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To ask for your top tips on dealing with the arrival of DC2

(32 Posts)
BB2000 Tue 21-Jan-14 21:44:04

I’m expecting DC2 in about a months time and while I’m getting excited about meeting the new baby I’m also a little (a lot) daunted by it. I found having DC1 very challenging – difficult birth with c-section and baby in SCBU, very demanding clingy baby, and stressed out mummy. This is all coming back to me now.

My DC1 is now 2.4 months and lovely little thing, my DH while great is away 3 to 4 nights a week so I’ll have to manage a fair bit on my own.

I’d love to know what was the best advice you were given, or the best strategies you developed for going from 1 to 2. I’m thinking things like :

how to you keep DC1 happy while you are breast feeding/feeding – especially when it takes so long at the beginning?

how do you bath and put two children to bed at the same time?

how do you stop DC1 getting jealous and split your time fairly between a demanding toddler and a new born?

These probably sound like silly questions to people with 2 (or more DC) and I’m sure I’ll just muddle through, but I’d really like to have a few techniques/strategies up my sleeve for the early days. What advice would you give?

MyDarlingClementine Tue 21-Jan-14 21:55:02


I had this cot second time round and this helped enormously and I wish I had had it first time round...

I really cannot stress how much this cot helped me, it helped me sleep, life was soooooo much easier with it...I was hoping to get a smaller one, the most expensive ones and was quiet disappointed when DH said he had found one of these for 70...however, its larger than the others and had more space for me to tuck my phone and other bits and pieces in as I lost my bedside table...easier to transfer as larger space.

Its been easier second time round, as more confident, had an ELC which was amazing compared to horrid labour....properly established BF, found it sooo much easier second time round! BUT this cot was 70% of the ease....happier baby, happier me...all the benefit of co sleeping and no risk.

BF helped enormously, been so much easier than bottle...again, me waking up less and less effort to feed.

My child was older than toddler and because new born just well....slept...she was pretty un demanding! I did loads of games and things with dc1, probably spent more time than ever with her, as baby was sleeping, then by the time baby woke up more and was taking more attention....she had become part of the family and dc1 didn't notice or mind...

we don't bath every night here and I would not wash a new born every night anyway, so cant help on that.

good luck, you will be fine! ( first baby had awful reflux, always covered in sick, with dc2, we have not even used a muslin!!!! not even little bit of sick after feeding!)

Bearfrills Tue 21-Jan-14 22:00:59

I have two years, three weeks between DS and DD and will have two years, four months between DD and the new baby (also due in about a month). The good thing about second babies is that you tend to be more relaxed as you've done it before, it's not as steep a learning curve as first time around and you've already had practice at the 'basics' like feeding , changing, teething, etc.

how to you keep DC1 happy while you are breast feeding/feeding
Sit the older DC next to you with a snack/drink of their own and do something that interests him. I BF'd DD for three weeks but kept up the hugs when we switched to FF. the 'thing' that interested him was my phone so I downloaded some educational apps and had him playing next to me while I fed the baby.

how do you bath and put two children to bed at the same time?
This seems impossible in theory but is quite easy in practice. Get everything you need set up beforehand. Have towels, PJs, etc to hand. For the baby have a changing mat on the bathroom floor with a towel spread over it and nappy, sleepsuit, etc ready. Run the bath. Put your toddler in with a load of toys, put the baby in (keeping hold, obviously). Hold baby with one hand and wash with the other (unless you have a bath support). Lift baby out straight onto the changing mat on the bathroom floor and dry/nappy/dress while the toddler plays. Once baby is sorted leave him on the floor (no one ever fell off a floor) and wash your toddler. Then repeat the dry/dress routine for the toddler. Read toddler a bedtime story while feeding the baby then both into bed at the same time.

how do you stop DC1 getting jealous and split your time fairly between a demanding toddler and a new born?
Lots and lots of praise and reassurance for DC1, set aside time just for him too - when DD was napping I made a fuss of DS because it was our 'special time'. Try and keep to his routine as much as possible to minimise any unsettlement. When visitors do come, ask them to greet DC1 first and spend a moment to chat with him rather than all rush to the new arrival. Tell him what a good big brother he is, we got DS a little gift from DD (some cars) and when he did things like gently hold her hand or fetch a nappy or sing her a song we used to tell him how much she loves her big brother and how proud we were of him. Also, unless its a safety issue, when faced with a crying newborn and a crying toddler, go to the toddler first. The baby won't remember having to wait but the toddler will.

heather1 Tue 21-Jan-14 22:06:03

I would second the co sleeping cot. I got mine for babiesrus, but it was ages ago. It had a drop side and could be pushed right up against my bed.
Ds1 was 2.5 when ds1 was born. He was jealous and I couldn't leave them together, it wasn't safe. So a sling was useful and also a playpen.
I used to read/cbeebies when feeding.
Ds1 went to bed and then I would do Ds 2 later. That meant ds1 had my undivided attention for bed time.
Now I love the age gap mine have as they love each other and play together really well.
Also ds2 'brought' ds1 a present. I made a massive deal about it and ds1 was thrilled. Helped smooth the new arrival too.
Lastly take it easy, if you don't get to playgroup it doesn't matter. Older Ds will be just fine without it. Be kind and remind yourself often you are doing a great job and your kids have a great mum.

