 months old and I have to say the last 18 months have been much better than I expected. I had similar responses when I told people that I was having 2 under 2 but I'm really pleased. Our girls play together and most activities (going to parks, discovery museum, etc.) are age appropriate for both. Watching to two girls play together is such a joy.

You should be aware that the arrival of your second child will likely rock your eldest child's little world. Hopefully his or her shock will subside quickly. In the end, I think it's a huge benefit for a child to have siblings and it has actually improved my eldest daughter's ability to share and to be less selfish -- to the extent a toddler can think of someone other than themselves! The upside is that your having them so close together means that your eldest will likely not have many (if any) long-term memories of life before his sister or brother arrived so there will be less resentment. Kimberly

Well...this should make you feel better. I did what you are doing, but had twins. So I had three under 2! When I found out I was having twins, I cried. Literally. I got all the same comments you got, but with the extra ''twin'' angle thrown in. My twins are just turning a year and my then 21-month old is almost three. And you know what? I'm doing just fine. Sure, I was tired around month 4 when the girls decided they didn't want to nap, and it's hard to schedule around all the various and changing naps, but life goes on. I get out every day with all three and still manage to do errands, shopping and go to the dentist.

The one thing I would recommend, which I didn't do and did cause some problems, is give your existing child extra special attention. Even if you need to hire someone to hang out with the baby so you can have alone time with your other child, do it. I didn't and that is the only thing I regret. He had a tough time with it all and I didn't help with that transition. Also, try to keep things as normal for him. Don't make any other changes...besides the baby.

When I'm tired or frustrated, I try to think about the times when they are going to be 4 and 6 or 6 and 8 and having a wonderful time hanging out, being friends. It will be a blast. Enjoy! Rachel

Just had to chime in with a word of encouragement. My oldest girl was 6 months old when I found out I was pregnant again - I was the one making jokes, to compensate for the lack of planning and my own fears about being able to cope. Well, twenty years later I can honestly say I wouldn't have done it any other way. Yeah, the first couple of years were tough, it was a relief to go to work. But the girls can't remember life without each other, they always had a friend, a bath buddy, and someone to argue with. The worst moment of the younger one's life was when older sister went to kindergarten - being home alone with mom held no charms for her. Disregard the insensitive comments and be confident in your choice. The benefits become more obvious the older they get. Berkeley mom

Have a 6 month old and just found out I'm pregnant

Sept 2005

My son is 6 months old and we just found out we are expecting another addition to the family in April. My husband and I are excited to be having another beautiful baby, although I am a little overwhelmed by the idea of having a 13 month old and a newborn. We wanted our children close together but this was even sooner than we expected! (It took a while to conceive last time.)

Has anyone been through this and have any advice or soothing words? I am wondering about the logistics of how to care for both and give both babies the attention they deserve. Is there really any way to prepare such a small child for the arrival of a sibling? I would love to hear how people have handled this and what worked for you. I am also wondering how to respond to people's comments about ''how crazy'' we are...they were all so happy for us the first time around. It seems difficult for them to understand that this baby is wanted, not a mistake. super breeder mama

Congratulations! How exciting for you. My neice and nephew are less that 13 months apart. They are almost like twins. The older one does not even have any memory without the younger. I babysat for them a few times when the kids were young and it was not completely insane. Just like anything, you will find a way to cope. I think that you just have to ignore the comments from people, unfortunately I think that far too many people speak before they think.

My younger two children are 20 months apart, that's as close as we could have them. There are some benefits since you are already in the baby mode, it won't be as much of a shock changing diapers and waking in the night. What it will help with is incetive for sleep training. Make sure you find a way to get time to yourself. Good Luck. Joan

Hi there--we also had a a newborn when our daughter was about a year old and while it was difficult, your worry about how the older kid will adjust wasn't even the slightest problem. A one-year old has really only just begun turning the corner from worm to human. I don't think our daughter even realized that she was no longer an only child. A two year old thinks ''Gosh, I'm not getting as much attention as I used to and it makes me sad'' when a new baby arrives. But a one year old thinks ''I really love Cheerios, and, oh yeah, that thing in the basket over there is my brother.'' Our kids think they're twins. Adjustment was not an issue. You'll have plenty of other things to worry about with two babies, but don't worry about how they'll adjust, because they'll be just fine. zac

