25 answers

Help My Oldest Daughter Is Annoying Me

I just gave birth to my second daughter a little less than 3 weeks ago. I love my new baby girl; she is awesome and so much easier than my first. I love my older daughter so much; she is only 2 years old. But when I came home from the hospital my 2 year old started really annoying me. I don't know if she is making herself more annoying or it's just that I am under a bit of stress from going from a mother of one to a mother of two. Has anyone else felt this way about their other children after bringing home a newborn? The only time she really annoys me is when I am trying to breast feed the newborn. I feel so bad and guilty, like I have shoved my daughter into second place, which is not what I wanted to do and not the kind of person I am. I thought after having my baby I would resent the baby from taking away time from my first, but it's actually the other way around. I feel so guilty that I get so annoyed with my first two year old daughter, I love her so much and want her to know that I deeply love her, but I find myself snapping at her and I have never done that before, gosh, this hurts me, I wish I had more time to hug and cuddle and show her I love her. I had a c-section and am in some great deal of pain still, I am hoping that once the pain goes away and the stress of having a newborn plus a child just under two will wear off and her annoyance will go away. I am an only child and never had any brother's or sisters so this is all new to me in that respect too. Help, I just need to know if this is normal to feel this way and need some reassurance. Thanks

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This is VERY normal. Some things that were suggested to me by others when I went through this:

1) have a small basket (or baskets!) of "special toys", things that ONLY come out during breastfeeding time. It gets put away immediately when baby/mommy are done, so that the novelty stays for a while.

2) get new books (send somebody to the library -- cheaper!!) and have story time while the baby is nursing. If you feel like you don't have enough hands to do this, get those board books and start teaching your older child to handle books gently.

3) have a selection of videos to watch during nursing. These don't all have to be stories; if you can find any that have little kids dancing or exercising, etc., it might help her use up some extra energy!

4) sing with her, recite poetry, work on ABC's and counting, teach her "I Spy With My Little Eye" -- activities to keep her mind busy while you nurse!!

I'm sure there are more -- I just can't think of them right now!

I think that the "learning curve" with baby #2 is sometimes steeper than with #1. It's a whole re-arrangement of family priorities, "positions", etc. It's very easy to worry about not giving the baby your undivided attention, like you did with #1; however, second babies seem to somehow figure out quickly that they need to "fit in", and it's easier for them to handle that, than it is for baby #1 to feel like they've somehow been demoted or are less important. Activities going on during nursing will be the "norm" for this baby; you're not giving her less!! She's part of a "team"!! Besides, I suspect that there are plenty of times (especially during the night) when she will get one-on-one time with just mom. When big sister is around, try to keep her feeling important, needed, and loved. It will all work out -- please make sure you're taking care of YOURSELF, too.


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I haven't read any other responses, please forgive me if I repeat anyone else.

I am guessing that your oldest is a little jealous of the new baby and/or a little mad at you. Therefore she is probably hounding you for attention which you are finding annoying. You didn't have anyone else to bother you when you had her and now you want that same one on one with your second. I think it is normal to feel a little different toward kids at various ages because of the stage they are in. almost 2 year old kids are generally more annoying then the sweet completely innocent newborn. You start to expect more from the older child. My two girls are also 21 months apart. when my second came home, my oldest daughter was soo mad at me. I could do NOTHING for her. Only daddy and grandma would suffice. It took her about a month to get over it and finally allow me to "help" her with things. After that.. I know I started expecting her to be older and more capable than her age because she seemed soo much older than a newborn. Things should calm down as y'all find a routine that includes both girls. Try to give yourself and your oldest some one on one time so that you can reconnect. Then set her up with a specific activity when it is time to breastfeed.. she may leave you alone so you can enjoy the bonding time with your second baby. just a thought..

Well it seems to me you pref. you new baby over you older one by reading the first lines. You do need to control that you really don't EVER want your older daughter to see that. What you need to do is separate time out for you older daughter. If that means delaying nap time so you have time while the new baby is sleeping, spending time reading to her before bed time. (this can include both but would be better at this point to be just the 2yr old)

awww.. poor baby.. I am talking about you and I mean that in the nicest way. What you are going thru is totally normal and if you had known you would feel like this in advance, you could have put a plan in action and not felt so guilty. first of all, stop feeling guilty. You are a great mommy and you just want to give your 2nd born all the love and attention you gave your first, accept with your first, there was nothing stopping you. If the worst time is breast feeding time, then have your 2 yr old do something very special at that time. I just signed my 4 year old for noggin.com $6 a month for a year. She loves it.. if u look at that and it is to advanced.. starfall.com is great.. if those two don't work then buy something; a dvd, software, something that she can do on her own with very little to no help from you.. and at all other times, try to make her feel included... and definitely get in your snuggle time with her.. not only when the baby is asleep (or she will always want her to be asleep) but while the baby is satisfied and content.. mommy and her two girls can snuggle and have reading time or whatever.. the library is your friend. lol. You are normal... this is normal.. welcome to life with more than one kid!! God's blessings to you mommy! and congratulations!!

