When a toddler doesn’t accept a new baby sibling

I have been quiet vocal about how Miss J didn’t accept her baby brother when he was born 19 months ago. It’s something quiet common, but it’s not something you want to really talk about. Miss J was just over two when I got pregnant with her brother and was such a mummy’s girl. She was my mini me and always wanted mummy to put her to bed and read her stories. Whilst I was pregnant we did everything we could to prepare her for her new sibling, by talking about what was happening, taking her to our gender scan and letting her pick baby clothes and toys. She seemed to be understanding and kept asking when baby would ‘pop out’. When ever I did hold another baby she would get extremely jealous, so I did wonder if it would take a little adjustment initially. In preparation for her brother arriving we bought Miss J a fairy locket for her brother to give her and she picked out a blue ‘snuggle bunny’ the same as her much loved bunny. Everything we could have possibly done to prepare for his arrival was done and it was just now a waiting game.

It was gradual, but she learnt to love her brother.

At 37 weeks my waters broke without sending me into labour so after a 24 hour wait I was sent to hospital to be induced which didn’t work the first time. I had a long wait waiting for labour to kick start and was feeling really emotional and sad about not seeing my daughter. I had decided I didn’t want Miss J to see me in hospital and would let her meet her brother in her own home. Mr T arrived safely and we were able to leave the next afternoon to get home. Miss J was being looked after by a friend and was bought home to meet him. Her initial reaction was ‘it popped out’, she gave him gift and went off to play. I wasn’t expecting much from her and that was fine, as I knew it would take her time to adjust.

Miss J wasn’t interested in her little brother and was getting quiet jealous of me breastfeeding him. I was prepared that this could happen and spent as much time as I could with sitting with her and spending time with her and at first it was manageable as my husband was off work for two weeks to help. When my husband went back to work on twelve hour shifts things became a lot more strained. Everytime Mr T would cry she would put a muslim over his face and I was trying to explain to her why she couldn’t do that without making her resent him more. She would scream when I was holding him, refuse to walk if we were out and I was pushing him in his pram. She refused to even call him by his name and refered to him as ‘the baby’. I was having to bribe Miss J with sweets so I could get the occasional picture with her brother and I was trying desperately to get her to bond, but nothing was working and I knew it wasn’t something that could be forced.

Mr T having his injections was a turning point for Miss J. She started to become very protective over him.

My own mother suggested Miss J stayed over every Friday so I got a break, she got a break and I was able to bond with my baby. Miss J loved going over for the night, but when it came to coming back home she would scream that she didn’t want to, which was breaking my heart. I felt so guilty for bringing this baby into her life who she resented. I was struggling to get out the house and I was struggling to bond with my baby, looking back now it’s not surprising that I got postnatal depression.

Whilst writing this blog post Miss J has been reading to her brother.

There was nothing I could do, but to keep on trying to show Miss J that her brother wasn’t all that bad. I was getting her involved in any way possible, by getting nappies, letting her feed him a bottle, help wash him. I was patient with her and excepted that a bond for her would take time. I encouraged her to sit and communicate with him and to show him her toys or dancing and gradually I was seeing something happen. The real turning point was when Miss J started pre-school for two and half days a week. She loved going and having time to play with her friends and I loved being able to bond with baby or go shopping with ease. I remember taking Mr T for his jabs and had no choice, but to take Miss J with me, she insisted on holding his hand and became so worried and upset when he was crying. She was feeling his pain and was showing real concern for her little brother. Even though watching your baby have injections is usually a horrible experience it was something quiet special about that day as Miss J showed for the first time that she loved her brother. She still gets a bit jealous at times as he does of her, but I think that’s just natural for siblings. When Mr T wakes first in the morning he shouts her name and goes to find her in her bed and when she’s up first she climbs into his cot for cuddles. To watch them now you would never know what a struggle it was for her to bond with her brother, she’s extremely protective of him and loves to sit reading him books and play with his toys. They have their moments like any siblings do, but I can now see I’ve given her the greatest gift in the world which is her brother.

