Dealing with a toddler and a newborn - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 03-05-2007, 05:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I need some help. I'm just having such a hard time. I'm still postpartum and suppost to be resting, but having a hard time with dd1. She loves her sister and is happy she's here, but sometimes will hit her when she's flusterated. She screams at the slightest injustice and I feel like I have 0 patience with her. Whenever she's home, I wish that she was back at her nana's :. I just feel like such a horrible mom, I feel like I have to "choose" everday and I'm always "choosing" the baby. I feel like I'm couped up in the house and just need to get out, but b/c my bleeding keeps changing to bright red, I'm not suppost to. I 'm suppost to rest, but how can I when I'm being such a horrible mother already? This is just making me feel horribly drained and defeated. My dh helps the best he can and he really does a lot, but he's in school full time right now and has classes, homework and studying. I could really use some hugs, advice, maybe some book recomendations, anything.....

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#2 of 14 Old 03-05-2007, 10:03 AM
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No real advice but I've so BTDT.

I had a 22 month old, a newborn and NO support. The first few weeks were hell.

The toddler decided to stop napping right after the baby was born. I couldn't get out of the house-the toddler used to run away and I'd be chasing him down the street carrying a newborn.

It was especially hard because I'd had such an easy pregnancy and I was albe to carry out our daily routine (a long nap, lots of outside time and long walks) up until I went into labor. Then I was having a hard recovery, had a new baby and a toddler who was used to all my attention.

I think the main thing I would have done differently is forgot about my old routine and just gone with the flow for a few weeks. I should have forgot about trying to get the toddler to nap and just locked him in the room with me. (it was relatively childproof).

Also I should have used the stroller for my toddler more. Then I wouldn't have had to chase him.

One mom I know who had 3 kids all 18 months apart said to forget all rules and let the toddler have whatever they want (within reason) for the first few weeks. IOW don't try to implement or continue with a routine. I think that's good advice.
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#3 of 14 Old 03-05-2007, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sarah_bella1050 View Post
I just feel like such a horrible mom, I feel like I have to "choose" everday and I'm always "choosing" the baby.
First, This is a very difficult time for you, but it will get better. As the baby gets bigger, your two children will interact and will play together, and that is awesome. What you said above, though may provide some insight into your daughter's behavior.

When my son was an infant, I responded to his every need. I could, he was the only one. But when my daughter was born, there were times when EACH of them had to wait. Sometimes my son had to wait while I was feeding the baby and couldn't get him a snack. Sometimes the baby would have to wait while I finished reading the storybook to my son.

Yes, this meant that sometimes the baby would cry to be picked up, and I would choose my toddler OVER the baby at that moment. I thought that my son needed to know that HE was also still very important to mommy, and that if we were building a house out of blocks, the baby would have to wait a few moments while we finished.

This is hard to do, I know, but I found it to be helpful, and to reduce jealousy between them. I know our instinct is to respond immediatly to a crying baby, but we have to look at the big, long term picture.

Also, it never worked for me, but many people have success with a sling, so they can wear the baby and still interact with their toddler.

I truly hope you begin to feel better soon, and that this stage passes quickly for you.
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#4 of 14 Old 03-05-2007, 12:36 PM
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I've BTDT twice! My kids are all exactly or a little less than 2 years apart. It is so tough at first, you're exhausted, hormones all over the place, the baby needs you constantly, and the 2 year old is freaking out because they don't have your constant attention. I wish I had some great advice but I don't. Try to be patient, relax as much as you can, and know that it will get easier after awhile. Try not to feel guilty because your older little one is upset. This is tough for her too but as long as you are interacting with her as much as you can, she knows she is loved.
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#5 of 14 Old 03-07-2007, 08:48 PM
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It's normal! You have a brand new baby who needs lots and lots of investment from you and an older child whose had a turn so to speak. You expect that she needs less of you and in a way she does, but because she's smart, she can bug you for more attention...

