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tops tips for parent of toddler and new baby?

(41 Posts)
bebemooneedsabreak Wed 08-Jun-11 07:21:06

Just that.
Panicking after MIL 'helpfully' pointed out again and again on her visit that things are going to be rough...
Dh will likely be away at work M-F, but if we're lucky with the next job it'll just be commuting (so gone 7am-8.30pm). We won't have family support really as they'll be too far away and/or busy with SILs kids... The neighbors are not really 'neighborly' and it's really a commuters area anyhow, so not many around during the day...
I.E. it really will be me most of the time...

What have you found really helps dealing with being 'on' 24hrs again with a newborn but having an active 2yo who wants to get out and do things too? I imagine all but the very necessary housework gets pushed to the side...

[majorly panicky emoticon]

Rosemallow Wed 08-Jun-11 07:51:41

Am in the same boat as you - no family here, no friends to help out as they have their own children etc so am largely on my own during the day. We also live in a city centre apartment so no garden to put DD in when the weather is nice!
DD was 23 months when DS was born (he's 4 months now). He's BF so was attached to me for much of the first few weeks. It took me 2-3 months to get properly sorted ie getting out to groups regularly.
Cbeebies/nick jr is your friend! DD watched more tv than usual when dS was first born but that has reduced again now. I did feel guilty at first but it really helped.
Getting her involved in 'helping' with things ie getting nappies/'helping' to bath DS, putting the washing in the machine - she loves doing it and it's a really good chance to praise her and make her 'like' her brother!
I made sure we went for a walk every day, even if it was a short one into town as I found she went stir crazy if we didn't make it out of the house once a day.
Take a little bag of toys/books/colouring/snacks etc everywhere you go - DD has a special timmy bag which has a whole bunch of things in it to keep her entertained, in case we need to stop and feed! When he was first born I bought a whole load of silly little treats (she loves hello kitty so I bough a load of plastic eggs with kitties in them as emergency back up and took one wherever we went!)
The same at home - I have little activities for her to do in the high chair when I need herto sit still for a while! Just colouring/painting/sticking etc - pound shops are great for silly stuff like that.
Now we're more sorted I make sure we do an activity in the morning for DD - most other mums are more than happy to help you out even if you've never met before - and then nap time (if you can get the two of them asleep at the same time, you have some time to yourself! smile ) and then more relaxed afternoon.
The main thing I would say is don't worry, do what suits you and don't feel guilty about anything - you can only do your best! You will probably fall into a routine that suits you.
Oh and it is really fun and lovely having the two of them - DD loves her brother and he adores her! (and when they're old enough to play together the hard work will have paid off!)

Good luck! smile

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Wed 08-Jun-11 09:36:35

watching with interest...dc2 due in sept when ds will be 19m.

bebemooneedsabreak Wed 08-Jun-11 13:17:23

Thanks Rose.
Hi MoonFace.
I was feeling ok about it before MIL because I figured I'd be able to catch some sleep now and again during the day, and figured that the TV was going to become our friend (a bit like when we're poorly). dd has lately been laying down with me for 45min or so (tho not sleeping) during the day and I figured if all of us just lay in bed together during a feed-time during the day we might make it through even without naps. Plus I have every intention of going to bed the second dc1 has gone to bed herself, whether or not I actually go to sleep (though I have a feeling I will)
I also have been compiling a list of easy to make foods so that when I get panicky abt having to make a supper I can just look at the list and remind myself. My sister suggested that the foods in the freezer will really come in handy after dh is back at work, so I should get him to cook as much fresh stuff as possible during his week or so off after the birth (taking advantage of when he's around). And I imagine we're going to be eating sauces from a jar meals quite often....
If we're lucky we may be in our house and then we'll have the small garden/patio to play on...if we're not then we'll also likely be in an apartment with no place to go...but hopefully the weather will stay mild long enough that we'll be able to get out and find a park to go to...

Bouviergirl Wed 08-Jun-11 14:37:41

Some things i've found useful over past 7 months (7mo and 3yo):

- having baby in a sling - baby can sleep off and on, and frees my arms and hands up to do things around the house and with toddler (also useful when walking in town as more mobile to run after toddler if need be)

- having toddler in a playgroup once or twice during the week (or nursery) so he's somewhere having fun and being taken care of, and I can get some time for me / baby

- joining a parent/baby group, where meet lots of other parents esp the ones with toddlers/babies too

- breastfeeding, as can just whip the breast out when needed, anywhere anytime, and keep one child happy at least whilst get on with talking to toddler at same time and dealing with their needs.