Bearfrills Tue 21-Jan-14 22:10:23

Yes, on days when it's a bit crap (because we all have days where it's a bit crap, regardless of how many DC we have) just remember that it'll pass, they won't always be so small. Wait until they're asleep and then go look at them, all soft and warm and doing that baby/toddler snuffly breathing. It makes the crap day slightly less crap.

DS is now 4.5yo and DD is 2.4yo and they're brilliant. We still have the occasional crap day but mostly it's lovely. They're best buds and they really bring each on, they entertain each other too which takes some of the 'pressure to perform' off me and frees up some of my time to get on with other things.

BB2000 Tue 21-Jan-14 22:31:46

Thanks for your suggestions - these are really helpful. Good to hear of those of you whose DC get on so well. And I like the watching them when they are asleep when you've had a challenging day - I do this will DC1 after a bad day and it always helps!

littledrummergirl Tue 21-Jan-14 22:37:50

I had a wind up swing for the baby. It was a godsend.
We also called ds2 "the baby" as in the chair, the table etc for the first few weeks/months so he was no threat.
Another good piece of advice we were given was that ds2 wouldnt remember crying if he had to wait a few minutes. Ds1 would, this is why the swing was such a big help. It lay flat and would rock ds2 while I played with ds1.
Same as above re feeding and bathing.

littledrummergirl Tue 21-Jan-14 22:39:05

There are 14.5 months between my ds's.

BobaFetaCheese Tue 21-Jan-14 22:46:56

DS1 is 2, DS2 is 5m, what's worked for us so far;

Feeding; They always feed at the same time, even if it's just a snack, I give DS1 something and he sits next to me to eat. If we're indoors he is allowed to watch tv if I'm feeding the baby or putting him to sleep (but only if he asks, which he usually does), we make a big deal of DS1 eating the same food as us so he knows he's grown up!
I ask DS1 to get me/show me random stuff if he gets bored; 'Hmm, where is your bike/red chalk etc'
DS1 is obsessed with cars, we have autotrader magazine and he flicks through the pages picking out all the VW, Audi or Mercs (like the German design obviously) or if I ask hiim to find the yellow car etc.

Bedtime; I put DS2 in our room, out of sight of DS1 and say 'oooh baby sleepy time, is it time for the bigger boys to sleep?' or something similar and get him into bed, getting DS2 up once DS1's door is closed.

If DH & I are both knocking about, one of us will take DS1 out alone to the park/shops etc so he gets 100% of the attention. We try and make sure he gets an outing out alone at least every other day.

Never bathed them together so can't help on that one...could you do the eldest first and them get them to 'help' you do baby?

greenfolder Tue 21-Jan-14 23:14:57

I wouldn't worry about bathing together.older one a night if that's what he is used to. Baby can be during the day at some point and really only needs every few days. Stick to older child routine,baby will fit in more or less.

CrohnicallyFarting Wed 22-Jan-14 07:06:29

I only have the one (and also a niece who was 3 when DD was born)- but just came on here to say a sling was invaluable for my clingy baby, and supposedly you can breast feed in them too (though DD never would, tongue tie baby and she couldn't latch unless in cradle position). A stretchy wrap is good for newborns, or if you don't want the faff of tying bits of fabric, the close caboo is similar and mamas and papas do one (flex?) that are like a stretchy wrap but you put on like a t shirt.

Finola1step Wed 22-Jan-14 07:30:34

Lots of good advice on this thread OP so I won't repeat but I will share with you a great piece of advice I was given.

DS was 2.9 when dd was born and I was very worried about how ds would accept and bond with new baby. Midwife suggested two things. The baby "buys" ds a present to say "thank you for being my big brother". But the really important bit was for me not to be holding baby when ds came to see me after baby was born.

I had a home birth with dd (ds stayed at my mum's for the night). We made sure that my DH passed over dd to my mum (without ds seeing) and ds was quickly brought upstairs to me. Ds and I then had a few special minutes before DH brought new baby into the room to meet ds.

This may sound like nonsense to others but to me it made perfect sense. Better for the older child to be introduced to baby on their terms and territory rather than subconsciously feeling pushed out. It worked for us. No sibling rivalry issues, ds accepted baby straight away. 3 years later they get in really well (apart from the odd spat!)

Good luck and take it all as it comes, one step at a time.

curlew Wed 22-Jan-14 07:47:51

If one of the children has to be "neglected" then neglect the baby. She will be OK if she's warm, fed, changed and gets plenty of cuddles. The toddler has more complex emotional needs.

It does no harm to let the older one know that you find the baby a bit of a pain in the neck sometimes "oh, dear, she's crying again!! Here, you eat this chocolate biscuit while I sort her out, the we can do something more interesting"

Make sure that all the baby's firsts are directed towards the sibling "Look! She's smiling at you!" "She's laughing- she thinks you're so funny!"