If you haven't heard it yet....congratulations! I have two who are 16 months apart and have found it to be an ideal situation. My experience is that my son never really figured out that he was supposed to be the only child in this house, so when his sister arrived it seemed quite natural for him. Because they're still both so small for the first few months, they can both easily be on your lap in the same chair, or, in the case of my husband, one in the baby Bjorn on his chest and the other in the backpack on his back for hikes! Even I could pick them both up, one in each arm for at least a year and a half or so. So if you have the patience (and a little strength), you can physically attend to both of them at the same time. You're already doing diapers and mushy food, taking baby/toddler gear with you everywhere you go etc., so it will feel like a very natural progression. Bedtime stories will stay relevant for both for quite some time so they can be read to together. Will you each need to carve out some one-on-one time with each child? Of course - but that's no different than any other siblings regardless of age difference. How well will you sleep? Again - entirely dependent on each individual child, regardless of age or age difference between siblings.

The other nice thing is that you're probably still a little naive as to what to expect as they go through their 2's and 3's, etc. which I found to be an advantage. Had I waited until my son was 2 or 3 to get pregnant again, it would have been a much more challenging decision because their needs are so extremely different.....and I don't know that I would have wanted to go back to the baby stage (not a bad stage - just entirely different and not where my head was at anymore). So, now they are 5 and 6 years old and all along the way they have been terrific playmates. That has been the most beneficial part - we can actually sleep in on weekend mornings because they get up and play together and completely entertain themselves. The real key is whether you have more than one person as primary caregiver. I was quite lucky that my husband was as involved as I was in caring for both the children and the house. It could obviously be a very different experience if that's not your situation. Honestly, the biggest downside I can think of is the expense to outfit two babies. We had to buy two cribs at the same time, instead of one child outgrowing their crib to be passed onto the sibling....same with baby carseats, etc. However, these days with second-hand stores and craigslist, you can get great bargains and turn around and sell them down the road. Anyway, good luck, and feel free to contact me if you need any hand-holding. Laurie

My kids are 16 months apart and my only regret is that I did not have the third just as close together! It is the best. In the beginning there are many times that one is crying and you can't address it (except if urgent!) b/c you are doing something with the other. Getting a sling for the baby did make life easier. As far as the ''You're crazy,'' comments BOY DO THEY GET OLD! Just smile and ignore. I only heard that from people who had their kids farther apart, those with them close like mine all told me it would be great. And it was! Congrats. Elizabeth

My children are 19 months apart. We too wanted 2 close together but not necessarily that close together. Take note: Breastfeeding is not a reliable form of birth control :). Anyway, I also was a bit annoyed and offended when strangers commented on how busy I was going to be or how I ''sure had my hands full.'' Funny these same strangers never offered to lend me a hand! Most of these people are just saying what pops into their heads (because it is true!) not intentionally trying to offend you. I usually just smiled and shook my head and that's it. If you have more courage you could add something like, ''yes, would mind holding these groceries for me while I put my kids in the car?'' If friends make these comments to you and it bothers you I would tell them that and that should put an end to it.

Frankly, after all the above-like comments, I was prepared for the worst before #2 was born. But, turns out, I hadn't noticed the first time around how much newborns actually sleep. So those first several weeks were actually easier than I expected because he slept so much. You will have time to focus on your older child during the day while baby sleeps. I don't think there is much you can do to prepare a 13 month old. S/he will simply need lots of positive attention when baby comes and thereafter. There are things YOU can do to prepare. First, accept any and all offers of assistance. Just say YES, if someone offers help. I was not very good at that. If a friend offhandedly offers to babysit, say yes, please, pick a time and follow up. Find other families with similar aged children you can swap care/playdates with. Also, if you don't have family or friends who can help from time to time, it is money well spent to hire a sitter when needed or even find an occasional nanny share for the older one. Join a gym or take an exercise class with child care. A short workout and shower at the Berkeley Y while my kids were in Childwatch was like a mini- vacation.

