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Newborn vs. Toddler stage -which is harder? REPRISE

Discussion in 'Family, Home & Health' started by Sha, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Sha
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    by Sha » Mar 1, 2011
    Sometime last year I had posted this topic, to get feedback on whether moms felt the newborn or toddler stage was harder. There was quite a lot of feedback, with some saying the newborn stage, and others saying the toddler stage. From what I remember, I think the consensus was that the toddler stage was more challenging.

    Just wanted to pop back in, as the mom of a now 15 month old, to say that so far, I'm finding the toddler stage to be sooooo much easier than the newborn stage. The first few months after D came on were seriously some of the hardest of my life. It was such an adjustment getting used to taking care of a little creature around the clock, and not being able to do the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them - like checking my email, taking a bath, taking a nap! Everything revolved around her and her needs - that really took some getting used to. To be honest, for most of the time during the newborn stage, I was like, "OK, what's so great about this motherhood thing? It's soooo hard.... I don't why people have more than one child if this is what motherhood is like...". :blackeye: There was no way that I could even imagine of the thought of a baby #2 at that stage! No way. Then there was the sleep deprivation...D woke every 2 hours around the clock at night (until 6 months) so I felt like I was walking around in a fog most of the time. I'm sure there were beautiful moments in those first few months but I felt like I didn't have the energy to appreciate them at that time. I was just busy trying to keep my eyes open and do all the things I needed to do.

    So yeah - the newborn stage was hard, but every month just got better and better. Now that D is 15 months - I can say that unreservedly that she is an ABSOLUTE JOY and I just love being a mom!! Now I can see why people have child after child.....(I'm now thinking of a baby#2 myself). I love that I can interact with her and she can engage back with me. I love seeing her personality...I love watching her learn about the world around her, and teaching her new things. I love watching her toddle around and try to talk and sing and dance...it's so cute. There are so many amazing developments at this stage. It's also so much easier to take care of now. I don't have to hold her/rock her/nurse her constantly like I did when she was younger - I can put on the floor if I need to get something done, and have her toddle around me or just play independenty with her toys. She's sleeping through the night too so I have a lot more energy to be a mom, too.

    Of course, there are still challenging moments - she throws tantrums on a regular basis if she doesn't get something she wants, but even those I don't mind too much. That's about the only difficult thing right now, really. I don't know if things will get more challenging as she gets older and stronger... it's a possibilty.

    Just wanted to pop back in (after reading Bliss's post, especially) to give the (struggling?) new moms some hope.

    Would also love to hear if any of the new toddler moms have had the same experience or not.... 8)
     
    


    


  2. Tacori E-ring
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    by Tacori E-ring » Mar 1, 2011
    First 6 months were REALLY tough on me with BFing and no sleep. Things starting getting fun/easier when she was a year until 2.5. Obviously there are pros and cons for every age but 3s are proving to be the most trying for me (so far). T is a tough kid. She is SO stubborn. Now it is not her lack of being able to communicate that causes issues, it is HER PERSONALITY. I love her. I do. But she is great birth control.
     
  3. janinegirly
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    by janinegirly » Mar 1, 2011
    Tacori- you crack me up...but also scaring me about the 3's! I hope T passes through this phase soon, she has always been a big persoanilty!

    Sha - for me the newborn stage was harder. I have no specific reason, DD was an easy newborn, no issues (didn't even spit up) and I had help from family. But I guess it has to do with my persoanilty too - I like having some down time and there's none with a newborn. Even during naps you're washing bottles or pumping or doing laundry! I enjoy the toddler stage b/c she can entertain hersefl and she is more of a little person and we can hang out! I also love that she can communicate...it's a challenge with a newborn b/c you are always worried!

    Now if we have #2 I am in for it...well, the good thing about stages is that they all pass and have pros and cons!
     
  4. fieryred33143
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    by fieryred33143 » Mar 1, 2011
    The newborn stage was harder on me emotionally. But as far as Sophia goes, she was much easier. She slept, ate, and pooped for the most part. She was very easy minus the not sleeping part.

    Toddler stage is much more challenging as there are so many changes and things to go through. She exercises her right to be heard and her right to protest as many chances as she gets ;-) At the same time, there are so many more enjoyable and special moments now than there were before. Just the other night I was fighting with her to stand up in the tub so that I could clean her bottom while getting water everywhere, I thought back to how much easier it was when she didn't move in her infant tub. But then when we were done, she gave each of her "nenas" (her disney princess rubber dolls we keep in the tub) a kiss and as we were walking out she said "bye nenas!" and blew them a kiss. So it's more challenging now to me but the fun balances things out.

    I also feel like things are moving at warp speed now compared to before. The first year felt long. The second year is almost over and I can't believe it. I have some friends/family who say they were more emotional at the second birthday vs the first and I think I might be in that category. I find myself wishing she would slow down a lot more now than before.
     
    


    


  5. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    I'm not sure if this is what I said before, but I hated - HATED the first 6 weeks. Weeks 7-3 months were tolerable. At 3 months she began to sleep 12 hours and after that, I loved it.

    I love toddlerhood. I was just always so TIRED at the newborn stage, but often I'm exhausted after dealing with a toddler all day! From 3-9 months it was easy in that she was on formula, slept when she was supposed to sleep, etc. Now I'm always trying to find way to pass the day and make it fun and interesting.

    By and large the BEST part of the stage that we are at now is the stuff that comes out of this kid's mouth. She's almost 3 and is speaking fine - complete and complex sentences. It's a riot to see how your kid's brain functions.

    My friend told me when Amelia was 3 months old that it only gets better and better and so far, that is really true.
     
