My boy is 15 months old! I’m shocked at his growth. It seems like he is mastering new skills daily. He will babble to himself while turning the pages of his favourite books. He gets his shoes when we ask for them. His eating has finally gotten better, he is eating a lot more and more widely.
For better or for worse, there have been more than a few alarming signs that he’s turned into a high-spirited toddler:
*The plank when we try to put him into the pushchair or carseat
*The tantrum when he doesn’t get something he wants
*Only one nap
*Feeding time resembles the zoo more than a civilised dinner table – there is food on the floor, wall, table and down my sleeve
*He has more energy than me
*Toys hold appeal for about 30 seconds
*He gets bored when we go for a walk with the pushchair
*He is super excited by couch cushions on the floor
Here are some things I’ve found to help cope with a (super) busy toddler:
*Encourage physical activity – let them walk outside, take them to a park or find a cafe with a play area suitable for younger toddlers. My guy loves it when I put the couch cushions on the floor, he will throw himself on them and roll around happily.
*Take multiple things to keep hands busy when you have to go out (walks, lunches, supermarket) from food to toys.
*Preempt bad behaviour -notice what sets them off and avoid it, plan ahead and don’t give in to tantrums, even in public (we had a situation in the chemist but I held my ground and let people look while I strapped him in and distracted him).
*Have a safe zone, our lounge is almost “no free”, he has plenty of toys and there is little damage he can do while I go to the bathroom (if he doesn’t come too!) etc.
*Sensory play can be helpful. Water, bubbles, squishy balls, anything to utilise the senses.
*Take rest for yourself. It’s tempting (read: I always do) to squish the chores or things you need to get done into that blessed one hour or so of nap, but you’ll feel nicer if you rest. I also like to spend some time on the floor, letting him play around, while I read – mental time out.
Have you got anything to add to this list?
It’s hard enough to be a mama with a fussy baby, let alone when you’re sore and beyond exhausted. Having a new baby is a soul-stretching time, you find the bottom of your energy reserves. They require a lot of love, time, energy and guesswork.
Here are my tips to cope with a fussy baby when you are getting to the end of that tether.
When your baby is fussy and you can’t fix it (they’re not hungry, windy, have a dirty nappy etc.), and you’re beside yourself, give these suggestions a try:
- Sit on floor with them – play with them, distract them with every toy you can think of. This will buy you some time and give your (possibly) aching shoulders a rest from carrying baby.
- Sing or play lullabies and make it a dance party (even if you’re sitting).
- Bath time – water play can calm young ones right now. Get some bubbles and toys and go for it. You could even make the bath deep enough for you and get in with them. I used to leave the baby towel laid out on the bathmat ready for when we got out and put my dressing gown over my towel while I dress them.
- Take a gentle walk – if they’re soothed by the pushchair you can take a short walk. It might put them to sleep. Or at least give you some time off. You’ll also get the benefits of fresh air.
- Jolly jumper – when they’re big enough this can buy you another 10 minutes. Or an activity center they can sit in. See my post on necessary baby items for suggestions.
- Rocking chair – when you’re too tired to jiggle and sway this is a lifesaver!
- Swaddle and lie down – when your reserves are at the end and you’re too sore to try the rocking, swaying or singing anymore, swaddle baby tightly and lie down. Whether they’re in their cot or with you in bed.
- Call in the cavalry – is there someone you can call for some help?
If they’re not going to sleep or calming down and you need more rest, stay in bed for 15 minutes. You can’t care for the baby if you’re over your limit. Perhaps put on a guided meditation to follow for 10-15 minutes to supercharge the rest.
Other posts for parenting with chronic illness:
Tips for Coping with a Newborn and Fibromyalgia (Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue)
Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)
How to Cope with Two Tiny Children, Symphysis Pubis Disorder and Fibromyalgia
And please remember it will pass. They will grow up and the inexplicable crying will pass. You’ll make it!
Let us know your tips to add to the list?