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#1 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 4 and a half year old and now a 12 day old little boy and already I'm really struggling. Everything is so overwhelming and I feel like I'm completely neglecting my daughter because I have to deal with an angry baby all the time. I'm really worried about coping on my own when my partner goes back to work next week, it all seems so difficult.

 

And to make things worse, and at the same time making me feel like a terrible parent, I really miss how life was when it was just the three of us. Last night I read my daughter a bedtime story for the first time since the birth, and it took a lot not to cry because it reminded me of life before the baby.

 

I love my wee boy and he's great, but I just feel so overwhelmed by him and sometimes all the crying makes him difficult to cope with. And it doesn't help that it's hard getting him to sleep at night which causes me even more stress. And I feel really guilty that I can't spend as much time with my daughter. It makes me wonder why I'm finding everything so hard to cope with when millions of other people manage two or more children with no problems at all. Why am I finding it so difficult?

 

Any advice on making things easier, or tips on coping would be most appreciated. When does it get easier?

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#2 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Its OK to feel that way.  Your baby is so, so new, it will take longer than 12 days to adjust, it hasn't even been 2 weeks!

You all will find your flow, but you've got to give it time.  And your daughter is learning how to be a little more independent I'm sure, children are so resilient and there really is no greater gift you can give a child than a sibling.

I had the same feelings when #3 was born, just totally overwhelmed with a fussy newborn and a 2 and 4 year old.  Time was what helped the most.

And suprisingly, when my mother left, when the baby was 3 weeks, I actually felt more self-sufficient and more able to handle the stress of three.  

Everyday at this stage is so full of change.  Try to be gentle with yourself.

Also, my baby's stomach was very sensitive and I had to cut out all broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and onion in order for her to not have a belly ache.  Have you looked into dietary reasons for the fussiness.  As soon as I but out onions my girl was so relaxed and happy.  And now at 2.5 months, I can have a little bit of cooked onions without her getting a tummy ache.


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#3 of 19 Old 09-26-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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I remember feeling the same way... It really does get better, I promise!
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#4 of 19 Old 09-27-2013, 07:40 AM
 
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Oh, I'm so sorry you're struggling with this. Yes, it does get easier, but no one can say when.

 

My advice: Is there anyway your family can swing a post partum doula for a few days a week? (I work as a Lactation Consultant and a post partum doula and I know the agency I work for is a godsend for a lot of struggling parents.) The nice thing about a hired post partum doula is that she takes care of YOU, and you can direct her to do what needs to be done, so you can be with your kids. If you want her to take the baby and rock her for a while, she'll do that, if you want her to take the toddler to the park or just play or color with her, she'll do that. If you need her to make lunch and dinner so your family gets a healthy meal, she'll do that. She can throw in some laundry for you, fold it and even do your dishes if you need that service.  And unlike family members, she's not going to try to change the way you parent, try to "get" the baby from you, bug you to "please let me give the baby a bottle" (unless that's what you want her to do) or anything else that happens when some family members come out to "help."

 

You can Goggle "doula services" or "baby nurses" or call a local Lactation Consultant and see if she knows of a service, or talk to someone in a local LLL group to see if someone knows of a doula service in your area. Do make sure the doulas are trained, insured and have had background checks.

 

It can be really challenging to settle in with a new baby, especially with a toddler who needs a lot of time, too. (And who ever heard of a toddler who didn't need a lot of Mama's time?) I also found that nursing in bed or in a Lay Z Boy with the toddler on one side and a book in one hand was really helpful. My first two were 26 months apart, and I had a C Section and was pretty much on my own after my DH took only a few days off of work (he went back to work the day after we came home with my pre term 3rd!)  I pretty much corralled the toddler and myself into one room for the duration of the day, with snacks and drinks, as I couldn't get up and chase her after major abdominal surgery. Yes, I used the VCR (my kids are a bit older) and I saw it as a gift from Above! ;)  We watched more TV that summer (I had also been on bedrest for almost 6 months before the birth of my 2nd) but at least we were all together.

 

My foster sister did come a few times, did my dishes,  did some laundry for me, played with my toddler (she is the oldest child's Godmother) and held the baby when I absolutely needed to lie down and Baby wasn't down with that. She was still at University, so she could only come when she didn't have classes or wasn't working, so it was sparse, but boy, did I look forward to those days when she could come even for a few hours!

