When you’re going to be giving birth to baby number 2 (3,4,5,6,7…) instead of baby number 1, there are a couple of big differences.
First of all, you will be a bit more relaxed about the whole prospect of having a baby – when I was pregnant the first time I religiously read (well, to be honest I studied) ‘What to expect when you’re expecting’ every evening before bedtime. The second time around, I hardly even looked at that book. Been there, seen that.
But second of all, this time around there is another human being in your life to deal with (or 2,3,4,5,6…). I remember feeling so attached to my first child in that second pregnancy. I felt like cuddling her the entire day long! I guess it has to do with hormones and guilt. I was betraying that little person by giving birth to another, equally important child! (Although, at that time, I honestly couldn’t imagine ever having the same feelings for the second child)!
Well, this is how it went: the moment my son was born, I had 2 children, and loved them equally. It’s as simple as that.
Here are some tips that, we’ve experienced, might help with dealing with the older children. Of course, regardless of what you do, there will always be periods of awful jealousy. And beware – there will be moments (more than one) where you will want to strangle your older kid(s). Or sell them on ebay.
•Some weeks before you’re due: although you will feel that you want to give them loads of attention (you betrayed them by having a sibling, right?), start getting them used to some periods of less attention. Don’t react; let them play by themselves.
•If visitors come to admire the new baby, let the older sibling introduce the new baby (say: Joss, show your new sister to Jill and Andrew!) – this will make them proud and involved.
•Although you’ll feel over-protective of the newborn, still let the older sibling help with nappy changing, bottles, etc. It will make them feel important.
•Get your older daughter a doll if she didn’t have one already. My daughter used to be sitting next to me breastfeeding her doll!
•Before your baby is born, buy a few new books for your toddler. Bring them out when the baby is born. There will be plenty of time spent feeding the baby on the sofa, and just when the baby needs to be fed, your toddler will need your attention too! Have him sit next to you on the sofa, and read him some of the new books! It’s an easy way to give both kids your attention.
Do you have more tips? Please feel free to share! (Emilie will need them)!
I think a baby doll is a good idea for a boy as well. A few more tips here: 1) Have a gift to give your 1st from the baby, it makes baby #2 feel a little less of an intruder. 2) When the big brother/sister comes to the hospital to visit for the first time, have the baby in the nursery. Cuddle with your 1st and then walk to the nursery as a family to pick up the baby. It makes the older sibling feel a bit more involved. 3) Have a small stash of goodies at home (you can find odds and ends at the dollar store) for when visitors bring gifts just for the baby. 4) In the first few weeks, try as hard as you can to spend at least a little time one on one with your 1st, it will remind him that he/she still has a strong connection with you despite the new arrangement.
Thanks Shawn, those tips are excellent.
That reminds me, when my oldest daughter came to pick us up from the hospital, not only was there a present for her (from her new brother), she also brought her own present for him. Cute.
My son has a little “newborn” cabbage patch kid that came with it’s own infant carrier. He would carry it around, sometimes even when we left the house, so he could be like Mom. We read the “I’m a big brother” book a lot and it really helped. We also talked about Mommy nursing the new baby to help him get ready for that – “the baby will drink milk from mommy’s chest – you drink milk from a cup!” – it worked great.
Esther, thank you so much for letting on that there are times when the parent feels like hurting the older child or selling them on e-bay (haha). Thank you for the honesty. It’s good to know that everyone is going through the same or similar struggle. Despite that we are all doing a tremendous job!