While nervously awaiting the arrival of our newborn, I searched all over the internet for helpful tips to get me better prepared to care for my Irish Twins. I didn’t find much, so I’m going to start offering some tips myself now that I have some. I’ve only been home from the hospital one week and have found some helpful tips for all the Mothers of Irish Twins out there. Some of these tips can go for larger age gaps too of course.
1. Recovery Time – Don’t pick up your older baby for at least a week. It is very hard and you will feel guilty but a quick recovery is important. Just try to have help until you are healed. I’ve was overdoing it and my stomach started to hurt.
2. Bottle Weaning – Don’t worry too much about weaning your older baby off the bottle if you are planning to use a bottle for your newborn. Mia was doing pretty well in her switch to a sippy cup before the baby came but as soon as we got home and she saw Ausha’s bottle she wanted one. Don’t beat yourself up if your older baby isn’t off the bottle by the time she is one.
3. Gated Play Area – This is the most important thing to have prepared before your newborn arrives. Since your older baby is on the move and can’t understand the word no, you need a gated or blocked off area for her to play in while you feed your newborn. We gated off our dining area and it is working perfectly (so far). It’s a perfect spot because we can see her from the kitchen and living room and it is large enough for her to walk around and keep lots of toys in. I also put a chair next to the gate so I can sit close to Mia while feeding the newborn. I imagine this play area will come in most handy when I have a crawler and an 18 month old at the same time. Both will be going in two different directions, so chasing them both around at the same time will be tough!
4. Bouncer / Mobile Carrier – Keep your newborn in one of these in a high place so your older child can’t get to her. Mia has already slapped her a twice accidentally while waving her hands around (in between sweet kisses of course). Plus you can move it around with you from room to room. I put my newborn in her bouncer and place it in Mia’s crib when we are playing in her room. I put it on the dining table when we are in the living room.
5. Pack n Play – Put one of these in the living room to change your newborn’s diapers. It’s high up so your older baby can’t get to her. She can also sleep here too. I have an attachment that goes on the top to put her in that allows me to see her better. We have a mini crib in our room too so we don’t have to move the pack n play from our room to the living room daily. The more places you have for your newborn to sleep the better.
6. First Few Weeks – These have been pretty easy because our newborn sleeps 3-4 hour stretches during the day. This allows me a lot of time to care for and play with our older child.
7. Hormones – In the first 4 days, I was more hormonal than last time. Maybe being pregnant for two years gives you a double dose of hormones? Haha. I cried randomly a few times. Mainly at the thought of my mom leaving! A week has gone by and now I’m fine
8. Baby Bjorn – In case you want to chase your older baby around without leaving your newborn in another room unattended, this comes in handy to put your newborn in.
9. Overwhelming – The first few days (combination of hormones and lack of sleep) are overwhelming. I only felt sad that I couldn’t care for Mia as much as I was before our newborn arrived. 11 months is such a cute stage and I didn’t want to miss one thing. Just being away from her for the 3 days we were in the hospital was hard. When we got home she had gained weight and was standing. We felt like she was a different baby!!
10. Switch Off – Switch off with whoever is helping you with your older baby. Care for your older baby every other day while your helper cares for your newborn. Sometimes I feel like Mia might forget I’m the mom. Silly but true. (I’m sure that goes for any age gapped kids).
11. The Walker – Before I had my newborn I was overwhelmed at the thought of chasing a newly walking toddler around, but now I realize it will be easy for a couple months. Since our newborn sleeps so much it will be easy to chase older baby around. When I need to feed our newborn then it’s baby gate play time!
12. Birthday Party - This tip might seem silly but I have found to be a good one. Try to have everything for your one year old’s birthday party prepared before you have your newborn. Because I am breast feeding and pumping I don’t have time to get out and go shoping for supplies, decorations, etc. for her party. I have had it prepared now for a month and my stress level is lower than it would be if I were having to send people out to pick things up for the party without me.
13. Doctor Visits – Ask your doctor to combine your babies’ check ups if possible so you don’t have to go as often. The less you have to get out of the house in the first month the better.
14. Nipple Confusion – If you are using the same brand of nipples for both babies, have two different areas for these in the kitchen so you don’t confuse them. You don’t want your newborn choking on milk because she swallowed some through a level 3 nipple accidentally!