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Those of you with a newborn and a toddler - how do you do it???!!

(23 Posts)
DonutsToTheRescue Tue 02-Dec-14 16:41:48

DS is 2.2 and DD is 9 weeks.
I love them both to bits and wouldn't change my life for the world - BUT I do feel like I'm going to have a bit of a meltdown!!
DD has no real routine - she is EBF and feeds as and when she wants it. She only sleeps on me or in the car / pram if we are out, and I generally have to hold her through the day (and night!).
DS is a typical lively 2 year old boy; he is usually very well behaved but like I said, he is a lively 2 year old boy!! I feel he is being neglected as I can't give him the attention he wants / deserves.
I haven't slept for more than 3 hours at a time since DD was born and am generally getting about 5 hours of broken sleep a night and I'm shattered!!
Today I had both DD and DS crying at the same time, both tired but not wanting to sleep! And with me being so tired too, I just didn't have the patience or energy to deal with it so much so that I was crying too!
I said to myself that I need to get out of the house every day even if it is to buy some milk from the shop, but by the time I have got all 3 of us dressed and in a decent state to go out in public, it's already heading for lunch time so I just end up staying in.
It is so hard even to find the time to have a quick shower or grab a sandwich for myself - if the basics are so hard, how can I do anything else?!
I feel and look a mess - even if I do manage to get ready I end up with sick / poo / milk on me within about 5 minutes and find it all a bit undignified having leaky boobs, breast & maternity pads all over the house, usually a boob hanging out, still in my maternity clothes, greasy hair etc etc....
The house is a tip too as I just don't have the time to do the housework.
I feel like we're just surviving at the moment instead of living but I don't want it to be like this.
I feel a bit of a failure as a mother actually as both DS & DD deserve better.
Please tell me how I can make it better and that is doesn't last forever!
Thank you!

TarkaTheOtter Tue 02-Dec-14 16:44:40

It gets better. A lot better. Mine are now nearly 3 and 9months an I was just thinking the other day how easy it has got <touch wood, touch wood>.
You're still in the early days. Consider it an achievement when everyone has survived another day.

MrsMarigold Tue 02-Dec-14 16:56:48

You aren't a failure, don't feel too bad about the house, I didn't mop the floor in four months after my daughter was born! Allow your eldest to watch Cbeebies and get some duplo if you don't already have some it keeps them amused for hours and have a cup of tea. Can you afford a cleaner?

I have two DC 15 months apart and it is difficult - just try and focus on one thing at a time. Is your 2 year old still napping? my DD is now the same age as your eldest and she's very lively but can talk better so it's getting easier but she doesn't nap anymore.

Don't feel to guilty about giving your eldest some ready meals - where are you? Cook does some great ones for toddlers and adults.

I remember those days where I felt like a cow but it's still early days don't put too much pressure on yourself. Can your DS go out with grandparents or anything for an afternoon. Or nursery.

If you still feel rubbish see your GP you don't want to get PND, but it's relentless but it becomes better and they play together which is a bonus later on. Good luck tbsmile

MrsMarigold Tue 02-Dec-14 16:58:10

Sorry my punctation deserted me.

GrouchyKiwi Tue 02-Dec-14 17:06:50

DD1 is 2.9 and DD2 is now 4 months. My house is still a tip, we're eating more ready meals than before the baby arrived, and DD1 watches loads of Thomas the Tank Engine as well as various films.

It's much easier now than 2 months ago, even though I feel really bad about the above. But it's only for a time.

To get through the day when the baby was small I ate my body weight in chocolate, set up a corner of the sofa for me and the baby and encouraged the toddler to sit with us during breastfeeding time so I could read her books or just snuggle with the two of them. I also used a wrap so I could have the baby sleeping on me while I played with her sister or did jobs

It will get better. Hang in there; you're doing a great job.

DonutsToTheRescue Tue 02-Dec-14 17:10:33

Thanks both.

I know it will get easier, it's just hard to see that far ahead at the mo! And I don't want to be wishing the weeks away, I want to be enjoying my time now.
I think part of the problem is that I'm torn between just doing the bare minimum and getting us all through the day relatively unscathed to making the most of every (blurry eyed) waking minute and just throwing myself into anything & everything regardless of how I look or feel!

