It’s only now, that Little Man is a year old, that I can find the words to talk about how hard it has been having two children.
When LP was newly born our world had turned upside down by this gorgeous bundle of helplessness that needed us so completely. We were in a blur of feeding on demand, sleeping when we could, constant nappy changes and everything else that came with a baby. But before we knew it we found ourselves in a routine and getting out of the house, doing housework and even having a hot cup of tea became second nature. Without even realising it we fell into a routine that worked for us and the day to day logistics of looking after a baby and a home all fell into place. By the time Little Man came along Dave and I could care for LP with our eyes closed – It was easy, it was fun and we loved it. Just over a year ago I didn’t appreciate how easy having just LP was.
Little Man came into our lives when LP was 20 months old. We found ourselves immediately changing two lots of nappies. Little Man fed constantly and for most of those feeds the TV was our saviour to keep LP entertained. In the mornings Little Man would often be in bed with me, having had very little sleep, and LP would wake up. I couldn’t stay in bed as I had when LP was new, I had a toddler to look after. So even if Little Man slept a bit longer, I still had to get up for LP.
When we were up LP needed breakfast. LP also needed lunch and dinner. When LP had been newborn we would eat when she was sleeping – Sometimes missing breakfast or having dinner at 10pm. When you have a toddler you have to feed them and hopefully around about the right times of the day. You have to keep up with their routine whilst still trying to care for a teenie baby that has no routine at all.
Little Man went through a phase, from very early on, where he would be sick after every feed. We’d keep him upright after feeds for as long as possible but even then he would be sick through his nose whenever we put him down. This phase lasted forever. Every night was a blur and every week blended into the next. I don’t think I left the house during those weeks. I can’t even remember how long it lasted for – Having no sleep, having a baby sleep on you, feeding Little Man constantly as he just kept throwing up all the milk he swallowed. It was relentless and some of the darkest times since we became parents.
At some point something changed. Little Man stopped being sick, he started to sleep for three hours at a time and we got into a routine of sorts. He would wake at 6am every day having had a feed at 10pm, 1am, 4am. I was up all night every night and until 8 months I hadn’t had longer than three hours sleep in one go. It was only at 11.5 months that he slept through and he has still only done that a handful of times.
I don’t remember last summer. I see pictures of last summer and know that it happened, that I was there, but I was a zombie. I was running on no sleep and chocolate biscuits. I was going through the motions to get through another day, that would then lead to another night where I would hope I would get sleep but then inevitably not get sleep and the cycle would continue.
But again, at some point, we started to make it out of the house during the day. We’d go and see friends or pop to the shops. This was around the 6 month mark where Little Man would be a bit more interactive, not just wanting food and sleep but happy to watch the world go by. He also started to sit up and was happier then. Everything got so much easier when he could sit up – When he could sit in the highchair and chase a raisin around the tray for half an hour without getting fed up.
Now, Little Man is a year old. We’re regularly getting sleep in 4+ hour installments and there is light at the end of the sleep tunnel. He also eats at the same time as LP does, we have meals together and everyone is happy. Little Man plays, his sister even plays with him sometimes and he is happy playing with whatever is around. He’s also happy in the pushchair, in a shopping trolley or in the car. Little Man, generally, is a very happy little thing and as a family we are happy.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is having two babies is hard. Very hard at times, but it does get easier. I don’t remember the hard times, they are a blur. I do remember my beautiful newborn baby boy and his sister giving him cuddles. The best thing ever! Then I’m aware of now, and the amazing family unit that we have become, where hard times are few and far between and most days are full of smiles and happy times. Getting to this point was hard but in the scheme of things it wasn’t that long to cope with and get through, it was a few months of a dark cloud over us and now the sun is shining again.
I don’t remember last summer but I’ll definitely remember this one – Life with two – or more – gets easier eventually!
25 thoughts on “Having Two Babies is Hard”
My 2 had 15 months between them but with ali being prem he was only just crawling when Roo was born. I was so low when Roo was very young and the health visitors where no help. They still told me to sleep when the baby slept but that’s not helpful when you have another one needing your attention.
I guess we where lucky that Roo started sleeping through before 6 months. I don’t think I could have handled longer!
