Ask Motherly: I’m about to have two kids under 2, during a pandemic—how do I do this?

Motherly's co-founders offer game-changing, life-changing advice for moms of two under 2 (because mama, we've been there).

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Editor's note: Sometimes you just need input from an experienced mama who *gets* it. Ask Motherly is a new advice column by Motherly's co-founders, Liz Tenety and Jill Koziol. Have a question for Liz and Jill? Email it to us at [email protected].

Do you have any tips for a smooth transition with a toddler and a baby during this pandemic?

Ah, two under 2. One of the most amazing, most exhausting seasons of life we're both ever experienced.

And you, my dear, are going to do it during a pandemic.

Have we told you lately you're our hero?

I (Liz) have four kids now, but adjusting to the demands of two under 2 was the hardest phase of parenting for me. At the stage you're in, your kids really do need so much attention, and 24/7 care. It's exhausting, but it's also beautiful and meaningful. Watching your oldest become a big sibling is absolutely incredible and there's really nothing better than all those little snuggles, kisses and cuddles that come along when they're really little.

But there are some habits that make the transition to two under 2 smoother.

Have a feeding game plan

Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, make sure you have some activities lined up for your toddler while you're feeding the baby. An activity center, a music set, even a set of blocks is enough to absorb your toddler's attention for 20 minutes while you sneak in your next feed. (And a little screen time can help if you need to distract your kiddo for a bit.) You'll want to make sure you have activity stations and diaper changing stations on every level of your home, if possible. Thinking ahead a bit before you begin a feed can go a long way to make the whole session less stressful.

Have a safe place to put the baby

You'll inevitably need to put your baby down to care for yourself or your toddler. Giving your kids time alone to entertain themselves might be novel for some mamas, but it's nothing to feel guilty about. We're obsessed with the BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss as a safe, comforting spot to put the baby. (Read our full review here, and don't forget the toy bar!)

Babywearing is also a total game-changer when you have more than one kid. Motherly mamas are in love with the BabyTula Explore Carrier for good reason—you only need one, super-adjustable carrier from ages 0 to 3, and you can breastfeed, walk and snuggle baby (and more) while also keeping hands free for other activities.


Essential gear for the two under 2 phase

Baby Bjorn

Bliss Bouncer

$250

Tula

Explore Carrier

$179

Prioritize you

New motherhood is a grind. New motherhood with two under 2 is even grindy-er. Nothing feels better than getting an hour of quiet time, bath time or walk-around-the block time completely to yourself. Whether it's a luxurious hour to yourself watching Married At First Sight (guilty as charged!) or just a few minutes to call a friend and talk to a real live adult (who's not your partner), advocating for time to yourself is more important than ever. Meditation has been a lifesaver for me (try the Mindful Mamas app if you're looking for a mother-centered meditation approach).

Find a way to get help—whether virtually, co-quarantining or live-in care

We don't do a good job in caring for new mothers in ordinary times. So it's doubly important for you to find ways to advocate for yourself in this new pandemic parenthood. Having some form of help (virtual or real-life) lined up can be a lifesaver. From virtual lactation consultants, to asking your mother-in-law to quarantine and take a Covid test before meeting her new grandbaby, to finding a trusted family in your neighborhood to form a pod—in these strange times it's time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. You deserve the support of a full village, even now. Especially now.

Remember that good enough is good enough

Nothing will go exactly according to plan, especially during a pandemic. Celebrate your little victories along the way, because in the end, they're not little at all. They're the little moments that make big lifelong motherhood memories.

And give yourself a giant hug and pat on the back for rocking this wild season of life.

You've got this.

Jill + Liz

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