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A Parenting Survival Guide to Raising Babies Close in Age

Perhaps you conceived your second child much quicker than you originally anticipated. Or maybe, it was your plan all along to have kids close in age. Either way, you're now preparing for all the ups and downs that come with raising not one, but two babies at the same time. Daunting? Yes. Impossible? Not at all.


Raising a toddler and a baby simultaneously is no easy feat. Take comfort from the fact that others before you have done it while managing to survive with their sanity intact. Read on for your go-to guide on how to survive raising two babies close in age.

Stock Up on Diapers

One of the biggest challenges of raising two babies at the same time is that both will be in diapers at the same time. According to WebMD, a newborn will need 10-12 diaper changes daily for the first month of their life. With a toddler in diapers as well, you may start to feel as though all you do all day is change diapers.

If you're currently expecting your second child, start stockpiling diapers immediately. Stockpiling diapers will help you save money by allowing you to take advantage of low prices.

Cloth diapering is also an option for your babies. Although cloth diapering isn't for everyone, the potential money savings and environmental benefits are worth considering.

Prepare Your Older Child for Baby #2

Going from an only child to having a sibling is often a huge adjustment for a toddler. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help your little one prepare for their new role as big brother or sister.

You can start by reading plenty of books to your older baby about siblings, newborns and the importance of sharing. Talk with your toddler about what to expect when the baby comes and how they can help.

All of the attention and constant cooing over the new baby will likely make your oldest feel a little jealous. Consider picking up new toddler girl clothes for her or a fun toy and let her know they're from the new baby. By making your firstborn more excited about the new baby, you can potentially reduce some of the tantrums and jealousy after the baby's arrival.

Know What to Share (And What to Keep Separate)

A major benefit to having two babies close in age is that you've recently been through this before and, therefore, you already have plenty of baby gear. By the time baby number two arrives, your older child will have outgrown their newborn clothes, bouncy seat and baby sling, which will save you money.

That being said, not everything can be passed down or shared with the second baby. For example, you'll still need to buy two high chairs, two car seats, two cribs and a lot of bottles. Another must-have: a double stroller! Although your older baby may be starting to walk on her own, she'll still want to go in the stroller when her little legs get tired.

Enlist the Help of Your Toddler

Toddlers love helping out and being involved with daily duties. So why not let your oldest help with the new baby? Maybe you could have him hand you a diaper when the baby needs changing or let him pick out the baby's clothes for the day.

Don't forget to make a big fuss over your oldest when he's being a good helper! Reward your child when he hands you a diaper by telling him what an amazing older brother he is.

Figure Out Sleeping Arrangements

Consider having your younger baby sleep on the opposite end of your home as your older baby. Although this arrangement may not be doable for everyone, it can help reduce the likelihood of one baby waking up the other.

Let's face it: As a parent to two little ones, you need all the sleep you can get! Unless you've been blessed with not one, but two good sleepers, you're probably going to be downright exhausted for the first few months.

Separating your babies for sleeping—as well as keeping them on a similar sleep schedule—can help you maximize your own sleep. This strategy is also useful if you're using the extinction method of sleep training (aka, the cry it out method).

Pre-Plan Snacks and Activities

Once your baby is in the picture, your toddler will want your time and attention more than ever. To keep your oldest happy and entertained, it helps to have a few pre-planned activities and snacks for those first few months.

This is especially useful when you're breastfeeding. Your toddler will quickly figure out that this is the time when you're most distracted, and they may try to get into mischief. To keep your oldest occupied, give them a snack and play hands-free games like Simon Says or I Spy.

Know When to Ask for Help

Raising one baby is exhausting. Raising two little ones who are close in age can be downright brutal. One minute, you'll be swooning over them, and the next minute, you'll be frustrated to the point of tears.

When all of this happens, take a deep breath and realize that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Reach out to your friends, relatives or your mom tribe. Have them babysit one or both little ones so you and your partner can get some much-needed sleep. It's amazing what an uninterrupted nap can do to your outlook.

You Can Do This!

While raising two babies close in age may be difficult, it's far from impossible. The key is to just accept that things will rarely ever go according to plan. Keep calm and persevere through the hardships. And remember: Your hands may be full, but so is your heart.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.