Getting out with my 2 is still a major issue as ali wants to walk but gets tired quickly and we don’t have a double buggy anymore. People also don’t realise how hard parenting is when you don’t have a car like us!
When they both play together and you hear the giggles it’s the best feeling in the world. But no one ever tells you how unbelievably hard having 2 is!
Oh I know exactly what you mean! I’m lucky S is in school – its just holidays that are really hectic!
And I is doing that sick after every feed thing, glad it gets better I am not enjoying it x
Sounds like youve done marvellously! Your boy sounds the mirror image of ophelia re sleep, sick etc-i totally take my hat off to you juggling it all!
It does sound incredibly hard – but like you say, at least it doesn’t last that long and now you’re out the other side (pretty much!). We’re hoping to have another baby fairly soon so they are about two years apart – I sometimes wonder if it would be easier if we left it another year but I think having two kids must be hard however old they are!
I think if you leave it longer you’re then out of nappies, having great sleep, nursery or school drop offs… You’d then have to get used to no sleep again, get used to changing nappies again and have to get everything together for a school run too. There are definitely positives and negatives to whatever age gap there is x
That’s my thinking! My friend who has twins says she thinks it’s easier in some ways because although there’s two babies they do everything at the same time – so if she needed to she can sleep when they’re sleeping, because they both sleep. And although they’re different babies she’ll only really have to do weaning once, and once they’re out of nappies that’s it. I guess there are pros and cons to every situation really 🙂
It definitely is harder than one (and I had pretty good sleepers) but is totally worth it isn’t it? I remember in the early days calling Mr E and saying hurry home I really need a bath and some peace! I still that now on days where they have been difficult. On the most part mine are pretty easy but I definitely have days where I want to cry. And I do. 😉 x
So very, very worth it! 🙂 Because of Hubby’s job and shifts I am always counting down to the time he finishes, but often he has to work overtime at incredibly short notice – I’ll get a call when he’s due to leave work to tell me that he’ll be another couple of hours. When he’s been on a night shift, due home at 8am or on a late and due home at midnight, they are the hardest times for me. Especially when Little Man was younger there were times when I was pulling my hair out, no break at all and on my own all night. Yep, I cry too x
The early days are really really tough aren’t they? Especially with an older one to look after too – but like you say, it does get easier, and you have done a fabulous job with these gorgeous 2
And you have three! An extra one to deal with 🙂 You’ve done a fabulous job too btw! x
I still find two children really hard work, in fact I think I find it harder now than I did when Tiger was tiny. Up until 5 months he didn’t make a sound and I just used to shove him in the carrier all day but ever since then she just cries a lot, he’s started getting a bit better but I find Cherry’s terrible three’s mixed with him screaming leaves me desperate for a glass of wine at the end of the day!! x
Actually, you’re very right. The first months where they don’t actually move and just need feeding, sleeping, changing – It’s easier! I also crave alcohol often at the end of the day but I have a ‘no drinking when home alone’ rule and because of Hubby’s shifts I am home alone in the evening quite often! x
I had a smile when I saw your Tweet about ‘having two children isn’t as easy as I thought it would be’ – please do point me in the direction of anybody who can claim to find two children easy! My sister-in-law, whose two children are a year ahead of mine, summed it up with ‘two children are far, far more than twice the work.’
That said I have read the odd blog about how ‘having two children isn’t as hard as I thought it would be’, but they are always written by mums who have literally just had their second baby a couple of weeks ago!
I found, like Jess, the first three months were actually very peaceful and restful. Both girls slept well, V was the most contented, easygoing baby, completely happy in the sling or to sit and watch and smile at me and her sister.
Then once your younger begins to show some personality (not to mention the famous four month sleep regression) you suddenly kind of realise what you have on your hands!
Nearly nine months on and I can honestly say having two children separated by 20 months is the hardest thing I have EVER done, and the absolute best thing I have EVER done. Like you, my husband and I found despite being completely ‘on top’ of having one child, we have had to adjust ourselves and our family once again with the arrival of a second. Which is as it should be, I feel. The entry of a new life into any unit shouldn’t be seamless, it should cause you to stop and think and restart, mindful of everybody’s rights and needs.