 

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Lonely parenting and finding the support you need

Taking Miss J home from hospital for the first time was nothing short of magical. She was beautiful, happy, content and feeding well. My husband was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off and we spent those couple of weeks visiting friends and family and going out for lunches. When my husband went back to work working 12 hour shifts and the visitors died down I started to realise the reality of being a mum with a husband who worked. I started to get lonely and realised that being at home with a baby all day long, with no one else to speak to was lonely and isolating. At first when Miss J came along we had so many visitors, but as she got older they dwindled, not for any fault of their own it was because life moves on and people have their own lives to live.

I didn’t have postnatal-depression with Miss J but I did struggle with anxiety so for me to go to baby grows was pretty scary experience and something I would get myself really worked up over. I forced myself into these groups but in the village where I lived at 24 I was one of the younger mum’s who went and felt a little bit unsure of myself. I continued to go and did make some lovely friends through these groups and me and Miss J loved doing the baby massage class together. My year at home with Miss J was pretty jammed packed full of different groups sometimes even two in one day and it honestly was the best year of my life. The baby stage is very short, even if at times it feels never-ending probably because you haven’t had eight hours sleep over three nights let alone one night. I felt it was important and helpful to me to find some friends who were going through the same stage as me so baby groups and also Facebook groups were so invaluable to me. When I did have to return to work when Miss J turned one I was honestly gutted that I wouldn’t have that time with her again. I went back to work three days a week and I cherished my days off in the week with her.

When Mr T came along I was naive to think it would be the same. I thought having Miss J at home would be helpful and would be nice as I could now have a proper conversation with her. Miss J wasn’t particularly impressed with this screaming and pooing thing that I spent most of my time feeding. She because quiet jealous and wouldn’t acknowledged his existence. As a mum you immediately feel guilty and that you have betrayed your first born child and with my husband going back to work I had never felt more alone and isolated. I tried desperately to get out the house but I found toddler groups just exhausting, as I had to keep an eye on Miss J whilst carrying Mr T with me. I wasn’t actually able to talk with anyone and found the whole experience stressful. Miss J decided to perfectly time stopping napping when her brother was a week old which made me I feel I was unable to have anytime to actually bond with my new baby or time to be able to appreciate my daughter and I desperately lonely in my house all day long. We tried getting out with walks to the park but Miss J would refuse to walk and want picking up whilst I tried to push the pushchair. I found that I wasn’t seeing or speaking to people for days and I would just sit at home crying and feeling like I was letting both of my children down.

When Mr T was 5 months old something had to give and I excepted that I needed to get help for postnatal-depression and anxiety. Luckily Miss J had started pre-school at this point and I was able to get a little bit of a break from her and she could get a break from me and her brother. I started taking antidepressants and started CBT which did help my anxiety. It has been a constant battle and something I am still battling. I’m enjoying my time more with the children and I am able to appreciate them more, but I do still have times where I feel isolated and lonely. Miss J now loves her little brother and also loves to go to school whilst Mr T has got a little easier and is happy to entertain himself for short periods of time so I can just about keep on top of the house.

The point to this post is that it does get easier and it is all momentary and will not last forever. They will soon grow, need you less and became their own little people. It’s important to involve yourself in local groups, even if it means trying out a few until you find one you really like. Connect on Facebook with local groups and also baby groups and you will soon realise you are not alone and that your feelings are quiet normal to feel lonely. I have made some lovely friends through Facebook, some who I have met a few times and some who only live in my phone, but these people are real people who care for me and support me as I do for them. Do what you need to do to get through the day and don’t feel guilty as you are doing a lot better job than you think you are. If someone offers to babysit, take them up on it, if no one asks, then ask them, if you can put you child in a crèche whilst going to the gym, then do it and if you can put an older child in preschool or nursery then do it. A happy mummy equals happy children so make sure you are looking after yourself so you can look after your children properly.

