This year, I became a mum for the second time when my first baby was 21 months old. Having 2 under 2 is so challenging, but so rewarding – my kids are best friends at 9 months and 2.5 years old, and I hope their relationship only keeps growing!
Having two kids so close together, it’s easy to think – before the second one arrives – that things are going to be easy. Get the nappies out of the way all at once! Do the “no sleep” thing all in one big hit! Have kids who are best friends and never fight! I know, who was I kidding? In no way has this been easy – and there are a few baby products that I simply couldn’t go without, whether I had one bub or two!
- Baby carriers. My baby carriers have been my secret weapon in this two-under-two thing. Both of my babies have been the kind of bubs that never want to be put down. When it’s just one baby, it’s far easier to indulge this, but add in a second? Suddenly, life becomes VERY difficult. That’s where my ergo carrier and especially my woven wrap have come in. Both carriers can hold either my older daughter or my younger – though I’ve only ever really used them for the bub, and both are so great. The ergo really comes into its own when baby is a bit older, and is wriggly and trying to escape. The wrap was perfect in our colicky, crying, busy, busy newborn days. Any time a new or expectant mum asks me what my number one product is, this is what I tell them: “GET A CARRIER”. It doesn’t matter what sort; figure out what works for you, what fits you and your baby, and get it. This is one area where I don’t recommend getting the cheapest item on the market – you will get so much use out of it that a seemingly expensive carrier (mine both ran the $100-$150 mark, and they are lower end carriers) will more than pay for itself. This I PROMISE.
Above: using the woven wrap in our early (note the sleep deprived look!) days, and our ergo at the zoo for miss 2’s birthday.
- The other product that I recommend to absolutely EVERYONE that has been a lifesaver to us is the Love to Dream swaddles. They were an absolute life saver with out first daughter as a baby, and we used them right from day 1 with our second. It’s a super easy way to swaddle a little one with no fuss. The pouches zip right up, they can’t wriggle their little arms out, and they are in the natural “arms up” sleeping position. Both my girls have loved them. They are hip healthy, and come in a variety of different weights for all seasons. They’re a little pricey, averaging $40 each, but well worth the money!
Above: each of my bubs in their much loved swaddles.
- Baby swing – this is hit and miss. I COULD NOT have gone without it for number 1. She lived in that thing – it was one of the only places she was happy, and the only place (that wasn’t on me!) that she would sleep. Number two bub on the other hand hated the swing with a passion. I never got her in there for more than a couple of minutes, and I could count the number of times I even bothered on one hand.Below – baby number one peacefully sleeping in the swing (pup inspecting the new addition)
- Jumperoo – my kids loved the jumperoo so much that in the space of two kids being an appropriate age/size for a jumperoo, we’ve had two different ones. They loved being able to see what’s going on, be entertained by the different toys, and jumping up and down! Allowed me a few minutes of sanity (and house work) at a time!
- White noise. Another saving grace for sleep (note how many of my must-haves are sleep related??). When there’s all sorts of commotion, dogs barking, kids yelling, you name it, sometimes baby doesn’t sleep so well. White noise is excellent for blocking all that out, as well as (they say) reminding baby of the womb and relaxing them. Well, I don’t know about that exactly, but using it has always guaranteed us a longer, more settled sleep. We use white noise in both girls’ rooms all night long, quite loud. And when they inevitably end up in our bed (every night), we use it in our room too. For our first baby, we just used a white noise app on a phone, but we got an actual white noise machine for our second, it’s FANTASTIC. Often for naps we use youtube on a phone or the laptop (right now I’m typing with my 9 month old on my lap!). This video is my favourite, and it could be used all night since it’s 10 hours long! They say that the lower pitch the noise is, the better it is/will work for bub, so I find the pink or brown noise options on apps or videos are much easier on the ears, and block more background noise.
- Speaking of sleep – good blackout curtains. Our first daughter used to always wake with the sunrise. Getting a decent pair of blackout curtains really helped with that.
- Breast feeding pillow – I breast fed my first for almost a year, and ended up formula feeding my second. Regardless of how you feed your baby, a feeding pillow is important! You can use any old pillow, but the feeding pillows are usually firmer, and designed to conform to your body and support baby. Without you will get very very sore arms! It helps position baby to breastfeed in an optimal position, and even when bottle feeding it helped me enormously.
- Following on from the previous item – if you have space, a feeding glider or rocker. We got ours from ebay for a really affordable price. I didn’t know how useful it would be, but it’s designed with high arms for comfort when feeding, and has pockets on the outside to keep everything in easy reach. Ours came with a matching gliding ottoman, and it is one of the things I still use daily. Make sure it’s comfortable because you are going to spend HOURS with your butt glued to that thing when baby is going through a growth spurt or cluster feeding!
- Breast pump – if you plan on breast feeding you can bet that at some point or another you are going to need a breast pump. But here, I’m going to go against the grain and suggest that you don’t need a top of the line double electric pump. For my first I had a $25 kmart pump which did the job beautifully and expressed heaps of milk. The second time I thought I was doing the right thing and threw out the old manual pump, buying a fancy electric pump. It was useless. It hurt me, hardly expressed anything, and at the end of the day contributed to my giving up on breast feeding baby number 2.
- LOTS of muslin wraps. I use these in so many ways. As burp rags, to mop up messes, as a light blanket, miss 2 plays with them with her toys. As a cover for the pram on the rare occasion a child goes to sleep in there. They are of a million uses – you can never ever ever have enough of these!
What are your baby must haves?