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AIBU to wonder how anyone with a toddler and a newborn stays fed, clean and sane?

(51 Posts)
Helzapoppin Wed 24-Aug-11 10:21:59

We have a two and a half year old and a fifteen day old in our house and I spend much of my day wondering how anyone copes with even basic living with this fraught combination.

I'm having a difficult recovery from a section and DH works long hours, but I have my mother staying for the next fortnight and she is basically functionning as a House Elf (poor woman!) - I don't think I've seen her sit down in two days. I've just put down my baby for the first time since 5.30 (3 week growth spurt?) and DD has been taken to the swimming pool.

So, AIBU to wonder how on earth anyone copes once they are on their own with the two children and expected to keep them fed, clean and stimulated? (or am I just a bit lame in the parenting department?!)

And as I finish my post, so the baby awakes!....

redskyatnight Wed 24-Aug-11 10:29:58

You lower your standards. Easy meals filling meals for the toddler and yourself (baked potato and beans, pasta etc). Focus on keeping things hygienic (both the house and yourselves) rather than spotless. Encourage your baby to watch the toddler for stimulation (obviously this depends on the baby's temperment but this kept DD happy for a good 2 years lol).

i liked toddler groups when my 2 were that age (but not afterwards...). partly because DS would toddle off and play and I could collapse in a heap whilst vaguely waving a rattle at DD. Partly because "someone" will help you out if you need it - and also because there is usually a procession of people wanting to hold the newborn.

Get out to the park - sit on a bench and feed the baby, again while your toddler goes off and plays.

try to synchronise naps so you get a break.

good luck!

summertimeblews Wed 24-Aug-11 10:32:23

lol, i had a newborn, a 20 month old and looked after 6month old nephew. It was like plate spinning at times, but not a mega deal really.

Mumswang Wed 24-Aug-11 10:32:27

God only knows. But if you find out can you tell me?

Birdsgottafly Wed 24-Aug-11 10:35:18

Agree with redsky. It all about prioritising.

Also, you have had a section, which is in fact akin to an operation. So not only do you have a newborn, toddler but you also need recovery time.

You will be up and about soon, the baby will settle for longer, meanwhile do what you are doing to, delegate, and take whatever help is offered.

Chulita Wed 24-Aug-11 10:35:59

Great that your mum is there, mine stayed for a fortnight too after my second (also a cs) and she was a lifesaver! DH didn't get paternity leave so I couldn't have done it without her.
As redskyatnight said, you lower your standards. Mine two are now 2.8 and 13 months, DH is away and I'm pg again so they currently live off fish fingers/potato waffles or pasta/cheese sauce. My kitchen/bathroom are clean-ish but would never pass any close examination. DD watches far more cartoons than I ever thought I'd resort to and I tidy the toys away only if someone comes to visit. We try and get out for a leg stretch once a day just to the park to run off some steam (while I flake out on the bench), and toddler groups when they start up again are brilliant for getting someone else to hold the baby!

It's a very difficult time but take it a day at a time and don't worry if DD doesn't have her hair brushed or is wearing rumpled clothes smile congratulations!

Scholes34 Wed 24-Aug-11 10:36:04

Had a newborn, a 2 year old and a 3.5 year old once. I think it took me about five years to get everything under control. The idea of comparing it to plate-spinning is a good one. In fact, once you don't have so many plates to keep an eye on, you'll find yourself a bit lost. The small age gap will pay dividends when they're older.

Chulita Wed 24-Aug-11 10:38:08

Ahh scholes that'll be me next year confused

VeraCanSignChocolateAndWine Wed 24-Aug-11 10:39:44

Hi, my dd's are 3 and 5.5 now. And vaguely remember those days when dd2 was newborn.
A few things I learnt along the way were..
Make sure toddler has something to do before you sit down to feed baby.
Get 2.5 yo to help you, fetch wipes, nappies, put dirty nappy in bin, etc.
Invest in a sling to carry baby round the house.
Stuff the cleaning, plenty of time to catch up with that later.
And most importantly...
Make time for you.

elliejjtiny Wed 24-Aug-11 10:40:14

I had a newborn and a 22 month old. Then when ds3 was born I had a 4 year old (at school), 2 year 9 month old and a newborn. I got through those early days with a lot of toddler groups and cbeebies. Are you breastfeeding or formula? You can learn to breastfeed in a sling although I never got the hang of that. Also it won't be as bad as you think. I dreaded DH going back to work but each time it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

MoominsAreScary Wed 24-Aug-11 10:40:23

Now I'm scared!

DogsBestFriend Wed 24-Aug-11 10:40:26

I honestly don't recall it being that hard at all. (Had newborn by ELCS and 19 month old).

I guess the benefit was that I didn't have streams of visitors and that my then husband, who was the biggest PITA and cause of additional work, left when the babe was 7 weeks old.

