Author Topic: newborn with toddler, take 2  (Read 9408 times)

WageSlave

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newborn with toddler, take 2
« on: May 29, 2013, 01:51:52 PM »
This post is really a follow-up to the other thread I started, "newborn with toddler?"

Anyway, when I started that thread, it was before the newborn.  Now the newborn is here.

Our first kid was the envy of all my parent-friends: practically never fussed and took to sleeping through the night at an early age.  Now the Universe appears to want to even the score: #2 is very temperamental.  At two weeks old, she took to screaming inconsolably every evening.  We've managed to get things slightly better by switching to hypo-allergenic formula and acid reflux meds (Axid).  Colic or GERD or gas or any of the other theories people have about unhappy babies.

My wife doesn't work, and I'm lucky to have a two-week paternity leave perk at work.  Plus I took a week's vacation on top of that.  Before I went back to work, the grandparents took our toddler home.  So thus far it hasn't been too hard.  Now the toddler is coming home this weekend.  I'm a little scared for myself (sleep deprivation + working 11 hour days) and a lot scared for my wife (sleep deprivation + entertaining a toddler).

Whether or not the baby will sleep during the day with the toddler around is yet to be seen.  She didn't really sleep around the toddler for the first three weeks.  Even in the absence of the toddler, she's hit or miss on sleeping.  Doesn't fuss too much during the day, but it's random.

I'm sure the badass/MMM thing to do is just tough it out for the next six to 12 months, until the baby can establish a more predictable routine.  But my wife and I feel miserable on too little sleep (the other night we asked ourselves, "[at 34] are we too old to take care of newborns?").  Seems unfair to make my wife always get up with the baby.

Just looking for any thoughts or ideas from the veteran parents out there.  At this point, pushing our FI goals back (day care, mommy's helper, night nurse, etc) a bit for some short-term sanity doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

Thoughts?

catccc

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 02:33:04 PM »
Our girls are 2.5 years apart, nearly on the nose, born in fall of 08 and spring of 11.  Some thoughts:

1)  Has your wife considered breastfeeding?  It's not to late to re-lactate.  It's super mustachian (save on formula, health problems down the road, etc.) and it is great for getting sleep.  (This is how I would do it:  fall asleep fully clothed with baby in crib next to bed.  Wake up in the morning with baby in bed on my boob.  Think "I did this?!  Well, I feel well rested, and the baby is doing fine.  Hurray!")

2) It can be done.  Our older daughter (now 4.5) still barely knows what a TV is.  She has never watched one, except a couple of times when it was on in a restaurant, and also while the baby was napping, a little bit of Olympics during 2012.  She started attending preschool when the youngest was about 1.5 years.  So it was both girls at home for a good while.  Weeks 1-8 I was home full time, DH worked part time.  Weeks 8-12, I worked part time, DH worked part time.  And from 3 months forward, DH was home full time and I was at work full time (which was the norm prior to having the baby.)  No helpers, no TV.  And DH had the baby potty trained for poos by 4 months.  Amazing man.

3) I think getting your toddler more involved could help a lot.  We had zero jealousy issues, but we went about things in an unconventional manner.  DD#1 was along with DH and I the whole way with DD#2's development.  She was the first we told that our family was expanding (and she actually kept the secret until we told her to spill the beans to my MIL).  DD#1 came to every prenatal appointment with DH and I.  She came to the birth center with us and was excited (and well prepared) to see her little sister being born.  I am also a believer in extended nursing (to 3 years) and tandem nursed both girls for 6 months after the baby's arrival.  Given that your toddler is coming home to a totally different home that what he/she, tread lightly and make sure he/she feels included.  This is a huge change that he/she didn't really get to ease into.

4) have a good baby carrier- not a crap "crotch dangler" baby bjorn carrier, but rather a wrap type thing, maybe a moby or even a long woven piece of cloth, doesn't need to be "official."  Just safe and functional.  She can wear the baby while he/she sleeps, and catch up on chores and spend QT with the toddler.  If she's nursing she can do that while the baby is in the wrap, too.  Babywearing was a life saver for me.

5) read "the happiest baby on the block" and recognize and accommodate your baby for the "4th trimester."  Tips in that book work like Magic.

Good luck.  You will get through this.  Would day care require driving?  IMO it is much easier to leave everyone at home than to get kids ready to leave the house and load up into the car to drive, get back home, have the baby think a 15 car ride constitutes a nap, only to have to load up again for pickup in 2 hours.  Not worth it.  Not worth the time, money, gas.

Also, I have mom friends and all of our kids are about the same spread.  Only one mom splurged for "preschool/daycare" for her oldest when the 2nd was born... but they were not the same spread at only 13 months apart.  Everyone else could do it.  I'm going to bet your wife can, too.

TheDude

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 02:50:26 PM »
We did something like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaB63OMf-sU

It worked wonders in our house. Our child liked to scream between the hours of 2am -5am it was horrible. The first night we discovered this everyone in the house slept it was awesome.

BTW I have no idea about toddler/youngens interactions as number two is still a couple of months away. I am scared shitless.