 

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The great dummy debate

I am open to admit that I have a dummy addict! Mr T loves his dummy as much as he loves his boobie milk, which again he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Mr T is 18 months old now and I’m feeling the pressure when out that he is being seen as too old from some people to have the plastic thing shoved in his gob.

Am I a lazy parent for still letting him have his dummy? Possibly on some level I am, but it provides him comfort when tired or teething and means that my ears get a break from him whingeing for five minuets then that’s fine with me. If you don’t like it then shove off, as I honestly don’t see the problem. Too many people seem to think that they can tell you what to do on parenting when we all know that one size does not fit all.

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My own mother hates dummies and I never had one as a child so instead I used to try to fit my fist in my mouth (I can still do it now, classy) and my teeth were ruined. In total I had four braces from ages 9 through to 14 and I still have one on the back of my teeth. I think I would prefer that my child has a dummy which van be taken away instead of a thumb, fingers or fist. Since Mr T has come along she has changed her stance on dummies.

For me in the baby days it gave me a chance to comfort my baby whilst out and about when I didn’t have the chance to feed my baby immediately. I know for many breastfeeding mums they have felt able to feed where ever and when ever, but for me I wanted to be sat somewhere comfortable and discreet to feed. That is purely a personal preference and I admire people who can feed openly.

Mr T was given his dummy a couple of days after being born just like his big sister. I was told by a midwife with Miss J that I may as well give up breastfeeding there and then for giving her a dummy before we were established breastfeeding, well she got to year breastfeeding so I believe that to be a load of old tosh. If it wasn’t for the dummy and me getting a break from comfort sucking I wouldn’t have probably carried on past a couple of weeks so for me it was my saviour.

Mr T become very attached to his affectionately called ‘doo-doo’ soon after birth, as with his reflux the suckling eased the pain for him. Now he’s talking more I am making a conscious effort to take it away from him so it doesn’t hinder him in any way, but at bed time the dummy comes out plus a spare for his hand and he happily sleeps a full twelve hours for me, every night.

The time will come when we have to say goodbye to his dummy, but whilst he naps in the day happily we won’t be parting ways anytime soon. I had made the promise with myself that when Miss J stopped her daytime naps we would say goodbye to her dummy and at 3 years and 2 weeks old it happened and she accepted it well. We said goodbye to them and chucked them away and she happily become a ‘big girl’. I think Mr T might be a little harder to get off the dummy when the time comes, but as it stands now he is happy which makes me happy.

 

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Pigeon Pair & Wanting a Third Baby

Pigeon pair & wanting a third baby

I have been very fortunate enough to have two children and I can tell you now that I didn’t care what gender I had, I was just grateful that I could have children and that they are healthy.  People especially the older generation don’t seem to understand why when I have a perfect pigeon pair I would want to add to my family, but I do. I am certain that our family will not be complete until we have a third child. I have no preference on what gender we have and I’m pretty sure we won’t even find out, but I feel our family is still missing one tiny person.

Why do I feel the need to add to our brood? To be honest I am not sure and practically it probably isn’t the best decision, but then I see that it’s more important to have a big enough family to fill our hearts than money. I feel my decision has been slightly influenced by missing out on the first five months of Mr T’s life as I was crippled by depression and I had blocked out so much of it. I wish I could have appreciated the baby stage more with him, but now things are better I feel like I get so much from him.

I was one of two children and have grown up incredibly close with my older sister that I class her as one of my best friends. We share friends with each other and have even shared a couple of the same bridesmaids, but we couldn’t be more opposite if we tried. Not only do we look nothing alike are personalities are different, but one thing we do have in common is that we both have the most silly laugh and we can have each other in fits of laughter in seconds.  I hope my children can be as close
what we have become.