  6. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    I found your old thread Sha...hehehe, I'm nothing if not consistent.

    https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/newborn-or-toddler-stage-which-is-harder.135472/#p132839

    And I will absolutely STILL say, boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! Those tanties at 15 months are NOTHING compared to what they can do at nearly 3 years old. But my kid still knows who is boss, period - and that really helps. I'll confirm what I said in your older thread as Amelia is 1 month out from being 3, and say that the twos were fantastic. I'm gearing up for the three's now!!
     
  7. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    Oh, and Sha, ENJOY this stage. From about 1 year to 18 months was pure BLISS for me. Just so much fun and they are at peak A.Dorable stage. SO freakin' cute and fun...just a total joy. Then one day, closer to two, your kid will do something that will make you think...uh oh...are we about to hit terrible two's? ;))

    (For the record, twos were great for us too, but it took more patience and iron will for me to rein her in.)
     
  8. Bliss
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    by Bliss » Mar 1, 2011
    SHA!!!! I agree with everything you wrote about the newborn stage! OMG!!!!! The first 4-5 weeks...challenged me in ways I'd never imagined. WOW! One of my friends, after receiving one of my long rambling e-mails about how hard it was, sent me this article that summed it up perfectly!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2003/feb/05/familyandrelationships.features101

    YOU GIVE ME HOPE!!!! THANKS, PS MOMMIES!

    Today, for the first time... I woke up feeling GREAT. Little angelic M is about to turn 6 weeks and she didn't cry ONCE last night. So maybe the magic 6 week mark is a real milestone and not just a myth? She just slept and slept...waking only to nurse and be changed. Ha! She didn't have to cry, actually. It's so funny how I bolt awake when I hear her stir. It's like Mommy Taser! ZZZZZzzzzzZZTTTT!!!! Her little eh eh eh sound has me vaulting out of bed like an Olympian! Last night, she just started stirring a little every 3-4 hours to nurse and it was HEAVEN to get nice larger chunks of sleep. And she'd go right back to bed IN HER BASSINET after a change or feed! Incredible! Oh please God let this sweet heavenly situation stay a while... I can tell she's maturing, too. In the past, the moment I put her down in the car seat, swing or bassinet, she would start to cry. But now, she just sits there babbling and cooing. It's incredible. I guess (HOPE/PRAY) newborns do turn a corner at 6 weeks like the books say!

    I am so happy to see all the mommy replies here. It does give me hope and strength. Breastfeeding is the greatest labor of love I can imagine right now. It is such a huge commitment!!! But the bonding we share is worth it. Seeing the replies here, I feel like I'm not alone in looking forward to the toddler years. I just can't wait until she can express her wishes and thoughts...even if her will is strong, I feel like I'll prefer it to the blob stage. Though...the blob stage is SO SWEET sometimes!!!! She is so cute and tiny I could die!!! I just love the cuddles. She is such a warm, sweet blobbie! GOD, I love this blobbie more than anything... I know I'll end up missing this stage, too. Just the other day I was holding her tiny little hand and thinking that one day, her tiny little finger would be wearing a diamond ring. And she'll be telling me that she's going to be married. Oh, it brings tears to my eyes! Nothing is harder or more wonderful!!!!!
     
  9. Logan Sapphire
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    by Logan Sapphire » Mar 1, 2011
    Not too long ago, I had one of each at the same time (DS will be one in April and DD will be 3 in May). Honestly, both were/are really difficult for me, but in different ways. DS was a very easy newborn but the sheer drudgery of changing diapers, pumping, feeding, and napping him was overwhelming. DD obviously was a lot more independent but not independent enough to where she could full express herself and do things completely on her own. I think one of the worst parts was that DD wasn't potty trained when DS arrived (she is now, thank goodness). The cost and constant changing of diapers was something else- if I wasn't wiping one kid's butt, it was the other one's. DD also went through her terrible two's phase where she could be a complete turd, but fortunately she's mostly over that. She's a lot of fun now and speaks in complex sentences (I counted a long, rambling 14 word sentence the other day), but she's also more cunning and sly. The "why" phase is beginning. She has STRONG opinions and isn't afraid to voice them. Definitely the interaction is much better than a newborn! But btwn working full time, pumping, and kiddie attitudes, sometimes the best part of the day is when they're both in bed!!
     
  10. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    Bliss, I remember the first 6 weeks well. The pain of it has diminished some, but I still remember strongly the despair I felt. Like you, I didn't mince words when I was going through it. Obviously I still remember it VERY unfondly since I mentioned it on this thread and Sha's other one.

    It DOES get better (assuming the child is health). That is a guarantee.

    I will never forget how I felt - must have been week 5 or so. I mentioned it on PS at the time. It was pre-dawn, and the sun was about to come up and I was looking out the window. And I hated life. I didn't want to see the sun. I felt like it was like that movie Groundhog Day...an endless cycle of the same sh*t. And I just.couldn't.face.it. The despair I felt was because nothing I could do would prevent the sun from coming up and my life continuing as it was. I absolutely lost it around week 5...screamed my head off at TGuy and sobbed and sobbed. Then week 6 came, we moved the kid to her crib and I came out of the tunnel.

    Hang in there. I read your post. I could have written it verbatim (minus the help part...believe it or not, I wanted to do everything without my mom, and I tried to breast feed for nearly 2 months with no milk...ridiculous) nearly 3 years ago.

    I find that nothing can prepare you for the misery of that newborn stage. Some have it easier than others, but it is an enormous burden to be ENTIRELY responsible for another needy human's survival (and still manage to survive yourself), and until you go through it, you really have no idea.
     
    


    


  11. Bliss
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    by Bliss » Mar 1, 2011
    YES!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!! You are SO spot on!!!!!!!! TGal, as always... YES, YES AND YES! You hit the nail squarely on the head! At weeks 4-5, I really started to feel a sailor's despair. I imagine it's like being stranded out at sea - a rescue ship MIGHT come but you never know when. So you might starve or die of dehydration or exposure but either way, there is suffering for an indefinite period of time. And for some reason, when you're going through it, that period of time LOOKS LIKE FOREVER. OMG OMG OMG, it was HELL and who knows... that one magical night might have been a fluke. But those tiny spots of light give me hope.

