Mothering Forum banner

new baby/DD acting out

493 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  seedling
I hope this is the right forum....DD #1 is 3 years old. DD #2 was just born on Friday so she's all of 4 days old. We're already in the thick of the fall out. Last night after getting DD#1 down I cried for half an hour about how freakin hard this is.

We have tons of sibling prep books. Included DD #1 in just about all of my prenatal care. Have talked, talked, talked about what life will be like when baby gets here. Have big sister gifts tucked away to give to DD #1 when baby gets a new gift. Etc. So I feel like we REALLY prepped for this.

But DD #1 is having a really hard time. For one thing, she got sick the day the baby was born. She's recovering from that. For another thing, she was way overstimulated with so much family around. But now we're into the work week, things have calmed down, and it is really clear to us that DD is having a rough go of it. My DH is home for the next three weeks so between the two of us, we've actually been spending a good deal of time with DD. She's getting way more daddy time and way less mommy time but still, she's getting lots of one on one. The second day of baby's life I baked a cake with her for the baby's birthday (her idea). Yesterday DH took her to the park and the library. Today they are out running errands. And this morning I made sure I was the one to get her dressed and gave her some special snuggle/story time. So we ARE really trying here.

Well, she's just testing, testing our limits. It's not necessarily stuff directed at the baby. But it is just a general lack of cooperativeness. Night time has been particularly awful ... last night she was hitting DH as he was getting her ready for bed. He repeatedly asked her to get control of herself, tried redirecting, etc. In the end he just said, if you can't stop yourself from doing this, I'm not going to subject myself to being hit, so no stories. Well, she couldn't get it together and she got no stories which had her howling screeching kicking mad. Of course DH is all pumped up and angry too (he's no where near as sold on GD as I am though he totally defers to me on the matter...this is another subject entirely...but I'm sure it's a factor in what is going on here). So anyway, he's pissed. She's pissed. I'm nursing baby. He calms down and goes back up to her room and tells her that he loves her very much and that he'd really wanted to read her the story but that hitting is not okay in our family and that there will very simply be no stories tonight because she didn't quit hitting when he asked her to. So he kisses her and says goodnight. As soon as the door is shut she starts wailing again. So I finish up nursing and go up to her and lay beside her and rub her back and reiterate that we don't hit in our family. I then try to talk to her about what was going on, why she was hitting, what she was feeling but really don't get very far with that tract. So then I prayed with her...said my prayer and then she wanted to say her prayer. Then we hugged and kissed and said goodnight. She was calm at this point and went right to sleep. Then I came downstairs and just cried.

I mean, I feel like we are really, really trying here. And we still aren't measuring up. We're still idiot parenting central here. I just feel so terrible that she is having such a hard time...

So, after that novel, if you are still reading...what advice to you guys have that might make things easier for her? Have you experienced this type of acting out? What have you found gets your kid back together? I mean this behavior that we are seeing is the "not eaten or not slept enough" behavior and its over The past several days have been nothing but a long series of button pushing. We need to somehow figure out how to help her regroup and get herself under control. We also need to figure out how to keep our own emotions in check when we're both motoring on less than the needed amount of sleep, etc.

Thanks for any words of wisdom you can offer.
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
I think you're feeling this even more intensly than you normally would because you're so newly postpartum. Your dd's world has definately turned around in the past five days (and yours too of course!
). It sounds like you're doing everything right. Try as much as you can to do things the way you always have because that's what she's looking for the most. She needs reassurance that nothing will change between you and her and the relationship you had pre-baby. It can be really hard for them when friends and family are coming over and giving all the attention to the baby and mostly ignoring her when she used to be the main focus. I never go visit a new baby without bringing a little present for the older siblings. If someone could come over and bring her a "big sister" present and focus on her instead of the baby that would be really good. Just try to keep her routines like they were before, treat her the way you did before etc. If she's not breastfeeding anymore, sometimes letting them try your milk in a cup can say a lot. When she feels reassured and adapts to the changes of having a new sibling she'll start getting better. Ok, I'm just going to list some things at random here that I felt worked for my kids when they had a new sibling. I promise they're good ones.
I really feel that, when dealing with a new siblings, actions speak so much louder than words.

- Ask her to come over and cuddle with you when you don't have the baby AND when you do have the baby (you can all cuddle together). This will help her know she's not being left out.

- Let her hold the baby whenever she wants to. Don't act overly worried about the way she's doing it. Tell her what a great big sister she is and let her know how nicely she's holding the baby and that the baby likes it.