As a very small child I had dreamed about having children of my own and was always playing and caring for my dolls. I actually looked forward to turning 30 as that was the age my mum had had children and that’s all I wanted. I didn’t manage to wait as long as my mum and got pregnant at 23 with Miss J. It really was the most amazing moment in my life knowing that I would be starting a family of my own.

One thing I will not be looking forward to is pregnancy, I don’t do pregnancy easily and can say besides loving having a rounded tummy and feeling the kicks I find pregnancy a massive pain in the back, hips, legs etc. The 9 months of pain are all worth it though and something I would be willing to go through again. I think I still need a couple of years to block out the pain of pregnancy and labour before I’m mentally prepared to put myself through it again.

I do have a real fear of getting PND again and how I would cope with three children and this is why I want to wait a few years first to make sure I’m mentally prepared for it. I do hope that as I have been through this, that I will recognise it earlier and be able to get the help I need before things get too much. I can’t let it be a deciding factor in my future as that would mean I have let it win and take something else from me.

I’ve found parenting difficult and I’m certainly not the earth mother I had imagined myself to be. I’ve had PND, had a breakdown and have come out the other side, but I can confidently say I’ve been a good mum, caring mum, loving mum and my children are flourishing. I want another baby, not yet, but in a few years’ time and this baby will complete our family as five.

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First pregnancy compared to second

Being pregnant is such a magical wonderful time for some, but for me I just found it exhausting and quiet dull. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it at all as there were some lovely bits to it so I thought I would share my comparisons of my First pregnancy compared to my second.

1st pregnancy: being able to have a nap as soon as you got in from work and laying in till 11am at the weekend after multiple trips to pee through the night.

2nd pregnancy: exhausted beyond belief and if you’re lucky getting half an hour nap with the toddler in bed with you. Finding yourself nodding off when watching Frozen for the 20th time.

1st pregnancy: writing a detailed account of how your pregnancy is going week to week in your journal whilst reading the updates on www.babycentre.co.uk to see what size fruit your baby is this week.

2nd pregnancy: not even being able to remember how many weeks pregnant you are as they now merge into one. Pregnancy journal has a few short scribbles of details in, but mostly forgotten about.

1st pregnancy: everyone sympathising with you with your morning sickness whilst passing you ginger biscuits and telling you to take it easy.

2nd pregnancy: you should have known what you were getting yourself into so no sympathy this time, and you better just suck it up when having to sort the toddlers breakfast out whilst being sick in the bin.

1st pregnancy: counting down to each scan and midwife appointment wishing the time would hurry up.

2nd pregnancy: completely forgetting you have a midwife appointment and hoping it’s as quick as possible as you have your toddler in toe and you’re unable to hear anything your midwife has to say.

1st pregnancy: watching your tummy jump as the baby is kicking with your partner lovingly holding your stomach. Enjoying the special times in bed holding your stomach whilst baby kicks around.

2nd pregnancy: telling your partner the baby is kicking whilst he shrugs and puts his hand on your tummy for a moment. Gently asking your baby to stop kicking you, as you really need some sleep before the toddler wakes you up again.

1st pregnancy: carefully planning and browsing all the different bits of baby equipment in John Lewis whilst hardly batting an eyelid to the price as you have two full time wages coming in.

2nd pregnancy: begrudgingly buying anything that didn’t last the 1st child and making sure it’s on sale. Besides the changing bag, you definitely deserve a brand new one of them.

1st pregnancy: spending hours in Next buying so many newborn baby clothes and lovely outfits.

2nd pregnancy: buying a big pack of newborn baby grows and accepting that those really cute baby outfits are just not pratical and won’t actually be worn.

1st pregnancy: having that beautiful glow about you and wearing pretty maternity dresses.

2nd pregnancy: looking exhausted and not having a glow. If you’re out you wear leggings and if you’re at home pj’s.

1st pregnancy: eating everything and anything in sight without feeling guilty.

2nd pregnancy: remembering how hard it was the 1st time to lose and being a bit more careful.