    HOW IN THE WORLD does no one talk about this??? I remember silently cursing a colleague at 4am one night because he'd misled me so egregiously. He'd had a newborn and told me that his life *barely* even changed. Said it was easy and so much FUN. I kept asking, "So no sleep deprivation? It's really that smooth?" And he beamed back, "Yes! It's the most fun I've ever had in my life!" So once I had my own bundle of fun, I was sobbing at 4am on DH's shoulder one morning wailing, "WHYYYYY ISN'T IT FUN FOR MEEEEEE?" Hahahaha. Yes, I know why. I now recall meeting his wife. She had hollowed out shells for eyes and looked like she hadn't washed her hair in weeks. It didn't register until now. Sure, life didn't change much...FOR HIM! But someone's clearly did!!! Ha! OMG! Another male friend of ours said his life didn't change much at all. I remember his wife rolling her eyes. Now I get it!!!!!!! At least DH is an equal partner in this.

    Can someone tell me HOW PEOPLE WITH FEWER RESOURCES DO THIS??? All over the world? We're all educated women...we have it all... so how do people do it with far less? Single moms...moms with financial difficulties...moms with no support... HOW? Or are they just a heck of a lot more resourceful and stronger than I am? I keep thinking, "Am I soft???!!" Geez, I'm a tough cookie IRL. I really thought I could do it all - until a chubby little bald stranger showed me that I can't! :mrgreen: THANK GOD IT GETS BETTER! The idea alone sustained me many of those long, dark and cold nights. Is it easier if you're using formula? I feel like that's the Shangri-La of situations because then you're not the SOLE provider of all things milky and comforting. But then again, how much easier is it to mix up powder and water when you can just whip out the boob with fresh milk on tap? I bet it's hard all around. OOF!
     
  12. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    People with fewer resources can handle it because women are AMAZING creatures. *pat pat*

    I was miserable, but doing it all alone with TGuy hardly taking any time off (he took 3 days when she was born) and I was telling my mom I wanted to see if I could handle it myself. I had my blackberry glued to me too, even though I was on maternity leave. At the hospital on night 4, I told my husband to go home and sleep because he looked like he could use some rest. And he TOOK me up on it. Wimp!!! Then I had what still ranks as the WORST NIGHT OF MY LIFE. By myself. Even the nurses would not help me. I don't cry often, but I tried. I say "tried" because I was too exhausted to muster up the energy to squeeze out the tears, so it was more like pathetic whimpering above my baby's screaming. (as I mentioned, I had no milk, the kid was starving, but I didn't know that until the next morning, which was day 5 after birth)

    IIRC, the women of my PS mom "class" totally talked about this. Life sucked. Most of us were good humored about it, but no one was saying it was totally smooth sailing. IMHO, no pregger woman wants to hear about the horrors...or if they do, they just nod and pretend they get it - because they secretly think "how could it be THAT bad?" Then they bring the child home and after 3 days, gloat on facebook at what a GREAT baby they have and how easy their angel is. Meanwhile the BTDT moms all sit back and --> :devil:

    I'm being a bit tongue in cheek of course, but it's hard. And the honest ones will admit it's hard. There are those couple that have it totally easy - I personally don't know of any though. I suppose if one was to go back and look at my posts, I probably had it somewhat easy. But I didn't FEEL that way. I was taking care of a blob, and kind of a funny looking one at that.
     
  13. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    Oh, and the grass is greener on the other side. I formula fed due to the no milk problem, but I was TRYING to get milk production up. So I had to prepare formula, put it in an SNS (supplemental nutrtion system or something like that), position it, tape it to my boob, get it correctly in the kid's mouth. After 45 minutes, which is how long it took to feed the kid, I had to WASH all the crap, then PUMP because the suckling was not enough to increase production. 10 mins each side. That's now about 1hr 15 minutes in. Clean pump stuff. Store pathetic amount of milk (5-15cc's), then get some sleep. But err....it's not 1.5 hours in, and I have to start AGAIN in one hour. I almost died and despite the stories I was reading of BFing problems (Tacori had some bad ones), I couldn't help but think I would LOVE to do just a boob and not all the rest of the crap I was dealing with and be done with it!

    If I were to do it all over again, I'd stick a bottle in the kid, have her suck it down in 10 minutes and move on.

    ETA, oh and the tape gave me a rash so I had little red hatch marks ALL over my boobs as I re-taped in different places. AND (my 2008 PS moms will remember this), I spent the first 6 weeks downstairs sleeping on the couch. We had a flea infestation and I was getting eaten. Infuriating because we have NO pets. We couldn't do much about it either with a newborn in the house)

    Ugh, just thinking about it now makes me ill.
     
  14. Mara
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    by Mara » Mar 1, 2011
    What a great reprise, Sha!!!

    Well our toddler is only 13mo but I am DEFINITELY hands down voting this stage as better for us. While, quite honestly, we did not find the first 4 or 6 weeks to be ridiculously challenging like 'undoable'... it was hard definitely but we just got through it and did what needed to be done. I think it really helped me to know too that it would pass. We had our struggles here and there, J was the hardest for me probably between 3 weeks and 7 weeks because he was so awake and alert but wasn't interactive, didn't really respond to us and just seemed VERY hard to please during those 4-6 weeks. It was like working for a really pissy and never-pleased boss. Around 4mo it got much better because he was more responsive, interactive, recognized us, seemed to be able to communicate slightly more effectively.