DS does still nap most days - he's actually asleep now in his bed whilst DD is asleep on my lap! So I can't even make the most of my time whilst he naps (hence being on Mumsnet!!).

I have mentioned getting a cleaner to DH but he won't really entertain the idea, saying we can't afford it. I'm not overly worried about the housework but the bathroom hasn't been cleaned for a while so I would be embarrassed if anyone came round, plus when there is no cutlery left in the drawer you know it's about time you did the washing up!!!! blush

DonutsToTheRescue Tue 02-Dec-14 17:17:44

Oh, crossed post with Grouchy -
Thnaks for your reply.

Yes, DS watches far more TV than I'd like him too but it is a lifesaver sometimes! He is actually quite good at entertaining himself too - he'll play with his duplo or his cars for a while on his own which again is a massive help.
Though DD is usually feeding or sleeping on me when he's doing that so I can't actually do anything for myself or the house!!

I feel like I just 'sit' a lot!!!!

I'm trying not to do ready meals / takeaways but have been eating rubbish (chocolate, crisps, biscuits) to keep my energy levels up but then feel fat and unattractive! I am still one and a half stone more than I weighed pre-pregnancy and like I said above, am still wearing my maternity clothes!

I don't think I have / will get PND, I don't feel that bad or depressed as such. I guess I'm just tired & emotional and just having a particularly bad day!!!!!

APocketfulOfSpondulix Tue 02-Dec-14 17:24:33

It is awful for a while - I think I reached maximum awfulness at around six months when the baby was pissed off because she couldn't sit up or move and wanted to be carried all the time. I have the same age gap as you.

Baby has just turned one though and it's MUCH easier. Just hang in there.

By the way, you are not a failure. I think that we (OK, talking about me here) have an expectation that the second time round will be much easier and then the baby gets here and you think oh shit, this is bloody hard!

dameagatha Tue 02-Dec-14 17:38:24

You will feel like you're losing the plot. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it - my DM helped me with double bath times for a while & I once had to call DSis to rescue me at a particularly challenging teatime! It will get better!

Screenclean Tue 02-Dec-14 17:50:46

Oh you have the exact same age gap as me. I posted on here when DS was 9 weeks old saying I regretted having him! shock

I had lovely responses and things did get easier. I lowered my expectations, accepted and asked for every scrap of help that came my way.

Be kind to yourself x

TarkaTheOtter Tue 02-Dec-14 18:31:06

Is your dh helping out enough? The "has a stressful job" excuse doesn't really cut it when you have a baby and toddler - it's all hands to the deck.

KatamariDamacy Tue 02-Dec-14 18:48:40

It will get better.

2 years between my two. Youngest is 11 mo now.

Get a sling. Find a local sling library and try some out. My sling saved my sanity as I was able to stick the little one in it (where he'd happily sleep for hours) and run after the toddler. I had a stretchy wrap (Moby) and the baby pretty much lived in it until he outgrew it. Best money I ever spent.

waterrat Tue 02-Dec-14 19:27:28

You have exactly the same age gap as me - we are six months in and it has absolutely flown by ... Some horrendous days but as a friend said to me it tends to be a bad hour rather than an entire bad day!

If you have them both everyday I am full of admiration as I had two days of toddler childcare ...

All I can say is I coped by planning each day in advance ... I knew where we were headed each morning .. I found that if I fed the baby then as soon as she was sleeping got out of the house for a couple of hours to somewhere easy it made the whole day easier - most preferable is meeting friends, next best is a playgroup ..have lunch planned even if just beans on toast - soon as you come back in the door put a DVD in so you can get settled cook lunch for all of you and feed th baby

I always carried substantial snacks so that we were never approaching lunchtime with a hungry toddler - sandwich in the buggy can save the day!

To be honest I would just accept the first six months are a slog with lovely moments rather than expecting to enjoy it!

Let's face it nobody ever in the history of the world has said - oh I really wish I had a toddler and a newborn again... Such a lovely phase !!

