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Thursday, 14 September 2000

Feeling Overwhelmed for Myself and My Son

Written by  Toby Klein Greenwald

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Feeling Overwhelmed for Myself and My Son

QDear WholeMom,

I have a 21-month-old son and have just found out that I am pregnant. This second pregnancy was not planned. We live in a little two bedroom apartment and my husband and I just bought a house we are to move into in mid-October.

The reason I mention this is that the baby is due in mid-November. How can I help my little boy adjust to two big changes that are happening right on top of one another? In addition, I am with him three days a week and am still nursing him (sometimes a couple of times a day). I want to wean him as I cannot nurse two children (even though I have read that the La Leche League says it's okay).

We had also just bought him a potty and were going to start toilet learning-- he has started to tell us (once in a while) when he has to go.

I am very concerned that he will be very overwhelmed come November. He is a happy little boy, but a bit slow to warm up to new things. He needs time to adjust. How can I prepare him for this? I though I would be just be preparing him for the move and helping him with toilet learning. I am very worried this will just all be too much for him. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.


- Jan

ADear Jan,

What can I say? I've been there - the close births of kids, the juxtaposed move, the potty training...

Each child is different, each parent is different and each family situation is different (objective difficulty of move, resulting stress levels, etc.) so what I'm about to write has to be taken with a grain of personal salt (and maybe a few tranquilizers, or a cup of hot tea and a nice massage).

The most important message for you to give your 21-month-old is that you love him and you are there for him. This is parallel to and supersedes any other issues you'll be dealing with.

No matter how you prepare him, the new baby will be an intrusion. However, if you continue to give him plenty of love and closeness and cuddling, even together with the baby, it will help him to feel better about that change.

As to the nursing - Yes, it is possible to breast-feed two children at once. I have many friends who did this. If you are interested in this approach, contact your local La Leche League and they will be happy to advise you. If you feel you cannot handle this, start slowly weaning him now. They can also tell you how to go about this gradually. Remember to still hold him close a couple of times a day, however, while you are giving him a bottle, if he still takes a bottle, or while you are reading to him or before he goes to sleep. It isn't quite the same as breast-feeding but at least itís closeness.

As to the toilet training, why not hold off on that for a while? With weaning, a move and a new baby, that seems to be the one issue you can postpone, unless he is naturally toilet training himself, in which case - go for it. But donít use any pressure in that area. Also, donít be surprised if he regresses slightly in his toilet training when the new baby arrives.

Just continue to give him lots of love and support and donít be upset when he has occasional toilet accidents or acts out a bit about the new baby. I've quoted this line before, but you can never hear it too often. The late Dr. Robert Mendelson said in a lecture once, "The only thing you should always be consistent about is loving your children."

I also suggest you read one woman's story, "Helping Big Brother Make Room for Baby". Good luck and enjoy your family!


Last modified on Monday, 28 March 2011 10:08
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Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald

Toby Klein Greenwald, Executive V.P. Creative Development, is a founding partner and the editor-in-chief of WholeFamily. Toby is an educator, journalist, photographer, scriptwriter, poet, playwright, lyricist, and theater director, including for populations that have experienced trauma or are at risk. She is a Playback Theater conductor and is the recipient of Israel's Ministry of Education's Egerest Award for Culture, for her work in educational and community theater. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has served on numerous educational think tanks. Her specialties include the creation of innovative educational programs, and teaching Creative Writing and Film to AD(H)D and LD high school students, and to senior citizens. Toby is married to Yaakov and they have six children, most of whom have made her a proud mother-in-law and grandmother.

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