    But right around the time he started crawling, so maybe 7months+... he just became more and more fun. And each stage he hits where he can be more independent and seems to come more into his own, he just gets even better. I really feel like HE is a happier individual the older he gets and less frustrated with his body, his brain, whatever. I think that is also just a characteristic of my own son, he's always been so alert and interested in the outside world, I almost could feel his frustration as a tangible thing when he was younger and couldn't make his hand move or do what he wanted it to. He was never a super mellow or inactive baby like some of my friends have had.

    And while he gets only more active and interested now that he IS in more control of his body and his mind and his vocal cords... it's just so much FUN to watch him discover things in life, the sheer joy and excitement on the simplest things. I am getting actually emotional just writing this. I used to get a lot more mentally frustrated with him when he was younger. Today, even when he does things that are blatantly 'testing the line'.. I have a hard time not laughing. I'd much rather be laughing than be frustrated.

    When we do think about MAYBE considering another one, the first 6months or so is just something I'd think about 'getting through' until the real fun begins. BUT I don't know if my old body (and mind!) can take it. I joke around that I'd love to just pop out a 1 year old.

    As for how do people do it with less resources or whatever... they just do. Sometimes I DO think having so much in our lives has made us a wee bit 'softer' than previous generations. My Mom was a single Mom, my dad left when I was 1 and before that he was never much help. She worked two jobs, my Grandma helped take care of me while she was at her 2nd job (worked from 8-3 then from 4:30-8), but she was just making ends meet. She was so crazily stoic about it all, there was no option to melt-down and I am sure it was SO hard. I am very thankful though that we are in this place in our lives where it WAS that much easier because we have resources.

    The few times when G has been out of town esp when J was younger like 4mo, and I was doing it alone ... I would sit there after he went to bed and think, Gee this is what it was like for my Mom and had such an appreciation of her strength. It is amazing what people can do when they absolutely need to and there is no other option.
     
  15. janinegirly
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    by janinegirly » Mar 1, 2011
    Bliss, glad you now see you are not alone. Like Mara, I can't say the first few weeks were the worst thing ever but relative to toddler years, it certainly is not a fond memory - more like something you have to get through! For me the things that made it a *bit* easier (other than DD being a generally easy baby) were not beating myself over BF and going to forumula at 3 mos (pumping all day for 2oz was NOT fun). Getting help from my mom was also crucial---reach out to family if you can! Sometimes DH's don'' quite get it the way our moms do.

    As for how others handle it..I can't speak for the 3rd world (maybe things are so challenging that what's one more thing?), but for other parents...I honestly think they lie! All my IRL gf's say it's so wonderful and full of bliss...so natural :confused: . But the ladies here are more honest b/c there's no reason not to be!! And that's why it's a great outlet to have :). Don't feel guilty, just know you are normal and this passes and at least it's weeks/months and not years!
     
    


    


  16. Bliss
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    by Bliss » Mar 1, 2011
    TGal, HOLY...MOLY...You are Mom of the Year! No, Mom of the Century! You did all that to give your little one those precious ounces of breast milk? You are...BEYOND...um...umm...words cannot express how insanely lucky little A is to have you as a mom. I cannot imagine doing that myself. If I didn't have a sufficient milk supply, I would have just gone straight to formula. Or supplemented the best I could. But to rig that boobie tape tube-y contraption and feed A right out of the gate...when you were yourself recovering from L&D... THAT IS LOVE. I'm sorry, but that is LOVE with a capital L-O-V-E. Wow, incredible strength. WOW. WOW. Just wow. Kinda gives me strength because it shows how strong we can be when we have to step up to the situation at hand.

    And HAHAHAHAHA on the angel baby thing! THAT WAS MY POST on the preggo thread after my birth story! THEN...Oh, then...Little M took off her angel wings, picked up her pitchfork and started rockin' and rollin'! And the funny thing is, she isn't even a colicky infant. It was just the non-stop breastfeeding, cracked & bleeding nipples (OH MY GOSH, the pain), recovery from giving birth (hurt to stand, sit or lie down due to stitches) and sleep deprivation. Also, the anxiety of waking the sleeping baby was heckola. I just couldn't relax because I was so tense all the time. Literally, I would be caught in the whirlpool of constant nursing, changing, rocking (until my arms almost fell off) and making sure everyone kept QUUUIIIIIEEEEET. Just couldn't escape the undertow - too powerful!

    I know people who have never had kids may read this and think I am off my rocker. I know I would have thought, "How hard could it be?" And I would have also thought, "Geez, just be thankful you have a healthy baby!" OH. MY. LORD. It is just...holy shniz... HAAAARDER than anything I have ever experienced. I hope I'm not scaring any preggos or moms to be. Because some babies truly are easy, I think. And may you all have the easy angel babies! But all babies will cry at some point, just because it's hard being in the new world. It's jarring to them and unfamiliar. They have to suck to survive...learn to breathe...poop...it's tough on those little beings. And when they cry, THAT is hard. It is harder than anything because you just want to fix it and stop their suffering.

    I would have traded all of my jewels, anything to have stopped her crying those first few nights. I would have traded all of my diamonds for ONE night of rest! And the thing is, my baby wouldn't even wail for a long time ever. It's just that she wailed the moment I put her down. So I had to carry her 24/7...and THAT was hard. I almost fell asleep standing up a few times. Misery! My postpartum body was TIRED...the soles of my feet hurt, even. My stitches screamed every moment and even sitting down to nurse was excruciating. Of course, you spend the majority of your time nursing so it was just a vicious cycle of pain and weariness. Biologically, how would a cave woman be able to recover from the trauma of childbirth AND care for a newborn? You'd think they'd get eaten by mountain lions or something...or just expire from the weariness of it all.