I totally understand what you are going through. My son was only 16 months old when I gave birth to his sister. I didn't think it would be so easy to get pregnant again after trying four years to have him. I was lucky that I had my family to help me with the babies. My mom would play with him when I needed to nurse and when the baby was sleeping, I would spend time playing with him. I was feeling really overwhelmed also because I moved back home with my parents when my husband was deployed. I didn't know how I was going to be able to take care of two babies in diapers. I know I needed helped and discussed it with my husband and we decided to hire one of my friends to be my mommy's helper so I could have an extra adult to help when I was feeling overwhelmed or just wanted to take a shower and relax. She was with us for a little over four months until the babies were more manageable for me. I also went to see my doctor and decided that I needed to start back on my depression medicine. Not only did I have a good friend to keep me company she had a child my son's age so he had a playmate over every day. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

What you are feeling is completely and totally NORMAL! And being an only child yourself doesnt' mean you are feeling any differently from anyone else. I am from a family of 6 kids and when my second boy was born I was SO annoyed with the older one, sometimes I just wanted to strangle him. I even called my mother and asked if there had at one point been more kids in my family and she had killed one or two! She reassured me that she never thought it was going to work out when she brought a new baby home, but eventually it did. I would just try and emphasize (nicely) to the older one how many more things your older daughter can do that the baby can't do. Make a really big deal about how helpful you think she is being, and of course do try and spend some time alone with her every day. She can sit next to you and lean against you until your incision heals and be close to you that way. Good luck, this WILL end someday! My two boys are now best friends, it is really nice to see.

I think your feelings are 100% normal. It is very overwhelming taking care of one child, never mind two children. Plus, you want to spend as much time with both of them, and you can't do that right now b/c you don't feel that great physically. I had a c-section with my daughter and I know the recovery is long, it is difficult to move around.

If possible, can you get someone to help for a few hours every week? Maybe a friend or family member can either take care of the baby while you play with your daughter or vice versa? That might help a bit until you settle into a routine and your older daughter adjusts.

Best of luck!

This, too, shall pass. Give yourself and your older daughter some time and a lot of patience to adjust to the huge change in your family life. In a few months, you'll probably feel much better and be able to appreciate both children more. My son was 2-1/2 when my daughter was born, and it took him a few months to get back to himself. I also had a c-section and with the pain and hormones and feeling guilty about how much had changed for my son, etc., it also took me awhile to feel like myself again. Before you know it, they'll be playing together and things will look better. Just hang in there, take mental health breaks, cut yourself and your girls some slack, and get help if you think you need someone professional to talk to or if your afraid of hurting yourself or either child. Good luck!

Something you may want to try when you are breatfeeding the baby is have the older one sit with you and look at books or you can even read to her or have crayons available for her to sit with you and color. I have been in the same boat you are in, I have 5 and my 3 middle ones are all less than 20 months apart and when I brought the baby home each time the older one was not happy at all. YOu could also give your older one a bottle and let her feed her baby, make her apart of what is going on. It will get easier I promise, my last 3 were sections and boy does this do a number on the body. Good luck and just try and be patient.

K. completely normal. I have a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old and it was very hard at the beginning. I thought at one point I was a horrible mom. I def agree with the last post, once you start getting a little bit more sleep, things will settle for you and your feelings will start to settle.

I too suggest for you to get family or friends to come over and help. Have them take the baby and do something simple with your daughter, assure her you love her no matter what and things will start to change. I know exactly what you feel since I too stay at home and my husband pulls long hours at the office he doesn't get home until around 7:30 or 8pm

Don't feel bad, you are an excellent mother, you said it yourself in your post "I feel so guilty that I get so annoyed with my first two year old daughter, I love her so much and want her to know that I deeply love her" read this and remind yourself how much you love her :)

Good luck!

Look at it this way - You want to foster a loving and close relationship between your kids. Don't think so much about how you feel, because clearly you love both your kids and you are under tremendous stress. You will eventually pull it together and learn to deal with both more comfortbly. Try to focus on making their bond strong, because your frustration will influence their relationship perhaps more than it will influence your relationship with her.

