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Breastfeeding a newborn, have a 3 year old as well - not sure if I can do this!

(16 Posts)
TheCountessOlenska Fri 29-Mar-13 20:48:45

I breastfed my DD with no problems but obviously during the early days I was bound to the sofa for hours - which was fine as long as I had remote, laptop, phone and cake. I had no other demands on my time so it was fine.

I now have a 2 week old and I am not sure how the hell to do this - basically I had a bad night with the baby feeing every couple of hours and not wanting to go in basket (so reluctantly co-sleeping) - then the 3 year old got in my bed too and kicked me from the other side. So, no sleep and then the baby decided to cluster feed all morning and refused to be put down anywhere. Fine, I remember having 2 second shower etc BUT I don't think I can cope with this plus being called by DD EVERY minute to do something for her, fetch something, wipe her bum, get her a drink etc etc - arrrgghhh!! I was constantly un latching the baby, leaving him screaming, to go and see to DD. I know she is acting up at the moment but I do have to feed her and help her on the loo. I ended up in tears at one point today and I feel awful for shouting at DD (and a little bit at the baby blush )

Any advice?? Please tell me this will settle down REALLY soon!!!

thingamajig Fri 29-Mar-13 21:01:48

It will settle down really soon. Probably. I fed my twins born when dd was 3, I really feel for what you are going through. Learning to bf with one arm, whilst attending to dd with the other helped. So did nursery - presumably she has her 15 hours, I found paying for her to stay for lunch was worth its weight in gold.]
Remember that life would be no easier with bottles - all the feeding plus the washing up. Sort your dd by way of toilet, snack, drink and park her in front of beebies - she will be fine.
It is hard work, the exhileration of having a new baby has worn off and the tiredness kicked in but you have done the hardest part of setting up bf and it will just keep getting easier and quicker now.

peanutbutterandbanana Fri 29-Mar-13 21:05:48

Hello Countess - my heart goes out to you. I had DS 3.5 years after DD1 (DD1 now 16!) and she really did not like not being an only child! She was very cross and grumpy with me all the time and one evening when I was getting the baby into his night wear I asked her what the matter was. She pointed out that baby had a nice mummy and she had a horrid mummy. When I asked why, she said because baby's mummy put his pyjamas on for him but she had to do hers herself. 'Would you like me to put your pyjamas on for you, even though you're a big girl?' She nodded. So when I had finished I put her pyjamas on for her and gave her a hug. She just wanted some attention, but she soon got bored of it. All I can say is that she is still a baby herself but you will be seeing her as 'big child' and her neediness is frustrating. Talk things through with her and ask her what she is thinking. And then offer empathy and understanding when she tells you how she feels.
The best piece of advice I ever received was from my healthy visitor who told me to do 'noticing'. So whenever your child does something you like (eg wipes her own bottom) tell her "I noticed that you were a clever girl and wiped your own bottom. That really helps mummy when she's busy with baby and it shows me that you are a helpful big girl". It tells her that you have noticed her using behaviour that you like so she is more likely to try the behaviour again.
When you are about to feed, discuss it with her beforehand - "I'm just going to feed baby and I'd really like your company. Can you come and sit with me with your book and I'll read it to you if you hold the pages open for me - can you do that?" She will really respond if you give her attention and involve her in what you are doing.
Things do get better. Someone said to me 'things change every three weeks' and they do, if only can realise it at the time. This is a precious time for you with a newborn. Blink and baby will be a big 6-month old! So do try and enjoy it. Poor you, it is a difficult time, but it is also a precious time. And it is a confusing time for DD who now has to share you! Good luck

peanutbutterandbanana Fri 29-Mar-13 21:07:24

She was a healthy visitor, but in reality she was my health visitor!

Iggly Fri 29-Mar-13 21:10:38

Tv, get your DH/DP to help out it other family if you can?

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Fri 29-Mar-13 21:13:06

I remember those days. My dd quickly learnt I couldn't run after her when feeding grin it will settle down

MustTidyUpMustTidyUp Fri 29-Mar-13 21:15:12

It will settle. I promise. I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and a newborn and I remember how hard and relentless it was but it finds a way to sort itself out. I found a stretchy sling a lifesaver for DC3 as just wore her everywhere and could deal with the others. She got used to on/off te breast whilst I dealt with others.
You'll miss it when it's passed. smile

Welovegrapes Fri 29-Mar-13 21:17:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mandy21 Fri 29-Mar-13 21:18:14

I agree its about involving your DD as best you can with the new baby, give her little jobs to do, make a real fuss of how much help she's being, what a big sister she's being, but when the baby is asleep, make a point of saying she's mummy's girl or whatever so she still feels that connection. But don't beat yourself up about it being difficult - its a shocker when you have a newborn baby and an older one. I had twins that were just 4 when Number 3 arrived and she literally would not go down (either into a moses basket or pram) for the 1st 10 weeks. She slept on me in the day (and at night - also didn't intend to do that but ended up doing anything that meant we got some sleep!) and was in a sling whenever we went out. The twins literally got no "sole" attention at all but we did try to make lots of effort when DD2 was asleep. I also agree that b/f is easier, you've done such a fab job getting it started and just keep going - it will get better! Promise!

chroniclackofimagination Fri 29-Mar-13 21:19:55

This was me three months or so ago, now the baby is nearly 20 weeks, DS1 (2 year old) has got used to him and seems to have calmed down with the attention seeking. You just have to grit your teeth and get through those exhausting first weeks, it gets better fast. Is there no childcare/help you could access for your three year old? Even on a temporary basis?

