Living with Littles: Tips for Surviving Having Kids Close in Age

My youngest son turned 15 1/2 months this week. The same age my daughter was when we brought his brother home from the hospital. Looking at him now, my husband and I marvel, “How the heck did we do it?!”

We have 4 kids, the last 3 we had in 2 1/2 years (You can read about that here).  It’s been a blur.  It’s been 4 years of little sleep, wiping bottoms, drying tears, and surviving the daily grind.  And while there have been plenty of joyous, exciting moments, most of the time I need to refer to pictures in order to fully remember them.

Surviving Kids Close in Age
cLOVEn Photography

Now that my youngest is leaving the baby stage, I finally feel like I am coming out from a fog! If you’ve recently found out that you’re having your children close together, or you’re in the midst of raising 2 or more kiddos close in age, read on to hear my tips for surviving this chapter of life!!

Don’t Google.

Don’t do it!! When my daughter was 7 months old I was both thrilled and terrified to find out I was expecting again. After 2 1/2 years of secondary infertility and a miscarriage (read about that here), we felt so blessed just to have her. She was our rainbow baby. With all of our struggles we desperately wanted to have a third child, but didn’t expect it to happen quite that quickly. When I did the math in my head and realized she would be 15 months when we brought a new baby home, I googled and searched Baby Center to hear the experiences of other moms with kids the same distance apart. I had hoped to be encouraged, but it mostly left me more nervous.


You’re going to make it! I promise! There are more days than not that I have woken up and wondered how I was going to make it through the day. You just do. Just like when you find out you’re expecting for the first time. Or when you bring your first baby home. You take one day at a time. And you learn as you go. It’s why you get 9 months to prepare. And why each milestone is spread out over the span of several months. I was much calmer about finding out we were expecting our 4th when our 3rd child was 8 months old because I’d lived through it once. And I knew that as challenging as it was going to be, I could do it.


Take lots of pictures. And video. Because when you’re in the moment you feel like you’re never going to forget her sweet laugh, or the funny things he said. But you do. And you will be so thankful when you can go back and relive those moments when they are older.

IMG_3324Nod your head and smile.

You will be bombarded by comments from well-intentioned (and not so well-intentioned) family members, friends, and even strangers! From “Was this planned?” {myob!} to “You are going to have your hands full” {duh}. Once you have your children you’ll probably hear “You need to get more sleep” {if only} or “You need to get out more” {would you like to take all of my kids to the store by yourself?}.  The reality is, most of those people have not lived through having children 18 months or less apart. Because I can all but guarantee that if you meet a mama who is walking through a similar situation she will simply give you a hug and hand you a coffee…no advice required.

Give yourself grace.

There are going to be days when you feed them healthy food, take them on adventures, spend lots of one-on-one time, and there are tons of smiles.  High-five, mama! Then there are going to be days when they eat too much candy, watch a little too much Little Einsteins, and you end up yelling at each other. You’re not a bad mom. You’re just making it through the day. Take a breath and start over again tomorrow.

Enjoy it.

I am not one of those people who will tell you to enjoy every moment. Heaven knows a lot of moments just suck. But there are glimpses of beauty…when your older child helps feed the baby a bottle. Or gives him a kiss. When your baby saves the biggest giggles for her older sister.  When they start to read and play together. When they become each others’ best friends.  These last 3 1/2 years have been so tough. But when I see how much my kids love each other, I wouldn’t change a thing.

What are your tips for surviving the little years when your children are close in age?

Kaitlyn Swaim
Kaitlyn is the owner of Cedar Rapids Moms Blog and is an Iowa girl who has been married to her husband, Joshua, since 2007! She’s a busy work-at-home mama to their 5 children: 3 girls and 2 boys! A true Hawkeye, she graduated from the University of Iowa with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, something that comes in handy on a daily basis while trying to raise 5 kids! Her favorite things to do include spending time with her family, cheering on the Hawkeyes, reading a good book, shopping (of course!), and checking out all the activities the Corridor has to offer!


  1. Thank you for this post! I have a two week old daughter and a 17 month old son. Today was one of the rough days so I think I was meant to come across this post. I love my little ones and in just the first two weeks with a house of four instead of three, there have already been so many moments when I thought my heart couldn’t handle the amount of cuteness and love I experienced between the two of them. But, this is also already turning into the hardest job I’ve ever had. Reading this shows me that I’m not alone and that I’m not a horrible mom for having moments where I question whether I can do it or not. Best wishes to your family and thanks again!
    -Tired but happy mom of two under two 🙂

    • Jaime,
      I can so relate!! The first month is definitely the hardest…trying to adjust to the schedule of a newborn, let your body heal, and manage your older child. Hold out for 6-8 weeks…when your baby starts to smile, you can bear anything!! 🙂 Just take it day by day. Hour by hour. You’re going to make it through!!

  2. Thank you for this post. The struggle is real. My husband and I have two older girls that are 12 and 9. We also have a 4 year old who is 20 months older then her 2 year old brother who is 13 months and 20 days older then his younger brother who is 13 months 24 days older then his younger brother……..I hear all the time… have your hands full! These days are hard, but I know I can survive. Thanks for sharing your experience. <3


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