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How to cope with no sleep, newborn and toddler without going mad

(19 Posts)
WashIrving22 Thu 18-Feb-10 15:43:26

Please excuse me for the length of this posting, have read other threads but am a virgin to posting myself. Will try and get more succinct!

Am at my wits end probably getting a couple of hours sleep a night with a 9 week old who suffers horribly from trapped wind (I think) and will not sleep for more than an hour at a time.

Love that all books say "sleep when the baby sleeps" during the day, which is all very well, but whilst I'm sleeping who would then act as the human climbing frame/punch bag for my toddler?

Which leads me on to what I'd like your help with - about 3 weeks ago my generally fairly well behaved lovely little boy was seemingly replaced with a tantrum throwing monster. Thankfully he's not (yet) being aggressive towards anyone else, but he's started hitting and kicking me, and I just feel like I'm telling him off all the time. Which can't be much fun for him, and certainly isn't for me.

I know it's a phase they go through, it won't last forever, he's testing his boundaries so I just need to keep giving them to him, and the fact he's got a new baby brother probably isn't helping. But when I'm so tired it just feels so difficult to cope with! And as it's just me he vents his rage at, difficult not to take personally, or to demonise him. Every other day I seem to be reduced to tears and life just feels like a battle at the mo. I know he's only 2 years old, for goodness sake how can I be got the better of by a 2 year old?!

I'm not sure what I'm asking really - maybe just for tips to get through the day without feeling like the world's most pathetic mum or feeling like you just want to lock yourself in a darkened room, scream very loudly and then fall asleep for a bit...

sarahlawrence31 Thu 18-Feb-10 16:21:38

Hi, I can sympathise! Haven't got much advice but I am going through the same thing so at least it might make you feel better.. I have a 3 week old baby with a bad cold who is up every hour of the night and a two and a half year old who is more than a little bit jealous of his new sibling. He has thumped the baby a few times and started hitting him and me while i was breastfeeding the other day. When i told him to stop he bit me on the knee! He has also stopped eating meals as a protest and because i wont give in and give him snacks later on, he has gone to bed hungry the last two nights and made me feel like the mother from hell.

The tantrums from my toddler became unbearable the other day when he spent the entire day in tears going from one fit of hysteria to the next. I gave up the 'ignore him' approach and told him that every time he has a tantrum he will have to go and sit in the hall by himself until he has stopped crying and then he can come back in. I know everyone will say this is cruel and he is just getting used to baby etc but it had become ridiculous and this approach does seem to be working. When he goes to have a tantrum i just remind him he will have to go sit in the hall and often he just stops dead and carries on playing. Worth a try??

It is so hard but EVERYONE keeps telling me it's completely normal behaviour.
It can't last forever!! x

Owlingate Thu 18-Feb-10 16:22:43

Oh no I have days like this too (12 week old with severe reflux and 2.2 yr old). Have actually cried in public when caught in blizzard both children screaming etc. etc.

Your eldest has probably just realised the new one is here to stay, remember this bad tantrum phase will pass quite quickly and the new one will start to get easier at 12 weeks.

My tips in the meantime:
1. Lower your standards, whether that's ready meals, cbeebies, cleaning, matching clothes or whatever - do whatever you've got to do.
2. Ring people and beg them to take 2 year old / baby / whoever is annoying you the most for a couple of hours.
3. Get out the house - let 2 year old tire self out in park. Soft play if raining.
4. Prioritise 2 yr old over screaming baby. Mine doesn't stop crying if I pick him up anyway. Put screaming baby in sling if you feel guilt about leaving him alone.

HTH look after yourself too.

StealthPolarBear Thu 18-Feb-10 16:31:31

DD is 22 weeks and I am just getting over this - I now have days where CBeebies isn't on all day and feel very proud of myself blush
Tantrums - I found the same as sarahlawrence, DS goes to sit on his bed when tantrumming, and usually he stops after a few minutes saying "I not crying any more". Sometimes just the reminder is enough to stop it in its tracks.
Wow this makes it sound like I've got it all sorted, I still have no sleep and a toddler who tantrums and misbehaves. But it does seem to be getting easier. Plus I have lots of help with other people wearing the toddler out for days during the week - if you can get help, do it!
Also, soft play - meet a friend. Toddlers wear themselves out and stuff themselves full of the healthy meals served there You get to drink coffee and talk, and interact with babies when they're awake. I have literally spent whole days there recently, from mid morning until 6pm.