As far as logistics...a double stroller is a necessity. I had one that held the carseat for the infant in back and my toddler sat in the front. I also used a single stroller for the toddler and put baby in the baby bjorn or sling. I wore the baby alot the first few months--he was very happy being in the Native Carrier sling. Regarding getting them in and out of the car, always strap your toddler in first because baby can't run away while you're not looking. Go to parks with small, completely enclosed tot areas. I don't know where you live, but near me is King park on Hopkins, Live Oak, Terrace Park, Totland (but a bit big and chaotic.) Enroll your older child in some classes like Kindergym, Music Together, and definitely a play group. Having organized activities like that with sympathetic parents was very helpful to me. That said, a simple walk around the block can be a fun adventure when things get crazy or boring in the house. Plan your outings well and minimize them. Getting two kids ready, in the car, in the stroller, back in the car, etc, is hard work, just take it easy. For grocery shopping, use to deliver the basics. Have your husband pick up dinner sometimes on the way home from work.

Once when my two were small and I thought I had it hard, I saw a women at the park with maybe a 2 1/2 yr old and twin babies. The twins were cranky and she was soothing and tandem nursing them (wow). Then it was time for them to leave the park. She gathered all her things, her still cranky twins, her 2 1/2 yr old and was just out the gate when the 2 1/2 year old decided he didn't want to leave the park. The mom is pushing a double stroller out the gate trying to pull her older son with her who is having a tantrum. Well, I would have continued pulling my older one to the car, kicking and screaming, buckled everyone in kicking and screaming, and driven home kicking and screaming (myself probably included!) But I was so impressed by this woman for the simple thing she did. She turned around, pushed the stroller back into the park, let her son play some more and took the twins back out to continue nursing them till they fell asleep. Then they all left peacfully. Sometimes you just have to be flexible, let things slide, be late or whatever.

It will be hard at times, but before you know it that stage will pass. By the way, mine are now 6 and 4 1/2. There were a few ''crazy'' years and there may be more to come but everything seems much easier now. They are close enough in age so that they are on similar schedules (ie, sleep and school,)they have some of the same friends and they entertain each other. And they have a great, close relationship that I think will last forever. Sorry for such a long response, hope it helps. You'll do fine. cohens

Congratulations!!! My kids are 18 months apart (2 and 6 months), and although it certainly is more work and more chaotic at times, it hasen't yet been as hard as I thought it would be (or people told me it would be). Some things get more difficult-going to the store for example, but really these are not huge problems. I love having the kids close together and I think I will really love it once they can play together. I got TONS of comments when I was pregnant with #2, and I am way in the deep subarbs, so I can only imagine what you are getting!! One woman at the Berkeley Bowl took a look at my child and my belly and exclaimed ''DID YOU PLAN THAT?!''. It got pretty comical--everywhere I went people had their OPINIONS and none of them were, frankly, very supportive---except for parents of kids similarly spaced. The parents that had actually done it were very supportive and said that it would be a lot of work in the beginning (a year or so) but ultimately there was big payoff in playmates and it was great to have kids at similar stages, etc. We took it from those who knew. However, I did begin to feel that I was some kind of freak in the context of the Bay Area for having kids with close spacing. I guess its more acceptable here to wait at least 3 years. Whatever. Generally when people made comments (every day, literally) I'd give a huge smile and some kinds of syrupy response (''Yes, we are SO excited''!!) or sometimes I'd explain that we simply want to have our kids while we are still as young as possible. But it was annoying, I totally understand. You will do great and a sibling is a great gift to your child. Best of luck to you!! Rebecca

Congratulations to you! I've got two kiddies who are 13 1/2 months apart as well - my son is 18 months old and my daughter is almost 5 months old.

Soothing words - you're not the only one! I'm at the park every day with the kids and I've met so many parents of older closely spaced children and they all say the same thing - it's hard in the beginning but it gets easier - and it really does!!

Please, feel free to email me if you'd like to chat further. I'm not a ''pro'' but I've learned a lot about managing to small children in the last 5 months and I'd be happy to pass it on - for what it's worth! ls

Hi and congratulations on your pregnancy! I have two children that are 18 months apart and had similar questions when I was pregnant with my second. We planned both of them and wanted them to be close in age. Now my youngest is a year old.

