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Toddler jealous/negative behaviour towards newborn

(12 Posts)
freelancegirl Tue 30-Dec-14 11:41:45

Ds1 is almost 2 and a half and ds2 a week old, brought home from hospital after two nights due to cs.

DS1 is clearly confused by the arrival. If he tries to be affectionate it can be heavy handed but sometimes he is clearly not being affectionate - testing how far he can go by tapping the baby a bit harder on the head and watching for our reactions and also trying to clamber all over both of us when trying to feed.

Ds1 and I have been extremely close as we co-slept and he only started two mornings a week at nursery recently when 2.3 and also a few weeks ago I finally managed to get him to go to sleep in his bed without me. When he wakes in the night however Dh has had to take over the resettling, so that's another change. As much as possible I've tried to have one on one time but it's hard being that I am ebf a one week old.

It's clear he's missing me and I miss him too! But he's also being difficult to be around. It makes it worse that I've had a cs and therefor haven't been physically active with taking him out since I have got home. He does have good attention from grandparents and Dh around but he still is pretty annoyed!

I know this is probably quite common and we are doing all the things I've read about - the baby brought presents home with him from hospital and we are trying to make a big fuss of the toddler. Just wondering if you have any more tips, experience, words of wisdom or any idea when this might pass?

freelancegirl Tue 30-Dec-14 11:43:02

Should say he's also being deliberately nasty by hitting the baby occasionally and also screaming in his face. Not all the time of course but he's definitely trying to let the baby know he's pissed off!

katandkits Tue 30-Dec-14 16:55:10

Ive just come out the other side of this. It is so so hard but it wont last long, my DS loves his 6 month old sister now. He was only a little bit over 2 when she came and clearly had no idea what had gone on in his life. Expect regression in behaviour, keep trying to make a fuss of him and praise him. A sling is helpful to protect the baby and still have hands free for your toddler. Special new big boys toys that will provide a distraction when you are feeding. We also had the smacking the baby thing. Try not to give a big reaction as that is providing lots of attention. Keep as calm as you can when dealing with it.

freelancegirl Tue 30-Dec-14 22:24:02

Thanks KatandKits! Good to know you are coming out the other side of it now. When you say don't react much, how do you react? I'm not exactly the strictest parent in the world (Dh is more strict) but will probably try to explain to him why he shouldn't do it but then at some point end up raising my voice.

Agh. I know enough to know this is just a phase but it's a really challenging one when you're trying to feed the baby and the toddler is either being nice (but leaning and climbing all over the baby) or getting fed up and whacking him! Being on our own even for a short period of time can be a challenge.

Good point about the sling. I was a complete sling failure with DS so need to make an effort. It would make moving around the house easier.

Ps you didn't used to be on the miscarriage boards did you? I remember someone of a similar name.

spookyskeleton Tue 30-Dec-14 22:35:13

I had 2 boys with an identical age gap between them. DS1 used to hurt DS2 (hitting, biting fingers etc) but was also equally fascinated by him!

I am not going to lie, I found it a really difficult period and I just aimed to get through each day in one piece. I set up a travel cot in the lounge to put DS2 in to stop DS1 touching him and tried to never leave them alone together!

Ds2 is now 6 (DS1 is 8) and not much has changed grin but now they hurt each other rather than it being one sided! However, they totally adore each other aswell and when they are not arguing, they are lovely together.

No advice other than it will pass - in the meantime, eat copious amounts of cake

katandkits Tue 30-Dec-14 22:52:20

Yes, i had two mc before DS i did used to post there.

feeding was a real flashpoint here. It got easier when the clusterfeeding stopped at 3 months and DD spent less time boobing. Try to get set up before a feed, get him a snack and a drink, stick beebies or Thomas on, get out a new item of plastic tat if he seems bored. A supply of cheapo poundland items is handy. Chat to him whilst feeding to try to keep him on his task.
obviously with the hitting sometimes i did react badly, its hard not to when you are tired and hormonal and your previously sweet boy is being violent to your newborn. But if you can get up, say oww, no hitting, hitting hurts, without shouting, and move yourself and the baby away, that is more effective. When you have comforted the baby, give the older one some time and try to give him words for the feelings he is struggling with. "you seem sad, is it because mummy wasn't playing with you? Mummy loves playing with you but babies do get hungry a lot. Its quite annoying, isn't it?" that sort of thing.

freelancegirl Wed 31-Dec-14 09:15:43

Aha yes I thought I recognised you kat. I had both my DS' on treatment for rmc.