 

If I had known post partum doulas existed then, I would have moved heaven and earth to get us one. If that is out of your financial reach (although I would have taken out a loan to get one with I had my second IF I had known they existed, and could have found one) then perhaps you can find a teen mother's helper. I know our LLL group had some home schooled teen girls who would sometimes help out with new moms, or even a neighborhood girl who can come and maybe take your toddler for a walk when she gets home from school? A teen isn't going to get "all up in your business" about baby care, so for many it's a safer choice than a family member. Unless you have a niece or young cousin who has some time for you.

 

It will get better, Mama. You're doing the best you can, maybe with a little help and a tincture of time, things will improve soon.


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#5 of 19 Old 09-27-2013, 12:10 PM
 
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What a hard time for you all!

I totally agree with the PP about getting a post partum doula, and I think that this post has great advice about getting your partner on board to keep up the support when he (or she) goes back to work: http://www.ourmuddyboots.com/house-rule-1/


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#6 of 19 Old 09-27-2013, 02:03 PM
 
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It will get easier. No, really. It will.  But stressing about the fact that it isn't happy bliss right now- just making it worse, so relax, it's ok for it to be hard while everyone adjusts. 

Toss the baby in a carrier and head out for walks with the preschooler. Let the baby nurse while you read a story (a ring sling is great for this.)

Let your husband read to your daughter while you nurse the baby.  or if the baby is sleeping, go take care of yourself. 

 

I have four kids, after the last was born, I was on my own the day I returned from the hospital- he was a day old- and I had three other kids who needed me.  I was so overwhelmed I was sure I was going to wind up in a corner hiding from the world.  You adapt because you have to.  You find out how to balance nap time, nursing time, play time.  It is ok to mourn what it all was, but the flip side of that coin is embracing what becomes the new normal.  No, you can't sit around giving your oldest one on one attention 6 hours a day. You can sneak in some extra time for her while baby sleeps, or while nursing.  You can have her embrace a new bedtime routine with her dad when or if her is home. You can help her achieve greater independence- at 4.5 she's old enough that you don't need to have  you right with her one on one all the time.  She is old enough to hear that you will be with her in 5 minutes, or as soon as the baby falls asleep or is settled. 

Around here a new baby means the older kids get a whole bunch of new art materials, or another activity they can do on their own- and will look forward to.  And sometimes, I made a point of making them center stage- so if I was doing something with them and the baby woke, I would let my husband  handle the baby for a few minutes. When that wasn't an option and the baby was hungry- into the ring sling to nurse he went and I continued on with older kid with minimal interruption. 

You really do  find a balance and a rhythm. 

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#7 of 19 Old 09-28-2013, 01:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the great advice everyone. Unfortunately there's no way we can afford a doula, but my partner has been really great over the past two weeks. I am starting to feel less overwhelmed although I am still dreading next week when my partner's back at work. The worst part is the nighttime crying and the fact that it's difficult putting him down long enough to go for a pee. I think I need to start practicing with the sling, so that I can do a bit more and have free hands.

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#8 of 19 Old 09-28-2013, 06:02 AM
 
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It will get better. Ask your friends to help out with playdates for your older child. If you do not have a stack of meals prepared in the freezer get ccreative about meals. Make double portions and freeze for later. Keep meals very simple and order takeout if needed. Simplify housework as much as possible. Only do what is essential to get through each day.

Carry baby in a wrap and feed as often as needed. Your hands will be free to do other things.

Buy some extra craft supplies and little toys from the dollar shop and offer them when you need to nurse or rest. Set up your nursing place near where your older child can talk to you and do activities at the same time. Balloons, playdough and bubbles are inexpensive and always fun.

YOur new baby will soon get used to being nursed everywhere as you go about your day.

My second baby used to cry in the evening no matter what I did. One night I had to leave her crying for a few minutes as I attended to my other child. She went to sleep. She needed to have a little cry before she settled to sleep. I did not believe in leaving a baby to cry at all but this baby needed to be put down and have a little cry before she quickly went to sleep.

Take care. It will get better and easier soon. JUst stay in the day and do what you need to do to get through now.