Regarding the logistics of taking care of two under two, it's something that will develop and smooth out with time. Yes the first couple of months will be hard, it's a transition for all of you, especially as you get to know your newborn, as you know. Fortunately with close age gaps such as ours, the older child is not really mature enough to fully comprehend the idea of another sibling in their life; my eldest did not have much trouble adjusting and does not remember life without his younger brother around. Of course there were moments when he would get a bit jealous, usually when I was nursing the baby, but compared to the huge emotional adjustment older children often need to work through, it was minimal. Most wonderful of all, since the youngest was about 6-9 months old, they play together and enjoy the same toys, same jokes, and interests. It has made all the hard work worth it to see them reach that stage.

I believe having two children close in age is hardest on the parents simply in terms of how high-maintenance infants and younger toddlers are. It takes your daily life as a parent of one to a whole new level. If you have help from family or friends and want to take it, that will absolutely help. We had really neither and it left little precious time for ourselves, for household chores (get a maid!) or just to mentally unwind. However this has gotten better and easier now that they are older. Just think, you are getting all the baby years and stages done with at once, and then you can sell all the baby stuff (providing you are not having another one) and move on to the next stage!

In terms of ''preparing'' your 13 month old, we just had a few books about babies that we read often, pointed out babies wherever we went, talked about the new baby coming to our house when the time got close. As I said before, I really believe the adjustment is not as difficult as it can be with older, more ''aware'' and mature children. More so, I personally had to get through a lot of ''guilt'' about not being able to give my eldest the full attention he had gotten before the baby arrived, but tried to remember that ultimately having a sibling was a gift to him. Now that he is 2-1/2, we can see this and see how being a big brother has made him a more confident, caring child. Honestly I am grateful every day that we had them close together. It has been a benefit to both of them.

In terms of dealing with comments from others, I have not really had a problem with derogatory comments. More often people remark on how they almost look like twins, but in a friendly way. In any event, if I wish to comment, I say that we planned it that way and wanted them close in age - something my husband and I never had, a sibling close in age. Also for me it was more practical to take off 3 or 4 continuous years of work instead of having one child, returning to work for a year or two, and then having to decide what to do about childcare for my second. In any event, it's none of anyone's business why your children are close in age, ''accident'' or planned. Some people may have their own opinions on what age gap is best, but ask around and you will realize there is no ''perfect'' age gap, it all depends on the personality of your children and how you raise them.

Hope this helps! It will be crazy, but wonderful. anon

First of all, congratulations! You should indeed be happy and proud about the new addition to your family.

Our second child was also very much wanted, but happened faster than I had imagined. So our two are 16 months apart.

There are lots of advantages to having them so close together! Developmentally, they are much more similar, so it is easier to find things they both like. For years, both kids loved going to Habitot or Totland, as both places were completely appropriate to both children. Likewise it is easier to find classes that they can take together (swimming, music, etc) because they are so close in age.

I think it was also nice to get the whole baby stage taken care of in one big kamikaze swoop. Quite frankly, if I had waited and let our lives go back to post- baby normalcy, I probably would have lost my nerve about having a second child! So while it was a wild ride, it was worth it to just get through it and be done.

That is not to say it is easy. The first year after our second child was born was probably the hardest year of my life. It is also very hard on a marriage. If you have any kind of help or family support, draw on it. If you don't already have one, you might consider getting a house cleaner or mother's helper or something. We got a housekeeper to come in and clean every other week, and it was a godsend to this poor exhausted mama!

Hopefully you won't get too many comments from people. I found that our family and friends were very supportive, and completely understood that we didn't really have the luxury of waiting (I was 39 with our first, 40 with our second). I did sometimes get comments from strangers, esp. when I was pregnant, about how close together they would be. I usually just smiled broadly and said something like''Yep, it's going to be quite an adventure'', and would then sweep off. And honestly, it only happened a few times - most people really do have better manners!

As for preparing your child for the new arrival - well, you can't. They just aren't old enough to understand. We talked lots about the baby in mommy's tummy, and got her a doll so that she could play mommy and baby, but to no avail. She still was distraught when the new arrival came. It took her a good 3 or 4 months to really come to terms with the new arrival. I know that's not very comforting, but it's the truth. But now she dearly loves her brother, and is very protective of him. So it will work out, it just takes a while!

