When will DD stop hating her baby brother?(12 Posts)
DD is 2.3 and DS is one month old.
Before DS arrived, DH and I tried to prepare DD, read books about new baby siblings, bought her a doll etc. She is a 'young' 2.3 year old (compared to other toddlers I've observed at a similar age) and at no point showed any understanding about the baby due to arrive. When DS was born and we brought him home, she instantly was upset when she saw him lying quietly in his cot.
Now, one month later, DD's behaviour is making family life unbearable. If DS makes any noise, from a minor grunt to crying, DD instantly screams and continues as long as DS cries. DD is aggressive with DS and grabs at him and hits him if she gets within reach. We've tried sitting with her and encouraging her to gently pat or stroke him but it doesn't work. We try to calmly explain she needs to be gentle but she doesn't seem to understand. She sometimes calmly comes over to him and all seems well and then out of nowhere she will hit him on the head or grab him roughly. The moment she is told not to do this she screams.
If DH holds DS she grabs my hand to take DS. She will then change her mind and want DH to take him, she can't bear either of us holding him. If we have other people in the house visiting she will grab the nearest person, lead them over to us and indicate to them (by crying and pointing in our direction) that she wants them to take/hold DS.
I feel so sorry for DD as she is clearly struggling and doesn't know how to handle her emotions about DS being here. I just don't know how to help her. We now spend evenings with the two children separated, one upstairs and one down, with DH and I rotating between them. We dread going out anywhere as DD screams when DS is placed in the car seat next to her. The meltdowns continue whilst we are out as inevitably DS has to be held at some point.
I know to an extent this is all normal but I'm looking for advice on how to manage this and reassurance it won't last forever, please!
I feel my time with DS during his newborn days is being spoiled as I can't hold him much without fear of DD having a meltdown and he's often exposed to her loud crying and aggressive behaviour.
Oh dear tall I'm sorry to read your having such a tough time. I can't offer any advice as I've never been in your position. Some of the other ladies on the October thread had had a few issues with their toddlers so maybe ask there too. You could also maybe ask your Hv?
My daughter is/was in the exact same position with her 2.6 dd and newborn ds.
Bright articulate caring dd, became clingy and slightly mean/naughty to the baby.
However each month seems better.
What language do you use?
Example - Mummy needs to feed the baby -
Mummy has to change the baby etc
So any anger is directed towards you rather than the baby
Does your DD talk? She appears to use gestures rather than speech?
DD can talk a little - short sentences- for example - 'bye bye baby' (frequently!)
She certainly understands more than she can communicate.
It's hard, but try to give her as much uninterrupted quality time as you can, or ask aunts/uncles/grandparents to take her out and make a fuss of her while you focus on the baby, and get her to talk about her feelings as she becomes more verbal. It should get easier over time at least!
Mine was the same - it took a while I'm afraid. It helped a lot when he could laugh - he found her hilarious, and she warmed to him when it was clear he adored her. Then when he could walk/talk she started to view him as a person in himself, and things got even better. Now they're 5 and 2 and are the best of friends. Horrible when you're in the thick of it though - I didn't get a photo of them together for months after his birth because she wouldn't get close to him! Looking back I think she was quite scared of him and the noises he made, but didn't know how to express this.
Astro gives good advice about describing how YOU have you change baby/feed baby etc.
My age gap was a year and 9 months and, like you, my first born had no real concept of the new baby while I was pregnant (we tried books too).
My main tactic was not to push the new baby onto my first born. We don't have photos of my two together for a month or so either - visitors occasionally tried to push the two together but I always discouraged that.
Have you tried a sling or baby carrier for the newborn? I found this allowed me to play with the toddler and go for short walks/to the park without being too disconnected from either the toddler or the baby.
When I was pregnant people used to tell me that the new baby would have to wait and wouldn't get as much attention as the first born... I remember being aghast... and then I discovered it was true... one year on I'm afraid to say that the toddler still tends to get attention from me first... but I'm also happy to report that the two are becoming great friends
Hopefully things get easier for you soon. Give your little girl time... it's really hard to go from being number one to having to share your parents with this new little crying bundle of joy!!
My dd was the same age when I had my twins but was very verbal which helped. The thing she said which really struck home was when I had the baby on my knee feeding she said very sadly 'no room for me' which helped me see i needed to change how I did things - she sat squidged up next to me while I fed and I got other people to take the babies more if we had visitors. It gets better it really does but it is so hard.
I have a DS 2 and 4 months and a DD 6 months. We tried explaining what was going to happen before the baby was born but DS was just too little to really understand. When DD was born I really think it was a horrible shock for DS and when I see photos of him during that time his face looks so tight and unhappy - he became quite aggressive too.
I found Janet Lansbury's website really useful. She says that the older sibling is having such big, scary, angry emotions that they don't know how to deal with them - e.g. my DS would try to bite or hit my DD, especially when she was feeding. I'd then get angry with him and maybe he would think I didn't love him any more. Now I try to say that I can see he's feeling angry and that's normal because big brothers sometimes feel like that, but also let him know that I won't let him hurt his sister or himself or me. Weirdly, being honest about how difficult the whole thing is for him has taken a lot of the heat out of it. I think he feels like I understand him a bit better and I'm on his side.
But having two is way harder than I expected. There's so much crying. Sometimes I feel really desperate. It gets better though.
It does get a little worse when the baby's about 4 months! But then it gets better again. I'' hoping it will all start to really pay off in a year or two!
'no room for me' aw, Didiplathis, it would just break your heart wouldn't it?
It sounds tough. One thing I wpuld say..and I had the same age gap. ....is not to start worrying about the newborn days being spoilt. It just isn't the same the second time round and uou shouldn't feel at all guilty about that. They will grow up with a brilliant sibling relationship and won't remember any of this.
Does the 2 yr old have any nursery ?
Have you tried getting her to help you with baby ?
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