How Do I Meet The Needs Of My Toddler And New Baby
This takes a lot of patience and stepping back to assess the situation. Ask yourself, “What do they really need?”
Include your toddler
· Include the toddler in the baby care a lot
· Ask her to help you with tasks that are age appropriate like: pull out the wipes, bring a diaper, hold the bottle, sit next to you while you nurse so you can read them both a story, choose an outfit for the baby (give two choices), etc..
· Praise your toddler for her help and let her know how much her baby sister loves her.
· It is more work, but look at it as, “I’m helping my children build a relationship.”
Supervise your toddler when she is with the baby
· Safety always! Do not leave a baby unattended with a toddler. For example, Don’t put the infant car seat on the table where the toddler can climb up and accidently pull the car seat off. They both need to be watched.
· Teach your toddler how to be soft with the baby when they are both rested and fed.
Be aware of how you are responding
· Validate the toddler’s feelings of jealousy and anger. “I can see that makes you feel jealous when mommy plays with the baby. I have enough love in my heart for you and _____” Give toddler a big hug.
· Show toddler pictures of herself as a baby. Talk about how excited you were to have her join the family.
· Give your toddler the benefit of the doubt. If she pats the baby too hard. Show her how to do it softly and say, “Baby loves it when you take such good care of her. She’s lucky to have such a good big sister.”
· Talk aloud a lot. Say things like, "Oh your baby sister is so lucky to have you. She loves that you bring her diaper!"
· You will be tempted to ignore either the baby or the toddler. Try to incorporate them both into your daily schedule. When you have a toddler “help” it’s a lot more work, but you are meeting your baby’s needs and giving your toddler positive attention.
Make a plan and be realistic
· Sometimes you simply can’t include both children, so assess who needs your help right away. It is okay if one child is crying while the other is attended to. It’s okay for kids cry and learn to tolerate discomfort. Help the other immediately after.
· Tell your toddler, "When mommy is done nursing baby, we can put her down for a nap and you and I can color a picture for daddy or play with Legos. Which would you prefer?" Give two choices you can live with.
· It’s not easy. But remember, you are raising a beautiful human to be a contributing member of society.
· Let go of perfection and huge expectations. The baby does not need a bath everyday! If you are feeling overwhelmed prioritize and do what matters.
· Make sure you are taking care of yourself! If you are overwhelmed, ask for help.
· I know I said include both kids a lot. But, Remember toddlers don't need your attention 24 hours a day. This is about meeting their physical and emotional needs. Include them both and talk about how lucky they are to be siblings. Then take time to yourself! It's hard to be a good mom when you are running on empty!!
· Let go of mommy guilt! Where ever you are, you are enough!
· Postpartum depression is real. Call your doctor if you are crying all the time or have thoughts of killing yourself or your baby.