Good luck! It won't be easy for the first year or so, but it is worth it! I wouldn't change our little family for anything! happy mama of 2

I did not see any repsonses from my point of view so I had to chime in. My sister and I are 13 months and 13 days apart. I don't think my mom planned it that way but I am thankful it happened. My sister and I are very close. We were like twins. We were called ''the little girls'' when we were small. Although I know it may have been hard on my mom, I'm glad she had us so close together. As far as comments I think that is so much more prevalent today. My mom said no one ever said a word to her in the 60s. Pay no attention to those folks and feel good about the gift you are giving your children. Julie

I missed your original post, and have just a little to add to all of the wonderful comments you already received. My two are 20 months apart and I can't even remember anyone telling me how hard it was going to be. The first year is such a blur, I was blindsided as we pretty much coasted through the first year with just one - but - now (mine are 3 and 4.8) I love it!! My two play so well and the contrast with the highly work intensive first year makes me feel like I really have it so good. My two add ons to the comments are 1.) do whatever possible to get help - find a babysitter once a week for half a day and get out - even if you can't afford it, it is only for one year or so until number one is in preschool or at least more self sufficient - I wish I had given myself permission to do that as we, too, didn't have any family or friends to trade with - it is so worth any sacrafice if you are home alone with them all day everyday. I finally found someone towards the end of year one and it changed my life - I only wish I had done it sooner. Secondly, another huge benefit is how much your kids will learn from each other - my youngest actually did some things before my oldest and it was the boost she needed to get over some hurdles (staying dry all night comes to mind) - and my youngest is learning everything in such a natural way as he plays with his sister, ''play as work'' is taken to a power level with two this close. You will do fine, the hard part is over so quickly and you realize how much you need to treasure this precious time as before you know it, one or both will be with friends and the special time with the three of you will be gone. Enjoy! Loving life with a 3 and 4 1/2 year old

My kids are 14 1/2 months apart, and when I was in my last trimester with #2 I was so miserable that I couldn't even summon the energy to post your exact question, even though I wanted to. So good for you for posting! After I had #2 I kept telling myself to remember things so I could post if anyone (like you) asked this question. Almost two years later, I've forgotton some of my (what seemed at the time to be) brilliant thoughts, but one thing is very clear -- having two this close together is spectacular. Getting pregnant so quickly was a total mistake for us, and now I walk around telling everyone that they should do it on purpose. Really, it's probably the best thing I ever did in my life. Seeing how close my two are, and how happy they make each other, AND seeing how much easier it is for me now that #2 is almost two -- it's the greatest thing. And as for those people who give me ''that look'' when they realize that mine are so close in age, well, they just don't know what they are missing. That said, here are my thoughts:

1. If possible, try to not be alone with the two of them for the first six weeks. You'll be sleep deprived, the infant will be nursing 24/7, and your ''older'' will still be a very needy baby who needs constant attention. Call upon friends, family members, or hire help. I used mother in laws, mother, and asked our cleaning lady come a few extra hours a week just so that there was someone else to hold the baby. This is especially important between about 4 pm and 7 pm, when the youngest will want to nurse and the oldest will need dinner. Having a second set of hands is invaluable.

2. Create a safe space in your house that is closed off. You'll need a small room you can go in to nurse the younger where you can let the older wander at will without getting hurt, since it'll be hard to protect the older while nursing.

3. Lower your standards. Sometimes you're just going to need to plug the older into a DVD or 15 minutes of Sesame Street (TiVo is helpful here) because you just need the older to be occupied with something else.

4. Enclosed parks are your friend, and the smaller the better. The best, in my opinion, is Willard Park. Totland is good. Jordan Park is okay but a little too big (and it has ways to get out). Chabot Elementary School has a good enclosed play area. Also good are things like Music TOgether classes. Avoid parks that have exits where the older can run out (Frog Park, Acquatic Park, etc.)

It gets better quickly! Expect the first few months to be overwhelmingly difficult, and use whatever crutches you need to get through it. You'll be surprised how quickly it passes and how great it can be. Have fun. anon

My brother and I were 17 months apart, and it was way too close for comfort. We were in the same grade in school because I skipped a grade. So every time people asked if we were twins he had to describe his sibling's success without a corresponding success of his own. We finally developed a good relationship when we went to different high schools. My advice to the parents with two kids under two is to help each child have their own separate space, with separate friends and activities, and ideally schools as well. It may be convenient for you to have another baby while you are in baby mode, but it also has the potential to set up a lifelong competition that you want to help avoid. Your relationship with your child is important, but your children will still have each other long after you are gone. anonymous

Well all I can say is that it isn't as bad as I had imagined. I have a 3 month old and a 19-1/2 month old. We are making it. People keep saying how great it will be when they get a little older, I sure hope so.

