main banner

Help-My-Child-is-getting-a-sibling-What-should-I-do_

Help! My Child Is Getting A Sibling. What Should I Do?

Having a baby is a life-changing event in your life: You never knew it was possible to love another human being as much as you do when you look at your newborn.

Then some time passes and you might might become pregnant with another baby.

It’s normal to worry: Will you feel the same way about your second child as you do about your first? How will your first-born react to his sibling?

One of our readers is in a similar situation. We posted her question on Facebook to ask if our followers had some advice on the situation.

Here’s what you had to say:

Hi Moms. I am expecting my second child in four weeks’ time. My first born and I share a very strong bond. Instead of being ‘excited’ to meet this new baby like I was with my first, I am counting the days I have left on my own with my firstborn.

I am feeling very 'guilty' for the tough few months that are ahead of my toddler (less attention, less solo time, less indulging, less patience) even though I know in a few years they’ll be best friends.

I am expecting my toddler to regress and act up in the first few weeks. We are talking to him about the upcoming change (nappies, crying, feeding, sleeplessness etc), reading a story on becoming a big brother and we will get him a present from baby. But is there anything in particular that works well to prepare a pre-schooler to the new arrival? Thanks. 

Don’t Worry, He’ll Adjust Quickly

Jacinta: Take in every moment of your time as just the two of you. He’ll be grand.

Kim: It’ll be the case for the first month or so. The only time I found that they do feel left out, is when everyone calls to see the new arrival.

Melissa: This time next year, seeing your two children play and fight together,  you will wonder what you were worried about. I felt an awful lot of guilt for my son when my baby was born last year, but he wouldn't be without her and neither would we. It’s amazing how quickly it just becomes normal to have two children. Yes, there will be hard days and weeks and the emotions will be high, but they will be great pals. 

Kimberley: Don't worry. You will fall into a routine and look back and say: ‘Why did I worry?’ There might be a little bit of jealousy – it's normal. But the more you involve them, the better they will be.

Samantha: The best thing to do, is nothing. The first few days they adjust then it’s like the new baby was always there.

READ MORE: Dealing With Sibling Rivalry

Claire: I felt the same. I now have a three-year old and a 16-month old. They adore each other. When the youngest was born, the eldest was so proud of her and told everyone we met who she was. I personally think it's not a good idea to bring them to the hospital. I think it's best they meet each other at home. My eldest screamed the place down when it was time to leave the hospital.  She couldn't understand why the new baby got to stay with me. Don't worry too much about it, they just get on with it. The best thing you can do is give them a sibling.

Courtney: We just welcomed our second child seven weeks ago. I thought the same as you, but when number two arrived, it was like he was always here. My son adjusted to the role of big brother really well.

 

Help-My-Child-is-getting-a-sibling-What-should-I-do-2.jpg

Let Him Be A Helping Big Brother

Kim: He might actually love being an older sibling. I let my toddler help me feed the baby and do nappy change. I got him so involved. He just loved it.

Alisha: We made sure to ask our oldest to help - get a nappy, wipe the bum, sing a lullaby. Acted like we'd never cope without her help. 

Geneviève: Get a baby doll and and he can mind his own ‘baby’: change the nappy, feed, etc. while you are doing the same with your new baby. It makes kids feel included and you won't hear yourself say "in a minute " so much. I did it with my girls and when my neighbour had her new baby recently she did the same for her little boy aged two.

Melissa: Just keep your child involved as much as you can and still try every day to make 20 to 30 minutes of just you and him time.

Lorraine: There's nothing better than seeing them bond. My three-year old boy loves his baby brother. I gave him wee jobs to do at the beginning, like getting me nappies or carrying his bottle in for him. I just kept him involved with everything.

Kimberley: My daughter is two years old and I have a newborn. I was feeling the same way you are right now. I had no need to worry. My daughter has been brilliant! Whenever I'm feeding the baby, she sits up on my lap, or if I'm changing the baby, she helps me get stuff and lies beside her. There are ways around everything to share the bond and get what you have to get it done. 

Eimear: I have three children under five years old and they never regressed but always wanted to be involved in caring for the new baby. It is lovely to watch the bond they develop and how much they will mind each other.

READ MORE: 5 Tips On How To Manage Sibling Rivalry

You’re Only Human – Be Kind To Yourself

Niamh: Just remember you’re human. You can’t be perfect. It doesn't exist. You’re doing a great job so far – it all sounds promising . A lot of emotions will be flying, so please remember to be kind to yourself in the coming days, weeks and months. You’re one person with many demands. You’re doing a great job. Take it day by day. 

Ka: I think it’s only natural that you are worried about your relationship with your oldest child. When I had my second I was admitted for four days ahead of the birth and my only worry was my boy back home. But once the second child is born, you'll realise there's room for everyone in your heart, your bed and your time. Take a few minutes every day just for a hug and lots of praise. 

Sharon: It’s totally understandable. You’ll love this baby instantly when you see him/ her and you’ll fall in love with the relationship the two of them have together. I have four and I love the saying I heard years ago when I felt exactly the same as you do now: “Your love for your children isn’t divided, it’s multiplied by two, three, four, etc. Your heart grows to hold more love.” That’s what I tell my kids.

Ciara: I've a year and half between my two. I was so worried while I was pregnant with my second: Will I love her as much as my first? How will I cope with two babies with less than two years between them? How will I show both enough attention? Then she came and I fell in love all over again and everything fell into place. It's mad busy and we have days of Big Brother getting a bit jealous, but he got used to having a new role and I got used to being a mammy to two. I totally get your worries – I had them too. Best of luck. Believe it or not, you kind of adjust. Just do it. When new baby is here, it's like they were always here.

 

Help-My-Child-is-getting-a-sibling-What-should-I-do-3.jpg

Remind Guests Not To Forget Your Toddler

Alisha: My two girls are one and a half years apart. There was no regression with my eldest when I gave birth with the second. We did little things, like making sure when anyone came to visit they went straight to my eldest and gave her attention first. The baby wouldn't notice any difference, but the older child will.

Kelly: I thought the same about my little one, but she surprised us. I talked to the family reminding them to consider my daughter first when our new baby arrives. So when they came over they played with her first and then asked her if it was okay for them to hold the baby. We had one or two moments, but she was mostly fine.

Barbara: Make sure that who ever calls to your house with gifts for baby needs to bring something for your toddler too. I had a box of treats in the press at the back door and if someone arrived, I'd just say give these to my toddler first.

READ MORE: 12 Tips For Helping Your Firstborn Adjust To A New Baby

Prepare Your Toddler As Best As You Can

Lavinia: I'm in the same situation. My daughter will turn two next month, shortly before the second one will be born. I recently got a book about a pregnant mummy and a girl about waiting and getting a baby sister. We read it three times and she loves it. I keep telling her she'll be a big sister and she'll help me. We also co-sleep and I'm planning on co-sleeping with the toddler and have the baby in the cot, in the same room. My husband is a student and needs the spare room to study. It will be hard as I will be breastfeeding and my parents will only be here to help for three weeks.

 

Help-My-Child-is-getting-a-sibling-What-should-I-do-4-1.jpg

Make Time For One-On-One

Eimear: I also try to make individual time together like going somewhere on their own with one parent at a time.

Courtney: The first couple of weeks when my husband was on leave, I spent as much time as possible with my oldest and gave him extra attention, took him out alone, etc. He has been fine ever since.

How would you prepare your oldest child for a new sibling? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author

eumom team 

Comments

Please login to leave a comment.