WageSlave

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2013, 03:04:55 PM »
1)  Has your wife considered breastfeeding?  It's not to late to re-lactate.  It's super mustachian (save on formula, health problems down the road, etc.) and it is great for getting sleep.  (This is how I would do it:  fall asleep fully clothed with baby in crib next to bed.  Wake up in the morning with baby in bed on my boob.  Think "I did this?!  Well, I feel well rested, and the baby is doing fine.  Hurray!")

Unfortunately, that's not an option for us.  My wife's milk never came in completely with the first baby.  We got the pump, and she pumped every time we fed (six to eight times/day), and the total amount of milk collected from a day's worth of pumping was never more than two ounces (barely one feeding).  Got a lactation consultant and all that.  We didn't try as hard with the second born, but maybe about a week of nearly the same effort, and it looked to be a repeat of the first baby.

In short, we'd (well, she) would breastfeed if we could, but biology won't let us.

Weeks 1-8 I was home full time, DH worked part time.

At the risk of sounding complainypants... that's two months of only one person working, and part time at that.  I'm gone from 7:00am to 7:00pm.  If I was only gone from the house for eight or fewer hours per day, that's four more hours I could be around to help out my wife (and four fewer hours I have to fake it all day at work on minimal sleep).

3) I think getting your toddler more involved could help a lot.  We had zero jealousy issues, but we went about things in an unconventional manner.  DD#1 was along with DH and I the whole way with DD#2's development.  She was the first we told that our family was expanding (and she actually kept the secret until we told her to spill the beans to my MIL).  DD#1 came to every prenatal appointment with DH and I.  She came to the birth center with us and was excited (and well prepared) to see her little sister being born.  I am also a believer in extended nursing (to 3 years) and tandem nursed both girls for 6 months after the baby's arrival.  Given that your toddler is coming home to a totally different home that what he/she, tread lightly and make sure he/she feels included.  This is a huge change that he/she didn't really get to ease into.

Keep in mind, the firstborn was around for the first three weeks while I was home.  She did come to many (but not all) of my wife's prenatal appointments.  Her daily nap- and night-time readings almost always included books about new babies, growing families, being a big sister, etc.  And I'm happy to say, when the newborn showed up, she was very happy and excited.  She's acted out just a little---but it's a big change, and I don't expect perfection.  But for the most part, she loves running up to her new sister and talking to her, giving her things, etc.

4) have a good baby carrier- not a crap "crotch dangler" baby bjorn carrier, but rather a wrap type thing, maybe a moby or even a long woven piece of cloth, doesn't need to be "official."  Just safe and functional.  She can wear the baby while he/she sleeps, and catch up on chores and spend QT with the toddler.  If she's nursing she can do that while the baby is in the wrap, too.  Babywearing was a life saver for me.

We have one of those from the firstborn.  And I agree, it's an incredibly useful tool---but only when the baby is happy being in it.  As I mentioned in the original post, daytime fussiness is sporadic; sometimes she really doesn't want to be in the wrap.

5) read "the happiest baby on the block" and recognize and accommodate your baby for the "4th trimester."  Tips in that book work like Magic.

I've heard about it.  We didn't need anything like that for the first, but I suppose it's time we gave it a look!

Good luck.  You will get through this.  Would day care require driving?  IMO it is much easier to leave everyone at home than to get kids ready to leave the house and load up into the car to drive, get back home, have the baby think a 15 car ride constitutes a nap, only to have to load up again for pickup in 2 hours.  Not worth it.  Not worth the time, money, gas.

There are at least a couple day cares in our neighborhood within walking distance (10 minutes or less).  My wife and I agree with you 100%: driving to something like that is a big waste of time and money.

Also, I have mom friends and all of our kids are about the same spread.  Only one mom splurged for "preschool/daycare" for her oldest when the 2nd was born... but they were not the same spread at only 13 months apart.  Everyone else could do it.  I'm going to bet your wife can, too.

I'm sure we can do it.  I just envision my wife and myself being marginally depressed for the next few months, which is a depressing thought in and of itself.

Anyway, I hope that doesn't come off as defensive, that's not my intent.  I feel like we've been on vacation, relatively speaking, with the toddler staying with the grandparents.  Since she's coming back this weekend, as TheDude said, "I am scared shitless."  :)

Norman Johnson

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2013, 03:07:49 PM »
Honestly, asking advice on this is just opening a big can of worms. Worms that are well meaning but often full of shit, or have selective amnesia, or come with a big heaping helping of the humble-brag which will just make you feel worse.

Your post kind of sounds like you are looking for permission to throw some money at the problem. I can give it to you, but it's way better to just decide that's what you need based on your honest evaluation of the situation, and then make the decision yourself. It's really hard to tackle a debt emergency when you are so tired that you can't even remember if you wore the same thing yesterday. It will get better (well, different!) as your n00b gets older. That much I can confirm.

If you are both having trouble coping and you feel like hiring someone to take the kid(s) for a few hours so you can have a nap, then do it. Money is a tool, and should be used as such. I'm not saying you should spend everything on a free-for-all, fall victim to a product aimed at despirate sleep deprived parents, or buy the shinest of tools with the basic version will do fine. But it is still a tool. There is playing through the pain, and then there is torturing yourself. Only you can decide which category this falls under.