Three things have been key: Daddy, Bjorn and Daycare. Daddy has really been a life saver. He stepped in and has really taken on the older one. (I'm a little jealous). I think a Bjorn is the best thing ever invented. Forget strollers. The bjorn allows me to keep up with the older one, and not leave the baby behind. The older one is in daycare 3 days a week, this helps out a lot, but it is very expensive. Sanity vs. poverty is how I had to look at it. Good luck stephanie

Managing a newborn and a 20 month year old

July 2005

I am looking for advice on how to handle 2 small babies. I am expecting my second. The two will be 20 months apart. Here are a couple of questions:

- Does anyone have advice on how to manage 2 in one room? We are thinking about having the 2 share a room and wondering when and if this is going to work out. We figure the newborn will sleep with us for the first 4 months or so. When we put them together, we are concerned the older one won't get a good sleep. Any ideas?

- We are in the process of researching strollers. Any advice on how to transport both babies? We loved the snap and go carseat stroller combo for our first because it allowed her to sleep uninterupted. Hoping for some good ideas for how to handle 2 in a stroller. Sadie

My sons are 21-months apart. The second one slept in our room for about three months. After that, they shared a room. The little one was in a crib and the big one was in a toddler bed. They got used to it just fine. I always felt that it was good practice for dorm life :) They are three and five now and would never want to be separated, even though now we have bigger house. Helena

My two kids are 20 months apart as well and I dealt with some of the same questions you have when the second was born (he's now over 2 years old and just to add... things do get much easier).

Our two kids have shared a room since the youngest was about 3 months old. At night, we really haven't had much problem particularly when the youngest was a baby. My older child would generally sleep through any crying. Now, sometimes they keep each other awake by playing and talking and certainly in the morning, once one wakes up, the other does. Sharing a room for naps has never worked out so we set up a pack-n-play in our bedroom and the youngest has always taken his naps there.

I enjoyed the convenience of a snap-n-go stroller when my first child was born but gave that up with two and went with a double Maclaren which turned out to be a great stroller. At the time there was one version that had attachments for a newborn and that was the one we got. The Maclaren was very, very easy to maneuver (for a double stroller) and goes through all standard doorways. I would really recommend going to a store and trying out different strollers so you can feel the difference. It seems to me that I have seen side-by-side strollers now that let you insert a baby car seat so you may not have to give up that convenience. The other little thing I liked about side-by-side style doubles was that while you have the baby lying on one side the other side acts as a little table for diaper-changing supplies, etc (something I hadn't anticipated but was very convenient). Having a double stroller that you really like is so important with two young ones because you use it constantly and makes going out so much easier....

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me. Good luck! roxanne

I can't help you with the first question, but on the second. I bought a side-by-side double (Mountain Buggy Urban Double) that fits through interior doorways. It has a special clip that I can mount on one side to snap the baby seat in, but I've never used it. I went with the side by side rather than front and rear configuration because they looked less awkward to me. It has turned out being a bonus becuase my 27-month old loves sitting next to her baby sister (now 5 months old). She adjusts the blanket for her and makes sure she has her toy, etc. You can do some research on-line, but I just looked for one that was less than 30-inches wide, because I wanted it to be maneuverable inside a house and a mall AND I wanted one that would recline all of the way to accomodate a newborn. This particular stroller is narrow, but the seats are fine. On a recent vacation my 7-year old niece (a skinny one) hopped in for a while when I put the baby in the Bjorn. The Mountain Buggy is $$$$$ ($600 or so), but it fit my needs and my second guessing husband has finally come around. Also, if it matters to you, they have great resale value on E-bay. There are some cheaper ones that fit those specs as well, but I just wanted the bigger offroading tires. The car seat thing just wasn't as big a deal this time around for me. I NEEDED it the first time. Now I realize that it was a nice to have, but not necessary. If we are driving some place (restaurant or grocer) then I have the car seat with me and I carry that and the toddler inside where I either sit down or set them up in a cart. If I am walking someplace, well, I just push the stroller up to a table in a restaurant or around the mall.