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#9 of 19 Old 10-04-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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I know exactly how you feel. My son did 16 days in the NICU, and that entire time I was living in the hospital while my 3 year old dd was at home with her dad. And that was after 10 weeks of bedrest where she didnt understand why mommy couldnt pick her up or play with her anymore. So believe me, I know what it's like to feel like you're sacrificing your relationship with the oldest for the sake of the youngest.

Here's the thing, it gets better so so quickly. For me the turning point was during the third month. When the baby would start smiling and laughing at his sisters antics. When I could start helping her to pick him up and hold him. When he would take interest in the toys she shows him. When you start seeing the sibling bond developing it all becomes so worth it.

These first weeks are hard. Go easy on yourself. When you start doubting yourself just tell yourself 'we're going to get through this, and in just a few weeks I'm going to watch my babies snuggle and laugh and play and I'll know I had nothing to worry about.'. The new baby struggles always start to feel less significant when the newborn stage comes to a close, and I bet in just a couple of weeks you'll be amazed you and your daughter ever survived without baby brother on the scene.
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#10 of 19 Old 10-05-2013, 12:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that, Skelly. It's still really tough, but my daughter is starting to show a lot more interest in the baby. We're still struggling to cope with the constantness of everything and are counting down the days to when things will hopefully start to get easier.

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#11 of 19 Old 10-09-2013, 08:21 AM
 
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Right in the same boat with you-- seems we have a lot in common, you and me.

I miss my daughter! She's turning 4 in Dec. and these days my only job is to make sure she doesn't do anything crazy around the baby, who just hit 6wks. I miss doing crafts with her, going shopping and her "help", I most of all miss sleeping and snuggling her.

Baby is very fussy since this week. I thought she was going to be my not-so-fussy child but no such luck. She isn't as intense as her sis was, but that may have been the novelty of my being a new mom. She's screeched so loudly tonight that my ears were ringing. I could not console her around 3am and called in my DH to help. He's not working right now so I have that option. 6 weeks everyone says that baby calms down and things get easy. Yeah-- the fussy crap just went up a notch for us so I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I know you are dealing with this too and feel the same way I do!

Trying to stay positive. Daddy slept with the baby on the recliner so I did get extra snuggle time with my almost 3yo and it's always much needed. But still... I'm right here with you mama. I'm glad you posted this thread because it's going to help me too.

And Skelly thank you! I had DD2 at 35wks and it really threw us all for a loop. She didn't end up in the NICU which was a blessing so I had to work HARD to get her weight up. It put a strain on my relationship with my 4yo that was devastating for me because I planned so many things to be different. I guess I learned my lesson about planning things around pregnancy and babies lol.

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#12 of 19 Old 10-09-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Tilly; I'm sorry you're experiencing the same as me, isn't it tough? I really can't wait until things improve and he gets easier, and I really hope he doesn't end up being a high maintenance baby because I might just go mad! I hope things get easier for you soon, and I'm slightly envious that you're ahead of me in weeks.

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#13 of 19 Old 10-11-2013, 12:13 AM
 
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Yeah I feel like things got easier for my eldest now that she's used to daddy. But this week he got a few awesome job opportunities that mean he will probably have a new job soon. While that is JUST what we need and like now (gotta pay the bills!) I'm freaking out about how I'm going to put DD to bed and keep baby quiet. DH basically spelled it out that he won't be putting our eldest to bed because her bedtime is far later then he'd have to go to sleep. His industry is long 9-10 hour days that start at 6am and even earlier. Being a family of night owls this is a big issue for us. My DH will just end up not going to sleep till late every night and he feels it'll cost him his job if he keeps it up. I feel like he's just going to have to deal. Lots if husbands are up at night with a crying baby and he never has been-- only occasionally. Now that we have two, there is only so much I can do about it.

DD1 just will not lay down on her own and sleep. She has done that less than a handful of times in her life. She doesn't pass out in the car usually and won't settle down for a backrub. She usually insists or needs to be rocked (she is a petite little girl and only weighs 32 pounds at almost 4), or she wants to be nursed. This is quickly phasing out-- she's only asked one night this week and that's ok with me for the most part.

Have you figured out how to do it with two? I know your partner is back to work now right?I'm mostly worried about the baby crying. She seems to have a very fussy period RIGHT when DD1 is heading to sleep.