What you feel is normal, and you will probably feel it many more times. Recognizing your behavior is half the battle. If you snap at your daughter, apoligize to her - sometime we forget tha tour kids deserve our apologies sometimes. Make lots s of playtime for her with grandma, daddy, etc. But go out of your way to make playdates just for your two. Take her out for ice cream, go for a walk, play tea party with her, and give her soem UNDIVIDED attention. It will be a fun break for you, and she really nesds it.

When my second was born, I made my older daugher a special bag for helping mommy. It had toys, crayons, toy bottle, books, etc. When I needed to nurse or change diapers, I said "Get your Mommy Bag and come sit with me while I..." I also got her a new stepstool, she picke dout, so she could be taller and see wha ti was dogn wiht the baby (like at the changing table). I also let her have some small music bxes and baby cds so she could pick music for the baby. GIve her some power in the situation, and she will feel valued (and she will be distracted so she doesn't bug you quite so much).

Also, remember that your 21-month old is a baby. I have a 5 year old and a 15 month old. I can't imagine haveing two that young. Don't expect too much from the older one. She still needs you so much, and she is probably very smart in her efforts to remind you of that.

Finally, it will get easier!

I am in a similar situation. My son is 2 & 5 months and my new baby boy is just over 3 months. I was feeling very frustrated with my son when the baby just arrived. Things get better gradually. He is still jealous, especially when I nurse the baby but it is getting better. However, it's only getting better because my husband and I do everything we possibly can to make sure our oldest son knows how much we love him. At their age, telling them that you still love them and how much you love them is not enough. You are annoyed by her because you are expecting too much understanding of a girl her age. Someone her age really is incapable of understanding that she needs to be patient and let you take care of the baby. When you are not feeding the baby or changing the baby, you need to put the baby down as much as possible (on a gym mat, on a swing, in a bouncy seat whatever works) so that you can read with and play with your older daughter. Yes, you are tired. Yes, you are in pain. Yes there's housework to be done. Yes and yes to all those excuses and things. But she is your daughter and now more than ever she needs you to tell SHOW her that you love her rather than annoyed with her.

Let me put it another way: imagine your husband comes home with a new, younger you and says to you that she is his second wife. He tells you that he still loves you but in reality, he is spending a lot more time with her and doing stuff for her and paying very little attention to you. What will you do? You get insecure and don't believe him that he still loves you and that you are still important to him because he doesn't act like he still does. So you start doing all kinds of things to get him to notice you more. To him, those things are annoying because he is busy with his 2nd wife so he gets irritated with you and shows you even less love but keeps claiming that he loves you. But at this point you already feel like he doesn't love you anymore and you no longer believe him when he tells you he still loves you. This is how your daughter feels right now and if you don't start SHOWING her how much you love her, she will lose her trust in you and it will be very hard to gain it back. So every time you feel frustrated with her (and believe me, I know how you feel), keep my little example in mind and instead of getting mad at her give her a hug, put the baby down for a few minutes and read her a book or play a quick game with her. If you are in the middle of nursing, promise her that you will read to her or do something with her as soon as you are done feeding the baby and then keep your promise. Also, you can start giving her little jobs to help you with stuff around the house. Also, keep in mind that your baby will get bigger and need to nurse less often. She will start sleeping better so you will be less tired and less snappy. And your pain from the delivery will get better and better so your overall feeling will be better. I understand your husband works till late. Can you plan to put your older daughter in pre-school in the Fall? It will be good for her at her age to be around other kids and you will get lots of time with your baby. Do you have any family that can come and spend some time with the baby so that you can spend more time with your daughter? Is there any way you can afford a sitter a couple times a week to be with the baby? Or maybe a neighbor's kid that can be with the baby when you are home so you can spend more time with your older daughter but you won't have to pay as much as for a sitter? And it gets better. Your older daughter will get more and more used to the existence of her little sister.

First, congratulations on the addition to your family. Second, it's normal! 2 yo's are normally selfish and want you all to themselves. n What I had to do, my boys are 25 months and 3 days apart, was while #2 was sleeping, or at least out of my arms, give some undivided one-on-one attention to #1. Also, I mad up a basket of things for him to play with while I was feeding the other one, that way he could be at my feet, usually literally, while I was tending to the other. Something else that helped was getting him involved with the care of his brother. Little things like having him get me diapers, washcloths, clothes, toys, etc.
As you ALL grow into a family of four the stress on you and your 2yo will get less, not necessarily go away, but you will all learn to handle lifes little bumps and potholes.
Also realize that you still have a flood of hormones going through your body.

hi K.,

I also had a baby ,hes now ten weeks old, my older is two ,when i brought the baby home he also did the same thing,i thought i ll get crazy and was snapping all the time at him, but i think when they have to share mommy's attention especially with a new person they do weired things.if possible spend time with her alone on weekends .And dont worry its very normal to feel like this ,once u have healed ,u will be able to handle both of them ,i am also trying ,get well soon,and all the best.