- have basic outfits for baby all sorted - babygros in drawers marked 0-3, 3-6 etc. so you can just pull one out quickly and get on with it

- if your toddler is also still in nappies (even if s/he isn't) have a box in your key living areas (ie. one upstairs, one downstairs) in which you keep a supply of both dcs' nappies, wipes, nappy bags etc. That way you can find them in a jiffy for both children.

- if toddler still takes a nap during the day, keep rigidly to it.

- someone advised me to keep the toddler's bedtime routine still going like before, the baby eventually can slip in with that routine (not the other way round)

Don't be surprised or worried if you feel your new baby doesn't get half as much attention as your older dc did as a baby (they probably can't by definition - things have changed) - to be honest for a few months our baby was a bit like just 'the baby in the corner' - you will still be so busy and taken up with the toddler given the stage they're at (needing attention, talking, interaction). In some ways it's a blessing that all the baby really needs is food, warmth, basic touch etc. and can't have temper tantrums or answer back yet!

Yes, esp in the early days of getting used to having two, CBeebies is a great life-saver.

You won't believe that your multi-tasking skills can improve any more than they already are, but they can and will! At first it might feel overwhelming, just dealing with the logistics of two. But over the first few months you will find your feet and get into the swing of it, and then the memory of only having one to deal with will seem strange!

I found it very hard at first (when baby was still new to the world and uncomfortable with it) but things settled down at about 12 weeks, and now he's at the cute baby stage it's a lot easier. It's just another skill (having two) which will be challenging at first but you will master.

Hope this helps - good luck - the most wonderful thing is when your two children first meet each other!

bebemooneedsabreak Thu 09-Jun-11 10:16:20

Thanks Bouvie someone else mentioned a sling to me as a good idea; it's nice to have that re-enforced by someone else's opinion too. smile

It's a good idea about having the nappies in main living areas. That way you don't have to 'cart' them upstairs to where ever the nappies are, you can just grab the nappies and change.

I'm finding this very reassuring. I'm calming down again with all these positive thoughts and ideas. Thank you very much smile

skorpion Thu 09-Jun-11 14:45:45

Some great tips on here - watching with interest, as DD2 coming in September (DD1 will be 20 months)

AussieGirl78 Fri 10-Jun-11 21:57:31

I've got 11 months between mine
I completely agree with keeping with toddlers bedtime routine
Once bub was a bit older as well i bathed them together and left my eldest playing in the bath while I dressed bub on a large towel on the floor
Bub slotted in nicely
Don't feel guilty about sleeping when you can and using jar stuff
It will take a while but you'll get into the swing of it smile

Jojay Fri 10-Jun-11 22:02:39

Sling was a lifesaver when DS2 was small.

Plan something to get you out of the house every day, toddler groups etc. Babies will often sleep better in the buggy / car and it will keep your toddler busy.

You'll be fine smile

niamh29 Fri 10-Jun-11 22:06:16

I have a 22 mo and 11 week old, it's really not as bad as I thought it would be, it helps that my toddler adores her new sister and I don't ban her from being near her, I let her go over and hug her and coo at her but I just watch them closely. It also helps to get out and about cause the baby doesn't need too much attention but just doing anything where your toddler can walk or run about is great, they love that! I'm also really looking forward to them growing up together, as they get older the 18 month gap will seem like nothing!

skybluepearl Sat 11-Jun-11 22:46:45

funny people kept telling me how hard it was going to be but it's been alot easier than expected. it the exhaustion thats the trying thing. kids love the new addition

i do all of the following with the exception of having a cleaner as I'm too skint!

use a sling,
put an hour of peppa pig so you can tidy,
pay for a cleaner for two or three hours each week if pos
cook very simple meals, use a slow cooker or do food prep early in the day.
have an early toddler bed time - 7pm?
have a very smooth bed time routine down to a tea
get clothes out the day b4 you wear them - for all family
get nappy bag/snack bag ready the day before you need them
get out of the house daily - toddler groups, coffees, park, picnics, short walks, visiting friends etc .. but don't over do it.
food shop and clothes shop on line.
make sure kids get weekend daddy time and you can sleep in and lay in bath relaxing or reading. you will need some time for youself.
keep telling toddler how much baby loves her/ how fab baby thinks toddler is
laugh at the funny faces baby makes and try to copy them. kids found this funny.
read to toddler while breast feeding.
have special toys that only come out when breast feeding.
have a few baby toys to hand to distract baby when hes a few months old. it will buy time for cooking etc.
bath with baby - baby will love it and you can relax too
take up any friends who offer to have toddler for an hour or so.

bebemooneedsabreak Sun 12-Jun-11 03:19:38

Thanks everyone. smile Both for being reassuring and for the great ideas!

