please describe to me, in boring detail, how you practically manage a newborn DC2 with a toddler DC1 with no other help(34 Posts)
I am due DC2 any moment. DD1 is 22mo.
I will go to hospital, have DC2 by ELCS, stay in as long as I need while GPs look after DC1. DH may get time off for the birth, but otherwise no paternity leave.
I'll come home from the hospital with DC2, GPs will be tired after however many days of looking DC1 (they've made this clear.) They'll go home after sticking a few meals in the fridge.
whenever i leave DD for a period of days with someone else, she is always very clingy when she sees me again, and cries and cries in the night until I go and sleep with her/she comes to sleep with me. If she wakes in the night during these times and I am even on the toilet or getting a drink of water she kicks up a huge fuss.
I cannot imagine how this is going to happen with a newborn and a clingy 22mo. Do I share a bed with DD and then get up in night when newborn cries (waking DD up too) who will then cling to me as newborn breast feeds?
I will physically not be able to lift DD (she is 15kg) after ELCS. DH will lift her when he is around. We have a childminder for DD on certain weekdays, but that doesnt rule out all the other lifting I'll have to do while alone with DD and newborn DC2. Do you just have to do it? And disregard the ELCS rules?
If newborn is feeding every two hours and dd's dinner/bath/bedtime routine takes longer than that, do i break the routine to feed DC2? Or do I feed DC2 just before, put them down, do DD's bedtime/bath then get back to DC2 asap?
Any scenarios, tips, shortcuts, hacks most welcome...
No experience (yet!) but my plan when next dc arrives in a few months is to carry newborn in sling as much as possible so my hands are free for toddler. I hope to be able to nurse her in the sling too, but not right away.
Ask your parents to take her to the library while you are in hospital and get lots of books out, which you can read together on the sofa. My iPhone will prob feature as well.
Plan easy snacks and dinners for a few months.
Will your oh be home for bedtime routine? Can he take a few hours holiday or even unpaid leave on the days your dd will be with you?
Don't ignore the no-lifting advice. That's just crazy! You will just need to say you can't lift her, but you can sit beside her at the table/on sofa etc. can you practice her climbing into her pram/car seat/up to dining table?
Recovery will be different for everyone, so listen to your body, but I was home from hospital within 24 hours of my ELCS with DD2 and lifting 2yr old DD1 within three days. It really was a breeze, I was very lucky. Take opportunities to rest when you can and if there is any chance of your DH taking annual leave or anything for a little bit, especially for the sake of your toddler, go for it.
The above advice about a sling is good. You may even be able to figure out feeding baby in it, so totally hands-free. I got a special toy box full of little activities my DD could do with me while I sat and fed -- magnetic fishing game, doctor's set, jigsaw puzzles, bead threading and of course lots and lots of books. It was a nice 'big sister' gift to give her too. Best of luck!
Big pile of picture books to read to DD1 while you're breastfeeding DC2. So DD1 recognises it as a time when she gets attention too.
Get a wrap sling so you're hands free as soon as feeds finish.
Relax on tea/bath/bed routine - if it's later than usual (once DH gets home ideally) then DD1 will be too tired to cry for you and fall straight asleep!
If DD comes in with you in the night then DH will have to cuddle her - you'll need to get sleep in between feeding DC2. But knackering her out with a later bedtime will help minimise night waking anyway.
What lifting would you have to do of DD? Do nappy changes in the floor. You won't be able to drive anyway so won't need to lift her into car. Into high chair - have picnics on the floor/sofa (leave all the crumbs for DH to vacuum up at the weekend). Into cot is big one - assuming she has daytime naps, you could giver her those on your bed/sofa, so catch up on mummy cuddles time. And don't put her to bed til DH home for evening.
Cut corners, don't sweat the small stuff.
Im currently living this. Ds1 is 18.5 months and ds2 is 8 weeks. In fact I posted on here a few days ago asking if it would get easier.....
I also had a c section so couldn't lift ds1. I managed to avoid lifting him for about a month. Dh had quite a few days off and we had grandparent help for this though.
In terms of day to day - the sling has been useful so far as others have said. Also definitely try to include older child in the feeding by reading to them/plAying with them so they feel involved. As its summer I leave the door open and ds1 runs in and out to plAy in the garden while I'm feeding too.
My eldest also goes to nursery twice a week which has been a godsend to get things done with the baby or catch up on housework. Get a cleaner too if you if u can!
You just will. It's one of those things that are really hard to describe. I remember giving DC2 a bath on the first night (so he was about 15 hours old) and getting Dc1 to help and then reading a story and thinking, "OK. This works. I'll stick with this".
Also, spending hours at the park pretending to slide newborn DC2 down the slide to make DC1 laugh. What I don't remember (although the photos prove it in all its glory) is that we lived in a messy house for
a few years a while.