- Have her help you a lot. Have her grab diapers, burp rags & baby blankets for you. She will really enjoy being involved and it makes them feel good & proud to be a part of taking care of the baby. It gives them more chances to interact in a positive way with the baby. Even helping with rubbing in lotion. Whatever. They feel important when they are doing something for the baby and it helps them bond and makes them feel good about the baby.

- This may sound silly - but I swear it's in the books too! :LOL I'm not just a
- "talk" for the baby. Talk to the baby about your dd. Say to the baby, "Oh, you are so lucky to have a big sister like DD." "Oh, look how nicely she's helping you." "We just love DD, don't we." etc. Just talk about real, true positive things about her or that she's doing and have a conversation aloud with the baby about her - for her to hear of course. It's another way of letting her know how you feel about her and also she'll feel good that you're telling the baby all of these wonderful things about her.

- This may sound weird but I also think it's good to let them be protective of the baby and the baby's things when people come over, especially kids. I think it's part of them accepting the baby as a part of the family and a part of their life. I can't really explain it. This is just what I've observed from my children. If they don't want to share the baby or the baby's toys or swing or whatever with other kids, don't make them. I'm talking for the first month or so. I see them wanting to protect and be possesive of the baby and the baby's things as a good sign and I noticed it as a sort of process of accepting the baby into the home and into the family.

Sorry this has turned out to be so long. I just wanted to offer as much as I could because there haven't been any other replies. I know some of these things sound a little strange but I promise they work because my dc#1 never had any problems when my dc#2 was born and my dc#2 never had any problems when my dc#3 was born. So, they really will help, crazy sounding or not.
Good luck.
See less See more
Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions. I haven't tried the talking for baby idea and am definitely going to start doing that. I also need to work on not showing any nervousness when DD wants to hold/touch Flora. She is helping out a lot and seems to take pride in that. And she has started calling the baby "my baby" which I think maybe shows some of that possesiveness/protectiveness.

I really think the biggest issue for her so far is that she's having so much less of me and so much more of her Dad. He just has a totally different approach with her and I think sometimes he is too harsh. But they seem to do so much better when they are on outings together so I've been really encouraging him to get her out and do things. Plus, she does better when she's not just sitting around the house all day. Also, I think it helps DH be more understanding/less harsh with her when he gets to witness other kids her age in action...he realizes she's not being "fill in the blank", she's just being her age. Today he has her at the park with her playgroup pals. So maybe in the long run this will all be a huge positive for us.

I am feeling a little bit calmer about all this now. Yesterday was a much better day. One of my dear friends had her come over and play for a few hours (we regularly did this before the new baby). When she got home I laid down with her to read her stories...Flora woke up in the middle so I brought Flora into bed with us and finished the stories. DD fell asleep and so did I and the we all took a little nap together. Then later in the day I made sure I had Flora tanked up so I could be the one to give DD her bath and do the bedtime routine. It was a much calmer day for her. I'm hoping for more of the same today.

I am so grateful that my DH can take the rest of the month to be home with us. I am able to spend some good time alone with the baby in the mornings while they are out and then some one-on-one with DD in the afternoons. I don't know what I would do if he wasn't here.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice. I really appreciate it...and the hugs too. I know I haven't ruined my DD's life and that she'll appreciate having a sibling in the long run but it's hard to remember that when she's so out of control.
See less See more
Glad to hear things are improving.
Siblings are a wonderful thing. My brothers and sisters are some of my best friends to this day.
See less See more
Seedling, I hope you won't feel like you're being spied on by one of your RL friends, but I saw your post and since you know I'm following in your footsteps anyway . . . !!!

I just wanted to reiterate that even tho I have no experience with this yet, it sounds to me like you are doing EVERYTHING RIGHT (as usual!). It doesn't sound to me like anyone can "take away" the difficulty of the situation for DD#1 -- all you can do is be calm, consistent, gentle, and hang on like the dickens 'till this is smoothed over!

Kinda sounds like this particular problem is just how the transition of this new baby is manifesting itself. Last time it was a sore rear-end, shock about being so sleep-deprived, etc, etc, and this time it's everyone trying to help DD#1 hang on just like the rest of you. If anyone can do this, you guys can, and I mean that VERY sincerely!

And FWIW, my ds has been thru several hitting (and kicking) stages already, so she's not necesasrily just being a terror bc of the baby. They just do that, it seems!