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#6 of 14 Old 03-07-2007, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the support everyone. DD is not doing any better, in fact she may be worse . This morning I had her climb into bed with me to snuggle when the baby was on the other side of me. She was all smiling and happy and talking to be and then all of a sudden threw her sippy cup over me trying to hit the baby. She tried to shake the bassinet today too. I having a really hard time not going to far into "mama bear mode", she trying to hurt my baby and it makes me really angry. Yet, she's my baby too :. DD1 is at her Nana's house right now and I'm seriously dreading her coming home. I just want my old feelings back, I want to love and cherish dd1, not dread her coming home. What's especially sad is that she has never been gone as much as she has lately, my heart used to ache when she would spend the day away, now it's like I don't even care. : : :

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#7 of 14 Old 03-08-2007, 12:39 AM
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Dear Sarah,
I'm sorry you are so overwhelmed. I just want to reiterate what previous posters have already said--it does get easier.
One of the hardest things about having a second child is the change in feelings towards your firstborn. All of a sudden, the child that used to be your whole world is now just kind of "in the way." As a mother, you're painfully aware of that shift, and your child can probably sense it too.
I wish I had some practical advice for you but those first weeks are just about survival. Try to cuddle when the baby's sleeping and read to your daughter when the baby's nursing. It will get better, but it might be a while.
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#8 of 14 Old 03-08-2007, 03:04 AM
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I promise it will get easier. My kids are 4 years apart and was still really hard, because my son was used to getting all of my attention for so long he was quite jealous even though he really loves his sister.

It's been 5 months for me now, and i still have rough times, but things are getting easier for sure.
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#9 of 14 Old 03-08-2007, 01:56 PM
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I'm sorry it's so hard. My eldest two were exactly two years apart and I remember all too well how hard those early months were!

I don't have two many ideas, except this: would it be possible for DD1's Nana to come spend time at your house, instead of sending her over there? Depends on how Nana is, what kind of help she is to you, but maybe if she was there with you, you could tag-team a bit to get your DD adjusted. Maybe Nana could hold DD2 while you read DD1 a story and fixed her lunch, then Nana could take DD1 out for a walk while you snuggle with baby. Or however it worked, but then DD1 wouldn't have the big transition of off to Nanas, come home, yuck, baby's still here, throw sippy, etc., etc., etc.

I suggest that because it sounds like you and DD1 are kind of "stuck" in a negative cycle right now (I know whereof I speak; my youngest and I are often stuck that way.) and sometimes it takes help to get unstuck. With my DS, I bend over backwards to be very, very positive with him, not letting him do destructive things, but praising him big over simple stuff, like putting his plate on the counter after lunch, or being gentle with one of his stuffed toys, or asking me nicely for something. It really helps cut into that negativity and then he responds to my discipline better, and we don't have the power struggle anymore.

I wish you the best! It will get better, I promise. Congratulations on your new baby, and get better soon.


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#10 of 14 Old 03-08-2007, 07:09 PM
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My dd is now 8--she was 2 when ds was born 6wks early. She wasn't huge trouble when ds came home finally, but my mom took her 1 day a week, and we did have daycare (to hold my slot for going back to work later) but I did have sole care for them both from Thursday through Monday (5 days) because dh worked weekends. One thing was to give dd some time when ds was sleeping---her own time with mom. Also, she got some dad time on weekends or evenings (he works full time also)--even if it's just an hour or 2. Often ds would be napping while we had an early dinner--at the table or whatever was most comfortable and easy for everyone--so dd could have just mom & dad time. Also, I was in bed(on the couch) in the den with gates at the 2 doors. Although, a bit confining, I could then be sure dd was safe and in my sight without having to chase her. Just my experience
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#11 of 14 Old 03-09-2007, 05:07 AM
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You poor thing! It's such a really hard time! It will get easier, I absolutely promise. Or at least you will get better at dealing with it. I totally understand where you are coming from; mine are 17 months apart. If you are feeling cooped up and you feel okay physically, I wonder if there's much harm in going out, regardless of blood color?

I finally came to terms with the fact that sometimes the baby has to wait too. I hated it, but sometimes I let the baby cry while I did something with big sister. My husband kept reminding me that the goal was for everyone to get what they NEEDED and some of what they want, but that nobody can get everything they want. I also kept reminding myself in many ways to put dd1's needs first. The first few weeks I actually prioritized dd1, except for breastfeeding. I got dad and grandma to hold new baby a lot. The baby has no idea that life can be any different than the way it is, so it can adapt to being handed off to others a good bit. It is much much easier now. Really, once the baby could sit alone and had some minor hand control, life got exponentially easier.