Bearfrills Wed 22-Jan-14 08:04:24

What curlew said. DS used to glow with pride if we pointed out how good he was at making DD smile/laugh/stop crying.

AndWHOOSHTheyWereGone Wed 22-Jan-14 08:05:00

Yes don't be holding the baby when you see DC1 again after the birth. DP did that bit, DD came in and had a cuddle with me and then DP walked over and said "look DD, this is your brother". She still calls him brother now, she knows his name but always calls him "brother"! I think the best advice is to get DC1 on your team. She "helped" me with all the looking after, fetching nappies for me, singing to him etc. I did a lot of work on "being gentle" before baby DS was born, we spent time with relatives with pets and taught her how to be very gentle with them so that she would understand how she needed to b with baby.

You will have a few months where it's am achievement just it survive the day all fed and relatively clean. That's ok and normal. I remember one awful day when DD was pushing it as we hadn't been out for a few days. The baby was on the floor and she was bent over him and I think being a bit too rough and from somewhere inside me instinct took over. I bellowed "Get off him" in a big scary bellow and flung her out the way! I thought she would hate me forever but we were all fine the next morning and she didn't do it again! What I'm trying to say is that there will be things that feel too much, days when it's really hard, but you get through it. And now that baby is 10mo, crawling and cruising, and he and his sister are thick as thieves, play together, chase each other, cuddle to get to sleep and DS has even learnt (sort of) to say DDs name as his first word!

Good luck and congratulations. Having 2 is hardworking but so rewarding. You have so much to look forward to!

OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 22-Jan-14 08:16:59

I will have 3.5 yrs between ds and new arrival so a different kind of age gap to handle but watching with interest. I love the look of the Arm's Reach Co-sleeper Cot but when I googled, I only found it for sale through NCT for £250 which is way out of budget. Is that just what that kind of cot costs? In which case I will just stick with our crib - I don't want to co-sleep in bed as I can't figure out how to make it safe in my bedroom.

Also really like the idea of a comfortable sling so I can have hands free to play with toddler, take him to toilet etc! So again, hijacking thread to ask if anyone has specific recommendations?

I wanted to hire a birth pool at home but thinking of spending that money on something that will be useful for longer!

OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 22-Jan-14 08:23:46


OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 22-Jan-14 08:23:52


OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 22-Jan-14 08:23:57


OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 22-Jan-14 08:24:03


OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 22-Jan-14 08:28:16

Um.. sorry about that! To answer my own question, having googled co sleeper cots they are all £150+ so am giving up on that idea. Have seen some on eBay but SIDS advice is to change mattresses for each baby isn't it? So am thinking a custom mattress for a specific cot might be too hard to get hold of. Like you, OP, I am apprehensive about the sleep deprivation plus looking after toddler but we just don't have the funds for any pricey items!

3monkeys Wed 22-Jan-14 08:31:05

I would say try not to worry! I did for the last few weeks of being pregnant, and then Ds1 couldn't have been less bothered. There is two years between them. I read while I fed Dd, the same books over and over!

The second one is easy to entertain, she just came with us wherever Ds wanted to go. She loved watching him in the park or playing with his trains or whatever. Have fun, I miss those days smile

Wisteria36 Wed 22-Jan-14 08:38:17

We have a four year age gap so slightly different but with the cot, I just have a normal cot we got from mothercare when ds1 was born with a drop side and have wedged it up against my bed, I don't remember how much it cost but I don't think it was as much as the one you've seen on nct. It's great as the earlier poster said, the baby has his own space and safe bedding etc but I can feed without getting out if bed. The other thing we did was bought an adult sized cell blanket to use instead of a duvet so there's no chance of baby getting near any duvets etc. Some great tips on this thread, am also reading with interest!

Weegiemum Wed 22-Jan-14 08:40:38

My dd1 was exactly 24 months when ds was born, then they were 3y10m and 22 months when dd2 was born.

Lots of good advice here, especially about the first meeting. Dd1 still sleeps with the "Bagpuss" that ds brought for her, and she'll be 14 in a fortnight!

A lovely friend made me a "nursing basket" for dd1 when I was feeding ds. In it - little books, her own special juice cup (there were even some little juice boxes!), little snacks - mini biscuits, boxes of raisins, some little toys (the one I really liked was a little play mobile car) and a new cuddly toy. Small colouring book, crayons, can't actually remember what else!

Every time ds needed feeding, we'd get the basket out. I'd restock drink/snacks and rotate some of the toys/books after a feed - it took all of 2 mins and was so worth it. Wasn't long before "basket time" was the best time of day!

jaggythistle Wed 22-Jan-14 09:01:35

Sling to keep dc2 happy in between feeds and leave hands free.

Probably more DVDs and cbeebies while feeding at first tbh.

Also more comics with stickers, reading stories etc.

I just fed baby while reading DC 1's bedtime story, .both of mine have stayed in the living room and cluster fed for the first few months so not had a bedtime for a good while.

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