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Advice needed for a mother with a newborn and a toddler please!

(23 Posts)
civilfawlty Thu 18-Oct-12 12:22:17

My sister has a two week old baby and a 16mo. She is overwhelmed. I've never been in the situation and beyond recommending a cleaner and copious amounts of red wine, I'm not sure what it's best to suggest. I thought some clever people here may have some brilliant ideas - unleash your genius please mners!

juneau Thu 18-Oct-12 12:49:02

God - poor thing. I have a 17-month-old (and an older child), but the thought of dealing with my toddler and a newborn as well makes me want to run out the door and not come back!

Does she have family nearby? If so, meals cooked and dropped off, laundry done, taking the toddler to the park for an hour, taking both DC out for a walk to let her sleep or catch up - will all be helpful.

If there are no close family members or local ones are unable or unwilling does she have money? If so, as well as a cleaner a post-partum doula can really help. They will do anything home or baby related. You can find one in your area through this website:

juneau Thu 18-Oct-12 12:50:12

P.S. Red wine is unlikely to help. She just needs sleep probably - and some support.

Babieseverywhere Thu 18-Oct-12 13:16:59

It depends on the baby and toddler, you need to establish what is overwhelming for your sister, is it lack of sleep, lack of 'me time', lack of adult conversation.

civilfawlty Thu 18-Oct-12 13:21:56

Thanks people. I think the baby screams if she isn't holding him, and the toddler is VERY active and into everything and clearly struggling with not having her
Mun's complete attention and... And... She is exhausted and I think coming to terms with how incredibly challenging it is just to get out the house with a toddler who goes nuts when she has to go in the buggy etc...

We - her family - are near by, and we can make meals and offer an extra pair of hands some of the time. But not all the time. I guess I was looking for techniques and insights to make day to day life easier: so, I run an incredibly tight ship and put on a load of washing every day etc etc. What else can I suggest?

peachypips Thu 18-Oct-12 13:22:59

More than anything she needs help and support, and the presence of other adults for as much of the time as possible. Can you do a rota of helpers? Mix of family, friends or nanny if ur rich!!!

Babieseverywhere Thu 18-Oct-12 14:15:19

A sling for the baby would be my first thought. That would give her hands back to play with toddler. A proper nice sling, a ring sling or mei tai.

If toddler doesn't like the pram, what about introducing a small scooter or reins OR both !

Suggest introducing 'quiet time' in the afternoon. This is when my baby/toddler/older children have the choice of a nap on the sofa or on a bed upstairs or playing in their room as long as it is quiet.

With just two little ones she is likely to be able to get them both napping together with luck. Or maybe she could lie down on her bed with toddler and baby (one on each side of her to avoid toddler kicking baby) and have a cuddle/nap time together.

A feeding basket works well. i.e. New toys/books for the toddler which are only brought out when the baby is being fed.

It can be hard but getting out to local playgroups/NCT groups etc could help your sister feel less overwhelmed and provide playmates for the toddler.

Babieseverywhere Thu 18-Oct-12 14:22:18

Forgot to say...Don't worry too much about your sister (barring PND or other health complications), it is early days yet. Once your sister finds her own way to do all the things she needs to do with her children, she will be fine.

BooCanary Thu 18-Oct-12 14:26:00

Sticker books to do with toddler whilst feeding baby.

Safety gates - invaluable to put on babies room so there is a toddler free space to settle baby - SO helpful if you want to be able to go to the toilet without toddler trying to 'help' with baby in your absence.

Divide and rule when dh/DM/anyone is there to help.

Lots of long walks.

Soft play - wears toddler out whilst You stay with baby - works best if you go with other mums who can help if toddlers need help with anything.

A few weeks of a bit too much cbeebies has also never killed anyone AFAIK!

horsebiscuit Thu 18-Oct-12 14:31:11

She does not need wine. She will be too tired to be drinking. While she recovers from the birth she needs first and foremost taking care of herself. She needs you, her DP and her family to help her as much as possible, in particular keeping the 16 month old occupied while she rests and, if relevant, establishes breastfeeding. If that's not possible, if she can afford it, she should hire some help, especially for that awful time from 5pm to bedtime shudder. She will still be bleeding, she will be shattered, she may have stitches and exploding boobs- all of the tips in the world will not get away from the fact that right now she needs physical help until she has found her feet.

civilfawlty Thu 18-Oct-12 14:59:07

Do you think there is a way of making practical suggestions for when she is alone - which she will be because there is no realistic way for me or my mother to be there 24/7- please (Having recently had a baby, I'm only too aware of the physical demands of birth and after - red wine was a facetious comment. I'm just after some useful hints. The breast feeding toy basket, for example, is a great idea. Thanks for it and the other ideas.

CagneyNLacey Thu 18-Oct-12 15:16:09

I have the same age difference, but am 6 months down the line and I'll be honest I don't know how I managed at all. All I wanted was for someone to entertain my 16 month old for a bit but there was and is nobody else to do that!