And for the record, an awesome benefit of formula feeding is you can haul your kiddos off to grandma's house with bottles all made, and then stay home and SLEEP. USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE, SERIOUSLY.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2013, 03:20:53 PM by lilacorchid »

27Jennifer

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2013, 03:11:35 PM »
Have the newborn give the older one a gift upon your toddler's arrival home--something awesome and novel, eg, a new doll to sleep with (consignment shop nearby?). That made for a good association when introducing 2 y o to our newborn.

As far as sleep,  just...welcome back to parenting boot camp. Nothing to be done but sleep when you can and ride it out. There is no magic solution, and you can't sleep train a newborn.

Also,put your toddler in summer camp, at least like 2 mornings a week, if you can. Anything to find a break. You guys will find a routine eventually.

Yes I realize I just advocating spending in 2 of those 3 paragraphs...

Congratulations, welcome to man-to-man parenting, and good luck!

kiwibeach

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2013, 04:30:54 PM »
We had a similar situation.
Our solutions would not find favor with everyone here, but hey, my philosophy is that when your kids are little, and you are sleep deprived, you do what you need to, in order for everyone to get through with most of their sanity intact.

We let our daughter (2.5 years when son was born) watch a lot of DVDs, she became quite a Dora fan.  Not ideal, but hey, at least she learnt some Spanish.(defensive much??)
We made sure that we still took our daughter on some outings to the park, met with friends, even though there were days when this felt herculean in its impossibility.
We hired a nanny to come one day a week, and then on those days I took my daughter out of the house, and we had some fun together.
My daughter used to sit next to me on the sofa when I was nursing my son, and we would read books together (yay super-mum multi-tasking!)

Once my son got to about six months, he started sleeping way better, and we got into a happy routine. At this point we said goodbye to the nanny.

My husband was at the time working long hours similar to yours, we had no family within less than a 4 hour drive.  The nanny literally saved my sanity, and I would make the same decision again in a heartbeat.
Yes, it cost money, the outcome for us was that our whole family was a lot happier.

PGH

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2013, 04:47:13 PM »
We had our (only) child when we were 38. Due to our circumstances at the time, I was the only one working while my husband was in school, so I went back to work 2 weeks after he was born. Fortunately, I was able to bring him to work with me, but it still pretty much sucked. My husband was working with power tools all day, so he could simply NOT be sleep-deprived; that meant that I was in charge of all the feedings and changings at night.

I'm not telling you this in some kind of weird can-you-top-my-misery post, but rather because of a few strategic things we did. First, although I did nurse him, my milk simply wasn't enough. We gave him a heavy dose of formula at night and that kept his tummy full. We also started him on a tiny bit of nighttime cereal much, much earlier than is generally recommended, and it was an absolute sleep- and sanity-saver. Lastly, we moved him into another room fairly quickly (at about a month or so). He figured out how to sleep by himself and soothe himself to sleep much earlier than I had expected, given everything I had read and everything my friends were telling me. Those same friends were horrified by the formula and the cereal, but I can tell you that we were the only ones sleeping enough...

CNM

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2013, 05:00:14 PM »
Yeah, do what you think needs to be done.  Have you looked into hiring an in-home child care helper (sometimes called "Mommy's Helper")?  These are not as expensive as a nanny but it can be extremely useful to have another set of hands around. There are also people who will do overnight babysitting, usually called overnight nannies.  Around here such service costs ~ $10-20 per hour but might be worthwhile every so often to catch up on rest. 

Another idea is to look for meet ups or other child oriented organizations in your area.  Where I live, we have something called "Many Mothers" and they will come in periodically to help with housecleaning or babysitting after a baby is born.  We also have a huge parenting meet up group and members will volunteer to bring in meals or exchange babysitting services.  Finally, sometimes organizations that hire out doulas (birthing assistants) will have doulas that can assist with childcare and helping with new baby transitions for an hourly fee.

killingxspree

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2013, 02:55:30 AM »
We had our (only) child when we were 38. Due to our circumstances at the time, I was the only one working while my husband was in school, so I went back to work 2 weeks after he was born. Fortunately, I was able to bring him to work with me, but it still pretty much sucked. My husband was working with power tools all day, so he could simply NOT be sleep-deprived; that meant that I was in charge of all the feedings and changings at night.

I'm not telling you this in some kind of weird can-you-top-my-misery post, but rather because of a few strategic things we did. First, although I did nurse him, my milk simply wasn't enough. We gave him a heavy dose of formula at night and that kept his tummy full. We also started him on a tiny bit of nighttime cereal much, much earlier than is generally recommended, and it was an absolute sleep- and sanity-saver. Lastly, we moved him into another room fairly quickly (at about a month or so). He figured out how to sleep by himself and soothe himself to sleep much earlier than I had expected, given everything I had read and everything my friends were telling me. Those same friends were horrified by the formula and the cereal, but I can tell you that we were the only ones sleeping enough...