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 29-Mar-13 21:19:56

Oh it definitely settles. I think we had a "telly only if baby is feeding" rule so DS1 was quite keen to get his brother latched on.

We pushed the "your brother", "your baby" thing quite hard too. "Wow, he's looking at you!" or "you made him giggle" at every possible opportunity so the focus shifts off the baby and on to the bigger sibling.

Also, I got good at feeding standing up hmm

StitchAteMyEasterEggs Fri 29-Mar-13 21:22:46

Get yourself a stretchy wrap sling for the baby, you can breastfeed hands free in them. I had one when dd2 was born (dd1 was 2.9) it really helped. If baby is feeding lots pop in the sling, put on the boob and play with dd while you feed. With a bit of practise I managed to supervise dd1 in the playground whilst feeding.

You can read stories, help with puzzles, have pretend tea parties play teddy hospital, supervise playdough/colouring whilst having a chat all with baby on boob with one hand free. That way dd1 gets lots of attention still.

It gets easier, at 3 they start to get more and more independent and play for longer on there own. We bought dd1 Lego Duplo when dd2 was born, she can spend ages building with it which was great when I needed to deal with the baby. I also got her involved in nappy changing which she loved and gave her tasks to do to help me.

Schulte Fri 29-Mar-13 21:29:02

DD1 was just 2yrs old when DD2 was born and I used to feed DD2 while DD1 was eating, having a bath, watching the telly... it worked most of the time. You could try reading a book to DC1 while you feed DC2? Sadly DC1 will have to learn very quickly that the baby comes first. But don't worry, it will all be fine smile

dietcokeandwine Fri 29-Mar-13 21:45:15

Oh bless you this all sounds so familiar as I was going through it just a few weeks ago but if this reassures you at all - it all feels like a distant memory now because things have changed so much since!

I have a 3 year old (and an 8 year old), baby is 8 weeks, and things are sooooo much easier now than they were at the 2-3 week stage. PLEASE remember that babies do a massive growth spurt at this point and basically want to cluster feed and co-sleep non stop, the moses basket is a complete no-no, all they want is you. Add in to that mix a preschooler who's adapting to a new baby, and only want you as well, and it's bloody frigging tough!

My little DS3 was doing just as you describe at 2 weeks, but at 8 weeks he sleeps happily in the basket between feeds at night, is going longer between day and night feeds and (just in the last week or two) has started to sit happily in the bouncy chair, or lie under babygym, for short periods during the day (previously he just screamed and screamed unless in my arms) which gives me a chance to spend time with DS2. He will also sleep for short spells in his basket during the day which again, just wasn't happening even three weeks ago!

it gets better. It really, really does. But in terms of how to cope until things calm down...others have already given you great advice...I would agree to use TV, food, stories, whatever will keep your DD happy whilst you feed. Try to do certain tasks without unlatching the baby if possible! (I can now pour drinks/find Lego/help DS do various things mid-breastfeed and DS3 just clings on and gets on with his feed grin). Give lots of positive reinforcement to DD as others have said... I find a good approach is to talk to my 3 year old - and the 8 year old, for that matter - 'through' the baby if that makes sense - i.e. "look, DS3, isn't DS2 clever going to the toilet on his own/eating his sandwich so nicely/playing with his Lego? You'll be able to do that one day when you're a bigger boy". Or "aren't you lucky DS3 to have such a lovely kind big brother?" and so on and so on. And sometimes it really helps to say something like 'no, DS3, you just have to wait a few minutes whilst mummy gets DS2 a drink' or similar to the baby in earshot of the 3 year old. It might sound a bit daft, but I think you almost need to be a bit over-the-top at this stage, emphasising that the needs of the preschooler are still important to you.

The other thing that I must admit has made a big difference to us is to top up DS3 with a bottle of formula at bedtime...I breastfeed for all other feeds but he has a bottle after his bath now and it's great, because (a) DH can feed him so I can do a 'proper' bedtime story with the older two and (b) it means he generally settles during the evening rather than cluster feeding for hours so I get a bit of a break too. The mix-feeding approach is not for everyone, I know, but if you find exclusive BF is becoming so draining that you feel you can't cope then it might be worth considering.

Good luck, I am sure things will settle down for you soon. And congratulations on your lovely new DS smile

TheCountessOlenska Fri 29-Mar-13 21:56:28

Thanks so much everyone, you have made me feel loads better- think tiredness really hit me today and i've felt so overwelmed and tearful. DH works away so on my own a lot (he had 2 weeks paternity but is back at work now)
pre-school not till September sadly- am very much looking forward to it wink
Yes - I need a sling for this little clinger, will purchase tomorrow!
peanut thanks so much for your lovely post, had me in tears smile . I will try and enjoy, better day tomorrow hopefully!

TheCountessOlenska Fri 29-Mar-13 22:04:13

Thanks dietcoke, good to hear - i need reminding how quick things change with newborns!
i actually tried some formula but he spat it out!! may try again as would be great if DH or DM could do bedtime bottle.

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