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I will never forget the level of worry that swept over me as I looked down at the pregnancy test confirming my second pregnancy. It was the most dissonant level of emotions I have probably ever experienced – joy, excitement, anticipation, all with this glooming cloud of worry overseeing it all. As a mom of a special needs child that fear was real – How could I survive life with a toddler and a baby?
When it came to baby #3, that same incongruous surge of emotions crept up. This time though, I knew I was capable as a parent and I had an arsenal of tricks up my sleeves.
How to Survive Life with a Newborn and a Toddler
Prepare Ahead of Time
As you prepare for baby, guide your toddler in learning skills that will help them be independent. Facing a major change for toddlers…for anyone is difficult. By letting your toddler help you and giving them the skills they need to do things on their own, you are giving your child a confidence boost. Some things that we did were transition out of the crib and work on developing a more independent bedtime routine, start potty training, and develop mommy helper routines such as how to put toys away or put dishes in the sink.
Ask for Help
The first week or two home is going to be rough, especially if your significant other does not have maternity leave. Labor and a new baby will leave you exhausted and toddlers are high energy – add that together and it’s rough. Ask for friends or family to help your family adjust to their new life.
Wear Your Baby
Hands down this was the biggest sanity saver for me. Keeping baby swaddled up on my chest helped baby feel secure and gave me peace of mind that baby was safe, especially with the level of interest that my toddler had in the baby. Baby wearing also allowed me to have my hands free in a way that let me keep up with my toddler.
Realize There is No Perfect
As parents, it is really easy to get caught up in this idea of the “perfect parent”. But we are parents and life isn’t perfect. It’s messy, challenging, and it is going to throw a couple curve balls at you. Instead of focusing on your ideal, focus on doing the best you can. This has probably been one of the hardest things for me to learn to accept in my role as a mom…and life has thrown its fair shares of parenting curve balls at me.
The moment this really clicked for me was with my last child.
In my head, I had this ideal that I was trying to live up to in a situation that I couldn’t. With my youngest, I suffered from Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) which is a pregnancy complication characterized by severe nausea, weight loss, and dehydration. Throughout the pregnancy, I was hospitalized many many times. Then during labor, I bled out. If it hadn’t been for the epidural that I accepted last minute (was not in my birth plan) I would have been in surgery instantly. After nine months of a rough pregnancy and then a rough labor, my body had some serious healing and catching up to do. In the end, no matter what we tried, I could not produce enough breastmilk to breastfeed my son.
Curveball after curveball knocking down my ideals.
By three months, my son was still not up to birth weight. In fact, he was 2lbs under what he had been born at. Our doctor had us start supplementing with formula. We started with Gerber® Good Start® Stage 1 Gentle for Supplementing Infant Formula, and honestly, it was exactly what my son needed. Just last month he celebrated his first birthday, at just the right weight for his size.
About Gerber® Good Start® Baby Formula
The Gerber Nutrition Journey is a unique, stage-based nutrition system of products, education, support, and services. It is supported by nutrition science and sound feeding guidance.
Consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, The Gerber Nutrition Journey recommends starting with breastfeeding, because breastmilk is the ideal food for babies. Once your baby is ready, Gerber can provide guidance on developmentally appropriate feeding choices.
When Baby is happy, the family is happy.
Currently, Target has an awesome Cartwheel offer for Gerber® Good Start® Baby Formula.