I have two kitty cats that used to be my babies, then I brought my first born home from the hospital and I was like "Out of my way cats!" They instantly became just animals. I thought I could never love anyone as much as I loved my son.

When I was expecting number two I really worried that I would never be able to love her as much as I loved my first. But when I brought her home, I also had an almost instant annoyance with my son. I think it is a natural mothering instinct that we have to protect our newborn. The older child seems more able to fend for themselves, even though in reality they are still little, too.

My son drove me absolutely crazy for months. I didn't know if he was acting differently or if my tolerance level for his antics had decreased. Probably a little of both. I did really resent him, while the baby was so easy to love. But the good news is - it has gotten SO MUCH better! I have tried to give him as much positive attention as I can and make sure he knows how much I love him. He takes great pride in helping take care of his sister - he puts her diapers in the diaper pail for me, her clothes in the hamper, and he "helps" bathe her. Now that she is 8 months old and much more interactive, she is his favorite playmate. They can't get enough of each other!

So hang in there! It does get better.

Hi. Congrats on your baby. What you are feeling is normal. Since the bothering is mosting when you are feeding, as the baby gets older, and the novelty of it all wears off, she'll calm down. Is it possible to make it a sharing time? Perhaps everyone watches a quiet movie, or drawing time, stuff like that.
Is there a family friend or relative that could stop by for an hour or so a day and give her some special activity time?

Hi K.!

Your story sounds exactly like mine. I had my second son when my first was 19 months and my husband works until 8:30pm. While your baby is feeding all of the time, it will be difficult to balance baby and toddler. What I would suggest is that you include your toddler in the breastfeeding...have her get you the burp cloth, sit next to you while you're feeding and hold the baby's hand, get the baby's pacifier, etc. I don't know how much tv she watches, but maybe while you are feeding she could watch tv with you on the couch. I made an exception to tv watching in the first couple of months with the new baby. When things settled down, we went back to only watching for an hour a day. Also, when baby is sleeping, try to spend quality time with your toddler. Do puzzles together, read, anything to give her Mommy time. My son started acting very badly and I had to start giving him timeouts, but really he was just bored and needed some attention. It was really hard for a couple of months and I felt very overwhelmed at times, but it does get better!! For now, just do what you need to do to get through it. My youngest is now 4 months old and things have really settled down. My oldest is, for the most part, pretty helpful and I now feel like I can give both of my babies the attention they need. Good luck!!!!

Hi K.,

This is normal. You are exhausted, and running on emotions. I learned that when I am breast feeding the baby to give my older baby activities to do next to me so she didn't feel left out. They do want your attention as soon as they see you giving your attention to the other little one. This doesn't stop even when they are toddlers and older. I had a few things set aside for my daughter and would pull them out or let her get them when it was time to breastfeed the baby. I gave her a baby of her own to feed, a magna doodle, some books with pages to feel, a stroller to walk her baby while I fed mine, I also put on kids music cd's for her to listen to and sing along with me. I sat on the couch where she could sit with me and I would let her rub the baby's legs while I breastfed. I read to her a lot too. I made it a snuggle time with her while I breastfed as much as I could. I would have her sit on wich ever side the baby's head wasn't and I would hold her-put my arm around her and tell her how much I loved her. I would also make special time after I put the baby down for a nap. I would take the first ten minutes before doing chores and spend it with her. I brought out the play doh and played with her. Explaining that the play doh was only for her and the baby was too little. Try to involve her as much as possible making her the helper. Let her get diapers or wipes for the baby and herself-make sure the diapers and such are put in a spot that would be easy for her to get to without too much fuss. Make it a big deal every time she helps you. I also took some help. My mother and mother in law would come over and spend time with her and I even gave in and eventually let them take her overnight. You'd be amazed at how much you miss her. Now that she is older, she gets a sleepover with a grandparent almost every friday night and looks forward to it so much. I understand how you feel. You don't want the closeness you had before to go away and her annoying you is mostly because you are still running on hormones. It will take some time for you to adjust. Just stop yourself when you start to get annoyed and remind yourself that she just wants your attention. It is all normal. Hang in there is does get easier. Hope this will be helpful.

in addition to all the "together time," the three of you share, I suggest making "special" appointments with your first daughter that are all about her. reassure her by taking her hand and walking away from the sleeping new born. Add to that how important she is to her new baby sister. At two, maybe she can bring the blanket/pillow when you feed the new one, or she can pat her sister's leg when feeding or watching. Give her some tiny, doable ownership in the newborn.