Umm I'm not an expert or anything but isn't feeding cereals really bad for babies because the gaps in their guts lining haven't fully closed?
also...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2672785?dopt=Abstract


also...
I thought sleeping with your baby increased their risk of SIDS.
(granted its the dailymail...but still)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328048/Sudden-infant-death-Risk-times-higher-baby-sleeps-parents-bed.html

ace1224

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2013, 05:41:22 AM »
i vote mommy's helper or preschool if you can afford it.  for me it would be worth delaying FI.  i went absolutely insane when my child was born and he didn't sleep or stop crying.  there were days i had to put him in his crib and go outside and breathe. 
i was lucky enough to live close to my mom and she watched him 2 mornings a week for 3 hours so that helped a lot.  mommy groups weren't really my thing, but i did join a womens group and every other saturday i went out without my kid to just have girl time and that helped a lot. 


bogart

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2013, 09:30:04 AM »
My personal take on this is that if you ask others for advice/their experiences you'll get everything from those who have raised (or, less likely, are raising) 6 kids all spaced 1.5 years apart, 100% breastfed and babywore, both worked FT but juggled their schedules so they never needed anyone other than themselves to care for their children, and OMG, miss those wonderful halcyon baby days even though they are delighted that the now-grown kids all did such a good job putting themselves through medical school/law school / in the peace corps, to people like me who have one easy kid and are so grateful those difficult baby-toddler-preschooler years are behind us.

A factor I think too often overlooked here is the parenting experience of introverts, because OMG did having a baby make me realize just how much I need at least 2 hours a day to myself when I am (a) awake; (b) not exhausted; (c) not working either inside or outside the home; and (d) not interacting with other human beings, or at risk of being called upon to do so.  Which, hahaha!  Right?

Long story short, personally I would (and have!) totally choose pushing FI back in order to pay for child care assistance.  But then again, I'd way rather work for pay than spend time with my child 24/7 (oh yes, I said it), so I didn't really feel like I was giving anything up.  And yes, I *adore* my child *and* spending time with him, but OMG not all of it.

Personally, as I said in your last thread (I'm pretty sure), I'd let your wife decide, given that she's the one home with the children.  There's pretty much nothing (allowed within the framework of the Geneva convention) I'd find more draining than spending 12 hours every day single-handedly responsible for 2 small children, and really, you want the parent who's in that situation sane, so I'm of the whatever-works-for-her (or -him, were your roles reversed) mindset.

Also, congratulations on your new arrival!  I too found the Happiest Baby book helpful, partly for its suggestions but also for its imparted wisdom that those first 3 months are just an awkward reality created by our darned head sizes and the evolutionary/reproductive realities those entail (human babies are born very "immature!").  I've also found the askmoxie.org website to have a wealth of good, nonjudgmentally imparted (and tagged/searchable) information about all kinds of parenting challenges, including things like babies who don't sleep.

brand new stash

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2013, 09:42:46 AM »
I have twins that were 25 months old when kid #3 was born.  Kid #3 was colic and cried and cried a lot.   So I know where you are.

I also was laid off two days before kid #3 was born. So hiring help was out of the question.

What we did was that the twins went to bed at 7:30, and so did I.  My husband handled anything the baby needed, including feeding him a bottle until midnight.  So I got a 4.5 hour stretch of sleep.  Then I took over anything the kids needed from midnight until he got up for work at 6am...so he got at least a 6 hour stretch to be able to function at work.  Both of us tried to sleep during our shift when it was possible, but at least we got some uninterrupted sleep every night.

Eventually the baby started sleeping more and crying less...then the magical day that he slept through the night.   

WageSlave

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2013, 09:53:50 AM »
Your post kind of sounds like you are looking for permission to throw some money at the problem. I can give it to you, but it's way better to just decide that's what you need based on your honest evaluation of the situation, and then make the decision yourself. It's really hard to tackle a debt emergency when you are so tired that you can't even remember if you wore the same thing yesterday. It will get better (well, different!) as your n00b gets older. That much I can confirm.

Hard to deny that I'm not at least partly fishing for permission.  But, to be fair to me, I've found this forum/overall MMM community to be quite creative and inventive when it comes to life in general.  Clearly there are some novel perspectives on consumerism and finance, as that is the centerpiece of the blog, but as a long-time lurker and occasional poster I've seen that novelty extend into other areas of life as well.  So I'm also looking for perhaps a unique or fresh perspective on the challenges of child-rearing, that maybe don't exist in "obvious" (i.e. baby-centric) forums.

My personal take on this is that if you ask others for advice/their experiences you'll get everything from those who have raised (or, less likely, are raising) 6 kids all spaced 1.5 years apart, 100% breastfed and babywore, both worked FT but juggled their schedules so they never needed anyone other than themselves to care for their children, and OMG, miss those wonderful halcyon baby days even though they are delighted that the now-grown kids all did such a good job putting themselves through medical school/law school / in the peace corps, to people like me who have one easy kid and are so grateful those difficult baby-toddler-preschooler years are behind us.

Ha, well put.

A factor I think too often overlooked here is the parenting experience of introverts, because OMG did having a baby make me realize just how much I need at least 2 hours a day to myself when I am (a) awake; (b) not exhausted; (c) not working either inside or outside the home; and (d) not interacting with other human beings, or at risk of being called upon to do so.  Which, hahaha!  Right?

