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Hello. I am new here and am not quite sure how to go about this who discussion board thing. My husband and I just had our second boy and I am struggling internally with guilt about too much. Our oldest is 3 and has been really great handling the new baby, but I have so much guilt-breastfeeding didn't work out and I only took off 6 weeks from work. But, I find myself struggling to adapt to two children and not feeling guilty when I spend time with one. And even when I am physically with both of them, the baby seems to get all of the attention. I just feel so bad. Is this normal? I don't have a relationship with my mother and I struggled growing up in a house that had favorites-my mother favored my sisters and my father my brother and I. I really struggled when I was pregnant being terrified that it could happen.
Well first of all congrats on your newest little one... and secondly you are not your mother!!!! The fact that you care about this issue proves that you are not your mother! I do feel that it is natural to feel closer with one child or another because of similarities and interests. That DOES NOT mean in any way that you love your other children any less or should treat them differently. That being said i think you need to praise yourself for doing the best you can for your children. I know that it is hard not to feel guilt about not being able to breast feed your baby... but you have done the best you could and that is all that you can do. Your little boy is going to grow up healthy and strong on formula and there is nothing wrong with that. I also think that it is natural that your new baby gets the majority of the attention from you right now because he NEEDS it. That isn't to say your older boy doesn't need it as well, but he is able to be more independent and doesn't need you for everything. I urge you to try whenever you can put the new baby down to do something with your older child (color, put together a puzzle, read ect...) and when the baby needs something turn your older boy into a big helper who can bring you wipes, pick out an outfit, hand you a bath towel, help put lotion on. even though the focus is on the baby he will still be involved and feel special. Another great option is getting a sitter for the younger one and you leave and do something special with the older one like go to the park for a bit. Anyway you are going to be great so don't be so hard on yourself.
Congrats on your second little one, first of all! I have to say - we mommies are SO good at heaping guilt on ourselves!! If I could possibly reach through the computer and give you a hug, I'd do so. Going back to work so soon after baby is tough on anyone - I'm sure you are doing the very best you can! As for your two kids now, it is totally natural to be giving most of your attention to the baby right now. This will change, I promise you. What your older child needs most of all is just words of encouragement and affirmation. Praise his interests, his new skills he is learning, and praise him for his big brother interaction with his little brother. I often had my little man cheering on my older son when he'd play sports and something and they'd give each other "high fives". Before you know it, you will be able to let your second child be a little more independent and they can even share special times together. Perhaps you can pick out one time a week where you can go out with just your older boy and do something special together! It can be really simple...like a nature walk or riding your bikes together for a half hour. You are such a good mommy because you care so much...be easier on yourself! :-)
The two mom's before me gave some GREAT advice! I want to add that the fact that you have this awareness will serve to help avoid your concerns from happening between you and your children. It takes time to get into a new routine. When you are emotionally and physically stressed and sleep deprived it is even harder. Take some deep breaths and give yourself (and family) time to adjust. Allow yourself what I call some "grace time".
Take care and keep us posted,
I understand where you're coming from in regards to the breastfeeding. I had my first child 5/12/13 (Mother's Day). He decided to come 3 1/2 months early at 25 weeks. He wasn't due until 8/24/13. Don't feel bad about the breastfeeding. I tried for 2 months and with all the stress and anxiety it will dry you up. I felt guilty about that for awhile like I wasn't trying hard enough, I wasn't pumping enough, etc... Finally I came to conclusion that it wasn't meant to be. My son is still in the NICU but getting stronger and better everyday. My guess that the Similac Special Care formula he's on has more nutrients than whatever I could put in my body. They wanted me to eat so much when I don't eat that much. I'm a "grazer" I guess you would call it. Anyways the point I'm making is he will be alright.
The best thing I can say about giving your second son all the attention or so it seems is that maybe you need to try to set aside so much time a day with your first son and make sure that he knows how much you love him. I'm sure you tell him all the time but maybe scheduling that time will help the both of you where just you and him can go on a walk while dad or family can watch your second son. It may not be a lot of time right yet but it will increase with time because right now you're the second son's main caregiver. Just take a deep breath it will turn out alright.
I agree with the other moms here. I also want to say that what you are feeling is PERFECTLY normal. It is called "mommy guilt" and we all have it. Just try to cut yourself a brake and remember that it is QUALITY time not QUANTITY. We all do our best and I have come to realize that there are some days I am supermom and other days I am not. What I DO know is that my kids know that they are loved and they are not "wanting" for anything. Remember--we are only human, so relax and enjoy your children and stop beating yourself up for the ways you feel you fall short. You are--we all are--the best mommies in the world in our children's eyes. Don't forget that.
thanks guys. this support thing and asking for help is new to me but i am really liking it. it means alot!