Tips on handling newborn stage with a toddler as finding it very stressful(16 Posts)
Thanks for reading this as it's my first post. I have a awesome toddler who's almost 2.5 and a newborn just turned 7 weeks. I'm just finding the daily grind very challenging at the moment. I'm tired as to be expected and whilst DD2 is currently a good night sleeper (knock on wood - waking twice overnight for feeds) her day naps are non existent as I just can't seem to know how to settle her making for very chaotic days, lots of resettling and WAY too much telly (abc kids; the Australian equivalent of cbeebies) for DD1. I'm feeling really guilty also as not spending enough time with my eldest when truth be told, is what I would rather be doing than dealing with the neverending duties of caring for a newborn. She's a lovely baby but there are definitely moments (every day at the stage) where I question why we decided on at second when having our first was so brilliant. Apologies as this is more of a rant but the question is what tips does anyone have to survive these first few weeks; how can I make myself stress less and when did it get easier for you to deal with 2. (I had PND with my first and trying to work actively to avoid this time around). I know it will pass but I'm naturally a very anxious person so any tips would be gratefully received. Thanks
I think what you are feeling is really normal, at least I felt very torn, that I'd ruined toddlers life and that newborn was taking up significantly more time than I'd imagined he would. (I had images that he'd take long naps whilst dc1 and I baked and did puzzles etc, this did NOT happen!!!)
I tried to get out, even if just for short excursions to the shops for a pint of milk (on foot for fresh air), I found a stretchy sling invaluable as dc2 would nap in it easily and for a while. And accept all offers of help. And ideally have a cleaner come at least once a week for a blitz.
As my mother said just make sure you have clean clothes to wear and food to eat. Everything else can wait.
On a different note, if you are worried about pnd, is it worth at least discussing this with your hv or GP? Just so it's out there?
Its exhausting, both physically and mentally but I promise you you'll hit a peak and it will get so much easier. It happened once DD2 stopped cluster feeding for me. I also started going for a walk in the afternoon, it tired out the toddler and meant the baby had an established time she was napping each day. Like you I wasn't able to spend the time in a quiet, dark room to get her to nap like I did with DD1.
But I do admit, DD1 watched far too much TV at this stage while I dealt with the baby. It's only now, at 7months later that we've imposed a TV ban apart from special occasions and it's been hard but we've noticed a difference.
Agree with PP that putting the newborn in a sling will help if she likes to be on you. Also get the baby involved in games you're playing with the toddler so it doesn't feel so much as 'toddler time' or 'baby time'. That made a huge difference to us, even when I just had the baby on my knee on the floor playing with toddler. It meant she didn't feel I was constantly saying 'I can't do X because I'm dealing with the baby'. In fact the only time I had to say that was when I was feeding. And then she would often bring up an interactive book with sounds or flaps and that would keep her entertained for most of the feed.
Last wee thing, I also had PND with my first and it didn't rear its ugly head again with DD2. I think it was because my lifestyle didn't do quite the 180 that it had with my first and I was actively aware of signs that might indicate it was back (being verbally hard on my self, saying I was useless etc) and used mindfulness techniques to try and avoid.
Be kind to yourself. It's bloody bloody hard work but it will ease up when the baby gets a bit more mobile. Then your difficulty will be keeping the toddlers toys out their mouth.
My DD watched more TV in the two weeks after DS was born than she had ever watched in her entire life. We had an 18m age gap and a sling was a saviour in the early days - I couldn't put DS down to sleep as DD wouldn't leave him alone, and he slept much better in the sling. I read all these helpful tips about how to keep special books and toys to one side so you could produce them when feeding to distract the elder child, which utterly failed to work, as DD either wanted to feed too, or would want to help...
Either way, by 4months things were much easier - DS would nap in the pram so I could give DD my undivided attention. We also went to soft play a lot....
Don't worry about heaps of TV! My now 2 year old was virtually glued to ABCKids (also in Aus...Melbourne) when my second was born. Even now there are some afternoons where we watch back to back Peppa .
We did a lot of mornings at the park - eldest could run around while I pushed the pram and the baby slept. Indoor play centres were brill too - could feed the baby without the eldest escaping. Rhyme time etc at the library is good. Do you have a Playhouse in your area? That is good for us.
Mine are six months and almost 2 now, and it's definitely way easier.
If you were near me I'd meet for coffee...
Thanks for all your responses. I've mentioned the possible PND to my GP A at our recent 6 week appointment but I suspect it is more my anxiety and wanting to avoid the same sleep issues we encountered with our eldest that is causing me stress. I was on my knees worth exhaustion when we hired a sleep consultant to guide us through DD1's sleep issues. I like the idea of mindfulness @weeblueberry and learning techniques there. We're trying to get out and about more so even if DD2 doesn't really nap is a change of scenery and less reliance in the telly. These are all great suggestions and I really appreciate it.
