Having another baby is an exciting time, and hopefully will be for your first child or children as well. Many kids will adapt well to a new baby, but some feelings of jealousy and/ or resentment are normal. Your child may feel like the new baby gets all the attention, or that it’s the baby’s fault that Mom and Dad are too busy to play or are tired all the time. Sometimes these feelings come along in your child despite your efforts to try to make it otherwise. But there are some things you can do to help ease the transition to a new baby into the house and reduce the amount of jealousy your child feels.
Feelings of resentment or jealousy towards a new sibling can start occurring when you are pregnant. Use this time to prepare your child for the fact that a baby is coming.
Time the Announcement Right
When you announce the new baby to your child is up to you, however, take into account your child’s feelings before you make the announcement. You may want to announce early if you think your child needs time to get used to the idea of a brother or sister. Or you may want to announce later in your pregnancy, especially if you haven’t talked to your child already about the possibility of having a new sibling.
Don’t Blame the Baby
In the beginning of your pregnancy you may experience morning sickness and/or extreme fatigue. Your child will pick up on this, but it is important not to blame his new sibling for the fact that you are throwing up or that you can’t play with him as often as you used to. Doing this may cause your child to feel like the new baby is taking his mom away from him. Later on in your pregnancy, when your belly gets bigger and you may have a hard time carrying your child like you used to (or if you’re not able to carry him at all), say, “It’s hard to carry you because my tummy’s so big! (or it hurts)” rather than, “I can’t carry you anymore because of the baby.” Then be sure to give him lots of chances for other ways of cuddling and closeness.
After the Baby Arrives
There are a lot of children who adapt almost seamlessly into their new family life. But many children will feel at least a little bit of jealousy or resentment towards the new baby, especially in the beginning when their parents’, and everyone else’s, attention is turned to the new addition.
Get Gifts for your Older Child(ren)
Everyone will be giving gifts to the new baby, and your first child or children, especially if they are young, may feel left out. Some people will thoughtfully bring a gift for the sibling(s) of the new baby. But many won’t, and your child may not understand why all the attention is on just the new baby. Mother of two Marcia Robinson suggests buying little gifts for your older child and hiding them away. Whenever someone gets the new baby a gift, you can give your older child a gift too.
Let her Help Out
Make your child feel included by letting her help out with the new baby. She can grab diapers and wipes, give the baby his pacifier, and show him toys. Let her know that her help is very much appreciated by both you and the new baby.
Give Him Alone Time with You
Be sure to still spend some time together with your first. Take him out to the same places you used to go to together before the baby came. Even if it’s hard to get enough time to go out just the two of you, spend time together during the baby’s nap or while you and your partner take turns taking care of each child.