Don't get stuck trying to put the baby in a routine - I just kept to you toddler routine and now the baby is six months she has fallen naturally into a rhythm anyway

Never be afraid to put the telly on and rest!

waterrat Tue 02-Dec-14 19:28:53

Oh and - my winter afternoons - I find I need to go out even on a little trip
- library
- walk to shop, tell toddler to help put things in basket with a promise of a treat
- buy cbeebies magazine
Go home and put feet up again!

fruitpastille Tue 02-Dec-14 20:01:47

Get dh to clean the bathroom and leave you a packed lunch in the fridge. And wash your hair while he is there to hold the fort - I actually prefer to get up half an hour earlier so I can get ready in peace.

PotteringAlong Tue 02-Dec-14 20:04:53

DS is 3 tomorrow. Ds2 is 11 weeks.

I have lowered my standards smile

Tigercake Tue 02-Dec-14 20:11:14

Like other people have said, I used a sling constantly. I was not shy of using DVDs or cbeebies if essential. Get out as much as possible, to toddler groups or whatever -other people's houses are good too. At nap times if it was really bad I used to take them both out in the car (only works if baby will sleep) then park up right outside house, nip in to make tea and sit (or sleep) in the car. 2 year olds make great little helpers-fetching and carrying.

Sounds like you're doing really well, and it will change v fast!

lotsofcheese Tue 02-Dec-14 20:18:05

I remember the days! I had my shower the night before, so that I could get out easier in the morning. I also packed snacks, change bag & laid out clothes the night before too. And used a sling/baby carrier. I did get a cleaner - it costs £16 fortnightly - I felt weekly was too much translate as it was too much to tidy up for her coming every week

Ballandchainer Tue 02-Dec-14 20:22:31

All you need to do in the early days is just that - survive.

It's relentless, but you will get through today, this week, this month... And suddenly, you'll look up and notice it has got a bit easier.

Forget about the housework, focus on giving each DC as much attention as you can, but don't only as much as you can. Sleep whenever you can. Don't forget to eat and stay hydrated.

You will spend a lot of time sitting, with someone attached to you one way or another. It's not just you,nor does it just feel like it. Make sure you get SOME time alone, every day, even if it's a quick shower or a walk to the end of the road and back.

Look after youself, be kind to yourself.

This, too, shall pass.

Mine are 5 and 3 now. wink

Ballandchainer Tue 02-Dec-14 20:29:46

There's a spare "don't" up there, followed by nonsense.

I tried to say something along the lines of: give them as much attention as you can, but don't expect too much of yourself. If you know you've done the best you can - that's enough.

MummyLuce Thu 04-Dec-14 20:58:47

21 months between mine. I don't shower or eat lunch or eat breakfast. Or do any domestic chores other than cook their dinner. BUT, I am now thin and it is all quite fun!

lovemakespeace Thu 04-Dec-14 22:05:12

Both my babies have napped well swaddled with white noise and in a baby swing. I got mine for £13 off gumtree. Might be worth a try to see if you can get a little time without the baby sleeping on you.

Bananice Fri 05-Dec-14 08:56:48

DD is 9 weeks as well, my DS is 2 on Sunday. I'm in awe of you if you have them full time as I have DS in nursery still for 3 days a week (keep meaning to cut them down but am finding it too difficult!). My survival tips are:
- shower the night before, particularly if needing to wash my hair
- lunch packed for toddler the night before and in a cool bag ready to go in the morning
- healthy one pot ready meals for me for lunch that I can grab easily
- playgroups! There is always someone that is happy to hold the baby while I play with DS (and this time round, I have no qualms about handing my precious DD over to a friendly looking mother or granny that I've never met!). DS has a great run around, lunch in the buggy on the way home then straight into his cot for a nap (hallelujah)
- a carrier for evenings: DD lives in her Ergo and will grab a catnap before the bedtime routine while I feed DS
- a bath seat/bouncinette thing: makes bathing both of them together a breeze.

Good luck - we will get through this! Ironically, it's the toddler who is causing up bedtime grief: DD is generally up one for a quick feed between 8 and 7: DS is taking at least an hour to settle to bed and last night was up between 11 and 1:30am hmm

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