Indeed, that may be the crux of it.  Reminds me of when my wife and I first started dating.  Even during the crazily passionate, first-falling-in-love stage of our relationship, I liked to have time to myself.  My wife later told me that during those times, my behavior sent her mixed signals.  She was worried that I didn't feel the same way she did.  Of course she was an adult, so the more she got to know me, the better she understood the nature of my personality, and it was a non-issue.

Somehow I don't think my toddler or 1-month old would understand it the same way.  :)

Long story short, personally I would (and have!) totally choose pushing FI back in order to pay for child care assistance.  But then again, I'd way rather work for pay than spend time with my child 24/7 (oh yes, I said it), so I didn't really feel like I was giving anything up.  And yes, I *adore* my child *and* spending time with him, but OMG not all of it.

Personally, as I said in your last thread (I'm pretty sure), I'd let your wife decide, given that she's the one home with the children.  There's pretty much nothing (allowed within the framework of the Geneva convention) I'd find more draining than spending 12 hours every day single-handedly responsible for 2 small children, and really, you want the parent who's in that situation sane, so I'm of the whatever-works-for-her (or -him, were your roles reversed) mindset.

I appreciate your honesty.  It resonates with me.  I love my kids, love being with them.  But I also love "me time" and "wife and I only" time.


ace1224

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2013, 10:02:56 AM »
i'll join the club bogart, you couldn't pay me enough to stay home with my kid 24/7.  nope, not for me. 

KulshanGirl

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2013, 10:31:43 AM »
I worked as a Mother's Helper in college.  My job was to do the dishes,clean, wash sand out of bathing suits, fold laundry, tidy up and if the mom needed to run an errand, babysit for short spells.  I worked there after classes three days a week, for two hours at a time.  I was the Cinderella so she could just enjoy the kids and/or escape here and there.  I freed up six hours a week for her, after the kids were alseep she could just relax because the cleaning was all done.  Highly recommend!

I also recommend Dora on Netflix.  And Busytown Mysteries.  :)

bogart

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2013, 11:17:16 AM »
Quote
Somehow I don't think my toddler or 1-month old would understand it the same way.  :)

Certainly that's been my experience also!  Although I will say a preschooler can survive, if not embrace (or understand) some "I need quiet time" (there were intervals when I'd e.g. tell him I was not speaking again until I pulled in the driveway, because:  OMG.  Which, don't get me wrong, didn't necessarily get me quiet.  But it did at least mean I could tune out some of the noise.).

Christiana

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2013, 11:20:17 AM »
My two-year-olds have entertained themselves quite well after the new baby arrived--by taking advantage of feeding times to get into everything they could.  I'd get the baby to sleep, and then have a glorious mess of random-baking-ingredient all over the living room to clean up.

Do whatever you need to do to survive for the next couple of months.

Babywearing would probably help a lot with the baby napping--because he/she did a lot of sleeping through toddler noise while in the womb when your wife was moving around and interacting with the toddler.  www.wearyourbaby.com has lots of information on babywearing, way more than you need, just pick a simple carrier like a sling or a wrap and learn how to use it.

I actually don't spend much time entertaining toddlers.  They can play on their own, or follow me around and learn by imitating what I am doing.

As an introvert-introvert couple, we've found it helpful to give each other definite Introvert Time of an hour a day.
 

rockstache

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2013, 11:22:24 AM »
Brand new stach, that is a seriously awesome strategy that you and your partner had with shift working the kids. I am sure even that was a strain at times, but it is brilliant.

I have no kids but I am at the age/stage where dh and I are discussing the possibility, and I am a super introvert, so I am really nervous about it.

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2013, 12:21:38 PM »
Would you consider donor milk? Check Eats on Feet or HMFHB (your local state chapter). Breastfeeding isn't all or nothing, even if your wife is producing some milk, that is less formula that you have to buy or donor milk to find. I have a stash that I can send, but it's older baby/toddler milk so that content isn't the same as newborn milk. It would be better to find a donor with milk whose baby is under 4 months old.

Another vote for Happiest baby - the 4th trimester theory certainly was true for us. Just make sure to use the updated swaddling recommendations. Our baby wouldn't sleep except tummy to tummy on my chest for the first 10 weeks of her life. We still cosleep (almost 16 months), because we all get more sleep that way. We made the informed choice to do that. For every article claiming that cosleeping is bad, there is another claiming that cosleeping is good. For every article claiming that sleeping apart is bad, there is another article saying it's better. You make your choice on what works for your family.

catccc

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2013, 01:36:26 PM »
One more thought, are you eligible for FMLA?  That is one of the reasons I was at home/ part-time for so long.  I had legal rights... Intermittent leave isn't as easy to swing, since it is subject to employer approval.  But it's worth a shot. 

I have a feeling that generally speaking, fathers are less than encouraged to take advantage of FMLA, but my understand is that they are just a legally entitled to it.  Or am I wrong?  Nobody questioned my requests for intermittent leave and a gradual return to work thru a part time schedule.   But I could see male co-workers taking unfair heat for doing the same.