1st pregnancy: going on maternity leave at 35 weeks and spending the time sleeping or going for lunches. You then go 8 days overdue so your are bored out your mind resorting the hospital bag for the 6th time.

2nd pregnancy: working until your 37 weeks and then waters breaking at 37 weeks so you have to pack your hospital bag there and then.

1st pregnancy: begging for pain relief or to be listened to whilst being ignored and told you have hours to go still.

2nd pregnany: everyone listens to you, but no chance for pain relief as the baby shoots out.

1st birth: holding this beautiful tiny newborn baby whilst your heart fills with love and knowing life will never be the same.

2nd birth: holding this beautiful tiny newborn baby whilst your heart fills with love and knowing life will never be the same.

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Advice I would have given my first time pregnant self.

I was so scared about the possibilities of bringing a child into this world and how I would cope as a parent. What kind mum did I want to be? How would I parent? Would I try and breastfeed? I found all the information from parenting books, NCT antenatal groups and other people’s advice overwhelming and confusing. I wanted to be the best mum I could be, but I was unsure what that actually was?

I wish I could have told myself to just follow my instincts and that if something didn’t feel right then to just try something else. Whichever way I turned I was made to feel like a failure as a mother especially by Health visitors. I was told I shouldn’t give my daughter a dummy as she would refuse my breast and when I gave in and gave a bottle of formula when I was still waiting for my milk to come in and my nipple were bleeding that I had failed and wouldn’t be able to get back to breastfeeding. I spent so much time crying and made to feel like I had given up already, but I was lucky enough to have a supportive mother who reassured me and gave me the support to keep going, if it wasn’t for her I would have given up a week in.

I started to go to baby groups as soon as my husband went back to work and felt so overwhelmed with the competition with who’s baby had smiled first or slept through the night. I was one of the youngest mums going to the groups and felt bit out of place whilst they talked about their new BMWs and recently renovated kitchens, whilst I was driving a 3 door Fiesta living in a rented two bedroom terraced. I felt our world’s were apart and was unsure how I could make friends with these women when all we had in common was a baby. The truth is I did make friends with some of these women and the support and help they have given me over the years have been invaluable.
Something that took me a long time to realise was that us first time mums are all as clueless as each other and just trying our bests to be good mums, just some are better at pretending they have their shit together than others. We’ve all been out with a baby who won’t stop screaming no matter what we have tried, we have all done stuff and felt judged for it whether that is breast feeding in public, formula feeding or giving a dummy, but at the end of the day we have done what is best for us and our babies and what we needed to do to get through the day.

I have been a loving mummy, a patient mummy, a happy mummy, a yummy mummy, a shoutty mummy, a grumpy mummy, a sick in my hair mummy, a crying mummy, a lost her shit mummy, but most of all I have been a muddled mummy and that is fine with me.

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What they forget to tell you about a second baby

What they forget to tell you about a second baby.

What I envisioned and what I am as a parent are two very different things. I had so many plans as a first time mum and did well sticking to what I wanted to do, but when my second baby came along things became very different. Miss J was such a text book baby and things went smoothly from breastfeeding, to routines and discipline. Mr T was a completely different baby and I was naïve to think I would just sail through it without any kind of issues. I think if Mr T would have been born first I would have coped better as when you have your first I found I got so much support, advice and help, but when the second comes around people just expect you to get on with it and know what you are doing.

I’ll happily admit it now that when Mr T came into this world I had no blooming clue what I was supposed to be doing. With babies one size does not fit all and when you have a second baby or third you need more support than ever as not only do you need to sort this baby out who follows its own set of rules, you also have to sort out another child that will rebel over this new little dictator, who has come in, stolen their mum and messed up everything for them. This is the stuff the baby books leave out, not that you would have a spare second to read a baby book with a second baby.

