Two year old is not adjusting to new sibling.

(10 Posts)
looki Sat 08-Mar-14 00:28:13

My second baby is now four months old and my two year old is still not adjusting and its breaking my heart. The baby has reflux and cries A LOT. My once placid toddler gets so distressed with the continuous crying, often starts crying herself and in general her temperment has changed dramatically. We did what we could to 'prepare' her (given she is just a baby herself) by reading books about having a new sibling, the baby brought her a baby doll etc. I carry the baby in a sling so I can free my hands for my toddler, she 'helps' me with the baby but the constant crying gets too much for her and she gets so distressed. She wants to be up in my arms herself and no longer will allow her Dad to put her to bed, change her nappy etc. She screams until I go to her. She has started to refuse to eat, refuses to take a bath and has now started to wake up during the night crying 'no no no'. As soon as one of us goes to her room and reassures her, she asks to go back into her cot so it is genuine distress. I hate that the drama of the day is spilling into her night sleep. She is a fantastic little girl, we never had any issues before and its breaking my heart to see her getting so upset on a daily basis. I'm currently on maternity leave and because I'm returning to work, kept on our childminder part-time rather than lose her so I spend a biggish portion of my day with my little girl. Most afternoons we head out and do something (just the two of us). Today was so horrific and upsetting for my little girl, the baby and me that all three of us were crying at one stage. I feel so guilty about having a second baby when my little girl is just a baby herself. The only reason we had a second child was for her not to grow up on her own and now I really feel it was the wrong decision. Please give me some advice on how to make this easier for her. I want my happy self assured little girl back.

Benzalkonium Sat 08-Mar-14 00:40:46

Oh dear it sounds really distressing... I am sorry you are finding it so tough. I hope this is not unhelpful, I had 2 quite close together, and I really didn't have such a stressful time of it. My older daughter could be over sensitive about how many cuddles each had had, but other than that she was fine. So imhave a few questions for you, to try and understand your situation better.

I think given that you are spending a big portion of the day alone with her it is surprising that she is still finding it so hard.... Is it right that the childminder looks after the baby while you are with your little girl? Or is it the other way round?

Do you keep,talking to her about it? always rationalising with her about what you are doing, and explaining to her that you love her just as much?

It sounds like going back to work is something you are dreading because it might be even more of a struggle?

How much real life help and support do you have?

looki Sat 08-Mar-14 01:11:52

Thank you for your reply.

Regarding the division of time, I spend the morning with the baby and the minder spends the morning with my eldest (up until her nap). I get her up from her nap, give her lunch and spend the remainder of the day with her. Two mornings a week we go to toddler groups so we alternate when necessary.

We are always telling her how much we love her, a couple of times a day we go through it ie 'who loves you' - she will rattle off 'Mama, Dada, Teddy and Baba'.

I'm not looking forward to going back to work but just today postponed it so I won't be going back until the end of the year. To be perfectly honest, work is a breeze compared to being at home but I am reluctant to miss their baby days and this really is my last opportunity to spend a good chink of time with them.

Real life support - my DH only as we live in a different city.

Haahoooo Sat 08-Mar-14 08:58:11

So sorry you're having such a tough time. I can't advise properly at all as I am expecting DC2 imminently but he is not here yet. So the only things I can pass on are things I have been reading in my 'coping with two' book which you may be trying already. It advises to (in a nice way) joke together with the toddler about the baby (something like 'silly baby, hungry again, oh dear we have to feed him) and also not to be too hard on yourself re letting your toddler watch some tv / have a snack etc when you need to deal with the baby.

I am planning to use the sling a lot with DC2 but someone did say that doesn't always work as DC1 could perceive it as the baby getting constant cuddles. Not sure what the alternative is though - baby bouncer or swing?

Anyway, this is all very easy to say for me at the moment so feel free to ignore, and good luck.

Benzalkonium Sat 08-Mar-14 13:00:35

I really think your little girl might benefit from some one to one mummy time with no baby around. It really makes all the difference, and I find ongoing that it is the single thing I can do which helps us all get along.

Albertatata Sat 08-Mar-14 16:30:43

I reason with my 2.5yr old - 'baby is crying because he can't speak like you so its his only way of telling us he is hungry, tired etc'. 'sometimes you cry when your tired' 'You wouldn't like it if I left you to cry etc.'

'Baby can't walk like you so I have to carry him'

What's your age difference, ours is 25monyhs and I'm bloody exhausted & also feel very guilty for DS1 as I seem to have become shouty mum.

I will get easier eventually (that's what I keep telling myself!)

Misty9 Mon 10-Mar-14 13:43:45

Have you tried voicing what your eldest might be feeling? For example, gosh yes that crying is LOUD, and annoying. It's ok to want the baby to stop crying...etc?

I'm due dc2 in a few weeks and "my new baby" board book looks good for encouraging discussion about why the baby is how it is/needs what it does. I'll be back for advice myself in a few weeks no doubt!

haa I was looking at that coping with two book - do you think it's worth buying? DS will be 2.7yo when his sister is born.

Babieseverywhere Mon 10-Mar-14 14:01:25

Maybe more time with mummy and her new baby sibling would help.

We have two year gaps between all our four children and the only problems we had was when DD1 was at nursery and DS1 and DD2 were at home with me. Previously going to nursery was a brilliant treat but so wanted to stay home and play with her new sister, she resented being sent away.

Could you have a few days together, all three if you...no outings and no childminder.....just hanging out together. Less pressure to do things and be places.

Please try not to feel guilty, she will accept her sibling.

I really feel for you. This time is HARD. I have 2 yrs between my DDs (birthdays a few days apart) and had a very similar and difficult time with my DD1. It sounds to me as if you really are doing all the right things (time alone with your DD1 etc) I think really you just have to keep on going. It will get better, and probably quite soon. In a few months once the baby is weaned onto solid food hopefully the reflux situation will improve and the crying will lessen, also the baby will become more interesting for DD1, once she starts to crawl and take more of an interest in her surroundings you will find that DD1 maybe sees her more as a person than a wailing nightmare! I have 2 yrs between DD2 and DS too and that was also pretty hard on DD2, but less so I think. Maybe because DD2 had never had me to herself she was less jealous. As it happened my DDs had a very tricky relationship for quite a while, always fighting etc, and I despaired, but then it all changed around the time DD2 and DD1 started a new school together aged 3 & 5 (DD2 in nursery and DD1 in Yr 1), I don't know whether it was the age or the circumstances but suddenly it was like they were on the same team and everything pulled together. They are best of friends now (7 & 9) and totally adore each other.

You are going through a tough time now but don't think you made the wrong decision! It all changes so quickly when you look back (although the time goes so slowly when you are living through it!!).

How is your relationship with the baby? You don't really mention him or her except in relation to the crying - are you having trouble with that too do you think? If you are finding it hard to cope could your attitude and reaction be adding to the pressure on your DD - e.g. DD seeing you tired / upset / distressed following the arrival of the baby and that is upsetting her - where has my relaxed happy mummy gone? I'm not sure what the answer is except to muddle through and time will improve things.

I know this sounds like a fatuous exercise, but we all find it really easy to focus on the lows - i.e. thinking about all three of you sitting there crying. Try and make the effort to look back over each day and think of the better moments rather than the bad ones. You must have nice times when out and about with DD1, try and remember that as well as the rough times and just keep on going as this difficult stage will pass soon.

DeWe Wed 12-Mar-14 09:32:31

I found things like sometimes letting the baby cry (not long) and saying "Don't worry, baby, I will be with you shortly, I'm just finishing story/dinner/playing with big sister".

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