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New baby + 3.5 y.o....how do you do it?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We have a week-old newborn son. Our daughter was fascinated by the idea of him and seems to like him. Her main disappointment, she said, is that I am not playing with her like I used to. Its true. She's doing o.k., but I know this is hard on her based on some interesting behaviors that are surfacing, like regression in pottying (she's been dry day and night for over a year until now but has been missing every day, and being defiant about requests made of her where she was not like this before. Some crying episodes, over, nothing in the moment, but everything it seems.

She's also wanting to nurse all day and all night, like her brother. I haven't been able to accommodate her every time and am trying to find some common sense limitations that she can understand. Right now its sort of at bedtime, at naptime, at waking, but she is beginning to wake several times a night now just to nurse. It kills me not to let her nurse on demand, but on the other hand, it is really aggravating too and I don't want to transfer those feelings to her either. Plus, I'm tired and touched-out. Yet, I know she's asking because she needs something from me and this is how she can communicate it...

Any suggestions for how to help her? Other than me cloning myself? I already have someone coming in 4 x a week specifically to play with/care for her and her dad is home for a few weeks, but she's always been more attached to me than anyone else.
post #2 of 4
(((mama))) I remember when my youngest was born feeling much the same way--very touched out--sometimes to the point where I was clearly irritated with my middle son who wanted to nurse ALL the time at that point. I tried to nurse them both when I could and then I tried to get some one on one time with him sometime during the day. He was slightly younger when his brother was born--2 years and 10 months and my oldest was 4 years and 3 months when our middle son came along. You will definitely get through this and your older one will be just fine even if everyonce in a while you do get frustrated.
post #3 of 4
no advice, but i'm going to be in your shoes almost identically come september. will be interested to read how you deal with it all. good luck and thanks for posting.
post #4 of 4
I was in your exact same shoes. The first year of my dd2 life was pretty sad for dd1. I didn't spend as much time, have as much patient, I felt very sad for her. My dh and I tried to make sure she got some one on one time with us, but she still had some regression. We dealt with a lot of anger and our schedules pretty much went to crap. That first year..ok more like 9 months were pretty crazy and miserable.
Good news is, it gets better. No, really. It does! As dd2 got older and more indepedent(as in more mobile and able to go longer between feedings) dd1 was able to connect with her sister more. She loved her baby sister to start with, but being able to interact with her and play with her made a huge difference. At 17 months, they get along great.
We still have issues with dd1, but they're more age 5 issues than attachment issues. Its only been in the last 6 months that I have been able to feel positive towards my dd1. I know, that sounds horrible. I loved her, but I didn't like her most of time. I'm so thankful that we have reattached.

As for the nursing, my dd1 was nursing up until a month after her 4th birthday. We had a situation with her mouth that prompted cold-turkey weaning. I'm sure we could have continued but I couldn't. I just couldn't nurse two kids anymore. If you can keep going if you can't, 3.5 years is an amazing run.
Just remember that some of the issues you are facing isn't just that there is a new baby in the house. She's turning 4 and thats a whole new ballgame.
If you can, try to keep a loose schedule to your day. Try to have some special one on one time every day. Family rituals can help, like tea time together. Or reading a story together while baby is napping (if you're like me, babe in arms ) Try to get your daughter involved by asking her help for small things. Accept her answer if she says no.

Ditto to pp, you will get through this. You will get frustrated, and feel like a failure, or your dd will adjust asap and become the dream big sister Only time will tell, and you'll still get through it.
Congratulations on your new baby!
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