PGH

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2013, 05:03:29 PM »
Umm I'm not an expert or anything but isn't feeding cereals really bad for babies because the gaps in their guts lining haven't fully closed?
also...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2672785?dopt=Abstract


I'm no expert either! But it was something my pediatrician recommended, given our situation and how freakin' hungry our kid was all the time. His reasoning was that Mom & Dad needed to stay healthy too. That study you linked to was done in 1989; would be interesting to see their methodology.

kkbmustang

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2013, 06:20:38 PM »
I have two that are 23 months apart and the second one didn't sleep through the night until age 2.5 and screamed nonstop all day and night unless feeding until 4 months. I was sleep deprived and working a crazy job. Do what you need to do and make zero apologies to anyone.

Survival. That's the name of the game.

My OB told my husband to make sure I got 5 hours of sleep in a row at least one night a week, which was hard b/c I was breastfeeding but it was possible and OMG did I feel human. Give yourselves the gift of a night nurse (easier with the baby formula feeding) a couple nights a week or a mother's helper or whatever. The screamer will likely outgrow it by 4-6 months.

Kaytee

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2013, 08:27:36 AM »
Quote
Umm I'm not an expert or anything but isn't feeding cereals really bad for babies because the gaps in their guts lining haven't fully closed?
also...
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2672785?dopt=Abstract


I'm no expert either! But it was something my pediatrician recommended, given our situation and how freakin' hungry our kid was all the time. His reasoning was that Mom & Dad needed to stay healthy too. That study you linked to was done in 1989; would be interesting to see their methodology.

With a baby that is hungry all the time, I'd be inclined to check the baby checked for lip and/or tongue ties. Both would affect the baby's ability to suction, stay latched and nurse effectively. In the case of a lip or tongue-tied baby, the baby can't stay latched long enough to nurse until full, and since milk is produced on a supply/demand basis generally mom's supply takes a hit because the baby is nursing less. Ties are often associated with excessive gas, frequent night waking, and in the future, speech and dental health difficulties. I believe that it used to be standard practice to clip ties at birth (<1940's), but as formula and bottles grew in popularity the knowledge and practice has declined. Now most people haven't heard of them, so it often goes unnoticed.

mm1970

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2013, 09:21:26 PM »
Fathers in the US are entitled to FMLA, 12 weeks, as long as the company is large enough. It's  unpaid.

I wish I could help ya.  I am past the newborn phase (he's 10.5  months now, and I have a seven year old).  The first few months were pretty rough, not enough sleep, and we are 42 and 44...so, consider what you are going through and add a decade.  Oy.

Then he regressed to not sleeping during teething...

Anyway, whatever you can do to save your sanity.  I know it's not mustachian, but man, there are times to "suck it up" and there are times when you realize you might not make it out alive...my husband traveled 1/4 of my son's first 6 weeks.  His mom was here for part of that and I signed my other kid up for camp for a week of it.

And yeah, the six year old watched a LOT of TV and I caved and let him get a video game.  It helped me survive the first six months.

Kaytee

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2013, 08:05:32 AM »
Quote
Then he regressed to not sleeping during teething...

mm1970 - have you tried Camilia for teething? It has been our lifesaver when my 15 mo cut 6 teeth in a month (4 molars, 2 incisors). http://camiliateething.com/

twinge

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2013, 08:13:11 AM »
+1 for giving you permission for your family to do what you can afford to make life a little more enjoyable during these short years.  I view it as an investment in your relationship with each other and your children.

That said, make sure the help is help and not more work.  Some people find a 2 hour daycare for the older one a lifesaver; others find it one more thing to do, a hassle to get the kid out the door and ready, a fight to leave them there, and then the introduction of a dozen minor but annoying colds and other viruses continuously in the home.   Likewise, a good mother's helper can be a huge help, but an immature one can be another person to parent.  A night nurse if you're still going to wake up and listen to her take care of your baby isn't much help either, but if you're a deep sleeper it's great.  Personally,  I had a hard time finding help that actually helped in those early months.  Out of the gazillion things I tried, the one that worked best was that I had a SAHM who had one slightly older child come over and watch the kids for like 1 hour while I went out and did whatever I needed/wanted. 

Much sympathy on the nursing issues--I nursed both kids for a little over a year each (at which time they both gave it up on their own) and my milk NEVER fully came in after tons of lactation consulting etc.  Had to supplement after they had failure to gain weight/dehydration issues.  Wishful thinking on my part says that I gave them about 25% of what they needed; it was probably more like 10% even though I nursed them every time before supplementing with a bottle.  And I could never get hardly anything from pumping either.  I was thrilled when I could get 15 mL after a ton of work with a hospital grade pump.  But really a key reason I kept "nursing" so long  was because it calmed them down (and we had screamers/criers too)  SO in that sense it's a potential tool your wife could consider using--because she doesn't make much milk (but there's probably a trickle) it can be the best pacifier in the world without overfeeding.  And it was like a sleep-raygun for my daughter--2 min of nursing and she would be out.  I know you're not "supposed" to do that as a crutch but it worked and she didn't have sleep problems later.


Myrmida

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2013, 10:17:59 AM »
We are headed for this stage in April (just found out), so I'm interested to hear this advice, as well.  My spouse is a stay-at-home-dad and I get 6 months PAID time off, but I'm considering taking even more time off (in Canada, I can take almost a year of minimally paid time off if I want), especially since I had pretty bad post-partum anxiety last time, which exacerbated the sleep deprivation.