I had a bit of a bigger age gap (29 months) but my main things were:
- lots of talking and explaining to DC1, inviting her to sit on sofa for feeds and reading to her
- shower every morning even if one or other was squawking while I had it (brought them both into the bathroom, baby in car seat) to wake me up
- sticking to DC1's routine and fitting DC2 around it
- getting out and about a lot, mostly to the shopping centre
- baby in sling, buggy available for older child
It was much easier than I expected- hope it is for you too!
Be flexible, what works one day may not the next. Lots of tv, iPad, dvd, play doh time etc. If your toddler is quite calm and happy to engage in things that's a huge help, even if it means clingy.
I have 26m between mine and dc2 is now 17m. I LONG for the newborn days, the exhaustion of chasing two toddlers around is like nothing i ever imagined.
My dd was 21mo when dd2 arrived.
I hate saying this but Peppa Pig was my friend in those heady days
I had 20 month gap and clingy dc1.
I was amazed at how understanding my ds was.
It was as though he instinctively knew that the baby had to come first for a while.
Also you'd be surprised how much they can sleep through regarding feeding during the night.
Your dd should be big enough to climb on chairs etc so get her to do that save bending and support instead of lift down, getting her to jump with you their to guide.
I've had 3 sections now and the recovery after an elcs has been much better than an emcs.
Also good luck!!
12 month age gap between mine.
CBeebies, Netflix, iPad games, music, books, new (cheap) toys for toddler.
Lots of good advice from the others.
I would second the sling and avoid picking up the eldest . get down on the floor with DD so she still feels loads of attention . Books, sticker books - a bag that comes out when it's time to feed the new baby .
Bath time was the thing I was most worried about . you will very soon get your own routine
Sleep whenever both kids take a nap at the same time ( may not be too often during the first bit but eventually you might find that you can ) . And explain everything to the eldest .
Peppa pig .... Oh yes. You're going to be really good friends with her for a while. Xxxx
I used to make a flask of tea and some sandwiches as early as possible in the day, then I knew I could just grab them even if both DC were crying/clingy. And have a pile of fruit there too!
I just stumbled through. Sorry, no help.
Why isn't DH taking paternity leave?
I did baby/ toddler then baby/ toddler/ slightly bigger toddler. but not after Caesarians so I don't know how it'll be physically for you.
What I found best about those times was chattering to the older ones all the time So a constant 'will you bring me a nappy, I think it's nearly time for balamory, shall we buy some buns in the way home from the park'
I honestly remember those days as lovely. Unremitting and long, but wonderful to have a lot less time pressure and concentrate on being with them rather than haring around.
Similar gap. Newborn's needs came first. Older sibling learnt to wait. It wasn't as hard as they had me believe.
Newborn in bouncy chair/ beanbag while you shower/ bath toddler.
TV to babysit.
I had to be very firm at night-time with the toddler. If he got out of bed (never used to but he was poorly) I would.put him straight back into bed every time.
I have forgotten it all now, but could answer any specific questions.
We kept our routine going.
My DH looked after first born for two weeks and they did lots of nice things together. ( trips on the bus to visit hospital was a hit)
Buy the toddler a doll so that they can copy you.
Get a soft sling.
I second the shower every morning. Toddler in shower baby in bouncy chair.
I taught toddler to do stuff like climb into car seat before baby came, so no need to lift.
I batch cooked, especially toddler dishes, it's hard when you can't get a meal together due to feeding but your toddler needs to eat.
Long afternoon walks baby in sling, toddler in pushchair.
Park every day, once baby was a tiny bit older.
Long bath all three of us in bath. ( kills lots of time)
Routine worked for me. It kept me going, on the hard days you just know what you have to do.
It was a lot easier than I had expected.
DH is self employed so only took a week off when DC2 was born. DC 1 was 2.5. So it was always solo bedtimes for me and a lot of time on my own. I think what helped was the acceptance that there would be a lot of rubbish times! Lots of broken sleep and it would all be so imperfect. I worried endlessly about the logistics and now I'm pregnant with DC3, I'm doing the same!
Practical suggestions: cuddle up on sofa next to your DD watching TV for all feeding. You'll soon learn how to feed with one arm around your Dd.
Bath - baby goes in first in a recliner seat or whatever while dd watches TV. Then get baby out and wrapped in towel, dd in and while she's in the bath, you get baby dried and dressed in the bathroom. Bring in the bouncer or Moses basket and lay baby in that while you clean DD and get her out and dressed.
Bedtimes - these were hit and miss at first and I chopped and changed it a lot but essentially it was feed baby in bed with my toddler next to me while I read a story. Have a second bouncer or Moses basket in the room with you so baby can go in it while you kiss and cuddle DD.
A sling to go out in as much as possible as soon as you feel able because even an hour in the park will help both you and DD feel better.
Know that the three of you will survive and everything will be ok. I bought a couple of cheap second hand bouncers and Moses baskets to place in every room so I always had somewhere to quickly lay baby down. Planning things like bringing nappies/ baby clothes and basket into the bathroom while DD is in the bath. Being ok with one of them crying while you tend to the other. You will find your groove and your own way of doing things - it will all be ok
Agree with fitting dc2 around dc1's routine.
