Being a Mom for the first time is an indescribable feeling. It comes with a whole new set of responsibilities and challenges. Once you decide to have a second baby there’s an entirely new set of obstacles standing in your way. You’re ready for the lack of sleep and all the poopy diapers, but there’s no way of telling how your first born might react to her new brother. She could be happy, sad, jealous, enthusiastic, angry or even have a mix of all of these emotions. Knowing what to expect makes the adjustment that much easier for your first born, your newborn and family.
If your first born is 2-3 years old this can be the most difficult because there is a lack of understanding, which can lead to jealousy and tantrums. You can try your best to talk to your toddler about the baby before he comes, but it’s difficult to know how much she will understand until the baby is actually in your arms. The best thing to do is try to include your toddler in activities with the baby. Let her snuggle with you and the baby why you’re nursing, ask her to grab the baby wipes when you need to change his diaper and let her sing with you to put the little guy to sleep.
New siblings between ages 4-6 years old can be tricky too, but they have a better understanding at this age. Kids in this age group tend to have better coping skills. If the new baby spits up on her for instance, she will understand that he didn’t do it on purpose. They are more level headed about a new baby coming into the family, but you still need to make time for just you and her, without the baby around. For example, take a trip to the grocery store with her and leave your newborn at home with your husband.
This adjustment period is going to be different for every family. First, don’t try to fix your first born’s emotions, try your best to understand and accept them. Second, try to be a little silly about the situation to help relieve the negative feelings that she might have about the new baby. Third, when she is being sweet to the new baby make sure you acknowledge it. Lastly, remember that adjusting to a new baby is and ongoing process so keep an open mind and stay patient. Things will fall into place, and your first born will love having a new baby around the house sooner than you know it!
Most kids develop jealous feelings towards their new sibling at some point, and it is completely understandable! Just remember to spend some time with just them, and include them in as many activities with the new baby as you can. Before you know it those negative feelings will be a thing of the past!