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Mothering › Groups › Pregnant Mamas: Official Mothering.com Group › Discussions › Prepping Toddler for Baby # 2

Prepping Toddler for Baby # 2

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

My first born is 19 months old and we expect a sibling in the next 4 months. It seems like she is reaching new tantrum levels...she is overall so wonderful, but I am struggling a LOT with how to parent her. Sleep has been a bit of a nightmare (crying has morphed to out-right screams and meltdowns, naps mean 30 minutes to 2 hours of battle). She is clingier than ever, constantly demanding I pick her up throughout the day when she walks, runs, and climbs very well. I am just not sure how much I can "discipline" her at this age. I feel like she can sense a change in the family home, and she is scared. For instance, I can't lift her as much b/c my lower back and uterus really start cramping, which infuriates her. I've already weaned her and need her to sleep through the night so I (we, actually) can be well rested, especially in the few weeks leading up to birth. 


I have given her a dolly that looks like a child (her other dolls are animals), and we practice taking care of it, feeding it, putting it in the car seat, changing its diaper. We show her my tummy and tell her to say hi to the baby. These are the small ways I am trying to prep her for a new sibling. She is still so young to understand, but in the meantime, I really need her sleep habits to improve so I won't get sick from exhaustion when Baby arrives!


Some articles out there say to set clear limits, and put toddlers in a 1 minute time-out immediately after doing something bad. Mine does things all the time! Am I supposed to put her in time out every time? Or is she pushing my limits b/c I haven't been more "on top of it"? For instance, she dumps a plate of food, spits out mouthfuls on the floor, and doesn't sit still during meals (can't blame her too much for that one, she is a child!). How firmly should I be disciplining her at this age?


Any insight/ shared experience about this issue would be really appreciated! Thanks!

post #2 of 3

We are also preparing my DD (16 mo.) for the arrival of a sibling. We are transitioning her into a toddler bed and I feel like this has really helped the sleep fighting. We don’t have a bedtime; we have a lights out time. We go through a very consistent night time routine of brushing teeth, going potty, and saying prayers. Then I tuck her in, turn out the lights and leave the room. She is allowed to get up and play if she wants to but she rarely does this for very long. If I have heard her get up and play, I wait until its quiet and then I go pick her up from where she has fallen asleep on the floor and I put her back in bed.

As for discipline, we have never tried the time-out thing but I agree with you that it sounds untenable.  If DD starts throwing food on the ground we take her food away explaining “Throwing your food on the ground tells me you are all done eating.” Basically, most “bad” toddler behavior falls into one of 2 categories 1) they are frustrated because they don’t know or cannot communicate what they want 2) they are pushing limits to see what happens and create a picture of the world they live in. We always address both. We tell DD what the rules are and we tell her what her behavior is communicating to us. We try to give her a chance to help us understand what is going on. This last part rarely works but I feel like it’s important for her to know we WANT to know what she thinks. Finally, if she has entered full melt-down mode I remove her from the situation. If that means leaving a full basket at Target and going to sit in the quiet car then that’s what we do. One time at the vet I was so frustrated I put her in the car and stepped outside to scream forgetting that I was in public. I really scared the vet assistants who came out of the office to make sure I was ok.

I think they key thing is to communicate clearly and consistently what the rules are and why they exist. The world is scary for toddlers and they need limits to feel secure but the way they discover what those limits really are is but pushing them to see what happens.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

I really liked everything you said! Its good to keep your overall/ long-term parenting intention in mind when dealing with small, day-to-day crises! That is the challenge...


Your story of having to scream at the vet's totally hit home with me. It's admirable that you didn't want to do it in front of your daughter. I'm scared to do things in public b/c of how it looks, but its always better to do things for the sake of your child, and let others think what they will of you...


I don't know if the toddler bed thing would work for us: we have one of those convertible cribs. I could easily take out one side of the railing and put in that half-rail gaurd. This might help b/c she is already trying to climb her way out, and has gotten her legs stuck between the bars several times...but do you close your daughter's door when you leave? This would be my only option, otherwise, she'd run into the hallway, and start trying to climb the other gate...But I'm worried that she would start banging her head or trying to climb furniture or pull curtains down on her head or something crazy that I can't predict!

Also to prep for Baby, I am trying to show Big Sis lots of love and give her lots of cuddles and hugs and let her know repeatedly that she is so loved and will never ever be replaced. I am praying that subcontiously, she received my message and that we can communicate easier. The hardest part in all this is keeping your patience when your toddler is dragging herself on the ground and crying for you to do something. When I've been given the grace to keep my cool, I have been rewarded with sudden compliance--like sudden;y she'll stop crying and dragging herself on the floor and come along instead of make me carry her. Distractions seem to be super helpful, always being willing to try something new and make her smile or laugh and forget about whatever is frustrating her.


Good luck to you!

Mothering › Groups › Pregnant Mamas: Official Mothering.com Group › Discussions › Prepping Toddler for Baby # 2