Hello, friends! Today, this post ended up being significantly longer than the one paragraph I intended so, I’m taking a break from Friday Favorites to set aside some time to talk about something I’ve wanted to share about for a while now, our experience with the 1 to 2 kids transition.
Someone told me this year that having one kid was like having one kid. Having two kids was like having twenty, and having three kids is like having twenty-one kids. So far, I’d say that is accurate!
Another accurate one: Having a baby is cool because you learn all these neat tricks, and then none of them work on the second one. #truth
But, some stages are more challenging than others, right? Here is our experience so far.
Newborn Life 0-3 Months
From 0 to 8 weeks, I was in the thick of it. Breastfeeding for 40-45 minutes and then pumping to increase milk supply every two hours (so that ends up being one hour on one hour off) while trying to keep a 2.5 year entertained was a challenge that hadn’t occurred to me that I would have to face. Oh, and let’s not forget potty training. Let me sit against this wall while I breastfeed the baby and read you a book so you can poop all at the same time. I felt like a superhero when I pulled that shiz off some days.
But, I also quickly learned I was so lucky. K was just a naturally good sleeper. H took long, two-hour naps several times throughout the day that often lined up with KJ’s nap. During that time, I worked, cleaned my house, and recharged. I was amazing. I remember the shock I felt by realizing that there would be no napping for me during the day. I guess it hadn’t occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to nap occasionally during the day to catch up on sleep. B t, By five weeks old, the baby was sleeping 6 hours, and his stretches generally lengthened till we hit the 4-month sleep regression. I wasn’t doing anything different from KJ, yet KK slept often and was just an overall “chill” baby. I was still getting up to pump during his long stretches, but I was getting significantly more sleep than expected.
Do you know that saying “prepare for the worst?” Well, KJ had been colicky and never slept longer than 40 minutes during the day, usually 20 minutes. And the night was a joke, he slept for 6 hours one time (I remember because it was Christmas) and that was it, it was a party all night for him. But, of course, that’s what I was prepared for, so to realize history was not repeating itself was amazing. Baby-related things just seemed so much easier even with a toddler in the mix until the toddler decided napping wasn’t for him anymore.
Around when the baby turned six weeks old, KJ had a MAJOR sleep regression. Looking back, we can blame it on a multitude of things. 1 A significant life change, aka a new brother 2) Mr. Hungry’s bedtime style is different than mine. M . Hungry was more likely to bring one more water, one more whatever, and pick him up and rock him vs. Mama’s lights out. L ve you go to bed right now routine, haha. Eventually, this morphed into KJ flat-out refusing to go to bed, and the “one-more” requests becoming endless. So, at six weeks old, my newborn was soundly sleeping 6 hour + blocks, and my toddler was losing his mind refusing to go to bed. When he did go to sleep, he was waking up multiple times a night, requiring us to help him go back to sleep. Even after we did the littlezsleep extinction program and he was willing to go to bed, he still wasn’t falling asleep till 9 or 10 PM. So eventually, we had to accept the fact that we needed to drop his nap.
And for me, that’s when everything changed.
A hard drop like that versus one where the kid sleeps a few days a week but not every day is insane. It took a full six weeks for him to adjust, and it was hell. E en without the baby, I think it would have been a hard adjustment to have no break from a moody toddler all damn day, but throw a newborn in the mix to amplify the challenge, and it felt like armageddon. I remember feeling entirely run down, emotionally exhausted, and lost. T e house was never clean. I didn’t have time to work, eat, go to the bathroom, or anything else. I was exhausted for about six weeks until KJ adjusted to the no nap schedule.
And then KK hit the 4-month sleep regression at three months, and our super long stretches of sleep for him went ba-bye. But at least we got to go on vacation before that happened. Because after that, we basically went from our toddler being up all night to the baby being up all night.
Baby Gets Awakens 3-6 Months
For KK, the 4-month sleep regression hit hard. I never noticed a sleep regression with KJ because he never slept anyway. But KK went from long beautiful 8+ hours to 3 hours max. It was a long two months, and I was still getting used to the fact that KJ wasn’t napping. Around this time, I hit the 3-month mark, which marked the end of my maternity leave.
My classes started up, and I put together a content calendar for the blog. I hired a sitter, and grandparents started coming over regularly to help out while I worked.