I just strolled about in my own little word with time to spare (and YES I DID clean and tidy, can't stand living ib dirt and chaos, especially not as a pet owner!).

Maybe those who find it hard are trying to be all things to all people, visit this one and that, host the in-laws and so never get a moment's peace. <<shrugs>>

DogsBestFriend Wed 24-Aug-11 10:42:57

Ah! ellie has come up with another reason why I might not have found it all so time-limiting... I chose to formula feed so I wasn't tied to the sofa, so to speak, by a babe who wanted to feed almost constantly as I understand can often be the case with BF babies.

SomekindofSpanish Wed 24-Aug-11 10:44:01

I stayed fed, clean and sane because I had an older child (5.5 at the time) that I had to take to school grin

VaginaPuddleduck Wed 24-Aug-11 10:44:25

Birdsgottafly - a c-section isn't akin to an operation, it IS an operation!

OP, I had a section second time round two and firstborn was 22 months. I think it largely depends on what kind of newborn you get to be honest. My firstborn was impossible to put down and barely slept. My second born slept for the first 6 weeks and it only really got hard when she moved onto a 30 min at a time nap schedule then but by that point we were past the worst of newborn hell.

It'll get easier, I promise!

VaginaPuddleduck Wed 24-Aug-11 10:44:54


VaginaPuddleduck Wed 24-Aug-11 10:45:50

I have to say I found it easier when DH went back to work because then I could get into the swing of things properly.

Alibabaandthe80nappies Wed 24-Aug-11 10:47:31

It is hard! Hurray for your mum though, mine came and was house elf for me after I had DS2, also by section.

For the first days you are home alone, just stick to the very basics. Meals, and easy ones at that, nappy changes, feed the baby. Use TV for the toddler while you feed if they won't settle with a book or a puzzle or whatever.

It does get easier pretty quickly. DS2 is 5 months now and I've managed to potty train DS1 this month, the house is clean and so are the children grin

NickettyNacketty Wed 24-Aug-11 10:48:23

I had a 7 year old a two year old and newborn. No section to contend with.
However the 7 year old was usually the only one who was regularly fed, clean and relatively sane! That is because she went to school. The rest of us lolled along in tracky bottoms, last nights sleepsuits and any old thing that came to hand. Unwashed, unbrushed and often wailing-all three of us.
Seriously I did develop some coping strategies after a couple of weeks.

Alibabaandthe80nappies Wed 24-Aug-11 10:50:37

Dogs it is all about perspective I think with feeding. I decided to BF so that I didn't have the faff of sterilising things and making feeds etc.

And when you've had a section it is good for you to spend a significant portion of the day sitting down grin

Georgimama Wed 24-Aug-11 10:51:53

I am coping with DS 4.5 and DD 3 weeks with copious tea and cake for me and cbeebies for DS. Am also holding out for 5th september when he goes back to school.

Did I mention cake? Cake is very important.

In all honesty I would be in a much worse place if DD was like DS as a newborn. He could not be put down unless he was asleep, and nine times out of ten the act of gently lowering him into his crib/pram with breath held would wake him up again. DD is an angel.

jojane Wed 24-Aug-11 10:53:45

I had a newborn, a 2 yr 4 month old and a 3 year 11 month old. Luckily DH had enough holiday to have about a month off so I was stuck toxics in feeding he'll (cracked nipples, mastitis etc) while he cooked, cleaned and looked after the other 2.
Now the kids are 10 months, 3.1 and 4.8 and I went through an easier stage it has now gone mental again as baby is crawling, cruising, standing up but needs to be watched coz will fall over, pick up things not supposed to, find the random piece of Lego that wasn't picked up etc. Plus when I leave the room he cries for me. Looking forward to sep when eldest will start school, middle will be at play school 3 mornings so might actually get a chance to do housework!! Also am learning to drive so soon will be FREE!

DogsBestFriend Wed 24-Aug-11 10:54:19

Ali... when you have a lazy twunt for an ex who won't even clean th bath out after himself so that you can put the toddler in it and 2 dogs to walk and care for you don't see much of the sofa! grin

munstersmum Wed 24-Aug-11 10:54:59

redsky is right - don't set too high standards.
Sometimes I used to consider it an excellent day if I had both showered & cleaned my teeth by 11am.

fatlazymummy Wed 24-Aug-11 11:00:49

I had a very difficult [special needs at the time] 3 year old and a new born, as well as an older child and was a single parent. I found it quite easy really. I formula fed, based the routines around getting oldest off to school and taking the youngest to nursery, got showered and dressed in 10 minutes ,tidied up and cleaned as I went along. The baby was fed ,changed and winded then swaddled and put down with dummy. It all fell into place really.
I think I coped well because I had to. Luckily I recovered very quickly after the birth.

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