I also had a long talk with my mom wink who had a 'second child' (so to speak) 4 times... she said that the key is to involve toddler in baby life by asking them to help. She said if you can get the toddler to do some of the fetch and carry for you and the baby they feel more positive about the experience and the new addition to the family.
She seconded the idea of making quick meals routinely. She laughed and said 'anything you can toss together in a pan in 15min becomes the most delicious meal you can think of.'..thus a lot of pasta dishes, stir fry, omelettes, and baked chicken pieces.
She also suggested have one cleaning goal a day...like pick up the living room. She said work on it as you can during the day and whenever it gets done pat yourself on the back. It doesn't matter if it gets messed up again immediately after, it still will be something you accomplished and be something you can be proud about and keep you active and positive during the day.
The last thing she mentioned is when you get time 'to yourself' do what you want, be it cleaning, or sleep or whatever. Let it be the one thing that you've been craving to do all day (or week) AND THEN don't feel guilty about doing it. She said it's easy to be pressured into doing things others expect you to do, but she said it's equally important to do what you really need. She said, if your house stays messy for 6 months, but everyone in the house is happy then it does not matter if the house is messy. If however everyone is miserable because of stress and lack of sleep because the house is constantly being tidied it really benefits no one.

JarethTheGoblinKing Sun 12-Jun-11 03:41:49

Get toddler into funded hours at nursery asap, and sleep when baby sleeps (sorry if this isn't spectacularly helpful confused )

titferbrains Sun 12-Jun-11 14:05:36

can someone describe what exactly happens from preparation of supper for toddler to bedtime for the last child? I really cannot figure out how to get thru the last 2 hours without one child being cross/in tears/hungry.

We have supper at 530ish so I prep at 5ish. It takes about 30 min for dd to eat. Do you give tiny baby a quick snack feed at this time to see them thru till their last feed of the day? My dd used to need to go down at 630, so if this is true for next baby, then I'd need to whisk them both up to bathroom at 6pm, perhaps give baby a quick wipe down while DD in bath, put into clean babygro while DD plays in bath...this would take you up to about 6.15. I've read elsewhere that older DC may appreciate baby going to bed earlier than new baby. So at 6.15 get older DC out of bath and change them? then settle in front of TV while you do last feed of the day?? DD took about 45 min for the FIRST 7-8 weeks!!!! and then they can take a bit of settling and shushpatting or whatever after the feed! Or do you put older DC into pyjamas and give them, say a story tape for an hour with milk, with dim lights and cuddling toy? Then sit and read a story and cuddle after you've put little one down (who is likely to be crying or grumbling themselves to sleep at this point - takes a while for self-soothing pattern to develop, I think).

DD will be 3 when baby comes, can I expect her to dress herself after she's out of bath? she is also full of beans after a bath, wanting to run around naked or jump on the bed....

Argh makes my brain bleed just thinking about it.

PeppaPigandGeorge Sun 12-Jun-11 14:08:37

Agree with a lot of what has been said.

- Slings are great - hands free to get drinks / wipe bums / etc
- Helping out is a good idea - even if they are actually more of a hindrance!!
- Focus on the toddler when the baby has a nap - playing lego or whatever they're into. Don't try to get housework etc done in that time - do it when the toddler is in bed.
- Clothes out the day before (including spares and that night's PJs!)
- Plan and make meals in advance (I put the breakfast stuff out on the table before I go to bed and make sanwiches at breakfast time so nothing needs doing NOW)
- Put the baby to bed when the toddler goes to bed and generally fit the baby around the toddler's routine. I know they are always waking to feed at first but this is really working for us now at 6 months.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 12-Jun-11 14:18:17

sling, sling, sling
also take the time now to get your toddler into activities where the baby can come too (toddler groups, library rhyme time). then you'll have a bit of a routine to force you out of the house, which is a good thing for you all
do all your shopping online

titfer, our bedtime routine in the early days looked like this:
4.15pm - dd2 napping either in cot or in sling
dd1 parked in front of cbeebies
me sorting out tea
5pm - dd1 eating, dd2 bfing,
5.30pm dd1 in front of cbeebies, dd2 in bouncy chair or in sling, me doing as much tidying up as dd2 will allow
6pm - bath. dd1 in bath first and washed. then toys in. then dd2 in. quick wash for her while dd1 plays. dd2 out and dressed, then dd1 out and dressed. some screaming by both children and quite often by me.
6.30pm all downstairs. dd1 milk and story, dd2 bfing.
7pm - dd1 bed. cuddle and songs with both dd2 and I
7.10pm - back down with dd2 for a good 90mins cluster feeding, and some occasional screaming hmm

by about 14 weeks dd2 had stopped cluster feeding, so she then went to bed first while dd2 had a story cd on. then dd1 to bed about 7.15.

titferbrains Sun 12-Jun-11 14:34:27

thanks that's helpful, I doubt very much that I'll bath baby every day, or if I do I will do baby's bath at another time, when DD1 can be "helper", our bathroom is awkward for trying to do both if they aren't both sitting up. Will be easier to just feed a bit more maybe while dd in the bath?? or let baby watch?

