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Helping a toddler deal with new baby

(10 Posts)
spotofcheerfulness Sat 15-Jan-11 15:54:54

Have a 2 week old baby and 2 year old toddler and DP finishes paternity leave now and is back at work on Mon. HELP!

I would welcome any tips you might have for making things a little easier on all of us - practically and emotionally.

So, for e.g on the practical side I had to get DS1's lunch today just as DS2 wanted a feed. This just about done. Start feeding DS2, DS1 begins throwing food everywhere and trying to climb out of his high chair. DS2 then voms up entire feed on me. Feel totally powerless and unable to work out which issue to sort out first.

On the emotional side, how do I make DS1 feel still loved and secure? He is already getting very upset and clingy when I leave the room or am holding his brother and i feel that my words of reassurance must sound hollow to him when I keep promising to play but then DS2 does a monster poo or won't settle or whatever and I have to attend to him.

Other than non-stop Cbeebies and playgroups, what are my other options?!

RuthChan Sat 15-Jan-11 18:56:00

It's hard, isn't it.
Don't worry. These are issues that everyone has to deal with when number 2 comes along.

With regards to prioritising physical problems, you just have to decide at the time. Cleaning will become less important than it was before, try not to worry too much about being less house-proud.
Pain and immediate danger need to take preference over less important issues.

With regards to emotions, you need to give your DS1 far more love and support than you might think. This can be done in many easy ways, which are more effective than just words.
Don't be afraid to leave DS2 crying for a few moments while DS1 has a much needed cuddle or help. DS1 needs to see that he does take priority sometimes.

While feeding DS2, have DS1 on the sofa beside you and read him a book. You spend so much time sitting down anyway, it can be time that you spend with DS1.

Involve DS1 as much as possible with DS2's care. He can help you change nappies. (Passing you cream and wipes, maybe applying cream etc etc)
He can help with bath time, pouring water over DS2, washing him etc.
Spend quality time with DS1 while DS2 sleeps.
Also, you can point out to DS1 all the 'big boy' things that he can do, which DS2 can't.

Help him to see DS2 as an important person in his life, not just a competitor for your attention. It will take time, but it isn't hard and it will help to develop their relationship as well as make your life easier.

Good luck!

aPixieInMyCaramelLatte Sat 15-Jan-11 20:14:32

Oh yes, it is hard, but it does get easier.

I had ds2 when ds1 was 17months old and dp had to go back to work 5 day's after the birth. A couple of things that I found helped where

When toddler has gone to bed and the baby is having a little nap, I would make up the next day's lunches, wrap them up and stick them in the fridge. This meant we lived of sandwiches for a few weeks but at lunchtime it was just so easy to go into the fridge, get out the plate and put it on the table. Same with snacks. Get them set up on the side/in the fridge so you can just grab and give.

At Mealtimes, if ds2 wanted feeding whilst toddler was eating, I used to sit at the table to feed the baby so I could talk to the toddler. It is slightly uncomfortable but baby is being fed and toddler feels like he is getting your full attention. Don't worry about any food dropped on the floor. Just don't pick it up. It won't take him long to figure out that if he throws food then he won't get it back.

I have down the side of the sofa a little box with favourite books and sticker books in it so when I had to sit and feed ds2, ds1 could come and sit with me and listen to a story, do stickers etc.

I agree with getting your toddler to help out with the baby too. My ds1 loves toddling off to get a nappy, put dirty clothes in the laundry bin etc etc.

Don't worry about housework. I just made sure we had clean dishes and clean clothes and the rest fell into place. I found it much easier to spend 2minutes washing the dishes after each meal rather than leaving it all to pile up and take more time in the evening. I put on one load of washing every morning as soon as I had 2 minutes. The rest will just fall into place.

And don't forget, Cbeebies is your friend. grin

aPixieInMyCaramelLatte Sat 15-Jan-11 20:20:41

I just realised most of my post is in the past tense.

I am still doing all these things due to ds1 being 21months and ds2 being 17weeks but have dp home with us at the moment so it's taken some of the strain off.

I'll be back doing it on my own soon.

Oh and another thing I forgot to add, I found, when very little would go to sleep at 6.00pm for a hour before waking at 7pm to cluster feed for the evening before finally falling back asleep.

This was great as ds1 goes to bed at 7pm so for a full hour he had my complete undivided attention for his bath, stories and cuddles.