Hi K.,
I just want to say that you are completely NORMAL in feeling this way at least I think you are. :) I too just had a baby girl 2 mo ago and feel that my 2.5 yo is bugging the snot out of me especially when I am nursing my daughter. I felt exactly like you said in your request about resenting the second child because you were afraid your first wouldn't feel loved or get the attention they needed but I have found like you, I don't resent my daughter at all but I haven't adjusted with having two yet either. My son seems to be doing a lot of acting out, screaming, yelling, whining etc....it is very annoying.
But hang in there, know that you are not alone.
In fact right now my son is climbing on me like I am a jungle gym.. :) lol

Give yourself more time to heal. You are adjusting to having two children to care for. This is perfectly normal. Perhaps the older child can have more fun time with Daddy. AF

I have been going through the same thing, my other daughter is 14months old and my newborn is 1 month and 1 week old. I find myself getting extremely annoyed or irritated by my 14 mth old daughter and it started right after I gave birth and has just gotten worse. She wines and cries all the time when there is nothing wrong, she's very well taken care of. Sometimes I don't spend enough time with her but when I try to make time she is just fussy the whole time and it makes me not even want to try. My newborn is amazing and I never get frustrated with her, so why am I feeling this way towards my older daughter???


It's normal. I felt this way even though my first was 5yo at the time and was a great help to me. All of the little things he did every day that I normally blew off, or found amusing all of a sudden just crawled under my skin. Thankfully, the feelings passed as soon as I was getting a little more sleep.

I would also suggest an alteration to the first poster's advice. If you can get family or friends to come over, have them take the BABY, not your older daughter. Use that time to do something special, just with her. Once she knows that you're still going to make time for her, she may begin to annoy you less as she will probably settle in to the whole sibling thing a little better.

You already received some really good advice but I just wanted to offer some encouragement. You are doing a great job, and a big job it is. When you are the sole care taker for so many hours a day, it can be very taxing. Not to mention the hormones and the recovery from a c-section.(I've been there, it can be awful and emotionally draining to be in pain.) If there is any way you can get some help so someone can take your newborn even an hour a day to allow you some playtime with #1, it might help. I have a 2 year old, a 1 year old and one on the way. Most days I still snap at my 2 year old and lately even the little one since she is doing everything her sister is doing. I hate that I do it and just pray that one day they will know I did my best and have a good therapist to help them through :) LOL! Smile, pick your head up, get some help if you can and relax. It will be ok because you are doing a great job!

Hi K.,

I'm an only child, mother of 2 boys, the first one is 19 months old and the youngest 7 (months, not years), so pretty similar to your situation. And yes, your oldest baby girl is really trying to annoy you, she is just jelous, that's it. It happened the same to me (c-section included). My advice is to try to get your oldest to help with the youngest. The worst moment is breastfeeding. Ask her to hold her sister's hand, to stay by your side or whatever you think she can do while you breastfeed the little one, explaining her that you NEED her help so much and without her help it will be so difficult for you to feed the baby. Also ask her to help you with other tasks such as throwing the dirty diaper away, taking socks and cloth off the baby and this sort of things. She will love to help and will feel that she is PART of you and the little one. She will still try to annoy you when you breastfeed, but not as much as before, and little by little, this behaviourness will disappear.
Don't feel guilty if you loose control sometimes... moms of young babies are overstressed, specially when breastfeeding, is a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of energy, and pain with c-section doesn't help much... Apart from this, you are alone with 2 kids! That's a lot of work for ANY human being! The good news is that you will find it much easier to cope with the little one than it was with your first daughter, you will think "it was so easy with one...". I have friends that have 3, and they think that it was soooo easy with 2... and so on. But above all, you will start to have so beautiful feelings that you never thought they exist... having 1 kid is wonderful, having 2 kids is DOUBLE wonderful. Believe me, the good moments are far worth the stress you are experiencing now and will continue experiencing for some time...
Last suggestion: Visit www.whattoexpect.com, they have pretty good tips that will certainly help you a lot. I have the 3 series of books (pregnancy, first year and toddler stages) and are absolutely great. You will find answers to all of your concerns and questions and will find out that you are just NORMAL and that everything that is happening to you have been experienced by many women in the world so take advantage of their advice as I did. And last but not least, think about sending your oldest to a day care or find an activity for her that let you have at least 2 - 3 hours for yourself. It helps a lot, believe me.
Cheers from Spain :-)

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