WageSlave

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2013, 01:12:32 PM »
We're 3.5 months into this now, and here's a summary of our experience.  In short, how you balance financial goals and domestic happiness is almost entirely based on the temperaments of your kids.

Our firstborn was an "easy" baby: very rarely fussed, always slept a lot, started sleeping through the night early on, etc.  She was also an "easy" toddler: super-sweet personality, never needed any disciplining, etc.  We knew it at the time that she was easy, but didn't fully appreciate it until the second came along.

The second-born has been pretty much the opposite.  The inconsolable screaming started around two weeks.  We've tempered it with acid reflux meds (first Axid, now Prevacid).  We're lucky in that she usually sleeps through the night, but the days can still be hard, particularly on my wife, who is a SAHM.  Some days she will not sleep at all during the day.  She's content if she's swaddled, held and bounced constantly---omit any of those and the screaming starts.  But this is tiring for my wife, plus it makes it that much harder to keep the toddler out of mischief.

It's clearly been hard on the toddler, as she's started acting out and throwing tantrums.  It's a huge adjustment for her.  We found an at-home day care in our neighborhood (can walk there in a couple minutes) that we take her to twice a week.  This was mostly for my wife, so she gets a break from being the single fireman faced with two fires.  This has been a mixed blessing: on the one hand, my wife gets a bit of a break.  But on the other hand, it's that much more of an adjustment for our toddler, and she's learned new ways to misbehave from the other kids.  And there's obviously a big cost to the day care.

It's much better on the weekends with both of us there.  One kid always gets some attention, instead of 50% attention.  But on the evenings when I get home from work, everyone is exhausted, and there's quite often a lot of crying until everyone is in bed.

My spouse is a stay-at-home-dad and I get 6 months PAID time off, but I'm considering taking even more time off (in Canada, I can take almost a year of minimally paid time off if I want), especially since I had pretty bad post-partum anxiety last time, which exacerbated the sleep deprivation.

I think it totally depends on the kids.  If our second was like our first, I really think our lives would be about 1.1% harder.  But the reality is I feel like our lives are 500% harder.  If I could have stayed home for six months with my wife and not lost any pay, I would have done it without thinking.  By six months I hope things are better.  But based on what I've read about super-fussy kids, it could be a full year before our lives have some semblance of being normal.

Unless you have an easy baby, the key, if at all possible, is maintaining a 1-to-1 adult-to-child ratio.  With only one parent, it's inevitable that if one kid is unhappy, the other one is as well.  E.g., the baby starts crying, so she gets mom's full attention... but now the toddler is throwing a fit because she's not getting any attention.

Myrmida

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2013, 02:38:06 PM »
We are headed for this stage in April (just found out), so I'm interested to hear this advice, as well.  My spouse is a stay-at-home-dad and I get 6 months PAID time off, but I'm considering taking even more time off (in Canada, I can take almost a year of minimally paid time off if I want), especially since I had pretty bad post-partum anxiety last time, which exacerbated the sleep deprivation.

Oops!  I meant 6 WEEKS paid time off, not 6 months.  I may see if my work can be flexible about me choosing a date to come back after we have the baby back at home, rather than setting a firm date ahead of time.

Sorry it's so tough, WageSlave!  Our first was not an angel, but not a colicky baby, either.  He screamed most days, but only for a couple of hours.

kkbmustang

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2013, 07:42:29 PM »
I always joke that God gives you the easy baby first. Otherwise there would be no siblings.

athomeintheworld

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2013, 10:49:52 PM »
Do not feed a newborn cereal.  This is ridiculous.  So is not breastfeeding, but thats another story.  And what is with not wanting babies to wake up at night?!? Hello! Waking to eat every 2 hours is normal! And will be for the next several months. 

Try some family naps, everyone gets some rest at the same time. And all those people (friends, family, neighbors) that keep asking what they can do for you - give them a job!  Watch the older child for a couple of hours, make a grocery run for you, etc etc. 

LauraKlink

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2013, 07:40:13 PM »
I don't have much to add, except be aware that things change so quickly.  The family dynamics, each child's development...the second you figure out one challenge, the rules change and you're back to square one.  My boys are 27 months apart, now 3.5yrs and 15 months.   Our first was a terrible sleeper, so when the second started sleeping on his own for 5 hour stretches immediately I was overjoyed.  Then he decided at 4 months to wake up every two hours and refuse to go back in the crib.  Shrugs.  Then it got easy for a bit and we all found our strides, and now we're entering a new type of challenge as the little one can walk and the two team up against me.  Like peeling wallpaper and drawing on the couch in pen shenanigans.   Or running in different directions on every outing to the park, the store, etc. So it's tricky again, but they get more and more fun, too.  I'm a SAHM paying for 3 mornings of pre-school, which is a huge sanity saver.

Irishmam

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2013, 08:35:06 PM »
My mother fed my son cereal at 5 weeks, without my knowledge. I was horrified and immediately brought him to the doctor to 'fess up. He said it wasn't ideal but that he would probably be OK. He's 18 now and hasn't suffered... don't rule out some of the 'old wives tales.'
It will get better :)

cynthia1848

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2013, 10:07:45 AM »
Do you have some headphones that you would normally use with construction projects?  Use those when the baby cries - it makes you MUCH happier.  Sounds weird, but it did work.

