Third child imminent - survival strategies please!(12 Posts)
My third child is about to arrive, other two DCs are well under 3.5 years old and both at home with me full time with no family nearby or childcare until DD1 starts preschool part time in 6 (long) months time. DH is great when he's around, but is working long hours at the moment, and not normally home until 7pm envy] I'm looking for survival strategies, primarily success stories from parents who've managed and tips on stuff like what to do to stop the older ones murdering each other while I'm nursing the baby. Pixar and Peppa Pig will only help so far I reckon. Anything welcome - every darn parenting advice book or website I have come across thus far ONLY advises of stuff tht appears to be tailored for your first baby, or at a stretch having one toddler and a baby. If I read another one which tells me to sleep when the baby sleeps or ask relatives for help I shall weep. It's like they actually give up when people have more than 2 DCs as no advice can help the coming apocalypse, so no one tries... Anyone winning the battle? Anyone??
I had 3 under 4, with no friends or family available to help and it was fine. Have a 'special' activity box for the older children, full of activities they can do on their own. Only get this out when you really need a break, so it doesn't loose its novelty factor. Have some special books that you read the older children when you feed the baby.
Take them all out as much as you can. Mine went on long walks loads, also to the park, camp building and for picnics, whatever the weather. This way you can at least ensure the older ones are too busy to be difficult and should sleep fairly well.
There are so many toddler groups about now that these might be a good option, especially because it is rather cold at the moment to be outside for too long.
Give the older children big brother/sister jobs to do such as getting a clean nappy for the baby or rocking the baby while you cook dinner.
My older 2 were quite physical and I sometimes worried that they would accidently hurt the baby, but they didn't. Babies are very resiliant.
Don't panic, just go with the flow. If on days you and your children stay in your pjs all day, it doesn't matter as long as you had a fun day.
Oh, and my house was always messy during the week as I did vertually no housework for about the first year.
When you're pinned to the sofa, show them how to wink or whistle. Kept mine (and me) entertained for ages. And have picnic food like cheese strings and frubesto hand. Mine always think that's a treat and it helps keep them at bay even if you wouldn't normally rely on that stuff.
Activity box sounds good, thanks for that. And I shall try the whistling trick, another good suggestion. I am slightly nervous about the logistics of taking them all out and about as my eldest is rubbish and walking and always gets tired and makes a fuss, so heartening to hear it can be done. Thanks!
I had a bigger gap (children aged 6,4 and a bit, and baby) but would add the following:
1) lower your standards. Seriously, it saves your blood pressure! Don't iron, f
I had a bigger gap (children aged 6,4 and a bit, and baby) but would add the following:
1) lower your standards. Seriously, it saves your blood pressure! Don't iron clothes, hang and fOld them. Do a once-day clearup of toys, no more, or you'll go crackers. Have at least two nights a week where you do "oven food" or reheated or takeaway. Live on sandwiches and chopped salad veg.
2) anticipate "crunch times": eg when the kids want tea is when the baby will feed. So pre-prepare a sarnie for the kids in advance. Before you sit down to feed baby get the kids a drink and biscuit: and yes, telly is good while you feed as most kiddie programmes last ling enough for you to feed baby without it getting too much in the way.
3) know it will eventually get easier. This is a small help (and can be repeated until it's true!) most third babies are pretty laodback about being carted around like a sack of spuds: they have to be!! Get a baby carrier and a new buggy: they are worth their weight in gold.
I had three under 2.6. My advice is not to let them crawl along windowsills whilst feeding baby - ended up with hospital trip! Definitely let the housework take a low priority, and pick your battles! Toothbrushes downstairs, and if they dress themselves, don't worry if socks don't match. Invite friends to you and invest in a quality sling for when you do go out! I also paid for tesco delivery saver and get deliveries every 3 or 4 days, just spending less so that I don't have to brave the co-op if I don't want to! And a bedside cot - saved my sanity I think!
Reading this with interest as we've just decided to ttc for number three, and all going well, we may end up with three under four!! Just wanted to check we aren't utterly insane! (or are we...?!)
Thanks again for the advice guys - and I'll let you know how it goes for me blackholes! I hear the jump from 1 to 2 DCs is the hardest and I certainly struggled with that, I think because I thought my relationship with number two would be akin to the one I had with number one, which is wasn't of course. Looking back, I was such a textbook naive (smug?) first time Mum. I cringe at thinking I was convinced only to feed her organic food, no television EVER, filtered water and only educational activities and all the other silly things you do for your PFB that fall by the wayside when the madness of two kids comes along, the sh*t gets real and you'll do whatever it takes. At least my expectations are on the floor now.. Can't be that hard now can it?
Great advice here already
Mine were 4 & 2 when dd2 arrived and to be honest I found 2-3 way easier than 1-2 as you have already lowered your standards I know what you mean about feeling embarrassed about the "old you" my first dc didn't have chocolate till age 3 and feasted on homemade lentil rissoles, no such fun for dd2!!
Other great piece of advice
Always have a packed lunch ready
well I am 4 weeks into 3dom (I have ds who is 5 and dd1 who is 4 next week and now dd2 4 weeks today) and I have a few tips as one who is currently doing the newborn bit.
1. keep the fridge stocked with healthy snacks and sandwiches that the other two can have when they want- my two are allowed to pick what they want when they are hungry and it saves me trying to juggle baby with making food. also cook at least one extra portion of dinner for your own lunch the next day. prep all the snacks at night once older ones are asleep. I have veg crudités, apples, yoghurt drinks, cubes of cheese and more readily available.
2. keep a blanket by the couch for when you are too
lazy tired to walk up the stairs to bed. also a bottle of water and some chocolate fruit to keep you sane hydrated.
3. invest in a good sling. preferably a wrap type or mei tai as they are most comfy and feel more secure if you need to bend down to do up little shoes etc.
4. make sure your changing bag is fully stocked and ready to use each night so you don't forget anything
and put it on the pram or by the front door so you don't forget the actual bag like I did
5. buy several million packs of baby wipes
6. make sure you get at least an hour to yourself every couple of days so you don't spontaneously combust.
7. snuggle up with the older two for a story or two before bed. give them a bit of quiet mummy time where you can all relax and enjoy some cuddles. I will recommend "jack and the flumflum tree" by Julia Donaldson. tis one of our faves and is requested every night
Does your DH have paternity leave?
I stayed in bed for a couple of days with DC3 and left OH and the older 2 to it (it was carnage at times but it worked), DS was in a bed side crib and the midwives were happy to come upstairs when they visited.
As others have said, don't iron! and tumble dry everything that you can. The other things that save my sanity are:
Ocardo on demand (they price match tesco now), every week, at the same time I know that nappies, wet wipes etc will arrive.
Batch cooking in a slow cooker, I freeze child size portions of food.
Tins of chopped and fried onions and ready made fresh mash (war can break out in this house in the time it takes to peel and onion!)
I buy chicken breast from the butchers and he cuts it up for me, that can go straight in the slow cooker with a tin of onions and a bag of casserole veg and some stock and even on a bad day we have a nice meal.
Same as Kentucky, I use a sling, I had an ergo because I like buckles but there are loads to choose from that let you carry you DC right until they walk everywhere. DS spent most of the time in a baby grows which made life a lot easier, I had stacks of the things so it didn't matter if I couldn't get the washing done before the weekend. Same with my clothes, I used to pile up 5 days worth of clothes on a Sunday evening.
I encourage them to play on their own too, sometimes when it all gets too much (usually when I am trying to cook a meal) I separate them, there are toys in the bedroom that they like to play with on their own.
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