I have survived our first week as a mum of two and it actually hasn’t been as bad as thought it would be!
I came home from hospital last Saturday and used the weekend to catch up on sleep. Since our 15-month old Alisha goes to daycare from Tuesday to Thursday, I figured that I would be able to ease into my new being-a-mum-of-two gig because I’d only have our newborn Sara to deal with for most of the week. With this in mind, I told my husband Dan not to bother taking the week off work. I’d obviously forgotten how things generally fail to go according to plan when kids are part of the equation.
I realised on Monday that Alisha was out of sorts and that it was a little bit more than being thrown off kilter by the new baby. Our GP confirmed that she was unwell. Alisha had come down with conjunctivitis and an ear infection which meant that daycare was off-limits until she finished a course of antibiotics. Rather than fret over this prognosis, I decided to embrace it. After all, sometimes the best way to find your feet is by being thrown into the deep-end.
In the end, being left to deal with our two little ones on my own turned out to be blessing in disguise. With Alisha, I fed on demand and let her gradually fall into her own routine. I tried to be as “child-centered” as possible in my approach to parenting her. But when you only have one baby to deal with you also have the luxury of time.
It didn’t take me long to realise that if I was going to keep my head above water, I’d have to run a tight ship, which meant getting Sara onto a routine straight away. My milk supply was well and truly established by this point so I decided to put her on a three-hourly daytime feed cycle as soon as possible. If not for this decision, the last week would have been absolute chaos. I timed Sara’s sleep and nap times around Alisha’s routine, so that each kid would get what they needed as well as the quality one-on-one time they deserve.
The only time of day reinforcements have been required is dinner and bathtime, which thankfully is shortly after my husband Dan comes home from work. Together we get both babies fed, bathed and in bed by 6.30pm so that we can enjoy the rest of the evening as a couple and in peace.
Things haven’t always gone according to schedule: I’ve tried to remain flexible if Sara needs to feed more than eight times a day, which is often the case. There has also been many occasions when both kids have gone nuts at me at the same time. My game plan for dealing with a screaming toddler versus a crying newborn is to deal with the Alisha first, after all she is more mobile, louder and I may as well teach Sara from the outset that sometimes she will have to wait. But, overall, the longer we persist with our routine the easier things seem to be getting. Yes, our house may seem like a Baby Boot Camp but if we weren’t running things this way it would be more like a zoo!!