Surviving Toddler Blues: Toddler Regression After a Newborn
“Babe, who is going to get Kalea?” I asked my husband in between contractions.
“Ang is going to pick her up, don’t worry,” he responded.
The day I gave birth to Nadea, Kalea was with her grandparents in Virginia. My girlfriend (thank you, Yari!) offered to pick her up so that Angela was available to assist with the birth. We were hoping Kalea would make it in time to see her sister being born, but the birth happened so quickly and Kalea missed it.
When my husband brought her into the room that evening to meet her little sister, her look said it all: Who is that and why is mom holding her instead of me?! Not fair! She started crying hysterically, so my husband took her out of the room and put her to bed (after all, she'd had a long day of fun with her grandparents, so we figured she was too tired to process anything).
However, the day after was not better. Kalea started to regress. She was acting like a baby, wanted to be carried allllll the time, did anything to get attention, and rebelled a lot. That was a very tiring Sunday for my husband. We felt so bad waiting for 8:30pm to come around just so he could put her to bed and breathe.
For the next few days, she was OK because she was distracted during the day with her sitter. When the evenings came around, my husband and Angela spent time with her, bathed her, and made sure she was tucked into bed after a bedtime story.
Over the next week after Nadae’s birth, my husband and I were intentional about getting Kalea involved with Nadae’s routines. Here are tips that helped us survive those toddler blues!
- We spent time with both of them in our bedroom. Since I was advised to limit stairs, we brought some of Kalea's toys and craft supplies to our bedroom. This allowed my husband and I to take turns watching Nadae and also playing with Kalea in the same room.
- We watched family movies together with tons of cuddle time and snacks! We let Kalea pick which movie she wanted to watch and we pulled out the goldfish and popcorn :) Movies allowed us to cuddle together under big soft blankets and Kalea could look over every time I had to feed or change Nadae.
- We read books together. This is already a routine for us, but allowing Nadae to be a part of it was even more special!
- We talked Kalea through Nadae’s diaper changes and feeding times so she could also get involved. We would ask her to pass us the wipes or throw away the diaper, and she would light up!
- We reminded her everyday that Nadae was her little sister and that we loved both of them very much. About a week later, she finally came around to saying, “I love you, Dae.” My heart melted!!
Now, you'll notice that Kalea is very fond of her little sister! She comes into our room in the morning asking, "Mom? Where's Dae?" She gives her sweet kisses, passes me pampers and wipes to help me change her, and lets me know that Dae needs milk. If she hears Nadae crying, she’ll walk over to say, “shhhhhh,” while rocking her bassinet :) She has become quite the little helper around the house and we are so proud of all the progress she has made!