Having two kids close in age is great. Ignore people who tell you that they are twice as much work. They aren't. But, they are twice as much fun. Good luck. jan

Our children were born 24 months apart, and we had the same concern, but went ahead with sharing the room. The youngest is now almost three and has neven been a ''good'' sleeper, but the oldest has never seemed disturbed by it. In fact, he never even woke up when the baby was crying in the middle of the night. I think that it is typical for young children to sleep very deeply - even a fire alarm won't wake them up. My advice is go ahead, its not as bad as you think. good luck

Bedtime Blues With 2 y.o. and Infant

August 2003

I\x92m curious how all of you parents of two manage to get your kids to bed each night? I have two daughters, age 2 years and age 11 weeks. Here\x92s the kicker: my husband travels every week, which means that I am the only adult in the house at bedtime.

The good news is that my older daughter has a really solid bedtime routine \x96 bath, bottle and books \x96 and I can generally count on her being in bed by 8pm. The tough part is that my infant is suddenly aware of her surroundings and is distracted by her big sister and all her toddler energy. Gone are those lovely days when my newborn was oblivious to the world and could sleep through anything.

The baby feeds at 6pm, which means that we are all planted in front of a video for 40 minutes so that my older daughter is quiet and close at hand. Tonight, though, the baby was really distracted by the noise of the tv, and could neither eat well nor fall asleep easily. On my best nights, the baby will be asleep in her bassinet in her room at 7pm, after which I can spend time putting my toddler to bed. However, almost half the time the baby fusses and cries off-and-on until 8 or later, and so I shuttle between the two kids and do justice to neither. I am a real stickler for routine and am eager for our newborn to develop good sleeping habits. How can I manage bedtime so that both kids get the attention they need?

Furthermore, I am horribly sleep deprived and really need the kids to be in bed so that I can get a few hours of quiet before the nighttime feedings resume. My newborn eats at 11pm, then again somewhere between 5am and 7am. I know that doesn\x92t sound so bad at this stage in her young life \x85 but she wakes up around 3 or 4 because her little arms pop out of her blanket or something ridiculous like that. So I am up every few hours, with no other adult in the house to help with the baby, or even just give me a hug.

To see me on the street, you\x92d think I\x92m really together and in control of the whole two-kid thing. Inside, though, I\x92m on the verge of hating this whole experience. I want very badly to enjoy my kids, and we do have lots of fun throughout the day. But little sleep and chaotic bedtime is wearing me out. Burning Out

I'm in the same situation and it is hard. But I've decided to try and ''enjoy'' this challenge in juggling. I keep an upbeat attitude (for all 3 of us!), and just roll with whatever happens--crying, whining, squirming, late nights. I calmly tell the toddler and infant what we all need to do, change up when something's not working, and then cross my fingers and wait (PATIENTLY) for the inevitable: two kids sleeping. It does take PATIENCE, and if you're too tired or wanting to be somewhere other than where you are, it will feel like torture. If you can bring out your inner calm and breathe that into the situation, it will help. Zen Momma

I have an almost 3 year old and an 8 week old. Fortunately, my husband is home in the evenings to help me so I don't have a lot of good advice about how to put two to bed at the same time. However, you might try a vibrating bouncy chair or swing for your infant just for the time you need to put your older child to bed. I find that my infant will sleep longer in something which moves during that fussy period (or during the day). Although, I try not to use it too much since I don't want her to get used to it.

As far as your infant waking up in the middle of the night, I solved this problem with my children by sleeping with them (although I know that this solution is not for everyone). I put my infant down in her bassinet after the late evening feeding (around 10pm) and she will sleep until about 2am. Then I bring her to bed and sleep with her. If she fusses or gets cold, I can help her go back to sleep easily without losing much sleep myself. And nursing her in bed also helps me get more sleep.