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 12-Jun-11 14:41:25

we had a second cheapo bouncy chair in the bathroom, which helped a lot, both for the girls' bathtimes, and for me getting a shower in the mornings.
if dd2 wasn't such an explosive pooer I'm sure she wouldn't have had a daily bath either.

titferbrains Sun 12-Jun-11 14:43:01

oh god, ~I remember the poos. Up the back and down the leg, lovely grin

allthefires Sun 12-Jun-11 17:03:15

Titferbrains- could dd have bath in the morning if she's full of beans or alternative days.

Think 3 is too young for them to dry/ put clothes on- or maybe my nearly 4 ds is just lazy!

allthefires Sun 12-Jun-11 17:12:24

Really interesting thread. Am expecting dc2. Ds will be 4.

Hoping he will go preschool 1.5 mornings. Plus he iOS with his dad one whole week day. Will be resting as much as possible to make sure I have energy for rest of time with him.

Think with dc2 I will be less baby group focused as it can become too time consuming- I haven't got time for new friendships this time around!

Definitely doing online shop and going to do birthday presents at beginning of each month. Wrapped and ready.

Also have 2 stepchildren that baby needs to fit in with.

Think I best learn to juggle!

titferbrains Sun 12-Jun-11 22:10:41

allthefires - will aim to be flexible with newborn's bathtime as frankly, they don't need much bathing anyway and they don't know the difference between night and day, they certainly don't care what time you bathe them! I really am not a morning person and think it's best not to disrupt DD1's routine if at all possible because she will notice it more.

Curlybrunette Sun 12-Jun-11 22:32:24

Hi everyone,
I'd agree with the advice given from others above, definitely keep to a good bedtime routine with dd1, the last thing you want is for that to slip so you end up with an overtired toddler running round as well as a tiny baby that will want to feed all evening.

2 other things, firstly I read somewhere to be aware of how you speak to the elder sibling. Say such as "what a lovely big sister you are" rather than "awww look at your lovely baby brother/sister". Crap example but you get what I mean, put the focus on the elder one rather than the new cute marvellous baby that everyone comes to see, cuddle and bring presents to. Also don't tell the elder child that they will love the baby, a toddler could well see that a baby is just a smelly, screaming thing that comes in to their life and takes away time and attention that they used to get. For a while they might not love their sibling, and it can cause more problems telling them that love or like this baby that at first they may not (or not realise they do anyway!). I told ds1 that family were coming to see us all after ds2 was born, rather than that they were coming to see the baby. I also let him open the presents for ds2. Although I certainly didn't expect it, I was so grateful when people bought ds1 a present as well as ds2!

The second thing I realise now (I had 19 months between my 2) is that ds1 suddenly seemed really grown up and big when ds2 arrived and I think I expected too much from him. At times he was really helpful and would pass nappies etc. if I asked but sometimes he wouldn't and I felt (but hopefully didn't show it) grumpy with him for not helping me when I'd asked him to. I realise now he wasn't even 2, I was so bloody unreasonable to have expected him to get stuff for me, and certainly was for feeling cross with him for not doing it. He was a baby for goodnes sake bad mum emoticon

Enjoy them, it will be not time before they are great playmates.
x

trixie123 Mon 13-Jun-11 08:50:42

such a great thread. I have a 22 month old and a 1 month old and we are feeling our way. DS1 is just entering the tantrum stage so we tend to have a few meltdowns a day over NOTHING, I mean, really nothing, I have no idea what set him off this morning, though usually its over peppa pig being denied, or turned off after an hour. Any ideas on this one? it goes on at 5ish so I can get dinner cooked but then he has such a strop when it goes off he won't eat his tea. today is the first day or normality with DP back at work and no grandparents around and DS has gone to CM as he normally would if I was at work. I have today and tomorrow with just DD but then wed-fri with both. Will keep checking in here for ideas!

titferbrains Mon 13-Jun-11 09:30:37

i did my best to ignore all tantrums when they started around 2 yo. Can you offer any treat after supper if he sits down nicely for his supper?

Can you let him do an activity while you prepare food? get out some special stickers or something?

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