You will hopefully notice a pattern of your baby having a sleep around the same time every day, Use this time to do whatever your ds1 wants. Cuddles, play-doh, anything he wants as long as your right there with him.

aPixieInMyCaramelLatte Sat 15-Jan-11 20:21:32

Tsk, that's supposed to say when ds2 was very little he'd go to sleep at 6.00pm

spotofcheerfulness Sat 15-Jan-11 20:25:50

Thank you, that's really helpful grin. I do feel that DS1 is suffering, he's just so sad and I can't change the reality but I think you're right that I probably do need to leave the baby to squawk for a bit longer while I finish whatever I do with DS1. I feel like I'm already breaking lots of playing promises and I can see how unhappy it's making him.

Sadly I am far from houseproud at the best of times but I guess I will need to pick my battles and maybe the food throwing will have to be one I don't deal with now. It's just hard not to react when you're so sleep deprived!

I do appreciate your advice though, and realise I need to take things one day at a time...

pigleychez Sat 15-Jan-11 21:15:40

Been there too.
I have DD's 21mths apart.

ONe bit of advice given to me is that if you need to sort one of them out first, then (depending on the circumstances) toddler.
The baby wont remember being left to cry for a minute whilst your toddler will.
This def helped me feel abit less guilty.

Encourage DS1 to help fetch nappies, toys etc and comment on how he is such a good big brother and that Baby loves him. Agree too about spending time for DS1 when Baby sleeps. I used to read a story or something with DD1 when feeding and cuddled up on the sofa.

DD1 also decided to potty train herself when DD2 was only a few months old and would always want a wee the moment id sit down to feed baby!

Having 2 is definately a juggling act! Mine are now 2.5 and 8mths and its generally much easier now. Now I have the issue of DD2 taking DD1's toys causing major dramas! hmm

pigleychez Sat 15-Jan-11 21:24:29

Also dont be afraid to show and say if DS2 is frustrating you. It helps your toddler to understand that the baby isnt the 'Perfect' child that gets all your attention.

Ie. DD1 would screech when DD2 was crying. I let her know its ok to feel frustrated and sometimes mummy does too.
Id show her ways she could help stop her crying by fetching a muslin or being quite so she could go to sleep.

groak Sat 15-Jan-11 21:34:41

we have 23 month age gap: sorry if this repeats any previous posts, btw..

we gace dc1 liots f 'big jobs', eg 'can you get me a nappy for dc1' 'can you put the clothes in the washbasket' (dc1 was nearly 2 btw), and lots on praise (if it seemed ott then it was nearly enough!) for any 'help' or 'big jobs' that dc1 did. also, i avoided saying that dc1 was a big boy now that dc2 had arriuved as it was as though he was no longer 'my baby' since dc2 had arrived, and explain anything that they seem puzzled by... when dc1 saw me bf dc2 for the first time he screame and dh took hiom out of the room!! I nssited he came back in with dc1 and sat him next to me and explained the baby's dinner was milk in mummys boobs so the baby was having dinner, and all was ok.. basically sometimes explain (as relevant fpr the age) rather than shy away frpm what they will notice...
also at bedtime they both went to bed at same time (started getting dc1 to dres shimself, lots of praise!!!!) fed dc2 while dc1 drank own milk, put dc2 in cot then took dc1 to bed and read a stort and talked about our day so had 10 mins of one on one quality time with npo tv or backgroun=d noise and always had a hug night night...

DHisinthepub Sat 15-Jan-11 23:13:45

I second everything pixie said, I do most of those things too. I have 15 months between mine and it has been pretty rough going, particulary at first as DD1 wasn't walking yet, but now that DD2 is 6 months it is getting much easier and they just besotted with each other.

I plan trips to the park for when I want DD2 to have a sleep and tell DD1 we are going to the park for 'special DD1 playtime with Mummy', by the time we get there DD2 is asleep in the buggy and I can spend 10 minutes with DD1 in the park, keeping an eye on the buggy (the play park is safely fenced and if I park buggy on one side no one can get to it without walking right by me) Its win-win, DD2 gets a nap and DD1 gets some one-to-one time in the park and it wears her out too.

Sometimes at the weekend I leave DD2 with DH and I take out DD1 to a cafe for some special 'Mummy time'. It was tricky because I was bfeeding DD2 but a bottle of expressed milk really helped. Other weekends DH would take her out so she had quality time with him too and I got a break from having them both.

Ignore housework, it will all still be there in 6 months!

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