We had a special box of toys/activities that I could do with DS whilst feeding DD so we could all share the time - books, stickers etc.
My DS had stopped napping when DD arrived and that was hard.
I think learning that the strict routine I had established the first time round wasn't going to work the second time helped. I tried to keep DSs life as un-changed as possible, and just tried to fit DD into it. So we went to all his toddler groups and activities, sometimes a bit late, or sometimes arriving with a screaming DD because she was late for a feed, but once there DS could join in with the activities, and I could feed DD. Also she would have naps in the car seat/buggy while were at groups, rather than us saying we couldn't go as that was her nap time.
There's not much advice to give, it sounds as if you are doing all you can!
My DD1 watched a lot of TV as well and I even bought a lot of dvdd that I knew she would like. At least she was sitting next to me while I was breastfeeding! My DH went away for two weeks when baby was 8 weeks old and every evening at toddler's bedtime we just put a movie or a million episodes of peppa pig and watched them while I just sat with baby attached to breasts!
Definitely getting out helps, it's probably quite hot at the moment so not easy, but hopefully you have some air conditioned places you can go and wander round with the pram!
DD1 also eat out a lot in that phase, especially at lunchtimes. We would go to the nearest air conditioned mall's food court and I would buy her lunch and sit with her.
She is a well rounded, of average weight and academic ability 8 year old now, so don't think any long term harm was done!!!
Sling! Pop baby in sling, they tend to magically go to sleep and then you can play with toddler/ make lunch / etc. Seriously, it's a lifesaver.
I had two with 11 months between them.
Somewhere you can pop baby down where they're going to be safe for a couple of minutes if toddler hell is breaking loose in all the rooms you're using, toddlerproof as best you can and lower your standards for a bit - also remembering that anyone you see out and about thinks you're doing fantastically - they don't know if it's taken you three hours to get shoes on and hell's broken loose at home that morning or not!
I went out to cafes for lunch a lot - the people watching kept the older one busy and if the baby was asleep in the pram I'd get a little bit of time to inhale a cup of coffee. Waaaay too much cbeebies but bollocks to guilt on that one - DD1 is above expectations in everything academically and socially!
I also abused the shit out of cheap offers for soft play places and unleashed the toddler there while I sat with the baby. Slings didn't work for us as DD2 was a total and utter sling refuser!
I did end up with PND - but as I had post-natal anxiety with DD1 I was kind of expecting it and knowing it could be coming meant I could jump onto medication and get back on an even keel fairly quickly this time around.
The looking at your eldest who suddenly seems to have morphed from your little baby into this huge creature and bawling your eyes out that you've ruined their life bringing a sibling into the equation thing is completely normal by the way! I love DD2 to bits now and she's the sweetest natured kid you'd ever meet but it took time to get there (fake it till you make it on that front). The pair of 'em are inseparable now - "sister" was one of DD2's first words.
Personally I tried to stay out of the house as much as possible. Lunch or tea I'm a cafe...fresh air for everyone...playgroups or friends houses. Have a routine and know what you are doing every day . Get buggy ready night before. It passes.
Thanks all for taking the time to reply. I have an ergo but up till now was unable to really use it as my c section wound had opened in several spots and after almost 6 weeks is finally healing. The pram has been good whereas DD1 didn't really like the pram at all. I know it's only only a stage and will just need to get through the newborn stage. Sounds bad as I do love DD2 but I think the newborn stage just isn't for me. And hear hear to getting out and about as that really helps me too. MN is awesome place to vent as I am a little embarrassed to talk about this kind of stuff in TX. Thanks again
Go out once a day
Wear DD2 in a sling for naps of you can
Do one small "quality activity" a day at home with DD1, something that doesn't take too long. I always felt like we'd achieved loads if we'd just done those two things.
We used to do papier mache balloons a lot - one day you do the gluing, next day the painting, keep layering it up day after day sticking things on etc, you can get a good 45 minutes of play out of it every day.
Don't worry about top much TV, alot of it is very educational, so long as you keep talking to your child they will be fine. Soon enough they'll be playing together and they won't need you or the TV!
I found 12 weeks to be a turning point when baby became smiley and stopped being colicky in the evenings.
Sling (for baby)
Telly (for toddler)
Gin (for you)
And cake. Lots and lots of cake.
I've always not enjoyed the newborn bit - its one of those things people don't tend to admit to but now I've got two toddlers it is bloody hilarious and really worth it!
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