How to deal with children who are close in age
Monday 09 July 2012
Lily Allen is reported to be expecting her second child with husband Sam Cooper just 8 months after giving birth to daughter Ethel.
We imagine supermum Lily, who is also working on a new album, will handle her pregnancy with ease but it can be overwhelming to be pregnant with a little one already under your feet. If you find yourself having children back-to-back here’s some tips on how to cope with the mess, stress and everything in between!
Make sure you have a good network of support around you
“It is definitely do-able, but having children very close together is stressful,” says Warren Cann, a psychologist and the executive director of the Parenting Research Centre. “The support that you have has a significant impact on your stress levels and parenting, too. For example, the mothers of twins or close siblings are at higher risk of postnatal depression.” So the more people you have around you to help with childcare, or simply to lean on when you feel it’s all getting a bit much, the better. They can ease the load off you a little, giving you the chance to recoup and be the best mum you can be!
If possible, try to leave at least a year between pregnancies
The time frame for each woman is different, but after a pregnancy and the labour itself, your body needs to recover. Studies show that waiting 18 to 23 months after the birth of your last child before conceiving another seems best for the new baby's health. Plus, this gives you the chance to build up your health and stamina for your body to repeat the gruelling process all over again. "There is not a magic date as to when a body is recovered," says Mavis Schorn, a certified nurse-midwife at West End Women's Health Centre. "Most women are physically doing well by six weeks after birth, but it takes more time to lose their pregnancy weight, increase their exercise strength, improve their body tone (abdominal and pelvic floor muscles particularly), and begin or increase sexual activity.”
Eat your way to your pre-pregnant self
It’s important that your body is up to scratch while preparing for a second pregnancy and nutrition is essential to the recovery of your body. Schorn says ‘there is an increased need for iron to help replace the iron lost from bleeding during and following birth’. This is best acquired from an iron-rich diet that includes animal sources (meat and fish), vegetable sources, and dried fruits and nuts.
Don’t forget ‘me time’
It’s important that you make time for yourself. Unless you’re Victoria Beckham and can afford all the help in the world, your kids will inevitably exhaust you, and that’s only natural. “Once you become a mom, finding time for yourself and the other adults in your life often seems like a lost cause,” says Charlotte Latvala who writes a weekly column on parenting. “The trick is to treat ‘mum time’ as seriously as you would any other commitment. It's not an option.” Take a bubble bath. Read a magazine. You deserve it!
Juggle new born and toddler duties
Having a newborn while you have a toddler to care for and entertain can be hard work, but so joyful too. You need to muster some good old-fashioned patience from deep within, and share your time. Your toddler may well feel confused about their new brother or sister, or possibly even show some signs of resentment, so make sure you spend quality time with your older child too. It may also help to enlist their help for the care of the little one to help them feel a level of care and responsibility for their new sibling.