I managed by always tidying up downstairs before I went up to bed so I had a good start to the next day. Tidy upstairs as best as i could before coming downstairs too.
A wash on every day if I could manage it.
A few toys that i kept for particularly bad times that were a good distraction.
Always had my clothes ironed for the week so i could just get up, show something on and then was good to go if i suddenly needed to get hell out of the house.
Nappy bag permanently stocked and downstairs. Changing supplies kept separately upstairs so wasn't running up and down constantly.
White noise app on my phone is super handy for calming baby if i have wrangle toddler for 5 mins.
Trying to think of more!

CagneyNLacey Thu 18-Oct-12 15:21:31

Oh I tell you what would've been great, if someone could had made and then given me a load of toddler sized lunch/dinners in that i could take out the freezer of a morning. My daughter didn't have the best meals in the first few months after son arrived as i count think straight to plan and cook in advance and struggled to have time to do it in the day with both kids.

CagneyNLacey Thu 18-Oct-12 15:26:44

Sorry for spelling and mistakes! Hope your sister is ok, I really struggled and I wish my sister had given a tiny shit. <not bitter, oh no>

juneau Thu 18-Oct-12 17:41:18

Has she actually asked you for ideas of how to manage her time when you're not there? If she has, fine, but otherwise I'd be loathe to go in there with a list of instructions. New mums can be sensitive at the best of times and your poor sister is clearly not experiencing the best of times.

Practical suggestions:
- get out of the house every day, even if it's just to post a letter, dawdle round the park, or get a pint of milk. When both DC are driving you round the bend, saddle up and off you go;
- yes, toy box for feeding time OR stick CBeebies or a DVD on. I appreciate her older DC is young and may not be into telly yet;
- try and get them napping at the same time at least once a day. If the older DC already has a routine put the baby down at the same time - this should give her at least one hour of peace and quiet per day;
- one load of laundry per day is a good goal;
- I had a Didymos sling for my two when they were babies, graduating to an Ergo baby carrier at about four months;
- ready meals are your friend. Sainsburys and Waitrose do nice ones. Home cooked meals by family members are even nicer smile

juneau Thu 18-Oct-12 17:42:38

- do grocery shopping online unless you and your DC actually enjoy going to the supermarket.

civilfawlty Thu 18-Oct-12 18:36:41

Thanks - some brilliant ideas here.

And yes - she has asked.

civilfawlty Thu 18-Oct-12 21:47:14

Bumping for any more thoughts...

Ameybee Fri 19-Oct-12 02:26:42

I have a 3 year old & one month old and can def agree with the practical help everyone has recommended,since my oh went back to work I have arranged help each day even if just a few hours. My toddler also doing extra nursery session - could this be an option? Wears them out & gives mum a break. Also we bought toddler a doll that has bottle & dummy etc, when i feed baby I say ' oh your baby is hungry too' and she sits pretending to feed! She probably needs to get out n chat to other mums with similar age gaps for reassurance that it gets easier. Odd glass of red may help! A glass of white helps me when toddler goes to bed I must admit! Xx

civilfawlty Fri 19-Oct-12 11:36:17

Thanks all. Have forwarded your suggestions to my Sis.

ThePinkNinja Sat 20-Oct-12 12:22:22

I've just had a little one too, and have a toddler... The sling and nursing basket haven't worked for me. But everyone swears by them smile Will sling baby when he's a bit bigger smile

What has worked :
*Making toddlers lunch night before or in the morning so it's ready to go at lunch time
*I have had a small glass of wine most evening smile so... It has helped... The wind down when toddler is sleeping is important to me smile
*A few choc biscuits (seriously have everyone take her some biscuits when they go to the house. They will get eaten, and won't require extra attention like flowers do!)
*My toddler has a playroom. This works a treat. It was just his birthday, so there are some new favourite toys in there for him to play with. He goes in for about 20 minutes or so once or twice a day. I can shower or feed newborn,- huge help! smile
*A swing/ playmat/ bouncer/ Moses basket - I have all four and regularly pop newborn in for a few minutes time with the toddler.

*Also having a "routine" in place for toddler helps me. .... I try to stick to his routine, and fit in babies needs (eat/ sleep / diaper) in between as they're more simple. I find knowing that my day is divided into kind of 2 shifts (morning before nap and afternoon after nap) helps me make it through smile if all goes to pot, we watch a Disney movie or go for a walk.

*Also getting hubby to get toddler up/ dressed and fed in am helps me as I then have time to feed newborn right at start of day...

*Also been making sure to take my vitamins. I had stopped but have felt noticeably better since starting again.

*I'm also not worried about major housework right now (I had a csection and so can't anyway), so I just try to do a bit of laundry and feed everyone. Hubby does dishes... We will catch up on proper cleaning when I'm feeling better and more used to having 2 to look after all the time.

Will post more if I think of any smile

ThePinkNinja Sat 20-Oct-12 12:23:16

Also hubby just pointed out- going for a drive when he gets in from work (even just to the shop for 1 item) gives us both a little bit of a break. smile toddler enjoys the shop, and gets me out of the house with help smile

ThePinkNinja Sat 20-Oct-12 12:24:53

Also agree with poster talking about ready meals... We are foodies,but grateful for ready meals as we have no family close by.

Also we have a lot of "meat and cheese nights" where we eat prawns/ cured meats and some nice cheeses and I make fresh bread smile

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