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How to cope with spirited pre-schooler and difficult newborn?

(15 Posts)
snowrevolution Sat 22-Sep-12 17:13:04

DS1 is 3 and DS2 is 7 weeks. It's all a bit of a nightmare and not sure how to cope with 2 at the same time. DS1 is fun-loving and kind, and very good to his little brother, but often wild and fairly out of control. DS2 is a no-sleeping, screaming refluxy, gassy baby and I seem to spend all my time either trying to feed him (takes ages, as there's lots of pulling off the breast / crying) and or get him to sleep. I had lots of sympathetic looks from other new mums at a breastfeeding group as he screamed solidly for 2 hours whilst the other babies fed calmly or gurgled contentedly.

Nights are mixed: on a good night he will do a couple of 3 hour stints between 11pm and 7am. On the worst nights I grapple a wide awake baby during the night and get 2 hours sleep, leaving me close to losing it and exhausted the next day. He's generally quite unsettled, and gas pains rather than hunger seem to wake him up.

I have no energy / free hands to spend on DS1, who spends half his time with me watching TV, and the rest playing up. Feeling incredibly guilty about this, and sad about not being able to spend time with him that he clearly desperately wants.

We've tried the following things, and nothing really seems to work. Would love advice / ideas from anyone who's been through something similar. I think I could cope if either DS1 or DS2 was relatively placid / easy, but it's tough when they're both difficult!

Childcare: we're overseas and have no family support here. DH helps where he can, but works long hours. DS1 has just started pre-school 15 hours a week, which he enjoys. Seriously thinking about upping his hours (so he does from 0930 - 1600 most days) to keep him occupied and potentially give me some time to sleep during the day when the baby sleeps. But feel like I really should be able to cope with 2 DC in the afternoon when most other mums are able to do this. And I don't want DS1 to feel like he's being pushed away.

Sling: DS2 takes some of his naps in the sling, including a long one on the 90 minute nursery run. But I'm reluctant to use the sling more during the day, as he always falls asleep in it and if he sleeps too much during the day, it seems to completely mess up his night-time sleep.

Co-sleeping: I've seen others rave about this, but it just doesn't work for us. Can't get the hang of feeding on my side (and I've had a lactation consultant go through this with me a couple of times) and find it really uncomfortable to co-sleep.

Working on sorting out reflux with gaviscon / cutting out dairy from diet etc. It's having some effect, but not enough.

Occupying DS1: he's not the kind of child to curl up next to me and read a few books whilst I'm breastfeeding DS2. Ditto a special box of toys and leaving him to get on with it. He's very physical and wants to run around creating havoc!

Any ideas....? Should I just resign myself to upping DS1's nursery hours sad ?

Salamanger Sat 22-Sep-12 20:21:29

Sounds like very hard work. I cut out dairy for similar reasons but also had to give up soya to stop DD's symptoms.

Sounds like you're doing all the right things, i hope it starts to get better soon.

For DS1, maybe some trickier puzzles or more challenging lego would encourage him to sit for a while? Indoor tent/den that he could go in and out of.

houmousandcarrotsandwich Sat 22-Sep-12 20:31:00

You are living my life!

DS is 2.10 & DD is 18 weeks. Finding it really hard, have had same issues with hyper toddler & crying baby.

I wish I could give you some advise.
I would say try & get out when you can. Even if baby is screaming a walk in the pram to the park so older one can run about, provides distraction for baby.
DD is just starting to get past the reflux. Gaviscon didn't help much (just made the sea of vomit thicker). Now on solids (GP advice) & is helping also sleeps better (I think because she isn't getting heart burn like she was when only on milk)

You are not alone!

PropositionJoe Sat 22-Sep-12 20:34:54

I'd up the nursery hours for a few weeks, then review. Sympathy - this is the worst bit, honestly.

kerala Sat 22-Sep-12 20:36:24

This is the hardest time it gets better x

sittinginthesun Sat 22-Sep-12 20:42:10

7 weeks is a hard time with a colicky newborn. I reckon you'll find you've just hit the hardest peak and it will actually get easier (both mine did, although it took ds1 until 13 weeks to stop screaming).

Ds1 was in nursery for mornings, and I used any nap time to catch up with my sleep. In the afternoons, I used any naps to concentrate solely on ds1. I then went to bed at the same time as them at 7pm.

