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20 month old physically aggressive to new baby, WWYD?

(5 Posts)
FessaEst Mon 01-Aug-11 13:49:15

DD2 is 2 weeks old, DD1 is 20 months. DH goes back to work this week and I am panicking over how I will cope with 2 of them. DD1 is interested in the new baby and likes to help wash/dress/change nappy etc, but also hits/scratches DD2 unpredictably - immediately following a gentle kiss for eg. We are keeping DD2 out of the way as much as possible, praising DD1 a lot for good behaviour, distracting her (which I will be able to do less of) and putting her down, saying no and briefly ignoring her etc when she attacks. It doesn't seem to make any difference, and I'm not sure how to manage it from here. Any tips?

Mobly Mon 01-Aug-11 14:59:39

I do sympathise as I had a 21mth age gap between my 2 boys and DS1 did exactly the same thing. At first I just watched like hawk and prevented any 'attacks' for want of a better word. As DS1 approached 2yrs in age I decided it had to stop and I gave one warning then straight onto naughty step. In hindsight it seems harsh (DS1 not being much more than a baby himself) but you have to balance needs of both children and it was unnacceptable for DS2 to get hurt.

I had to step up the discipline in the end and give no warning or second chance so basically if DS1 hurt DS2, he was straight out of the room onto the naughty step (with a very simple explanation and only for a minute). It worked. Add to this lots of praise/stickers when they are kind or gentle and your DD should get the message.

It is so hard though, try and get together a big box of activities for DD1 for when your DH goes back to work to help you occupy her while you are feeding baby. Accept any offers of help.

MissBetsyTrotwood Mon 01-Aug-11 19:05:00

That's a pretty similar age gap to mine. It sounds as though you are doing some fabulous things and there will be some times when you can't keep an eye on them both. I also agree with Mobly about the reward/sanction stuff.

I recommend a playpen, either to keep baby safely 'in' and toddler 'out' or vice versa.

Plenty of physical activity seemed to help mine. A trampoline was amazing. The Chad Valley one with the handle for indoors or outdoors was my choice and had the foxes not eaten the elastic we'd still be using it now.

I tried to have time in our routine that was ring fenced just for DS1. So, even if baby was crying I would always put DS1 to bed, just him and me. It felt totally counter intuitive, shutting the door on a small baby crying but I knew he was safe. It was only 10 minutes give or take but really important for both of us. DH works evenings so I rarely have help at that time of day.

It's difficult, that first bit when they're so small and close in age but it's so amazing as they grow together. Good luck smile

FessaEst Mon 01-Aug-11 20:03:30

Thanks for replying. I think I am going to have the travel cot up to create a safe space missbetsy. I genuinely feel DD2 could get quite hurt if I look away at all.

As you say, it does feel weird to abandon DD2, but I have already put her down/in the pram/bouncy chair much more than I had DD1 at this stage. I am trying to put DD1 to bed each night, I am lucky to have DH to help me with bath etc, but we then have a nice cuddle and I settle her just her and me.

mobly it's great to know that it's not just us. I have bought a travel aquadraw that I am going to get out at feeding time, and have gathered together some DVDs (though DD1 isn't that into TV). I need to get hold of some colouring bits etc.

I can't believe I used to think having one was hard!! grin

MissBetsyTrotwood Mon 01-Aug-11 20:14:19

I watched my friend's oldest, age 2 and a bit bend down and give his newborn baby bro a kiss in the pushchair. I thought 'Ahh, so cute!'. My friend was like, 'OK, now watch...' and lo and behold, the kissy session ended with a biiig bite on the baby's nose!

They love the baby. They hate the baby. It all comes out somehow!

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