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"Who do you put into the car first?!"

Mama, I just had my second baby, and am struggling to figure out how to get both kids into the car for outings. If I do the newborn first, then the toddler takes off, but if I do the toddler first, then the newborn is just hanging out in the road by the car. I'm thinking ahead to winter time, and struggling to figure it out! - Roadside Safe Mama

Dear, 'Roadside Safe Mama',


This was me, almost one year ago to the day. My second babe came around, and I was loading the kids up to go do groceries with them both. I'd done double bedtimes, bath times, nursed while I served the big kid dinner, and gone up and down stairs with both kids on my hips countless times, but for some reason getting the kids into the car just seemed epically confusing.


Part of it, for me anyways, was that my 'big kid' was only 17 months when my second was born, so I was weary of the giant chaos she could cause in a mere 24 seconds while I went to buckle the babe into the car. Part of me felt awful leaving that carseat on the street - my teeniest babe vulnerable to the big, scary cars driving by so fast (postpartum anxiety brings your mind to awful places). In all that, you're definitely not alone.


So, here's how I did it:


Always buckle in the flight risk first. Or, at the very least, get them into the car. Priority #1 is safety.


I've done it a few different ways (let's assume we're in the parking lot with no stroller or cart):

  • Bring the baby in the bucket seat at the door where the toddler sits. Open door, put bucket seat right at your feet on the ground. Buckle in your toddler, and go to the other side to put the bucket seat in. Voila!

  • If baby is out of the bucket seat, so you've got one babe on your hip and one in your hand (or both on your hips because you're basically the Hulk), you can bring toddler to their side, open the door and let them climb in, and close the door. Don't buckle them in yet because you have babe on your other hip (just reminding you - mom brain is a real thing). Go to the babe's side, buckle them in and then come back to the toddler side to get them strapped into their seat. This option sounds annoying, I know, but it's a safe way to go about.

  • IF your toddler isn't a flight risk (my daughter listens really well to directions in a parking lot as she's aware of the dangers), you can find a safe spot for your toddler to put their hand on the car while you put the baby in their seat. Then, once they're in you can bring your toddler to their side to get buckled in. There are adorable car magnets (affiliate link) you can get to make this option more fun for your toddler!

Most days, I have a stroller or a cart, so I buckle the kids into the car one at a time, leaving the other one seated while they wait, but these are a few ways I go about it otherwise!

I hope that answers your question, mama. You've got this - give yourself grace. Welcoming a new babe into your family throws off your routine for a bit, but you'll find your stride.


Keep your head up,


-m.

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