Hang in there.  Our fussy baby turned the corner at 6 months.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2013, 10:23:37 AM »
We have 2 kids, 18 months apart.

If your baby is crying it might not be able to take the milk formula... Try Soy, we did that for both I think and they did much better.... they cry for a reason... hungry, poopy or upset stomach/bowels.... so nail down what issue it is....

Also, sleep with your kids... they sleep better, so will you. I'm no fan of the 'cry it out' method. At that age they need something... up until 6 months... then the work the system with those cries. ;)

mm1970

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2013, 10:35:47 PM »
Oh, I so feel for you.  Our second is a bit more temperamental than the first.  Not as bad as yours, but still.  I miss my big boy - the baby (now 13 months) still takes up so much time, I feel like the 7 year old is neglected.

You just have to see what works.  My first son wasn't a sleeper.  He didn't sleep through the night until 8 months (by that, I mean 8 hours).  His sleep was easily disturbed by colds and teething.  My 2nd was better faster, but is a much LIGHTER sleeper.  He wakes up very easily.

We used a co sleeper for #2 for 3 months and then had him in our room until 9 months.  Personally, I slept MUCH better when we moved him out into his room with his brother.  I DO NOT sleep at all with a baby in my bed, or even very well if they are in my room. Everyone is different.  Feel free to try cosleeping, but don't feel guilty if it doesn't work for you.

abhe8

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #37 on: November 08, 2013, 02:58:28 PM »
wow op...sounds like a good time to hire some help! if you feel you can't function on that amount of sleep and your mental health is suffering (reference to depression), i'd say time to look into other options.

That said, its a very personal decision. There are plenty of parents and familiies with children those ages who do not (did not) go with daycare or lots of TV as the answer, but that doesn't mean you have to make the same decision.

Hope you all get some sleep soon!!

feelingroovy

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #38 on: November 12, 2013, 08:47:52 PM »
Honestly, pay for any help you need.

This is what money is for.  Keeping your sanity in a temporary crisis.

My first was like this, though he didn't sleep at night.  His nonstop crying would usually start around 11pm.

Even hiring a babysitter for a few hours a week so your wife could either give your toddler attention, nap, shower, would be worth putting off FI for many, many years.

Just keep saying: This too shall pass.

Meggslynn

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2013, 12:15:16 PM »
Do what you need to survive.
Only you and your wife know the extent of what your going through. I hired a night nanny and I only had one!! I had post partum depression and insomnia (literally slept about 45 minutes a day for 6 weeks). If you need to spend money to make it through. Then do it!

« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 12:17:46 PM by Meggslynn »

JessieImproved

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2013, 12:18:10 PM »
Please, please do what you need to make it work.  Going off the deep end because you didn't get any sleep is not Mustachian. 

nottoolatetostart

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Re: newborn with toddler, take 2
« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2013, 04:27:20 AM »
What we did was that the twins went to bed at 7:30, and so did I.  My husband handled anything the baby needed, including feeding him a bottle until midnight.  So I got a 4.5 hour stretch of sleep.  Then I took over anything the kids needed from midnight until he got up for work at 6am...so he got at least a 6 hour stretch to be able to function at work.  Both of us tried to sleep during our shift when it was possible, but at least we got some uninterrupted sleep every night.

Eventually the baby started sleeping more and crying less...then the magical day that he slept through the night.

This is exactly what we did too. It was a lifesaver. Getting the 4 hours straight sleep was a lifesaver and hubby still got 6-7 hours straight.

On another note, I exclusively pumped for my baby since she had a hard time latching and the cost of formula was too frightening for me. I got the tip from a lactation consultant. When pumping, it takes time for milk to come in because it is triggering hormones that baby needs more and more. There are tons of forums and websites dedicated to assisting with trying to get your milk production up. I know it is stressful, especially with the sleep deprivation. When newborns, they only need a 2-3 oz at a time anyway.

The pump makes a huge difference too. I got nice one ($300) or so (Medela Freestyle). Since we ended up donating extra milk to a milk bank, I got a reimbursement check for $300 that made my pumping costs nil. A girlfriend of mine had hers covered by insurance and bought the exact same one I had. Another girlfriend of mine had a crappy pump and she got nothing out of it. She used her sister's pump (same one as mine) and it extracted tons more for her. For her 2nd baby (they just had their 2nd the night before Thanksgiving), she is using her sister's solely to keep her milk production going.

We are expecting our 2nd baby now...24 weeks to go and our 1st baby will be 21 months old at the time of birth....plan on doing the same sleep schedule again.

Definitely read Happiest Baby on the Block.

My 1st is in daycare and my mat leave covers my salary 100% for 12 weeks (keep receiving my paycheck every 15th and 30th as though I was working). I will likely keep 1st in daycare for at least the first month after having the newborn so that I can sleep/rest while newborn is sleeping for sanity. It will be the same to our budget, but I feel guilty about this. But my "job" is taking care of a newborn, that's what my mat leave is for.

Best of luck to you! It sounds difficult and every day is a struggle, but you all will find peace before you know it.