And I stressed, I cried a lot, and I never felt like I was enough. Postpartum depression/aggression hit hard, and I struggled every single day. It was easier because I recognized the signs that when I had them with KJ, I didn’t realize was PPD. When I had my first, I didn’t know you could experience PPD so far PP, but it turns out it can be up to a year. I took comfort in knowing that it would pass. I k ew much of it was triggered by lack of sleep. I w s open and honest with my family about what I needed and how I felt. It was still hard, but it wasn’t as hard as it had been with KJ when I felt like my whole world was crumbling down on top of me.
Looking back, I should have waited to restart content for the blog and client work until closer to the 6-month mark. Wor ing a little is good for me because it gives me a break from feeling like I’m only a mom all day (just what’s good for me, not what everyone may need) but working too much, having so much to do that it can’t be done is crushing. So, if we were ever to have another baby, I would teach, but I would take a more extended break from content creation and taking new clients.
At the same time, KKs personality was emerging, which was the best. He was still a chill little baby most days, and seeing his personality come out with that big gummy smile and throaty laugh was the best. And there is nothing like seeing the personality of your second comes through to make you realize things you may not have realized were unique to your first.
In addition to all the other things going on. One thing I found challenging was teaching KJ how to be gentle around the baby. This may be the only time I say this, but thank goodness for Instagram reels. IG reels are always showing me funny mom content, and around this time, it showed me a million reels of moms making fun of the fact they had to protect their baby from their toddlers. Because KJ’s behavior around the baby was sometimes a trigger for me, he was never violent or aggressive.
Still, he knew he could get a rise out of me by attempting to direct his anger at the baby in the middle of a tantrum. He also pushed boundaries every single day. Every day we had to enforce what was rough and what was gentle. Every. Damn. Day It was exhausting but, it seemed to pay off finally. In the meantime, it was nice to see so many people making light of it, and it helped me understand it was normal. But, man, those Mama bear instincts that surfaced to protect the baby from the other baby were so conflicting.
Baby Gets Older 6-9 Months
For me, the six-month mark feels like a huge milestone. By this point, both my babies were eating solids, sleeping better (thanks to sleep training), and in a predictable two-naps a day routine. Oh, and now they breastfeed for 10 minutes instead of 45 minutes. The complete and utter chaos of newborn life has morphed into more organized chaos.
With both kids, this is the point where I looked back and although I could remember life without that baby I couldn’t imagine anything other than them being in my life. I still have no downtime, I still feel like I’m behind most days, sometimes the dog only gets one walk a week, and a million other things I took for granted being able to keep up with, with only one child. But when they say that your capability for love and happiness will grow with leaps and bounds with another child, it’s true. Although this is never something I worried about, I’ve still been surprised by how much love has multiplied in our household.
As I mentioned above, we had to spend a significant amount of time enforcing boundaries around behavior towards the baby. What was gentle and what was not etc. And while it’s not perfect now, it’s definitely better than it was during the newborn days. We’re kind of at a sweet spot now, but I already can see ahead to the referee role I’ll be playing as soon as KK is walking. What’s that saying, the one thing you can guarantee about babies is that they will change? That’s true, but I feel like the way life feels right now is more representative of what having two kids will be like going forward.
So, overall, I found the transition harder and easier than expected at different times. I didn’t have to learn to swaddle, give medicine, install a car seat, or a million other things I had to learn with my first baby. So while the learning curve was steeper going from 0 to 1, it’s kind of like thank God I already knew how to do all that because when would I have found the time to learn with a toddler in the mix?
I’ve realized that the transition between 0 to 1, or 1 to 2, or probably 2 to 3 (although I obviously haven’t experienced that last one) depends a ton on the personalities and life stages of the kids. There are pros and cons to different age gaps so that I’m sure makes a big difference. When KJ dropped his nap, I wished we had a shorter gap between the two boys so that he would still be napping (and so I wouldn’t be potty training and breastfeeding.) But, who knows. Maybe there would be a million and one reasons why I would have found that harder. As with anything in life, hindsight is 20/20, right? And even with the best planning, we don’t always get to pick age gaps, etc. It’s kind of a roll of the dice!
So, that’s it! That’s our experience so far!
I’d love to hear about your experience transitioning between 0-1, 1-2, or 2-3 kids! What was easiest or most challenging for you?