Any toddlers regressing after the birth of a new baby?

Staci - posted on 06/24/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My 2 year old is regressing after we brought home another baby 2 months ago. I do everything I can to split my time and not give too much attention to the baby. She gets really upset when I am breastfeeding the baby and can't get up and do what she wants me to do. She also has started to want a pacifier (which she never took as an infant) because she sees her brother with one, and she wants to play in all the baby's toys like she is a baby - like the swing and the gymini.

How do you teach your 2 year old to be a "big kid" when they don't really have a concept of that yet? I am really trying to stress age appropriate play with her...like I tell her she looks silly with the pacifier and that pacifiers are for babies. Should I just "go with it" and see if she weans herself from this behavior or should I be intervening in some way?

I could really use some input from other moms who have a new baby around with their toddlers...Thanks!

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Melany - posted on 06/24/2010

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I think all regress some. I understand because my daughter wasn't even 2 when my youngest was born. It was a lot for her to deal with. She had been the baby (she is my middle), then she was the 'big sister'. Instead of asking her to 'grow up', involve her in helping with the baby. Ask her to bring you diapers, praise her for helping you and for being 'such a good big sister'. If at all possible, carve out some time with just her so she feels important too. I don't think you have to totally 'split' your time, just make sure she gets some privileges that she knows the baby can't do. Did the baby give her a 'present' when the baby was born? We did that with our kids. Even just a special present (new coloring book, special book, special game, etc) can help her feel like she has her place. That is really what they all want to know - What is my place in the family?

Tomesa - posted on 06/24/2010

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ok, my response may be very unconventional and even untraditional but i'm just me so i can only offer you advice of what i've done when in this situation.

my daughter was 3 almost 4 in a few weeks when her baby sister was born, and REGRESS isn't the word! she flat out turned straight into a baby, and it was HORRIBLE at first because she was FOUR, not two! she went from being fully potty trained *only using pullups overnight* to peeing and pooing on herself, she "forgot" how to drink from her sippy cup, refused to walk ANYWHERE and demanded bottles, pacis AND to be rocked to sleep. oh my goodness it was almost unbelieveable and i wouldn't have believed it had i NOT been there to see it myself. i literally had a child that refused to act her age and totally felt that she was a baby again.

i suffer from ppd after the birth of my children and i was SO upset by it all that i went to my pediatrician at WITS end...because she "should" have and "was supposed to be" and blah blah and was not doing anything age appropriate, and i compared my situation to moms with "great fortune" and felt that i was just a bad mom.

well, my pediatrician knows us for years, and he looks me square in the eye and says, "how many healthy 20 year olds do you see sucking bobos and bottles and crawling on the floor?" and i said, "none". "how many 40 year olds with normal functions wear diapers that you know?" and i, feeling silly, said "none". and he said, "well why are you so stressed? make YOURSELF comfortable because if you're a mess, kids are a mess, and they know stress. she's a fine little girl you have, she's just a little sideswiped right now with the new baby. she won't do this forever. give her what she wants and relax."

well i took the advice! i was a single mom of a newborn and 2 older girls, doing it ALL ALONE, with hardly any help except from My God My God Almighty and occassionally from family...RARELY. so i really thought, "what they hey could it hurt???" and i went home, and babied my 4 year old. i brought her a bottle, a box of diapers, a pacifier, baby toys and even wipes and even a little cheap stroller haha. i truly treated her like a baby, right along with the baby! and she LOVED it. but one day about a month later, i was talking baby talk to her, an she said, "mommy i'm not a baby!" i was SHOCKED. ok...so a few days later she pooed in her diaper. "mommy i need a diaper change now!!!" she called, and i responded, "well baby, mama has to change the OTHER baby so you have to wait." she had to wait 30 minutes or so because i had the baby in for her bath. well when i got done i said, "ok come on m, let's change that diaper!" and i wiped her and all of that, and went to put a new diaper on her and she jumped up, "mommy mommy i don't like diapers anymore! i'm a big girl now, i can poo in the potty!" she HATED having poo on her butt haha. then she threw away the bottle and gave the paci to HER baby! i was SO amazed and relieved even though i didn't care what anyone else thought, it felt so good to have her go back to herself.

she is the smartest child in her class and she gets all a's and b's. she's developmentally perfect and on track and like her doctor said, she won't be 21 in diapers sucking bottles!

lol, it's funny now but it wasn't then, but i had to do what i had to do, especially since i was feeling not so great mentally and emotionally, and i had to reserve my energy for what was TRULY important. and it worked for me.

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Your 2 yold doesn't have to be the big kid. Her brain is trying to deal with new baby. I have a 5 yold who is emotionally immature; while I don't coddle him, I am not pushing him to grow up mentally. (I tried, and he had melt downs) I just reassure my little boy. He needs to know all is well. I have 3 kids who are completely different, with different emotional needs.
Why can't your girl be a baby too? She finds comfort in using a pacifier and baby swing too. But at the same time, find an activity that the baby CAN'T do, that only big sister can do. Show her, "see baby brother can't do that, because he is baby. You can because you are a big two year old." Like finger painting or another craft? Especially something YOU and her do together. Putting clothes on baby doll...might show her to take care of baby instead of being baby?
Your little girl needs to figure out that she can still get mommies attention and not pretend to be a baby. They do figure it out, but not always in your time frame

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