They ADORE one another. Don't ever want to be separated. Play together constantly. Just to give you hope.

Could Grandma come and watch big sis at your house? So big sis doesn't feel like she is being shuffled off, and you can play with big sis when you get a chance?
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#12 of 14 Old 03-09-2007, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Her Nana has four other children 8 and under and no help so it wouldn't really help to have her come over, it would just be MUCH more stressful. That sure would be nice though. Dd has been refusing to nap lately too, which she really is NOT ready to do. She is quite cranky.

Dd is very attached to her sister. The other day when dd through her cup at the baby she later told her dad that she was bad 'cause she wanted a baby of her own . She also tried to breastfeed the baby herself today. She won't even let the baby sleep without bugging her. When the baby cries she tells me that I have to go get her RIGHT NOW. All this, and then she's also hurting her :. She's just so much energy. She can't do anything gently with the baby. She wants to carry the baby around like a ragdoll one minute and then is raging the next b/c I won't let her.

Sarah knit.gif married to Micah, mama to dd1 (9), dd2 (7) and ds (2). We love to homeschool.gif h20homebirth.gif goorganic.jpgchicken3.gif
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#13 of 14 Old 03-09-2007, 06:12 AM
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Not sure if this is possible, could you get a 10-12 yr. old to come help out after school for an hour or so? I did that, a friends daughter wanted to learn to babysit, she didn't even want to be paid! I gave her $2/hr and she would also wipe off my counters and fold laundry! just 2-3 times a week made a huge difference. My son adored her. In some ways it's work, but at least you could use the bathroom in peace once in a while, so to me the trade off was worth it. I know you probably don't have the energy now to try to find someone, but the local jr. high school counselor might be able to suggest someone. hang in there.
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#14 of 14 Old 03-09-2007, 09:25 AM
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I haven't read all the responses in detail but I have been in the same shoes and here are some suggestions and things WE did that helped immensely.

First - just realize that this is a HUGE transition for your daughter. Like any transition, she needs your help to navigate all the emotions she is having etc. And it is PERFECTLY NATURAL for her to feel love/hatred for the new baby. There's a great book "Siblings without Rivalry" and in the beginning, he has you imagine your spouse/partner is coming home with a new wife/husband/spouse - and you'res supposed to feel happy about it. Pretty funny....

Anyway, with my DD we used the Playful Parenting approach. We had a real "b*tch session" about the baby together where I tried to help my DD put her feelings into words. "I want the baby to go away. I want Mommy all to myself. It's not fair that Mommy can't play with me right now." etc. It seemed to help a little bit that DD realized that I understood her feelings. And she was able to release some of those "bad" feelings so her good feelings could come forward.

Next - we used her favorite Gymbo doll to act out all the bad things she wanted to do. "Don't hit the baby Gymbo" (with a baby doll) - "you bad Gymbo" I would yell and she just died with laughter. It was a release for her to see someone else getting "in trouble".

Also - to help us both reconnect, I got out all the old pictures of her as a baby. I talked to her about what it was like when she was a baby. It made me very nostalgic and I felt alot more "charitable" towards her afterwards.

And for yourself - let go of guilt. Some of what you are feeling is hormones talking ("ugg" says cavewoman "baby first-ugg"). And some is plain ole mommy guilt. Try to think about what kinds of things YOU liked to do with your mom as a child. And try to cultivate that with your older DD. You don't have to spend every second with the older child for them to remember the "good times".

A big part of helping your DD get over the sibling rivalry is to make sure that you both focus on YOUR RELATIONSHIP as a separate entity from the baby. Don't make the baby the excuse for why you can't do something....instead of saying "I'm feeding the baby" for example, just say "mommy is busy right now and I will help you in 5 minutes when I'm done" - just like you were doing laundry or something.

I also took as much advantage as I could those first few months when the baby sleeps alot to make sure my attention was focused on my older DD. It wasn't even doing anything specific - but just sometimes making silly faces with her and really doing that connection thing where you look her in the eye. The house looked awful and nothing got done - but my DD is now (6 months later) confident that Mommy still loves her and that even though things have changed, I still WANT to be with her and have her around.

Anyway, those are things that have helped a bunch in our relationship. Maybe some of them could work for you.

I know it is so hard! Good luck,
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