    Oh my goodness, there I go again... Hahahahaha!!!! It feels good to write it out, though. It feels authentic to be able to say, "YES, I had a HARD TIME!!!!!" It feels refreshing to be able to admit this. "I SUCK AT PARENTING!!!" Ha! OK, not true. But I sure felt that way the first 4 weeks. Now, I feel like I know my baby and it feels like the greatest relief. I also know how to calm her down and that changes the despair/sinking feeling when she starts to cry to a feeling of confidence. I don't feel like the worst parent in the world when I can't calm her or put her to sleep. I feel like someone who can get over the humps in the road. EVERYONE BUY HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK!!!!!! Saved my life. I swear.

    MARA! Wow... you have always been one of those moms who just...knows what to do! You always make the smartest decisions and seem so calm and rational about things. You're one of the moms I'd copy in real life. I'd be all up in your business like, "What did you use for this?" *scurries out to buy item A, B and C* "Oh MAAARAAAA, what did you do when J did this?" *furiously takes notes* "Where did you send your kid to school?" *calls realtor for listings in the same neighborhood* Yep, I'd be a MOM STALKER! Hahaha. You and Pandora and Dreamer! Yeah, you ladies helped me through my pregnancy and are now helping me raise my kid. Already, I have so much value added to my life from the advice I've gotten here. Miracle Blanket, Itzbeen, Tummy Tub...How to cure morning sickness.. yeah, so THANK YOU! Your mom sounds like an incredible woman.

    You're right about how women in the past generation are SO much stronger. My mom gave birth to me with no drugs. And she never said it was horrible or that she couldn't stand the pain. I'm sure it was equally painful for her, but I know I couldn't take it without the epidural. I tried!!! I remember asking the nurse in the hospital, "How do women do this without drugs?!" And she said, "People from your mom's generation just DID IT. They just had the mentality of JUST DO IT because there were no other options...and they were tougher and used to suffering/sacrificing to get what they wanted...whereas we have more options." SO TRUE.

    Anyway...I'm looking forward to the TODDLER STAGE!!!!!!!! Where's my Toddler Stage or Bust emotie? :devil:
     
  17. TravelingGal
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    by TravelingGal » Mar 1, 2011
    No, I was stupid. One of the things that still bugs me is the guilt that moms get for switching to formula. How easy my life would have been. How much less I would have cried. I went back to my Amelia file (where I posted all the posts on PS during that first year) and it was indeed nearly two months (toward the end I just pumped out what I could to give it to her - because they said she needed the antibodies). The most I was able to EVER pump out (and it was fleeting) was 2 oz. Which would dry me out for the rest of the day. The average was half oz to one oz.

    Hard to know when you are in the middle of it, but you know what they say about hindsight.

    Definitely PS is a great place to vent. I always used to tell the newly minted moms (back when I bothered to give advice on that thread...which was a long time ago) that crying in the shower comes highly recommended. Seems less pathetic when your face is already soaked. :wavey:
     
  18. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 1, 2011
    When I was in the midst of it, the newborn phase was hard. Because I was naive and knew nothing at all and every little thing mattered so much! New moms are great catastrophizers. He is crying... oh i will die! He is not sleepiong... he will never sleep! MUST get him on a schedule NOW or it will NEVER happen!

    Now that I am an old pro :cheeky: I think the second time will be so much easier. I am immune to crying ;)) . I know that the best laid plans do not always work, but you can still reach the goal you want in another way. I know that it will end soon and seem a distant memory. So with this second baby I think it will be much easier, whatever his/her tempterament. I am just more confident and less anxious. And too busy chasing a toddler!

    My close friend, who was a very anxious first time mom and is now a second time mom to a newborn said it best with this story -- with her first, if she was driving and her daughter started crying she would pull over to the side of the road to nurse her! With her second daughter, she will just drive home, knowing he daughter can wait 10 minutes, and lo and behold, he daughter survives and even stops crying before getting home ;)) So first time moms, just drive home already 8)

    I think that the newborn phase is physcially hard. Tired, healing, learning the breastfeed. But mentally it was a snap for me, just boring as heck. My husband took 6 weeks parental leave which made all the difference. And my mom was with us as well the first two weeks. I highly recommend it, provided you have good relations with the helpers ;)) . I am dreading the physical healing and bordom more than anything else this second time.

    I think the toddler phase is more mentally exhausting. I am a mom sort of like TGal -- just less Draconian ;)) . And I find that it takes a lot of mental energy to NEVER give in to your child when they tantrum, to ALWAYS follow through on what you threaten, to NEVER snap and freak out at your kid even when they are being a total monster. The self-control needed to parent a toddler is just endless, and that is where I find it difficult. After work I would like to lie down on the couch and relax, not teach my son to listen when I say no, and deal with him throwing himself on the floor and hanging off my legs because I took away the plastic bat when he hit the dog with it -- he got fair warning he would lose the bat if he hit anything other than a ball! That is tiring. And it is now, even more than when he was a newborn, that I am so glad to have a husband who is a real co-parent. I could not do it on my own. We a tag team toddler wresters a lot of the time.

    But the work is worth it. We recently went back east to visit family who had not seen Hunter before, or not since he was a baby, and everyone kept going on and on about how well behaved he is, how well he plays on his own, how well he listens... though I know a big dose of that is temperament, I also know a big dose is the consistency we practice as parents. My mother in law was shocked when he pitched one of his marathon fits when we were there because she thought he was always and angel ;)) I think she was equally shocked at how we stood our ground. She would have given in I think.
     
  19. dreamer_dachsie
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    by dreamer_dachsie » Mar 1, 2011
    Two words, Bliss -- Ear Plugs. I started wearing them when Hunter was about 2 months old and still wear them now. If he cries loud enough to wake DH, who wakes me, then I know he really needs me, and otherwise I sleep great. DH can fall asleep in about 5 milliseconds so it works for us.