WashIrving22 Thu 18-Feb-10 17:33:27

Thank you all. Definitely will try the sit on your bed/in the hall method and see how I get on. And standards have definitely been lowered this afternoon as felt pretty much unable to do anything other than watch Cbeebies with him.

Going to see the grandparents tomorrow (who have been on holiday for the past 3 weeks, which I'm sure has not helped me or him as we normally see them quite regularly) so hopefully I'll get a bit of a break.

And soft play next week once I've got my car back, which broke down earlier this week!

Sympathise about the crying in public Owlingate - last time was when he lay down in a puddle in the pouring rain, refused to move anywhere and left me standing there holding his brother in a sling, his bike in one hand and a bunch or bananas and a broken umbrella in the other....quite a funny picture when I look back on it..!

SeasideMumOf2 Fri 19-Feb-10 15:30:03

Hang in there! I've a 5month old and a 3 year old and the first few months seemed characterised by my previously delightful and helpful little boy refusing to do anything I asked him and tears/hollering and general desperation from me!
My first survival mechanism was meeting with my other mummy friends - there is definitely safety in numbers!
Second was realising CBeebies will not rot the 3 year olds brain, but will distract him whilst I'm feeding baby, making supper etc
Third was realising I am not a bad mummy for keeping the 3 year old in nursery for 2 days a week, even though I was on maternity leave. It gave him an opportunity to do stuff I wouldn't be able to do at home, and me a chance to bond with baby.
I have had to take a semi naked child to toddler group in just his vest in sub-zero temperatures because he didn't want to get dressed (only happened once and cured this particular battle ground - but no, I am not proud! blush).
The sleeping will get better, the tantrums and jealousy will get better - surround yourself with good friends and don't be afraid to ask for help.

rubyslippers Fri 19-Feb-10 15:35:38

my DS is 3.6 and DD is 18 weeks

he turned into the tasmanian devil when DD arrived although he has calmed down

first tip is to make sure he set when you are feeding your baby (snacks, cup of water and TV)

when the baby is sleeping or settled have some one to one time with your toddler - yes, you are knackered but even a few mins will help him feel special and less excluded

get out of the house at least once per day - even a trip to buy some milk means we get some fresh air and DS can choose a treat from the shop

DD still wakes every 3 hours at night for a feed so i feel your pain

Do you have a partner? if so, when he gets home of an evening, hand the kids over for a bath together and you can get your head back together!

oh, and as soon as your baby has gone to sleep you go to bed. DD cluster fed at this age and would pass out at around 9/9.30 and i used to crash out too

even if i didn't sleep, at least i was horizontal grin

DorotheaPlenticlew Fri 19-Feb-10 15:37:28

I will be in this situation too in a few months, so I am finding this thread interesting

Amazed that you lot have toddlers who will actually obey instructions to stay in the hall or on the bed when tantrumming! DS won't do anything when he gets into a state, and I have tried many times. If I tell him that he's got to stay in a particular place until he's ready to stop shouting, or until he's calmer, I am just met with "No Mummy, no!", more tears and shouting, and he runs out of reach and goes anywhere but where I've asked him to stay. (He is 2.5 ...)

tummytime Fri 19-Feb-10 15:44:00

I feel your pain. I have a 4mo non-sleeping DS and a 2.9 non-sleeping DD... I give thanks for Pixar. We have watched Toy story literally hundreds of times. Also second the childcare thing. DD goes to her CM 2 days per week which makes an amazing difference to catching up on sleep.

One other tip is jigsaws/lego if your DC will do them. Can keep them occupied for a while and if you're not feeding / baby asleep etc it is really good for some really focused time on the older one.

At least the weather might be starting to get a bit better so the 2yos can tire themselves outside [hopeful emoticon]

driedapricots Fri 19-Feb-10 15:58:22

i too am approaching this situation i fear with a very tempestuous 2 year old and one on the way. i am actually dreading the sleep deprivation as i find it hard to cope with DD1's reasuring there are many more in the same boat and it wont last forever. i can't wait to have 2 older children who can talk and play together..ha ha that's probably a rather romatic and unrealistic expectation isn't it?!!

