In just a few weeks, we’ll be shifting the family dynamic yet again. We’ll be moving from man-to-man defense to zone defense and to be honest, I haven’t even really thought about it yet. When we went from a family of 3 to 4, I was terrified. And now I’m like eh, it will just happen. We’ll adjust and adapt and whatever will be will be.
But I get it, adding another baby to the family can be a lot for everyone. Especially when you have other young kids or kids in general. How will you split your time? Will there be jealousy? Will one feel left out over the other? So many thoughts running through your head and not sure how to process it all, right?
So today I wanted to share some tips for helping your child adjust to a new baby.
The BEST advice someone ever gave me (I wish I could remember who!) was:
Pay more attention to your older child. As long as the new baby has the necessities (fed, dry diaper, etc), they’re good. Your older child needs that attention from you and they’ll remember more than the new baby will.
I was always holding my first baby because he was my only one and I loved to do it. But with my second, I would feed her and pass her to someone else or put her in her swing. Of course I wanted her baby snuggles but I knew that my older baby needed me more at that time. And to this day, she’s not any less affectionate than my first baby because I didn’t hold her every 5 minutes.
But here are some other ways you can help your child adjust to a new baby:
Find activities that you can do with your older child while you nurse/feed the new baby. This of course depends on the age of your older child but my son was two when I had the new baby. So I had a lot of coloring books (these are amazing), books to read, games to play, movies to watch, etc.
Give them special jobs. This will make them feel like the ultimate big kid and helper. Have them grab you diapers, throw dirty clothes in the hamper, bring you snacks while you’re nursing, etc. They’ll feel SO special and it’s so easy to give them things to do 🙂
Read a book about their new job. Becoming a big sister or brother is fun! And it has a lot of perks 🙂 Here are a few books we love that help explain the transition and how it’s actually a fun time!
Give it time. My son never had a problem adjusting and I don’t know that my daughter will either. She’s just SO excited. But you never know. When the attention shifts and they have to share their mommy, things could change. Be sensitive to the fact that this is a big change for them and just take it day by day. If they want to help with the baby one day and want nothing to do with he/she the next day, just let it be. They’ll come around on their own time.
Get them a gift from the baby. This could be something simple like their favorite snack and a new book or movie or something. Also, something else that worked for us was having extra little “gifts” for the older sibling on hand. When people come to the hospital or house to visit the new bundle of joy, the older children can feel left out or like “why are they getting a gift and I’m not?” This could be a treat, a book, a small toy, whatever! Here are some ideas here too.
One-on-one time: I know it’s hard, but make sure you do special things alone with your older child. Take them out to lunch, go to the park without the baby, etc. They’ve been so used to that special time with you and it’s important to them (and for your relationship) that you keep that.
Don’t scold behavior: Kids have a hard way of expressing their feelings. So if your child is acting out in other ways like not picking up their toys, talking back, acting out at school, it may be related to the changes going on at home. Talk with them about their feelings and what’s making them frustrated and listen. Your child may tell you what they want and most likely, it’s just your attention.
Regression may happen: This could be potty training regression, sleep regression, behavior regression. It’s normal. Like I said, children have a hard time expressing their feelings and emotions. Not to mention they feed off ours. So be patient and work through each thing as it comes.
It’s going to be a learning curve but I promise it will all work out. It will happen naturally and the best thing you can do is just let it happen at it’s own pace. Don’t force your child to love the new baby right off the bat because it may take more time for some kids. And that’s okay! Let them lead the way and they’ll do it on their own time.
If you’ve done this before, how did you help your child adjust to a new baby?