It passed fairly quickly, tbh. By 12 weeks they were all settled.

purplehouse Sat 22-Sep-12 20:47:39

Mine were like this. I upped ds's nursery hours when he was 3 and a half and the tv also featured heavily. It was a tough time but everyone came through it fine, we are 3 years further on now.

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 22-Sep-12 20:48:23

I have just been through this! Three years and a month between my two girls. The key is to get out of the house with the three year old for at least a couple of hours. My eldest was in childcare every morning and then I had something planned each afternoon. We did a three mile walk every other day- also great for the baby weight. Mums and toddler group one afternoon, play date on a friday, and grocery shopping on a Friday but made it very interactive. It does get easier.

Kveta Sat 22-Sep-12 20:50:23

I would up the nursery hours a bit at least for the next couple of months. 2 full days a week might help?

I sympathise, as have DS who will be 3 next week, and DD 14 weeks, and have had some awful nights (strangely all DS's doing, as DD is turning out to be quite an easy baby at night), and then spend the days going spare with hungry baby and boisterous toddler.

DS goes to the childminder 2 full days a week (well, 9-3), keeping our hours for when I return to work - I LOVE those days more than I should, he has a fun day, I can relax or do stuff around the house, and it keeps me from going spare. I feel very guilty dropping him off, even when he's had a screaming fit on the walk there because, for example, cruel mummy won't let him play in traffic, but he is so very full on that I need those days. we have no family nearby btw.

best of luck.

topknob Sat 22-Sep-12 20:51:32

Excuse my ignorance but what does spirited mean?? Naughty, not under control??

scarlettsmummy2 Sat 22-Sep-12 20:53:27

I presumed the op just means very lively and excitable! I would describe my daughter as spirited and that's what I would be trying to convey.

Iggly Sat 22-Sep-12 21:01:38

Ds was like yours - none of this sitting quietly while I fed. I didn't increase his hours at nursery despite having a baby just like yours but I did get a lot of help on other days. If you can't then increase the hours temporarily.

With feeding times, if at home I would have either the tv on for him, a new toy (I bought a load of cheap £1 cars and magazines to whip out). If we were out, I'd give him a snack - didn't care if it was near a meal anything to keep him still.

Wrt to feeding, you need to determine what the issue is. Dd had reflux, tongue tie and I had over active letdown and oversupply of milk. Medication, stripping all dairy and soya out of my diet plus block feeding and getting her tie snipped did the trick.

Co sleeping saved my sanity but feeding lying down didn't work as gave me mastitis. So I still co slept with dd but sat up for feeds.

And do not, I repeat DO NOT compare yourself to other mums. I felt bitter for I had two refluxy non sleeping babies. Low point was dd waking up every 20 mins at night. So I knew I had it hard but I'd still make comparisons about how I should be coping. Once I got over that and realised that yes I did have it hard and I had to take action, I could relax a bit.

It will get easier, I promise.

ErmahgerdPerngwens Sat 22-Sep-12 21:02:22

DS2 was incredibly hard work as a baby and DS1 was full of energy (2.8). Sitting quietly with toys was never going to be an option, I used to give DS1 tasks to do, I'd put a pile of clothes pegs at one end of the room and get him to run and fetch them one by one, or getting things from upstairs (if you trust him to be sensible enough the stairs are a great energy burner).

I spent lots of time out the house, again with tasks like collecting leaves/sticks/stones from a wide area. Also playgroups - there's always someone who wants to cuddle a newborn, even if they're screamy and collicy, which gives you time for DS1.

It does get better, DS2 still sleeps badly, but since he's been walking and talking, him and DS1 are really great companions for each other.

snowrevolution Sat 22-Sep-12 23:15:05

Thank you so much for all the sympathy and advice. It helps to know others have been / are going through this and that it does get better - roll on the 3 month mark!

I think I will up the nursery hours, at least temporarily, a few days each week. And also loving some of the ideas for keeping ds1 occupied: will definitely be trying out the clothes peg collection game!

To the poster who asked, by spirited I mean lively, excitable and mischievous.

sarah01372 Mon 24-Sep-12 10:12:24

I had a similar problem with 3 year old twins and a newborn .... found that setting the older ones up with an activity really really helped ... if you plan a little bit in advance it all works out so much better, and we all managed to enjoy ourselves .. rather than me always shouting and feeling despondent. Sticker books, finger painting, marshmallow models, having an indoor picnic etc ... all ideas can be found on - have put them there to help others in the same situation. Good luck! x

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