Why did no one tell me the struggles of breastfeeding one baby whilst wiping the bottom of another? Why did no one tell me how to keep a three year old quiet whilst settling a baby to sleep? Why did no one tell me that the babies nap times would always coincide with when I have to leave the house for the pre-school run? Why did no one tell me how hard it would be get baby weighed at the Children’s Centre with a three year old in tow? Why did no one tell me how hard it was to take a three year old and baby to do the food shop whilst sitting next to each other in the trolley? Why did no one tell me that my child would always want food when I had just settled down to feed my baby its milk? Why did no one tell me that my three year old would no longer
want to walk anywhere when I have the baby in the pushchair? Why did no one tell me that my child wouldn’t instantly bond with her new baby sibling? Why did no one tell me about the mummy guilt I felt as I was unable to fulfil both their needs? Why did no one tell me that you can get PND with a second baby when you didn’t have it before? Why did no one tell me that my heart would expand enough to love two children equally? Why did no one tell me that I would ditch the rule book and not care anymore about routines?
Why did know one tell me that they would eventually bond and my heart would burst? Why did know one tell me the mummy guilt would ease when I understood that I did everything I could? Why did no one tell me that I had given my children the best gift in the world, which was each other?

I made it through and so will you. 18 months down to a mum of two for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.

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the muddled mother

My favourite purchases with a second child.

One thing I really enjoyed when pregnant with a second child was buying the little special extras I couldn’t afford first time around and updating stuff that I didn’t like with Miss J. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite purchases and the reasons why.

Babymov Cosy dream

This product was amazing for a peaceful night sleep and especially for a baby with bad reflux like Mr T. I loved how he was cosy and his legs were raised upwards to help ease discomfort that reflux caused. One of the best bits about this is that its machine washable and dries pretty quickly and I can vouch that it last well after washing it most days and using it for six months.

Joie Mimzy Highchair

I wish I had bought this product sooner and not tried to manage with my old one which just wasn’t practical. This highchair is amazing and so comfortable. Not only can you adjust the height, you can take off the whole tray to clean, it folds down for storage and the plastic has an almost velvety texture so even cheese spread wipes straight off. I love how you can recline this so you can have baby up at the table before they are ready to start solids.

Medela Swing Breast Pump

If you do plan to breastfed I really do recommend this breast pump. I went for a cheaper one with my daughter and it was useless compared to this. Its easy to use, clean and transport. I used it everyday for six months and it became my breast friend.

Mam Bottles anti Colic

At first I had my reservations with these bottles but after I was sent one free and Mr T refused any other brand I tried these and he loved them. I was put off my all the bits, but they really do work well and didn’t seem to aggravate his reflux too much or cause nipple confusion. Its great that you can self sterilise the bottles in the microwave.

Breathablebaby Cot Mesh Liner

I know not everyone likes cot bumpers but after having a good look around I found these mesh liners that Velcro on. I didn’t use them when Mr T was newborn but I used them when he went in his own cot from six months and they are great at keeping his legs and dummies inside the cot at night.

Ergo Baby Carrier

I have no idea how I would have managed without this carrier. It was great for holding a reflux baby upright when I needed to do some jobs and so easy for doing the school run. Mr T is 16 months old and we are still using the carrier everyday for the school run.

Milton Travel Sterliser

This was so handy on holiday that I used it when I was home for doing his dummies, rather than having to put them all in the steam steriliser every 30 minuets.

Milton Mini Soother Steriliser

These make life so much easier when out and about. Easy to set up before you go out and also handy to take up to bed with you with a spare dummy.

Nursing Chair

I love my nursing chair and couldn’t be without it. I’m still using it 16 months on for good night feeds and a story.

Mamas and Papas Armadillo City

I bought this when Mr T was 10 months as I wanted a small pushchair that I could keep in my downstairs toilet. This pushchair is lovely to push, folds easily, look good and fully reclines. my only regret was not buying it sooner.

Please see links to Amazon to the side for current prices.

 

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