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DD very clingy since PG with 4mo DS help!

(6 Posts)
Honeymoonmummy Mon 11-Jul-11 10:23:36

Hi all, my DD was 2.5 when DS was born, he is now 16 weeks, he hasn't been an easy baby, has reflux and is constantly feeding (BF), my supply isn't great. DD has always been a mummy's girl and has had episodes of being nasty to DH and became more clingy to me when I became PG (always been quite independent beforehand). Since DS was born, bedtimes have gone down the toilet, she just wants me all the time but plays up if I'm in the room feeding DS. If I leave to go next door with DS she just screams "mummy" non stop. She hits DH and shows him no respect.

She always wants me to dress her, wipe her bum etc and refuses to do it for DH. She is affectionate to her brother to date thankfully.

I have PND, diagnosed from 6 weeks (had it with DD too) and am finding it very hard to cope with the constant demands on my time by both DCs. The ADs I'm on worked last time but aren't working so well this time. DH is obviously also upset at how she's treating him as he worships her.

She used to like going into nursery; now it has to be me taking her and she cries and clings when we get inside.

I know there are people in a far worse position and that it's probably the terrible two's but I really feel like I've broken her heart by dividing my attention when she previously had me all to herself.

Between DCs I went back to work full time, DH works 3 days a week so she was with DH 2 days, nursery 2 days and PIL one day. DH has been on summer hols for a month now (college tutor). Since I have been off work she goes to nursery 1 day a week and PIL one day a week.

AKMD Mon 11-Jul-11 11:47:01

Oh dear, I really feel for you.

I think the first thing to do is go back to your GP and change your medication as the one you're on isn't working.

Don't feel guilty at all about 'breaking her heart'. 2 years is a fairly standard age gap between siblings. Unfortnately, your DD isn't dealing with it very well but it's still a behvioural issue on her part and should be dealt with. I think it's worth untangling the problems and havign a set strategy for each, along with an overall theme of getting her used to not having your full attention.

Bedtimes - It's back to sleep training. Does she have the same bedtime routine as before your DS was born? If not, try getting back to that routine. If it was always you putting her to bed before, can you take responsibility for the last part fo the routine e.g. reading a story together and getting into bed? If she makes a fuss, reassure her briefly - 'Goodnight DD, it's sleep time now. I love you.' - but then leave and ignore. Repeat. If she's coming out of her bedroom, take her back to bed without fuss and/or consider consider putting up a baby gate.

Hitting - completely unacceptable and you need to put your foot down about that. The strategy you use is up to you but it she needs to be 100% clear that she is not allowed to hit anyone. Time out might work or the Supernanny-style naughty step. Make sure she has a cuddle when she's calmed down!

Respect for your DH - it must be really upsetting for him that your DD is acting like this but try to help him not take it personally. If it's physically possible, get him to take your DD to nursery. Can he take her out for 'treats' like going to the park, swimming etc.?

Is she happy once she's at nursery? If so and if you can afford it, I would see if she could go back to doing 2 days, to give you both a rest. Nursery is one environment that hasn't changed for her, whereas at home with you has changed completely and needs some getting used to.

Does she help out with her baby brother? Could you give her some age-appropriate responsibilities so that she feels involved? Have you tried putting your DS in a sling so that your hands are free to do craft activities/baking/stories with your DD? It's probably the last thing you feel like doing but spending time on a focused activity with her could help her feel more secure. Otherwise, are you getting out at all? Can you take her to the park, a story session at your local library or soft play?

How is your DS sleeping? Does he disturb your DD at all during the night? Is there anything you can do if he is?

Are you planning a holiday this summer? If so, it could help you to spend time as a family and for your DD to do fun things with your DH with you there too. If not, can you do a 'home holiday' with family activities for a week?

This must be really hard for you and I hope your DD settles down soon. I think the most important thing is that she is reassured that her baby brother has not replaced her but that she needs to learn to share you. Making sure she has stable routines is easier said than done but I'm sure it would help her to rebuild her sense of security.

