How to deal with your baby and toddler…together!

You had the mum routine down to a fine art with your firstborn, but now your second baby’s arrived your toddler is less than impressed. Here’s how to cope…

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It’s brilliant having a new baby to enjoy. But it can also feel stressful and overwhelming. So imagine how it feels for your firstborn. He may be curious, jealous and even angry at having to share your attentions. Here’s how to blend your life as a new mum and a toddler mum throughout the day so everyone’s happy.

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Everything you wanted to know about breastfeeding

Feeding time

You think: “Time for some relaxing bonding time with my baby.” Your toddler thinks: “Hold on, who’s that sitting on my lap?!” His solution to the problem is to try to change the dynamic. “Your toddler may resort to all sorts – weeing, pooing, screaming, or clambering all over you – to disrupt the peaceful scene,” warns Ann Herreboudt, family therapist.

What to do:

  • Don’t leave your toddler out; sit on a chair big enough for all three of you to cuddle in.
  • Have a bag of cheap but safe toys on hand (try pound shops) so you can bring out a new farm animal or box of crayons while you feed, to make him feel indulged.
  • “It’s fine to use this time to cuddle up and watch 10 minutes of television or a DVD together too,” adds Ann.
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Don’t be daunted by changing your baby’s nappies – you’ll have the hang of it in no time.

Changing time

You need to concentrate on the poo while your toddler wants to bug you to help out.

What to do:

  • Your toddler could ‘pretend clean’ your baby’s arm while you do the messy stuff.
  • The more you push him away, the more he’ll want to get involved and the more difficult he’ll become. Let him be in charge of carrying wipes or handing you nappies.
  • Talk to your baby through your toddler as you go along, saying, “Look, isn’t your brother marvellous at cleaning you up?” so you’re still getting interaction with your baby while letting your toddler know he’s terrific too.
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At the supermarket

Even with online grocery shopping, you can’t avoid the shops 100% of the time. The trick is to try to ignore anyone around you and focus on your little ones. “Involve your toddler with helping you shop as much as you can reasonably manage,” says Sue Beever, author of Happy Kids, Happy You.

What to do:

  • Get him to help find the things you need, like fruit and veg, or breakfast cereal.
  • Or ask him to point out any red packets he sees, all the time letting him know how marvellous he is and that the baby needs his help to learn all about the supermarket.
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Mae bathtimes fun for your toddler!

Bathtime

Bathtime’s one of your toddler’s favourite moments of the day. But suddenly he’s taken a back seat to a new water baby.

What to do:

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  • “It’s great to get your toddler involved, so perhaps he can help you dip cotton wool balls into the warm water to wash the baby gently,” suggests Sue Beever.
  • Give your toddler ‘splash time’ while you’re drying and dressing your baby in the bathroom.
  • Let him mirror what you’re doing by ‘washing’ his bath toys like you’re washing the baby so he feels grown up.

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