My kids were born 20 months apart, meaning I had to deal with the dreaded ‘two under two’ for the first few months of my second child’s life. Boy, it was tough, but now with my toddler about to turn 3 and my baby at 14 months old, we are hitting our stride and things are so. Much. Easier. If you are expecting baby #2 not too long after baby #1’s arrival, the great thing is you can benefit from hand me downs for a lot of items (without too much dusting down of things that have been stored in the attic), so you don’t need to shell out too much money. However, in my opinion, there are a few pieces of kit that are totally necessary to buy when the second baby comes along. Here are my two under two essentials:
Big kid bed
Has your toddler already transitioned to their ‘big kid’ bed? If so, skip this part. But if they are still in a cot, it’s time to think about moving them up. I moved my daughter to her big girl’s bed around the age of two, i.e. when my son was 4 months old. He was still sleeping in a bedside crib next to my bed at this point, but we ended up moving him to the cot in his own room at 6 months old. We felt it was important that my daughter didn’t feel like she was being kicked out of her cot so her brother could have it straight away – we were grateful to have a couple of months buffer where she lost any attachment to her cot. You can get special toddler beds, but personally I don’t see the point in these – just buy a regular single bed, which will last your child for many years. An important thing to buy too is a bed rail to stop them from falling out.
We went for the Kura bed from Ikea and my daughter loves it:
Backpack changing bag
Trust me when I say that you will need your hands free when you have two little kids. I personally purchased a new changing bag once baby #2 arrived. With just one child, I had the typical changing bag, i.e. one with a single strap that could sit across the handle of the buggy. However, with a toddler and a newborn, I found this was getting in the way especially with a new buggy with a built in buggy board (see below). This is the one that I went for and it has been brilliant, especially the side pocket for wipes.
If you didn’t use some form of sling/wrap/carrier for your first, then it may be time to invest in one. Trust me, there will be times when you both need to hold your newborn AND change your toddler’s nappy… in the absence of having two sets of arms, a baby carrier is a must-have. We started off with this stretchy wrap and then used (and in fact still use) the Ergo Baby 360 once our son had good head control.
The age gap between my two was 20 months. I didn’t want to buy a traditional side-by-side double buggy as from about 18 months old, my toddler wasn’t keen at all on sitting in a pushchair. The Joovy Caboose has a built-in buggy board as well as a little seat for when your toddler is extra tired. With the car seat bar that comes with it, it can be used from newborn age. I don’t know how we could have done without it. If I could only pick one of my two under two essentials, this would be it. Here is ours in action:
This is possibly controversial but I definitely would count a tablet as one of my two under two essentials. If you are very anti-screen time, look away now! One way or another, you are going to have much less time to play with your toddler, especially if you are breastfeeding your newborn for several hours a day. We bought my daughter a Kindle Fire 7 which comes with a year of Fire Kids Unlimited (i.e. we can download educational games and videos onto it for a year for free). She loved it and it definitely kept her distracted for a while whilst I had to tend to her little brother.
White noise machine
The fact of the matter is that unless you are lucky enough to live in a mansion and are able to separate your kids into various wings of the house, they WILL wake each another up during the night.. if one cries, there’s a very good chance the other will join in the chorus. Then you have the fun task of trying to settle two children. One way to avoid this is to use a white noise machine with your new born – this will help drown out any noises from their older sibling, and the older sibling will benefit too as the newborn’s noises will be hushed too. Here is an affordable option.
I hope this has been helpful if you are about to join the two under two club. If you are in this exclusive club or have graduated from it, are there any two under two essentials that I have missed? Now might be a good time to look into getting an Amazon Prime subscription for all those nappies…