Slings are great too. Also can you contact home start to see if you can get a volunteer? We had one and she was brilliant.
There's 21 months between mine. Embrace CBeebies-often I had it on all day . Ask dh to make sandwiches for you and the toddler and leave them in the fridge. Do you have a local NCT or mums group near you? I went to a lot of playgroups& NCT meets where there were people to help me watch one child when the other needed help.
Do not attempt any big trips until you are ready. I took the toddler & 3 week old to a local nature reserve on my own. It was a total disaster and I still remember how I felt sobbing in the cafe with 2 screaming children.
You will get through it although you wont remember how!
Honestly - you'll be fine.
There's 11 months between my two (and DD1 is not an easy natured child since she went to toddler age and beyond, and DD2 was the most pissed off, hating being a baby, refluxer baby imaginable). DH had put in a leave request for when DD2 was born, and then his boss turned around and refused it after the birth so I was left on my own with the pair of 'em.
Once I got my head around a rough schedule of things - it was honestly fine.
I have a 2.2yo and a 6wk old. I ended up with an emcs. My DH was able to take a weeks paternity leave (I was in hospital for 5 days of this unfortunately so didn't benefit from it as much as I'd like) then worked from home for the second week, so a bit better than the help you are getting but not much.
To help cope I'd spend the last bit of your pregnancy treating your DD as you will likely have to once baby is here eg no lifting. I did it as much as possible in late pregnancy and by the time my DD2 arrived DD1 accepted it when I said I couldn't lift her.
The demand for constant cuddles (particularly when feeding/settling the baby) is an issue for us. In the first few weeks I never sat down without putting a V pillow around my waist to protect the cs wound as even though DD1 understands 'gently', her definition varies somewhat from mine. I am often seen at the moment with a baby attached to one boob and a toddler balanced on the front of my lap or my leg on the opposite side to the feeding boob. Feeding using a rugby ball hold would probably help, but I'm not keen on that position.
We have accepted over-dosing on Peppa Pig is a necessity some days.
In terms of bathtimes, we've moved DD1 to showering in the morning. For the first few weeks she went in with DH but now it's with whoever it is most convenient with. If I can't shower before DH goes to work for whatever reason, I do it with DD1 when the baby is napping. This means they get washed and you also get to shower without the issue of keeping baby and toddler separate. I try to get DD1 dressed before DH leaves for work too, and he'll often then take her downstairs and have breakfast with her whilst I dress.
This means bedtime is very straight-forward, with PJs on, teeth brushed, potty, books and bed. For the first three I put DD2 on DD1's bed next to me, and we read the books with me cuddling a DC on each side.
Accept there are going to be times when one or both will be crying Deep breaths and trying to calmly ignore the crying one, knowing you are doing your best and will be tending to them very soon, have helped.
We have hired a cleaner and for the first few weeks when I couldn't drive we upped DD1's hours with the CM (she's a nightmare when she's stuck in the house all day). Out source everything you are able. In the same spirit I bought entirely posh ready meals or pre-prepped veg/meat for the first few weeks, and am now on a 50/50 pre-prepped to (very easy) cook from scratch ratio. DD1 has at least one Little Dish a week.
YY to no trips further than the post box or nearest corner shop with both initially. Ideally make the first couple at a time DH can accompany you. We went shopping a week ago as a family: DD1 cried (a lot. And screamed. A lot.), I cried, DH totally lost his rag (very unusual for him). DD2 mostly slept through everything but still needed regularly stops for feeding.
DH seemed to get very little paternity leave each time (for various reasons). Some things that worked:
Batch cooking and filling the freezer up now before you give birth.
Ocado, always good in a crisis as they very rarely substitute and they do treats like gin, wine and chocolate. Once you are ready to go out they also do fairly reasonable make up bits.
Always have a means of escape, so a good double buggy or a stroller and a sling. Sometimes just a walk to the park helps lift the mood for everyone.
See if you can get enough clothes ready on a Sunday night to last you and DC1 through the week, that way you can shower really fast and get dressed without having to hunt about for clothes, also it doesn't matter if the washing machine doesn't get put on until the weekend. Supermarket baby grows for the baby are also good as occasionally you can just put the really messy ones straight in the bin.
Don't try and have dinner on the table for your DH when he gets home from work, you're aiming for 'all fed none dead' not 1950's housewife extraordinaire.
Don't feel guilty if the TV is on a rather more than normal or if you are still in your p.j's at 5pm.
Have take away Friday.
Have a double buggy packed up and ready to go whenever - we spent lots of time with the baby sleeping in the buggy and DD1 playing with her outdoor toys. In the rain (we're in Ireland). Good waterproofs are a great investment - everything is better if you can get outside for a bit.
Join the discussion
Please login first.