Hang in there!
See less See more
when your flow is lessened, i would heartily recommend learning nursing in the sling, living with the baby in the sling all the time. it is what saved me when i had #2. my eldest had three illnesses in a row when i had clay, so i have a pretty good idea what you are gong through. i have learned to allow dh to parent the way he does, to be the father and not substitute mamma (since otherwise i'm just wasting my energy trying to control him) and that in the end i will get all the extreme emotions from my children because it is the compliment my kids pay me, that they are so comfortable and assured in my love that they let loose.

and i've got the hitting kids. and guess what, i'm an intense person that doesn't take change well either. hitting is a natural reaction for many kids, and i've seen some grow out of it with no coercion. i think you can cope however you can for now, knowing that you can change habits and reactions as you get more adjusted. you do measure up for your dd. it is forgiving yourself and taking things a minute at a time that you need. three is still a small person, as huge as she may seem in your life right now. though she is the older sister, i think threes need very little rules aside from safety. sometime i have to ban saying no for awhile, because i end up fighting the situation anyway. i just say yes, or okay. sometimes it is okay, i'm coming, yes, you can when you are five, yes you can touch it with one finger for one minute. sometimes my kids just feel better after getting the yes and don't even need me to follow up on a request. the less enforcing the easier you will feel. you can always add rules later. the more in control of yourself and relaxed you feel, the better she will feel. it takes time. for my family that is two or three weeks of utter chaos i can depend on for minor change. multiplied times family members for big changes. then i just tell myself, i won't remember most of this a year from now.....

get all the help you can you can seedling, especially with the homemaking. the more rested you feel the better it will be. kids do need quantity time, and do need their mothers and react when everything seem weird. what works the best for me is to pay attention to the moment, and conserve my energy instead of worrying about everyone's dynamics that i cannot control or change. when you do talk to your daughter when the baby is asleep and dh is out of the room, look her in the eye and feel the world dissolve as you do something with her and think of nothing else. for my kids this is important and it benefits me too, even if it is five minutes a day. aim for a smooth, quiet, sparkly feeling. this is the babymoon for your family!

much love,
See less See more
Beautiful words of wisdom Casina!
I just wanted to second the recommendation to have your baby "live" in the sling as much as possible. It is so worth it and makes everything so much easier. Also, when the baby is in the sling they are getting everything they need. They need nothing more than that, being held close with ready access to the breast. So, when baby is in the sling you are free to tend to the other children. I'm glad you mentioned this Casina. Honestly, I don't know how I would've survived w/o the sling.
See less See more
the sling calms ME down. my baby can cry in the sling and i know i'm doing okay since i have them right with me. and the older ones get used to it being part of you when they are infants and it is not so disruptive to them phychologically, kind of like you are pregnant on the outside. often my children will forget there is another person in the sling and don't consider them a contender for their attention.
i was thinking more about my dh and help, which always shifts with a new baby. it does tax my kids and it is baffling since they love him so much. i imagine it is kind of like having a crush on someone and doing what they want and being stressed otherwise. my dh also happens to do more structured play, when sometimes the kids need to feel things are openended.

everyone needs me suddenly
See less See more

Originally Posted by casina
the older ones get used to it being part of you when they are infants and it is not so disruptive to them phychologically, kind of like you are pregnant on the outside. often my children will forget there is another person in the sling and don't consider them a contender for their attention.
See less See more
Yes, the sling. I never really got the hang of the sling with my first and used other carriers that were less friendly for constant use. I've since gotten a higher quality sling and have told myself I must get comfortable with it this time. I have been using it some has come in handy for bouncing on the birth ball to calm Flora, and for family walks. I aim to transition more into my normal routine in the next couple of days and will start incorporating more sling time as this happens.

Breathe, thanks for your kind words. And don't worry, I don't feel like I'm being spied on. I was "outed" several months ago anyway (lol!). I don't know what I would do w/o my very supportive RL friends. You guys have been so wonderful!

I am feeling much, much better about DD and her transition into big sisterhood than I was a few days ago. DD seems to be dealing better thanks to many outings/playdates arranged by my RL friends and an energetic dad. I'm so grateful to have all this support.

Well, computer time is limited these days. Just wanted to say thanks so much for all the advice and suggestions. Oh, and MamaAllNatural, I think I'm going to dig out the pump and try giving DD a cup of milk. She's been asking for regular milk when she sees Flora nursing and saying "your girls like milk".
See less See more
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.