    I characterize baby development this way -- house plant stage (aka blob ;)) ), cat stage, dog stage, monkey stage, then person. I found the switch from monkey to person, which happened slowly between 20 - 24 months, the most fun. The most boring is the house plant phase, because it is not very rewarding other than the cuteness factor. The hardest was the monkey stage, which for us was about 14 - 20 months, because they are able to destroy things but have no ability to reason and little self-control.
     
  20. Pandora II
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    by Pandora II » Mar 1, 2011
    I think this depends a LOT on the child you have and probably on how you were as young children yourselves. My husband and I were both extremely challenging, stubborn and determined children. Neither of us slept much - DH didn't STTN until he was 2.5 years and I wasn't much better. However we both learnt to speak fairly early and once we could communicate properly we turned into rather nice children. My younger sister and DH's older brother were the opposite - both angelic babies who slept and smiled and played with toys and didn't demand adult interaction 24/7 - but then all hell broke loose when they turned 2. My parents have friends who still, 36 years on, remember my sister's spectacular temper-tantrums!

    Daisy is now 21 months and I can safely say that right now I do not understand why women have more than one. I adore my daughter - she's bright, lively, funny, never grumpy or over-tired and already very verbal. However living with a child who is awake from 9am to 10pm and has never napped since she was about 6 weeks old and who has huge energy and is VERY determined is truly, truly exhausting.

    The early weeks were a bit of a mess in that I was physically exhausted, stressed, in pain and generally all the new mother stuff. But Daisy was pretty easy on the whole. Expect in the car where she could scream for 4 hours non-stop and pretty much screamed the whole of any journey we did.

    Then at around 5/6 months the separation anxiety started - it coincided with her starting to crawl and cruise. It got worse and worse to the extent that baby-sitters wouldn't come back. The SA finally abated at around 17/18 months so it was a long phase.

    At 13 months the tantrums began and got steadily worse. We now see a child psychotherapist once a week and things are easier - mainly because she helps me modify my behaviour to help modify Daisy's. It's not a miracle solution but it helps my sanity.

    I definitely feel more exhausted at the end of the day now than I did when she was a small baby. I have always found each stage to be rewarding and I wouldn't swap my challenging child (well maybe for a few hours) - who is after all the result of her genes.

    I love the conversations that she now has with me, the things that she points out when we are out that I wouldn't even notice and the games. It's lovely that she'll go and draw pictures or read books or play with her doll for a good hour or so everyday and give me some 'me' time. I also love that she's such a happy, confident and empathic child - who can somehow wrap most people round her little finger and thus gets away with murder.

    But I really don't enjoy the running away, the not-eating situation, the tantrums and the fights. I look at other mothers with their similar age children sitting in the stroller going round the zoo and could cry. There's mine jumping in the puddles, refusing to hold my hand, throwing a tantrum because she doesn't want to walk with me holding the reins and the massive fight putting her back in the stroller - which now has 3 sets of straps installed so she can't climb out. The times I meet a mother in the same situation I am just so relieved that it's not just me.

    I'm hoping that things get easier. I can reason with her up to a point at the moment - and she does comprehend a lot. I asked her the other day why she was running away in the supermarket (following the previous week's nightmare where I lost her for nearly 15 minutes) - the answer was 'Daisy running, Daisy hide... Boo!' Then I asked how she thought mummy might feel when she ran off - she thought for a bit and then said 'Mummy sad, mummy crying, ahhhh, hug!' She then held my hand for the next 10 minutes or so and stayed with me for the rest of the shopping trip - oh, except for when she disappeared to the end of one aisle and came back with a box of chocolate eclairs...

    But more children... right now, not a hope in hell.

    If I could go back and do anything differently there are only 3 things I would change.

    - First, I'd have got the hell out of the hospital the day after I got out of ICU rather than staying there for a week as it just stressed me out completely and I got no sleep or rest as they kept waking Daisy up to do their check-list for the withdrawal. I could have done it myself at home with much less anxiety and stress and best of all a massive bed!

    - Second, I would have co-slept from day 1 rather than trying to get her back in the crib after every feed and having her wake up 2 minutes later. Life became so much better when we just dropped off to sleep together.

    - Third, I would have bought a Moby and stuck her in it from day 1, rather than struggling with that awful baby-bjorn thing that was so cumbersome and uncomfortable. I ended up holding her constantly and a good sling would have really helped. Once I got the Mei Tai my freedom and life improved incredibly - I just stuck her on my back and got on with cooking, laundry etc

    Never thought I'd end up a total Dr. Sears/AP type mother but it really worked/works for us.
     
  21. Acrossley
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    by Acrossley » Mar 1, 2011
    I was one day post-delivery when my mom said the most profound thing she has ever said to me. I was still in a state of false bliss .... sure that things would be even more exciting once I reached our home - anxious to have the nurses and "extra" hands out of the way. My mom is surely an angel ... I do not joke. She is the most compassionate, loving person I know. She never says an ill word of others and always spins things the most positive way possible.

    She sat beside me on the hospital bed that day and boldly declared, " the next few weeks of your life are going to be absolute hell." Wow. Really? I thought her experience must have been really bad .... why wouldn't I have been told this by now? Her words of wisdom hit me like a ton of bricks a few nights later as I sobbed over my newborn. I never felt guilty sharing my heart with her. Her honesty created a deeper bond between us. Should we say more like this to expectant moms we know well???
     
  22. Tacori E-ring
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    by Tacori E-ring » Mar 1, 2011
    I have always been completely honest that I did not like my kid until she was 6 weeks old. It was not PPD, nor did I want to harm her, but I was overwhelmed, in pain, exhausted, and there were few rewards in those first few weeks/months. My sister is pregnant and I tell her it is okay if she feels like this. I don't think it made me a bad mother. It made me human. I wish more women were honest about it.
     
