Juggling a three-year-old and a newborn will test your parenting skills!
Coming home with a newborn was incredibly difficult for me as I was just not prepared for the chaos. It was hard on everyone, including my three year old daughter, C.
Patience was very thin; energy levels were low, and sleep deprivation was severe. Juggling the needs of a three year old and a newborn was just plain hard!
Here are seven tips I can share on how to juggle a three-year-old and a newborn.
7 Tips For Juggling a Three Year Old and a Newborn
1. Wear your baby
Wearing your baby provides you with an extra set of hands. I had a cloth wrap and a Tiny Love – Tiny Hugs Carrier. The Tiny Love Carrier was freaking amazing!
I loved it so much.
I could carry and cuddle our newborn baby while playing with C.
2. Recreate your family’s routine: Use a Baby Tracker App or Baby Tracking Journal if you have to
Establish a new family routine.
We changed our whole routine so that the girls would end up eating and bathing roughly around the same time. Using our Baby Tracker at the time helped us to understand our little one’s daily routine and it also saved my sanity a little bit to know that my newborn had a ‘bedtime’. Although it was touch and go at that time.
3. Let your older child help out and get involved
Get your older child involved by asking her to fetch things for the baby.
When I put the baby down, and we sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ I also got C to sing it with me. It was much better than saying ‘keep quiet please, mommy is putting the baby down.’
When it was time for the baby to sleep, of course my three year old never kept quiet. She always seemed to appear needing something (loudly) at the very moment the baby was settling down.
4. When the baby is sleeping, spend alone time with your toddler
When the baby slept, I was with my eldest. No sleeping when the baby sleeps (does that ever happen though?).
I watched TV with her, brushed her hair, ate with her, etc.
5. If you have a caregiver, involve them in the care of your baby early on
If you have a caregiver with you during these early days, leaving the baby with the caregiver for thirty minutes will be okay.
I started leaving my little one for short periods from about six weeks old. If she was fed, rested and happy it was cool. Taking my toddler outside (just the two of us) for some play time was great (tiring, but it was necessary).
6. Watch a movie together
If you have to keep the baby on you, that is okay. Chill watching a movie and kill two birds with one stone.
My toddler and I get to watch TV together, and our newborn gets her cuddles in too.
7. Carve out alone time with your older child
Figuring out how to juggle a three year old and a newborn, was a challenging and chaotic time. My first reaction was to prioritize the baby’s needs and let my eldest take a back seat. However, that was not fair on anyone and I had to change my approach. By following a few of the above ideas, I managed to find alone time with my three year old. It was important that she did not feel neglected.
It was a stressful time, but we needed to go through it, to create our own unique rhythm as a family of four.