Congratulations, you’re pregnant again! And you’re also about to become an expert in juggling a baby and a toddler. From a seat that makes bath-times less of an ordeal to a playpen that will keep them safe, here’s what you need to invest in to make having two young children less of a rollercoaster.
You need to start planning for No2 well before they arrive and part of that involves getting your oldest child used to the idea that they’re going to have a baby brother or sister. One of the easiest ways to introduce this is through bedtime reading. Try Princess Polly’s I’m A New Big Sister or Pirate Pete’s I’m A New Big Brother. Alternatively, there’s the current Children’s Laureate Lauren Child’s take, The New Small Person, which tells of a new baby’s arrival with a combination of humour and beautiful illustrations.
If your children are close in age, it’s worth investing in a playpen. This one from Hauck comes with a soft floor mat and secure locking mechanism and can be used to keep newborns and toddlers alike out of harm’s way.
Bath-time with two little ones can be fun but it also presents a particular sort of challenge. From six months, you can use a bath seat and this one from Dreambaby has a non-slip seat and padding for comfort, and strong suction pads and a heat sensor for safety.
A good way to smooth the transition from only child to older sibling is by making sure your first child feels involved in everything you do. This can involve helping with changing nappies to choosing what the baby will wear. Whether you have a girl or a boy, think about buying them their own doll and pram (this one is even personalised) so when you take the baby out for a walk in the park, they can bring their doll along and play at being Mummy or Daddy too.
One of the first practical things to contend with when your second arrives, is getting around with two kids – especially if your first child isn’t up to walking long distances yet. The Out 'n' About Nipper Double V4 is lightweight and practical, and with quick release removable wheels and an easy fold, getting it into the boot of your car is a doddle. If this isn't for you, take a look at the best double buggies as voted for by our Mother & Baby mums here!
If you thought you carried around a lot of stuff when you had one child, just wait till you have two. The needs of a newborn and toddler are very different; one needs bottles, nappies and dummies, the other spare knickers, colouring pens and healthy snacks. Instead of having one enormous bag where everything you need ends up at the bottom, invest in these nifty initialled shoppers and personalise the contents for each child.
Toddlers are active little things and, whether you’re chasing after them or wiping a mucky face, it helps to have your hands free as much as possible. Many second-time parents find a baby carrier essential, and Ergobaby has recently introduced the Omni 360, which carries both newborns and toddlers up to a weight of 15kgs. Parents’ backs are spared thanks a lumbar support waistband and crossover shoulder straps, and there’s a detachable pouch, handy for storage, or for some privacy when breastfeeding.
Travelling with a toddler and newborn can seem like a military manoeuvre with all the equipment involved. At least you can avoid packing two travel cots by investing in this roll-up mattress from Bill Brown. Its thick, polyfibre wadding means they’ll get a good night’s sleep and the removable tie doubles as a strap so it takes no time to pack up. You may even find you start using it at home once they start having those dreaded sleepovers with friends.
Colouring books will become your new best friend when you have a second baby. They entertain your toddler for a valuable five or ten minutes when you need to breastfeed in a coffee shop or stop the little one from screaming the place down. This one features dinosaurs doing ballet, scuba diving and flying planes and is bound to keep them quiet. At least for a bit.
Two kids means two possible people to keep you awake at night. So you know which of them is the night owl, invest in a baby monitor with two cameras. The Summer Infant Panorama Digital Video Monitor allows you to connect multiple video cameras for the parent portal, meaning you can keep an eye on baby, whilst telling your three-year-old to get back to bed! Take a look at the best video baby monitors for 2018 here.