(Sympathies on the sick btw. My older daughter did this until she weaned onto solids and it was awful, particularly as certain HV’s and family members were convinced she’d ‘do much better with a bottle’ and thought I was being stubborn and selfish for continuing to breastfeed)
I have to say that I can understand why people would bottle feed in the situation we were in – I was breastfeeding constantly. But thankfully for us it didn’t last quite as long as weaning but it was an incredibly tough time. I agree – Hardest but most rewarding. And now, looking back, I am so glad we had the children close together. Seeing them together is amazing 🙂 x
The early days are the hardest, definitely, and they pass by in a blur. You had your son when LP was the same age as my Little Man is now, and I honestly cannot imagine dealing with him and a newborn – he’s hard enough alone! Boo was nearly 3, so though many of the things you say still hold true, she was a little more independent, potty trained and so on. Both of mine were sick after every feed as babies, and that is so tough, the washing, the holding them upright, nothing could be done quickly. And I think it’s the sleep that makes you feel human again, as you come out of the tunnel. There is light at the end – you are nearly there x
I think in a way it was easier because LP was a girl! She’s quite calm and happy to sit and just.. be. Little Man is already a ball of energy and I think boys tend to be like that, everywhere and in everything! I’m so glad LP was potty trained by the time LM was 6 months – I’d be going crazy by now with dirty nappies!
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now, it’s not as hard at all! x
Completely agree, you are in a daze when you have a new baby, a blur of no sleep, feeds, changes… It’s constant and every day rolls into the next. It doesn’t last long though does it? Good luck with number two when it comes to it! x
Wow, I thought my 20.5 month gap was small – You must have been 19ish months! I’m hoping you have a garden – I found letting LP play outside made things easier for me. She stays happier for longer outside and didn’t need me to play with her as much. Now that the weather is nicer it’s so much easier! 7 weeks though is still so early, still so very hard. Sending love to you as it is tough but it will definitely get easier! x
I agree that I think it will be easier when Little Man is walking… and sleeping! Looking back I’m so glad that we had a small age gap but I couldn’t do it again! x
I think people say that going from one child to two is the hardest, any after that get easier! 17 months seems like a tiny gap – I’m glad LP was walking and even talking a bit by the time Little Man came along x
I’ve skimmed through the comments and think I might buck the trend. Having two children is hard full stop. As they grow, the sleepless nights disappear and there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, as you put it, but in the grand scheme I wouldn’t say that neceasarily equates to ‘easier’. The challenges change. You’re faced with new difficulties to overcome and often they aren’t as ‘straightforward’ as a sleepless night. I by no mean intend to belittle a sleepless night and the haze of the newborn/early days – I remember the blur, as you put it, well – but the cause and effect is predictable and easy to rationalise. Varying degrees of separation anxiety, frustrations, growing pains, emotions, questions, and, learning difficulties, have all given me far more stress than any of the early stages of parenting 2. Rather than reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, I’d say I’ve u turned straight back into it!
I’ve been fortunate that the girls (19 months apart) have been through their developmental leaps individual of each other so it’s rare that I’ve had a testing time from both of them at once.
If it’s of interest to anyone reading this, April is currently 4 years 3 months and Esther is 2 years 8 months. I am a single parent.
Arghhh..spelling and grammar not great! Apologies!
To be honest, most people that have commented are at the same stage – ish – to me or with younger second babies – Or no second children at all. It’s great to hear from someone that has been through having two children for a longer period.
It’s good to know what to expect and I find, with all stages of parenting, I never look ahead and expect things – When I was pregnant I focused on giving birth and found having a baby quite overwhelming because I’d never thought that far!
Zoom forward 18 months and I’ll be writing a post that is basically a longer version of your comment 🙂 x
Stick with it, it really pays off in the end having that gap between them. I have 2 girls 5 & 3 (25month gap). It took having my third baby to make me realise what i had survived with the short gap between the girls. My little boy is 7 months and the jump to 3 has been so much easier than the jump from 1 to 2 !
Definitely agree – We’re starting to enjoy them too, the last year has been an uphill struggle! x