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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The shock of a baby boy after a girl

The shock of a boy baby after a girl

I was blessed with the most beautiful, content and well and truly cooked 41 week baby in 2012. After a tough and long labour (3 days), pethidine twice and an epidural Miss J was welcomed into this world and placed into my arms. She honestly looked like one of the 8 week old babies born in EastEnders, she was pink, plump, awake and stunning. She latched immediately after birth and just seemed to know exactly what she was doing.

Miss J was the perfect first baby and did everything by the book. She breastfed well and was happily sleeping through the night by five weeks. When other mums were talking about how exhausted they were I felt a little smug that I must have been doing something right with this perfect bundle of joy I had.

Miss J was a well behaved toddler and if I said no she would listen. She took her first steps on her 1st birthday and within a couple of months was more than happy to go on outside walks with me whilst holding onto my hand.  She always seemed older than she was with her long hair in bunches and sitting playing with her dolls so gently. The only trouble I had with Miss J was her eating. After getting the rotavirus at 9 months and having a hospital stay for three days as a baby she has always been funny with her food and still has trouble with trying much stuff.

I’ve always winced a little at the sight of a child with a snotty nose and dirty hands, so Miss J was taught at a young age to stay clean which she seemed quiet happy to do. She was never interested in messy play and would come to me immediately if she had the smallest bit of dirt on her hands to have them cleaned. Miss J has never been one to put small stuff in her mouth even as a baby, so I never had to be careful about small toys or parts as I knew she would behave.

Mr T was welcomed into this world in 2015, after a difficult pregnancy. Mr T decided he wanted to be a little impatient and my waters broke at 37 weeks without going into labour. I was induced the following day and five hours later he was welcomed into this world, pain relief free (only because the stupid epidural didn’t work). In contrast to Miss J he was blue, waxy and the ugliest baby I have ever seen. I know every mother is supposed to think their newborn baby is beautiful, but unfortunately Mr T really was a funny looking squished thing for the first day of life.  Me and my husband tried desperately to get a picture to share with the world, but he just looked a little funny.

Getting Mr T to latch was a lot harder and as the days went by and my milk came in he had a real struggle with how fast the milk came out and was constantly chocking and unlatching. I soon learnt that I had to pump some milk off at first and lay on my side to feed him. Mr T’s reflux started about a week after he was born, but he wasn’t just sick a little, he was sick constantly and was having his baby grow changed up to five times in a night. With the reflux came the pain and many a sleepless night, he finally started to sleep through at about 9 months of age and touch wood that seems to be continuing.

Mr T has been slow compared to Miss J with his milestones and only started to sit at nine months and started walking at 17 months. Mr T made up with climbing though and will climb anything that is possible to climb. I even caught him using a collapsed clothes dryer as a ladder the other day to play with a light switch.

Mr T finally seems to have embraced turning into a toddler the last couple of weeks and is walking confidently and isn’t as clingy. He will shovel any food possible into his mouth, even if its not his and will quite happily swipe a piece of bacon of your plate if you sit too close. The only way I can describe him is like a whirlwind.

I am forever fishing out various objects from his mouth, I catch him eating food I hadn’t seen to clear up from yesterday, after he had launched it across the room. I’ve caught him playing in the litter tray, he’s drank perfume and had to go to A&E and if I say no to him, he laughs and will continue with what he’s doing. He has broken countless toys of Miss J’s and broken candles, and picture frames and I’m certain his path of destruction will continue for many more years.

My son is covered in snot and dirt and is forever sticky, my daughter is actually disgusted in him at times, but he is our little trouble maker. Mr T has changed the dynamics of out house and we are eternally grateful that he is here. He may turn me grey and make me mutter the odd swear word under my breath, but he is the funniest, cheekiest and squishiest little boy you could meet. He is full of love and kisses and we couldn’t be without him.

 

 

 

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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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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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