  23. janinegirly
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    by janinegirly » Mar 2, 2011


    So true. I think this is key plus staving off the mommy guilt. I have it like anyone else but I refuse to overdo it or become consumed because then it becomes more about ME--if I'm so obsessed with being perfect or what is dictated to us as being ideal then I'm not engaging in the situation or with my child. Sometimes you have to adjust to the specifics of your [child's] situation and think on your feet ..it is not a one fits all scenario.
     
  24. Laila619
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    by Laila619 » Mar 2, 2011
    Oh man, Blissie, I so hear you on how HARD it is!

    I sometimes think formula feeding would be so much easier, because then DH and others could help feed the baby. I am so thankful to be able to nurse Luke, but it's a nonstop job. Being the sole food source for someone who needs to eat every 2-3 hours is tough. And it's not like it's a ten minute thing--my little guy has always been a leisurely nurser and will take 45 minutes usually. Then after the burping and the changing, you're left with approximately one hour if even that until it's time to start all over again! :errrr: There is no way any woman could BF without tons of support from other family members. It's just such a huge commitment! Rewarding, yes, but a huge commitment.

    And the sleep deprivation? OMG! I had it *very* easy in that Luke started sleeping through the night (8 hours) at 6 weeks old. It was heavenly. BUT he would only do that in his car seat, and the pedi told us he could no longer sleep in his car seat as it's not safe. So now we've had to resort to the PNP bassinet which he HATES. My sweet little guy who previously slept 8 hours through the night is now waking every three hours again. It's the newborn days all over again! :knockout:

    Anyway, hang in there and I can relate!! You're doing a great job!
     
  25. AllieLuv83
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    by AllieLuv83 » Mar 2, 2011
    I feel like moms that say that the first 6 weeks are awesome are either lying or delusional. My child is in no way tough, nursing came pretty easy after correcting the latch problems and getting over the mommy worry of is he getting enough but there were mornings that I would sit and cry, and evenings that I would sit and cry because it is a 24/7 job to nurse, change, rock, burp this little blob. I would be so tired that I would fall asleep standing up some times and I felt like DH just didn't understand why I felt so overwhelmed and on top of it all the house was a MESS, and I felt like I needed to get stuff done during the day so forget the whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" stuff. When he dropped his 12am feeding it was BLISS, pure BLISS because I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

    T-GAL I think the saddest thing is that there is such a stigma about trying to breast feed and then having to switch to formula. I feel like as moms we feel like we failed as women if it doesn't work out. A mom that decides from day 1 that she will not breast feed but will formula feed seems to feel liberated. I think that when the decision is out of our hands we can't help but feel as failures. With such an emphasis on BREAST IS BEST it makes it harder and harder to accept. But the honest truth is that some women simply CANNOT not that they would not give their left arm, or right leg to be able to nurse their baby. I thank my lucky stars that I am able to because had I not been able to I would have prob. tried the same thing I am very stubborn and determined and I think it would have killed me.
     
  26. Sha
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    by Sha » Mar 2, 2011
    Wow, so many great points. Thanks for all the comments!

    Yeah, I agree that weeks 1- 5 are the most difficult. Something seems to shift at the 6 week mark, I'm not sure if it was me getting the hang of my routine or D settling down some, but that was when I felt like the fog cleared a bit.

    Acrossley- I love that your mom was so honest with you. It must've quite a shock to hear that, though! I do wish I had a better appreciation of how hard it would be when I brought DD home. There were times when I wondered if I was the only mom who didn't feel completely 'in love' with her baby, and there were times I wondered if I would always feel that way. I have a few friends who recently became new moms and I make sure I tell them it's okay and normal if they don't find the newborn phase as rewarding as they'd hoped.

    Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding - I don't understand how moms can be expected to breastfeed for 6 months-1 year with the limited maternity leave policies that many U.S companies have. It's law to give at least 3 months where I live, so most mothers at least bf for that time and then supplement when they go back to work. If I had to leave my child at 6 weeks I would probably end up supplementing a lot sooner. Not that's there's anything wrong with ff, but I think that moms who want to bf and are physically able to should be given the support needed to maintain that decision. Tgal - sorry to hear about the struggle you had with bf when you brought A home. I had a friend who was in the same position. She had huge breasts (double Ds) and just automatically assumed they would be producing lots of milk, but they didn't..... She was really disappointed at first but got over it after a while. She's pregnant with #2 now and I think she plans to go straight to ff. I agree that there's a lot of pressure to bf and that moms who don't want to or can't bf often have to struggle with feeling guilty :((

    Pandora - I get what you're saying about the child's temperament. Daisy does sound like a very spirited child, which would only make the 'terrible 2's and 3's' that much more challenging, I guess. It's amazing how bright and perceptive she is, though - that story of her running off in the supermarket and what she said to you made me smile.

    Totally agree with co-sleeping! That was the only way I managed to get sleep in those first few weeks. I got no sleep in the hospital either, what with the nurses checking for something every couple hours.

    Dreamer - love that characterization of the baby stages! How fitting! I guess D is in the 'dog stage' right now. The cat stage was pretty cool, too. I'm not looking forward to the monkey stage :twisted: ...hehe.. I can definitely see how parenting a 2-3 year would be mentally exhausting. There're times that I'm tempted to let D have her own way (because it would be easier than fighting with her), but I then remind myself that the easiest thing isn't necessarily the right thing. I'm more conscious of the messages I send to her nwo too.

    Bliss - hehe...I'm glad we 'ole pros' (ha! hardly!) are able to give you some hope. Your posts always me smile. You write in the most expressive way!

    Fiery - so cute about Sophia kissing the duckies. Yeah, I find that the 'fun' of this age makes the difficult moments easier to handle. Actually, like you Mara, sometimes I just want to crack up when D throws a tantrum. I'm like, 'Okk.....you're flinging yourself around because I took away the leaf that you were playing with?' :lol: It's kind of funny sometimes.