Since I always put my older daughter in her crib at the beginning of the evening, she gradually grew out of the need to sleep with me as she was able to sleep longer in the night. I'm hoping the same thing will happen with my infant. Good luck anon

I found a swing invaluable for my baby. I would put her in it when she got fussy and wouldn't go to sleep early. I would then put my older son to bed, and then go back to her. Sometimes, when she was really fussy, I'd put on Baby Bach or other video and that almost always did the trick. And, some days, I'd just throw my older son in his room with a very abbreviated routine, and go back to the baby. Now, at a year for the baby, all is usually pretty easy. Hang in there, it gets easier, before you know it! Kelly

Well, first of all, I feel for you! It sounds like you're really hurting by not getting enough sleep. Do you have a neighbor who can come and read books to your toddler while you nurse the little one at the 6pm feeding? If it's a younger child (like 9 or so) you can pay her a stipend ($5/hour, or 20 bucks a week), and since you'll be in the same house you don't necessarily have to worry so much about safety. You just need someone to entertain the older kid while you get the little one to sleep.

Otherwise you can try to keep the baby up until you put the 2 yo to bed. I used to nurse the little one while the second one fell asleep listening to Bach music. We all slept in my bed, but you can do this on a futon mattress on the floor, then move the big kid to her bed, or just move in between them for the duration of the night.

This is a very hard stage, especially hard for you since you're doing it solo. Hang in there! Been There

I have a 4.5 month old and a 3 year old and the only way that I have found to manage the bedtime problem is to put the kids to bed at the same time. At around 8:45, I get into the big bed with both kids as well as several books and a bottle for the 3 year old. Then I nurse the little one to sleep while reading books and holding a bottle for the big one. After the stories, she cuddles up and falls asleep. By 9:30, they are usually both asleep. Then I have a few hours to myself (usually) before the little one wakes up for the first nighttime feeding. Of course, we do have some nights when we are all still up at 10:30 And it does take a bit of practice to learn how to nurse and read books at the same time... another mom of two

Ooof. I hear you, but my husband is only out during a couple of bedtimes per month and it is can be so stressful I feel like my eyeballs are going to pop....but it's getting easier every time we have to deal with the daddyless bedtime (my daughter is 2 1/2 and my son in nearbout 5 months). I just try to fold my son into my daughter's night time routine. When I read her a book he sits either behind us on the chair or (if that doesn't stop his fussing) I bounce him on one knee while we read. I put him in the swing when I nurse her (which I think is, to both of us, the most ''sacred'' part of the ritual) and that usually buys us 5 or 10 minutes. If he's not apoplectic I'll let him cry, but if he's seriously screeching I'll put him in his carriage and push it back and forth with my foot while nursing her (which calms his crying a bit). Then I put her in the chair in her room and bring him to sit in the chair while I put her to bed. She hates that part especially, but what can I do?

The good news is that he's starting to get it and is more often falling asleep about 20 minutes prior to her bedtime. Now I just have to figure out a way to keep her from jumping off the arm of the chair and onto her nursing brother and then we'll be great!

Good luck. They are only little for a little while and then you'll miss it (well, that's what people always say to me!). Molly G

Number One: Your nighttime Mantra is ''I will get through this.''

Number Two: Your kids are very close in age, and this will be the most difficult time, but it will get easier!

So what do you do while you wait for it to get easier? I have several ideas, pick and choose as you like.(My boys are now 10, 7, and nearly 5, they now have great bedtime habits and I used a combination of all of the following):

The little one's feeding habits can be changed, if you go a little at a time. If you want to, for instance, go to bed at 11 and sleep until 6 or 7 you could nurse her starting at twenty after ten, instead of waiting for her to wake at 11. After a few days of this her little belly will get used to waking at the earlier time and she'll help you out, most likely. If her arms falling out of her blankets wake her, try putting her in a medium duty blanket sleeper, then her little arms will be warm and she'll likely not notice if her blanket falls off.

The nighttime routine with your older daughter might be simplified by the use of a snuggli or other baby carrier during times when the baby is restless and you need to follow the routine. No harm in the routine shifting a bit to accommodate the new member of the family. Be flexible. Though the kids need a bedtime routine and a sense of familiarity and comfort, they also need to understand that all of us need some flexibility.

But my most important piece of advice is to not forget to take care of you. An unhappy mom can't make her kids happy. They know when you're having a rough time, though they of course won't understand why. The best gift you can give your little girls is the sense that each and every woman/girl is important and needs to be taken care of, and this includes mom.

Lastly, enlist the help of friends to get a little naptime. You'd be amazed how many people know just what you're going through and would probably watch the kids for an hour or two to let you get some shuteye!

You will get through this.

Good luck! Karin