Gosh thanks both so far for the advice. It IS indeed hard every time we are in the same room together. I will carry on explaining to him w
why it's wrong.

Spooky, did it get better before they were 6 and 8...?

A friend suggested feeding under a small cover a la Nigel Farage so DS doesn't see you holding the baby so much. And yes, we are truly getting our money's worth out of CBeebies this month.

spookyskeleton Wed 31-Dec-14 11:11:20

Ha ha, yes it did. Can't remember when as it was probably more of a gradual thing but it was fairly quick as DS1 got used to the baby being around and forgot how life used to be.

I was lucky in that I was still able to send DS1 to nursery 4 days a week so I had a lot of respite which saved my sanity.

Someone said to me 'imagine your DH invites another woman to live in your house without your permission and you had to share his time, attention etc and you had no option other than to put up with it - how would that make you feel and how would you act?' which made me understand DS1's feelings a bit better and I did try to be sympathetic to him but I agree that it is so difficult when they are hurting your precious newborn!

JustTryEverything Wed 31-Dec-14 11:35:58

Hi - DD is 10 weeks with same gap for my DS at 2.5.

do you have a tablet or can you get some simple puzzle apps on your phone? I've got Dino Puzzles and Tozzle which DS loves and he's only allowed to play sitting next to me when I'm feeding. It means I keep him close by, engaged and can also supervise the iPad to make sure he doesn't break it! It would normally bore me to tears watching him play these games but forced to, it means I can give him loads of positive interaction etc.

Sometimes he's suggested I feed DD as he wants to play on the iPad!

Oh, and I usually try to make it his idea "oh dear, baby is crying. Do you think she's hungry?" "Yes" "oh shall we go and give her some milk then?"

It definitely got easier after about a month when DS stopped clambering all over us and as DD gets bigger, it's less scary when he's 'stroking' her. She's also started to really follow him with her eyes so I make a big deal about how she's looking at him and how much she loves watching him play.

When you're a bit more settled, don't forget to make time for you and your eldest. It's easy to split parenting into Dad with him, me with the baby so I have to consciously say 'right, DH, you're having the baby for an hour whilst I play or do bath and bed with DS'

Congratulations thanks

katandkits Wed 31-Dec-14 12:10:57

If your eldest still naps after lunch, what i did was to wake the baby for a feed once he was in bed. Then she was usually ready for a sleep by the time he was up again so although i got no break i did get some alone time with each child. Sadly nap has gone now!
close caboo was a great sling for my newborn, she slept happily in there while i played cars and trains.
it goes without saying that now is not the time to introduce changes like potty or new bed. Try to keep things the same for him as much as you can

ithoughtofitfirst Thu 01-Jan-15 19:45:07

Dc2 is 9 weeks old and I have been having a similar problem. Ds not being heavy handed so much with the baby but being an absolute PITA to me. Just really unbelievably unhelpful like waiting for me to rock her to sleep then screaming right in her face to wake her up. Waiting til I'm feeding her and then asking me to get something really obscure and screaming when I say sorry I can't right now. If I bring her baby seat to put her in to tend to him to climbs in it and won't get out. I know exactly why he's doing it all and I really feel for him but it's so hard not to lose my temper because he can't see that I actually WANT to spend time with him but if he wakes the fucking baby up I can't!!

It's starting to get better gradually as he gets more used to her being around and is really loving towards her. I bought him a little doll and pram and stuff and tell him to get 'his baby' and pretend we're like mummy friends. Lame I know but it's the only strategy that's helped us so far.

Anything so I don't lose my temper. Which is just the least helpful thing I could do.

freelancegirl Thu 01-Jan-15 20:14:10

Sadly we only manage to squeeze about one nap a week out of the eldest and that has to be in the buggy. It's a real relief when he has one however as it makes him a much nicer person in the afternoon.

That sounds really stressful too IThought. It's hard not to lose temper with them as they are making it difficult to be around them! Which is precisely what they wouldn't want, if they could control it. Today ds1 really tried my patience, climbing all over me and trying to squeeze the baby's head when I was trying to feed. I snapped at him and he whined 'but I miss my mummy' which made me choke up with tears. I miss him too and all the time we have spent together. Luckily this baby is slightly easier to put down than he was and we managed to spend some time in the afternoon together whilst the baby slept in his bouncer. It's really upsetting though, I almost want to fast forward until they are more used to each other.

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