What You Need to Think About from Baby to Toddler
Becoming a mother is one of the most amazing journeys any one of us can embark on. Of course, from the moment you get that positive pregnancy test, you become overjoyed by the fact that your parenting journey has literally just begun right there. You nurture your growing bump, you take care of yourself better than you ever have done before, and before you know it your life changes once more when your little one arrives into the world.
Let’s be honest though, it isn’t always a plain sailing journey, and being a mum to a newborn has its fair share of ups and downs. The sleepless nights, the constant worry, it can be all-consuming. Not to mention all of the people that want a piece of you and your little one the moment you arrive home from the hospital. But the days settle, and you get into the swing of things of being a mummy to a newborn baby, and routines finally begin to develop.
But being a mum to a toddler is a whole different ball game. If you thought the list of things you needed for your newborn was lengthy, then be prepared to rethink those decisions now that your little one is walking, talking, and causing mayhem. There is always an abundance of articles talking about newborn essentials and what you might need for yourself and your baby, but not much covering the next stage of the toddler years before school starts. I thought I would share with you some of the things you need to be considering now that your little bundle of joy is finally entering the toddler years.
Progression from cot to cot bed
You may have only just gotten used to your baby having their own room and spending their nights in the cot. Perhaps it has taken you almost a year to develop a sound sleeping routine and actually get them to stay asleep throughout the whole night. A lot of mums will be able to sympathise with you there. But as your little one grows it’s time to start thinking about taking them out of the cot and into a cot bed, which brings with it some potential new issues to overcome.
Some cots have a cot bed feature which means you can lower the base, take off the sides, and voila you have a cot bed. This is a great cost-saving idea. However, you will still need to think about adding some sort of side protection to the cot to avoid your child rolling straight out of it onto the floor. Thankfully, many children's stores offer an array of products to solve this issue. If you can’t adapt your current cot, then you may need to look online to find a new cot bed.
In some cases, these beds come ready fitted with safety features in regards to side protection. The best piece of advice during this transition is to keep any bedtime routine you have developed the same, to avoid it feeling completely new and different for your child.
The transition from a car seat to a booster
As your child gets bigger, it can become difficult for your little one to stay in the rear-facing car seat that they have had since birth. So you might find that you start to consider other safety measures when it comes to traveling. A booster seat is normally forward facings with back and side support and is an excellent next step for your small child.
This is a fairly easy transition as most children love the idea of being a big boy or a big girl, which this seat could indicate, especially if an older sibling has one. It could also help to keep younger children quiet on longer journeys, and they can interact with passengers and also see out the window.
Updating their wardrobe
Children grow fast, don’t they? You kind of expect it with a baby because they are constantly growing into different sizes, but I think many mums hope that the rate of having to buy clothes will slow down a little as their child enters toddlerhood. Yes, the growth may slow down ever so slightly, but you are faced with a new battle. Toddlers are constantly getting messy. That might be painting or messy play in their nursery environments, crafts they may do at home, or simply playing outside in the garden and the mud. If there is a mess to get their clothes dirty, they will find it.
So you can imagine that the clothing will need to be replaced as and when you have exhausted all matter of the stain removal procedures. So a good tip is to buy ahead of time. Use sales, coupons, and discount codes to reduce the total of a bulk order. You may want to buy a size ahead, or even just stock up for the different seasons. It’s a great way to reduce the overall cost as well as be prepared for when your child is running low on outfits to wear.
Considering alternative childcare options
As your baby starts to grow, so will their need for stimulation. So you may find that even as a stay-at-home mum, you might want to look into preschool or nursery environments, even for a few hours a week. This may seem to be counterproductive if you are at home all the time, but it can be a great way to recuperate some time for yourself or catch up with jobs around the home. During this time, your child will be socialising with other children, learning in a classroom environment, and even getting much-needed preparation ready for the school years ahead.
Think about ways to stimulate your child at home
It’s only a matter of time before your now toddler will start to get a little bored with their current surroundings and their toys. Even if they have all the toys they need, they often want some one-to-one attention that activities such as crafting, painting, or even learning different things can give them. This is when videos from YouTube can really help. You may also want to look at websites like Pinterest to gain some needed inspiration for different activities.
If you are really stuck set some time out for yourself and plan your week or month ahead of time. Add in trips to the local park, museum visits, and active sessions like swimming or walking. Mix those in with time to make things and craft. You could use the seasons as inspiration, certain calendar events, or even different occasions in different countries. Activities could involve cooking, baking, or creating something.
The options are endless once you start to think about it and could make home life more pleasant for you and your child as you are both satisfied with how you are spending your time.
Do you still need a stroller?
The chances are you may have a walking toddler that has such immense passion to walk absolutely everywhere. You may have a pushchair but find that they no longer want to be seen in it. But yet, their little legs can’t always take them all the way. So it’s important to have some flexibility and an option to save you from carrying a very tired toddler.
A stroller is a great step from a pushchair. Often being folded up to fit in the car with ease and can even be carried places. These work especially well for vacations when you are out at night and have a toddler that just wants to sleep. The best of both worlds by encouraging their enthusiasm, but still offering a safe place to relax when they get a little tired.
The dreaded toilet training
Some people are incredibly lucky when it comes to their toddlers and toilet training. They just seem to get it straight away, others struggle, and it just takes time. You need to prepare in advance for this so get yourself a potty, lot’s of underpants, and knickers, and even prepare your bathroom as best you can. Perhaps having a seat for your toddler to place on the toilet and a step to help them reach it.
Introduce your toddler to these items as soon as you think toilet training is on the horizon. You will know when your little one is ready. Nappies will be drier for longer, and they will start to feel uncomfortable being wet. Look out for the signs and don't rush, every child does this at a different stage.
Finally, enjoy this next stage of your little one's life. They are full of curiosity and wonder at this age, and it can be such a fun time to be around them. It can be testing for both parent and child as at this stage boundaries are bound to be pushed. But it is all a learning curve and another phase of parenthood to love and enjoy for various different reasons. Next up is school and things change all over again.
About the contributor:
Sarah Anguish is a northerner at heart, now living in Norfolk with her husband and three children. Alongside running a family lifestyle blog she works for her local NHS stop smoking service, juggling the highs and lows of being a working parent around the needs of her busy family.