What Is The 18-Month Age Gap Really Like?
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I see mamas asking about this often. A mama posts in a Facebook group that she’s just found out she’s expecting baby #2.
They’re going to be 18 months apart and she’s freaking out. What is it like? What should she do to prepare? Is it really as scary as it feels?
Well, I’ve been there and done that, so here are some of the answers to those questions. 🙂 Once you’re done with this post, feel free to hop over to –> THIS ONE to check out my survival tips for 2 under 2!
1) You Have Two Babies
When there’s an 18-month age gap (or less) you would think that you just have two kids, but in reality, in the beginning, you still have two babies.
One is a big baby and the other is a brand new, tiny one.
Depending on where your older child is, they may still require assisted feeding, diaper changes, and carrying around.
Yes, they are entering the toddler phase, but they still have one foot firmly grounded in the baby stage.
This can make things both challenging, and a blessing. Challenging because your workload is bigger, but a blessing because your head is already in the baby stage, so you’re kinda used to it.
It can be easy to think of your toddler as a lot older than what they are. I’m a firm believer in having high expectations of your children but do also make sure that is balanced with realistic ones.
2) It Isn’t As Hard As You Think
When I was pregnant with my second, I wondered what on earth I had WILLINGLY gotten myself into. How the heck was I going to cope?!
You know what? Adding another child to the family was hard, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
With your first child, you tend to have more anxiety and generally question yourself a lot more. By the time the second one comes around, your confidence as a parent has grown.
You realise that babies are more resilient than they seem and that you are capable of more than you ever dreamed.
So yes, having two children close in age is challenging, but probably not as much as you think it is going to be.
I also find it difficult to answer questions based around how challenging certain transitions were.
Whether that’s going from 0-1 child, 1-2, etc. That’s because you change, your family changes, your circumstances change. Plus, each person has different strengths and weaknesses.
And then you learn coping strategies.
When I had just my eldest, I was determined to do everything by myself. I felt as though the responsibility of caring for him as well as maintaining the home was mine and mine alone. I shouldn’t need to ask for help.
You know what? Having two kids close in age changed that for me. I finally realised the importance of sharing the load and the blessing that comes from allowing people to help.
Be mindful of caring for yourself as well as your family and you’ll likely find that having two babies so close together will be well within your capabilities.
3) After The First Year, It Gets Easier
Personally, I find the first year of my children’s lives to be filled with challenges. They can’t communicate their needs all that well, and they go through about a million developmental changes. (Read about the Wonder Weeks –> HERE)
However, after the first year, it starts to get easier.
This was especially true with two kids close in age. I remember when my two started to actually play with each other. It was amazing!
I didn’t realize how exhausting it was being the sole entertainer to two children. Now that they could play with each other, that took one more thing off of my (loaded) plate.
Once my youngest started walking, it again got that much easier, and now that she’s popping out the occasional word, it is yet easier again.
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4) You Need A Routine
If you do well with sleep deprivation, or if both your kids naturally sleep like champs, then I guess you can disregard this.
However, for the vast majority of us, a routine is a saviour when it comes to having two kids close in age.
Having my older child in a consistent routine before baby #2 arrived went a long way towards making our days easier.
I tailored the newborn’s routine so that both kid’s naps synced up in the afternoon. Find out how to make that happen in this post –> How to Make Sure Your Kids Nap at the Same Time
There were pockets throughout the day where I was all alone and could breathe before the business of raising two small humans resumed.
Having a routine has meant my sanity has been kept intact, my marriage has remained healthy, and that both of my children were able to develop healthy sleep habits.
Developing a routine took time and patience, but has paid off immensely. Resources I’ve used are Babywise and Moms on Call (find out more about these –> HERE + HERE) for the most part, but a little of The Baby Whisperer and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
5) Take One Day at a Time
It can be easy to fall into the trap of looking to the future and feeling as though the season that you’re in will never end.
I’m not a huge fan of the phrase “this too shall pass” however there is a lot of truth to it.
Instead of focusing on how long the challenges might last, try to focus on just today and the moment that you’re in.
I’m not going to tell you to enjoy every moment, because we all know that some moments are not enjoyable at all.
However, I would encourage you not to let the joy of today be stolen by the worries you have about tomorrow. And to be completely honest, that is a statement that I need to be reminded of often.
I could write so much more on this topic, but it really is unique to each mama, so I’m not sure that any more would be constructive to you.
However, I hope that what I’ve shared in this post eases your mind somewhat while equally preparing you for what is to come.