StealthPolarBear Fri 19-Feb-10 18:24:05

"even if i didn't sleep, at least i was horizontal "
wow that sums up last night for me

oh yes, Dvds - beebies only on between 6-7!!

da, i feel i'm getting there and dd only 5 months, so not totally unrealistic imo

katiepotatie Fri 19-Feb-10 18:41:51

OMG, I could have started this thread myself. All I can say is accept help if it's offered, don't be too proud to ask for help either (if it's available) No-one tells you how hard it is with a toddler and a new born. Mine was just 2 when her brother arrived 9 months ago, tantrums started big style, jealousy too (she asked when he was going home after 2 weeks)Cbeebies became my friend grin Even now, I manage to get a grandparent to take her a couple of days a week, just for break. Hang in there smileIt does get easier (well almost) grin

threetimemummy Fri 19-Feb-10 19:42:39

There is light at the end of the tunnel!!

I have 18 mths between my two, and boy it was hard work!!

BUT they are the best of mates now, and driedapricots they DO play wonderfully together!! I have only had the tv on tonight whilst I was making dinner and they are 2 and 4! They have entertained each other literally all day (and have all half term really!!) except for when we went swimming this afternoon but we were only out for 2 hours max.

I have no. 3 on the way, am 29 weeks pregnant, so trust me, it does get better or I wouldnt have gone back again!!

WashIrving22 Fri 19-Feb-10 22:30:27

Thanks ever so much everyone for tips and support. Felt much better today - got DH to share the night shift last night (apart from the feeding bit, if only he had breasts...well, yknwim...).

Then saw my parents today who took one look at me and suggested they take the 2.3 year old off my hands a bit more in the coming months. Which is something of a miracle. I must have looked really bad... And I got to take him swimming while they looked after the baby, which he really enjoyed.

Am off to sleep/get horizontal's hoping tonight is a good night for everyone and tomorrow all our toddlers behave like little angels..hmm

coll2010 Sat 20-Feb-10 19:27:28

I feel for you and your post brought back memories of when mine were newborn and 19months. Looking after 2 children on your own suffering with sleep deprivation is torture (Literally!). Each week that goes by will get a little easier but it is very tough and I remember being in tears and counting down the minutes before my dh got home just so I could escape to the bottom of the garden for 5 mins. I do remember organising something to do each day, playdate, shopping trip, feed the ducks, trip to grandma's. I often thought the effort it required to get everything ready was not worth the bother but I think getting out of the house or having someone over is what kept me sane. I too am a firm believer in cbeebies and it was my lifesaver. I was so guilty at first as there were many days when I counted my dd who was just 1.5 when ds was born had watched 7 hours tv a day but when you've had no sleep you have to give yourself a break and do whatever it takes to get through it. My dd is now 5 and ds 3.5 and they are both perfectly 'normal' and thriving at school and nursery with plenty of friends so no long lasting effects (I hope!). Other thing I always say to friends who ask how to cope is to take any help going and don't be afraid to ask as most people are more than happy to help out. xx

smithkat2014 Fri 27-May-16 11:42:08

How has things been since? For my information really. I'm having same issues and i'm wondering how long it took for it to settle with you? xx

smithkat2014 Fri 27-May-16 11:50:18

Also can i just lovely it is to read peoples honest comments and no mum bashing. Well done all of you super mums. I'm printing off your comments for reminders that it isn't forever, i haven't fu*ked up my prescholler and we're all still alive at the end of each day, fed, have clothes on ;-) xx

BreakingDad77 Fri 27-May-16 12:08:22

Washirving is it just you bringing them up?

We were lucky as due to not needing much travel to work DW could go to bed and I would stay up to last feed before midnight, they would do one in middle of night and then I would do morning so DW would have had got some sleep.

My hat goes off to you single parents

paddypants13 Fri 27-May-16 19:59:50

We have just come out of this stage and we found getting DD involved with ds really helped. She used to help bath him, pass me things for him etc and we made a big fuss of how important big sisters are.

Also, when ds was asleep we used to make sure we spent some time with dd. The house got in a bit of a mess and I was exhausted but it at least stopped the jealously and any lashing out.

We also accepted any help we could. It was such an exhausting time but it has got better. Keep going op, you're doing a great job!

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