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#14 of 19 Old 10-11-2013, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Good luck on the job front! We have similar problems at bedtime with my daughter; she won't go to bed on her own, so we had to just give up on bedtimes when Robin came. I'm in bed with both kids because she doesn't want to go to her own room, so my partner's in there instead. Days are good though, it's a lot easier than I expected, so you'll be fine. It all just seems to work, but then Robin is only really fussy in the evenings. I would really like to be able to sleep more than 2 and a half hours at a time, that would be amazing, and is the one thing that's making things difficult for me.

 

I hope everything gets easier for you, and you'll find that everything just works out once your husband is back at work. Oh, and I was thinking, since your daughter was born early maybe you need to take that into account when thinking about things improving at 6 weeks. That could be why it's not easier for you yet.

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#15 of 19 Old 10-14-2013, 02:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nettlesoup View Post

Good luck on the job front! We have similar problems at bedtime with my daughter; she won't go to bed on her own, so we had to just give up on bedtimes when Robin came. I'm in bed with both kids because she doesn't want to go to her own room, so my partner's in there instead. Days are good though, it's a lot easier than I expected, so you'll be fine. It all just seems to work, but then Robin is only really fussy in the evenings. I would really like to be able to sleep more than 2 and a half hours at a time, that would be amazing, and is the one thing that's making things difficult for me.

I hope everything gets easier for you, and you'll find that everything just works out once your husband is back at work. Oh, and I was thinking, since your daughter was born early maybe you need to take that into account when thinking about things improving at 6 weeks. That could be why it's not easier for you yet.

And I was wondering about that too-- but I've read that unless the baby is developmentally early, that's when you take adjusted age into account. My DD was entirely developed, with no prematurity but born preterm. They used to treat babies like her as any other infant and stopped recently due to some babies falling through the cracks who really were premature. Isn't that odd?

I'd have to say I'm not finding anything different except her size. She's about a pound smaller than DD1 but is growing out of her clothes the same way, hitting milestones and started growth spurts around the same time. So I'm not sure what it all should mean.

I'm glad to hear things are getting better for you. I'm really nervous to be alone with my 3yo and at the baby because she's been acting out SO MUCH for attention. I wonder if this will lessen with just me around. DH adds a lot of stress right now because I'm used to doing things differently. I also haven't taken DD2 out anywhere because of finances and now realize I'm going to have to when DH isn't around to watch the girls while I go to the store. It's been nice having him here. He really helps more then I think and life will be a bit of a challenge without him!

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#16 of 19 Old 10-26-2013, 07:18 AM
 
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I'm right there with you ladies! I have a 4 year old son and 1 month daughter. I have a ton of help and am still totally overwhelmed. My mother in law comes over almost every day. We also hired a baby nurse with money from our savings because my anxiety was so bad. This week she'll be every other night and then she's done. She was expensive, and we really couldn't afford it, but I've been having such a tough time. My biggest challenge is the 4-8 hour. I don't physically get how to put my son to bed, it's our special time together and I don't want to lose it. I miss the old days of the 3 of us. It's so hard! I'm looking into hiring a part time sitter until I can get my act together. But I feel the same way. How does the rest of the world seem to do this while I'm having so much trouble?!?
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#17 of 19 Old 10-26-2013, 09:38 AM
 
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Right in the same boat with you-- seems we have a lot in common, you and me.

I miss my daughter! She's turning 4 in Dec. and these days my only job is to make sure she doesn't do anything crazy around the baby, who just hit 6wks. I miss doing crafts with her, going shopping and her "help", I most of all miss sleeping and snuggling her.

Baby is very fussy since this week. I thought she was going to be my not-so-fussy child but no such luck. She isn't as intense as her sis was, but that may have been the novelty of my being a new mom. She's screeched so loudly tonight that my ears were ringing. I could not console her around 3am and called in my DH to help. He's not working right now so I have that option. 6 weeks everyone says that baby calms down and things get easy. Yeah-- the fussy crap just went up a notch for us so I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I know you are dealing with this too and feel the same way I do!

Trying to stay positive. Daddy slept with the baby on the recliner so I did get extra snuggle time with my almost 3yo and it's always much needed. But still... I'm right here with you mama. I'm glad you posted this thread because it's going to help me too.