Honeymoonmummy Mon 11-Jul-11 20:59:25

Thanks for that really detailed response
AKMD. I'm typing this on my phone so will probably forget the answers to most of it!

I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow morning re the meds. I'm going to ask if I can increase the dose rather than change (150mg sertraline) as it worked last time.

Re nursery, she does enjoy it once there and is ok within a minute of being left alone, but we're trying to watch our pennies so I can stay off longer. I wouldn't want her to feel we were sending her away more because of her behaviour?

Re bedtime, the problem is that DS is still cluster feeding in the evening, from 6 till approx 8-9 (feeding him at the moment!). tonight I told her that if she hit daddy at all I would leave her room for bedtime and she didn't hit him. I also tried a naughty mat, used it twice, in the end I had to say needed to give DS his meds (for reflux) and would
come back once he asleep and so the hysteria started, despite DH staying in bed with her. Mind u, it's gone quiet next door now after only 10 mins, but it's her nursery day today and she's always
tired afterwards.

I am seriously contemplating changing from exclusive BF to mixed
feeding so DH can do the evening feed - has anyone else done similar and did it work/ how did u feel? I exclusively bf my DD until 6 months and bf to 18 months so I feel I owe DS the same ... But I can't go on like this.

Honeymoonmummy Tue 12-Jul-11 12:14:23

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BlueArmyGirl Tue 12-Jul-11 22:17:11

AKMD had some good ideas.

It depends what kind of ppl you are as to how you deal with it. I would suggest that if dh is taking her to bed than that's it, that's what's happening and he deals with taking her, saying good night, leaving the room, going back when she whinges etc. Or if you can't be that firm try stating to her that after dh has takn her to bed and she is quiet you will come up to say goodnight, keep it short and sweet, tuck her in, kisses then out of the room.

How you deal with it depends on how easy you find it to be firm and, if it happens, to see her be upset. Some ppl find it really dificult others not so much.

rodformyownback Tue 12-Jul-11 23:57:15

Hi Honey
I'm in a similar situation to you in that I have pnd and am trying to do my best for both my dss (3.5 and 7m). We had a very easy time of it to start with, the slightly bigger age gap meant that ds1 was able to understand better when the baby's needs had to come first and ds2 has been a very easy baby, but things are getting more difficult now that ds2 is eating solids (bloody hours at the table), getting mobile (interfering with ds1's toys) and getting a bit of separation anxiety. Ds1's behaviour is deteriorating and he seems frankly pissed off a lot of the time. Today he said he wanted dh to be "killed" which we both found very upsetting. sad
Like you my dh is in education, his school holidays start Friday, I can't wait! To be honest I feel at a real low point at the moment, but will share some of my experiences in case they can be of help.
Nursery - my ds1 goes to a playgroup two mornings and went through a phase last term of kicking up a huge fuss when I dropped him off. Although this wasn't immediately after ds2's birth I think he was upset to realise that ds2 and I were going off and doing things without him. This improved very suddenly, tbh I think it was mostly to do with having found a really good friend there but there were a couple of other factors - I bought him some new plimsolls, decorated them and made a big fuss over how great they looked, and made sure we were on time rather than one of the stragglers (have regressed a little on this point since!)
I don't know how your nursery fees system works but it might be worth considering two half days rather than one full day - means more faff for you but might help you stick to a routine for getting out in the morning and help your dd to be more familiar with being dropped off?
Bedtimes - dh has almost always put ds1 to bed and ds1 is generally fine with this, but there was a week or two where he really wanted me and we had similar issues with me feeding ds2, ds1 being annoyed etc. Our solution was for dh to take ds2 for a walk in the sling while I put ds1 to bed. It required a bit more military precision than we are used to to make sure ds2 had been fed by 7 so he would be sleepy and full enough to tolerate going out with dh, but it worked pretty well by and large.

Good luck and you have not broken her heart! You have given her the wonderful gift of a sibling (which she shows, despite acting out in other ways she is not taking it out on her brother) and she will thank you for it in the end!smile.

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