On Monday night at 9.08pm new baby was born. For the sake of internet privacy, on the blog I think we'll call her Daisy, because she looks so delicate and pretty, but I'm pretty sure that she'll turn out to be tougher than she looks!
She was two weeks early and didn't hang around.
Ten things I have learned in the last 4 days about having a toddler and a newborn baby:
- As soon as I start feeding the baby, toddler needs a cuddle.
- Don't hang around when you get a chance to sleep - take that nap!
- Toddler will be concerned when baby cries, but isn't too sure that they want you to pick baby up for a cuddle.
- Don't forget to eat. You end up dizzy and nauseous.
- Toddler will want to know where baby is the whole time, and preferably to be able to cuddle them and kiss them, perhaps climb into their bouncy chair or Moses basket.
- It's important that every time a neighbour or friend starts to coo over the new baby, that you tell the neighbour what a good big brother the toddler is being, and how proud you are of them.
- A few new quiet toys or books are a good idea. You can bring them out or draw attention to them when you sit down to feed the baby (use the sofa and not an armchair) and encourage the toddler to come and sit next to you and look at them.
- However much you understand that your toddler is having a hard time adjusting - don't ease up on your behaviour expectations. These early days is when it's more important than ever to establish that your boundaries still stand. If you tell him not to do something, and he carries on, then even if you are feeding your baby, get up and go and stop him from doing it. If you threaten some discipline, then carry it out. You're going to need him to know that you still mean what you say even if you're tired and have a baby attached to you.
- Spend some time when baby is asleep doing something that you know your toddler enjoys - baking, painting, colouring or drawing, playing in the garden etc. Forget the housework for a bit (unless that's what your toddler enjoys doing with you), and focus on your toddler, who needs to know that you still have time for them.
- Where possible, always find space on your lap for your toddler to sit if they want, even if you are feeding the baby, eating and talking on the phone all at once. Always have space in your arms and on your lap for your toddler, even if they have to share it.
It's early days yet, and these are just my first impressions. I have no idea yet if this is good advice, or whether I'll turn out able to live up to any of it. Here's to the attempt though. If anybody has any advice to add to my list - then please comment and let me know...