    Mara - I can't imagine how difficult it must've been for your mom (and so many other single moms) out there. I agree that sometimes women just have to do because there's no option NOT TO. Just as an example, Where I live we don't have epidurals - so the only option we have is to have a natural birth. Women here prepare themselves mentally for that and they all get through them. I'm sure we all could if that was the only option available to us.


    Tgal
    - thanks for finding the old thread! I'll go back and have a look. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy this stage, too - I hope D doesn't turn into a raging monkey when she hits 18 months....hehe...Fingers crossed!
     
  27. MonkeyPie
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    by MonkeyPie » Mar 2, 2011
    I wasn't in the mommy threads at the time you went through this, but I just cannot even imagine the stress and exhaustion. And I have to agree with you - I wish more women were not so afraid of the formula and filled with guilt about the lack of BFing.

    I had a c-section after 54 hours of labor, the last 8 of which were complete agony after being hooked on Pitocin for well over 24 hours. Oh, and I didn't dilate at all, either. So it was an utter waste of time and resources and when we have baby #2, I am going to search until I find a doctor that realizes I clearly have an incompetent cervix and epi's don't work on me. General anesthesia, kthnkxbai.

    Despite my best efforts, I was so drugged up and sick from the spinal (for something stupid, like two weeks), I just never did get the hang of nursing. Micah had a perfect latch (though he did fall asleep a lot), but he was a barracuda and nearly destroyed my nipples. Even the LC was shocked at what he did to me after only two days. Sitting up to pump made me want to die and I would throw up every time. Thankfully, my incision never gave me a problem, but associating vomit with pumping/nursing killed any desire to do it. I wish I could have stuck it out for a little longer, but rather than beat myself up physically and mentally, I fed my baby formula so he wouldn't starve. To hell with anyone that thinks I did wrong.

    Anyway, despite all that, I LOVED the newborn stage! I would spend me whole day with him on the couch/bed/floor and just move his arms and legs, and talk to him, and show him things. It didn't matter that he did nothing but stare at me curiously or sleep. I loved knowing he needed me and I could handle the job. It was my favorite stage so far.

    Micah will be a year next month ( ;( ), and I must say, this stage is TEN TIMES harder. He has infinitely more energy than I do, and he wants to gogogo all day long. He is a lot more fun now - he interacts and learns and I love to see the cogs working when I teach him something - but I feel way more tired now than I did when he was new.
     
  28. somethingshiny
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    by somethingshiny » Mar 2, 2011
    Toddlerhood is easier simply because you're more confident in your decision making skills as a parent. You've experienced and learned what the real problems are, what can be let go, and what is a fleeting moment in time. You've learned to cope with the hysterical crying for no reason and you've also learned that it won't kill them. You've learned what YOU can deal with and where your limits lie. You no longer put yourself behind everybody else on the planet. You've realized that YOU are important just for being YOU and not just being a mom. Because of all this, the toddler stage is so much easier than the newborn stage.
     
  29. MonkeyPie
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    by MonkeyPie » Mar 2, 2011
    Personal opinion. Yes, I know more now, but I was never NOT confident. I didn't have any fears that I was doing something wrong. But then, I may have had a baby that made his opinion known more clearly than most babies. I also never had a baby that cried for no reason - he's pretty obvious.

    I was more worried about all that stuff before he was born. Once he was out, it was like I suddenly just felt more comfortable with the fact that I had to do everything for him. I just KNEW.
     
  30. Kay
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    by Kay » Mar 2, 2011
    Those first 2 months were so hard. A was a sweet happy baby for the most part, but there was one hour every night that she would scream her head off. She also screamed her head off if we put her down to sleep, so DH and I, being extremely stupid 1st time parents, took turns holding her all night for 2 months! I was home on leave for 3 months and DH only took 1 week off. I had her all day, then he came home around 6 pm and we took turns holding her while the other one ate dinner. Then I went to bed around 8 or 9 pm and he took her until 2 am so I could sleep, then I took her at 2 am so he could sleep for a while and go back to work at 9. Having her alone for those 16 hour stretches was so hard. I cannot imagine being a single parent and having no help. It was almost a relief to go back to work because I got more rest at work than at home.

    We had BFing issues. Like T-Gal, looking back, I wish I had given up earlier. We had to supplement with formula when she was born because she had jaundice and I was not producing enough milk. I gave up on the syringe and boob tube options pretty quickly and just bottle fed her formula, but tried to BF too. She had a terrible latch and lost all interest in BF by 2 months. I kept pumping until she reached 6 months becuase I wanted her to have the antibodies and I kept hoping I could get her to start BFing again. I wasted so many hours attached to a pump to squeeze out 8 ounces per day. I feel like I lost bonding time (and personal time) being hooked to a pump while DH held A. I am due with #2 in 4 months, and we are going to try BF again, but I am giving up much sooner this time if it doesn't work. A thrived on formula. Wouldn't you know, about 3 weeks after I stopped pumping, A suddenly tried lunging at my boobs. I told her she was too late, the little stinker!

    8 months to 20 months was pretty great. A finally started STTN more nights than not, so we felt human again. She became so interactive and it was (and is) so fun watching her gain new skills. It is so great being past the "fragile" newborn stage when you are so worried about damaging them all the time. The "terrible twos" have brought a lot of challenges. I take A to daycare next to my office, and most nights I spend 10 to 20 minutes trying to cajole/bribe/threaten/physically force A into her car seat. She stiffens herself like a board so I can't strap her in, flips over, hangs onto the back of the front seat and other fun tricks to thwart me. It is time for me to go get her now, and I just dread it. I am really nervous about dealing with a newborn and two year old at the same time.
     

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