And Skelly thank you! I had DD2 at 35wks and it really threw us all for a loop. She didn't end up in the NICU which was a blessing so I had to work HARD to get her weight up. It put a strain on my relationship with my 4yo that was devastating for me because I planned so many things to be different. I guess I learned my lesson about planning things around pregnancy and babies lol.


Your baby is two weeks older than when you wrote this post, and I hope things are getting easier. I don't believe things get "easier" at 6 weeks! Six weeks is the peak of fussiness! I always make sure to tell my clients that (I'm a lactation consultant and post partum doula) and that things really don't settle down until about 12 weeks. I found with my babies, even my preterm baby, that 6 weeks was the apex of fussiness, colic and crying. I had a two year old when my second baby was born and my dh had to go back to work right away. DD1 had been going to bed fairly late but DH gets up at 4:30 for work so we gradually worked DD1's bedtime backward so HE could put her to bed. He KNEW I needed help. I had had a C Section and had yet an other fussy baby and we're partners in this after all. I had to WORK all day, too, only MY work never ended. So, we worked DD1's bedtime backwards, with HIM (DH) putting her to bed about 15 minutes earlier every few days until they were regularly going to bed at the same time. That left me with night times for my late night baby.

 

When DD3 was born my older girls were in grade and middle school, but that doesn't make it easy. I had an other C Section (my 3rd, ow) I had really sore nipples from a baby with a tight labial frenulum and a huge chunk of skin had been torn off right where my thigh bends when they took of the protective coating after the C Section. That hurt almost as much as my C Section incision. DH would see to the older girls homework and the baby was for me to take care of.

 

The thing is, whether he "has to go to work" or not, he is still a parent and should be helping. Of course he needs his sleep, but you do too! Try working your older child's bedtime back to your DH's bedtime (HE can do this himself, he's a grown man, I'm sure he can handle it. :wink ) and then that will leave you with the baby. We had a rule 'no getting out of bed unless you're sick. If you need something before Baby M is asleep, ask Papa." Our 2 year old understood that, I'm sure a 4 year old will. My DH was on "Toddler Call" in those early months, and even though he "had to work" he realized that didn't erase the part where he was still a Papa first!

 

Of course, there were still nights when our 2 year old would get out of bed after she had been put to bed, but as we reinforced the "Papa puts S. to sleep and S. stays in bed unless it's an emergency" she got used to it and in a few weeks we had no problems.


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#18 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 03:00 AM
 
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This thread is very healing for me to read. I fell apart sobbing many many times in the first weeks as I saw my 21 month old daughter looking sad and feeling like she and I both couldn't understand what happened to our special snuggles. Bedtime used to be our time, and DH took that over and it hurt so badly, and I also wondered why I couldn't handle it all. It's because it takes a village and our society has forgotten that. Time really does help, though. The sibling bond strengthens, everybody adjusts. The best thing was when I figured out how to nurse my son to sleep while also laying in bed with dd and helping her sleep. It's still not the super quality snuggles we used to have, but it did miracles for both our hurting hearts. I had started to feel like I had no say in her upbringing anymore, and this fixed that. We had our time back. I also made sure to shower dd with attention when possible and accept the fact that sometimes (or often, depending on the day), one of the two would have to cry for a little bit while I attended to the other. You'll get there. Don't compare yourself to the super moms out there, cause they're just better at faking it, or there letting go something else. The newborn phase is super intense, and it lasts a few months before everybody settles in a bit. Hugs!

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#19 of 19 Old 10-27-2013, 03:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again everyone. Things are definitely getting better. At the start I thought I'd never be happy again and was convinced I would end up with PPD, but now I'm generally quite content and there is only the odd time where I feel overwhelmed or fed up. I'm used to getting up during the night with him and can always stop him crying pretty fast. I've also started being able to put him down for a wee while, and once he stays down for longer everything will be great. The problem with my daughter's bedtime is that nothing will make her go to bed without me. It's all she knows and at the moment she's just not willing to go without me. But I love your idea of going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night until she's going at a reasonable hour. Once everything is more settled I'm going to start doing that. And this time of year is ideal since it gets dark early.

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