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Parenting Positive Kids Parenting Positive Kids

There's a Brand New Baby in the House

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Babies are cute, there's no question about that. They are cute, cuddly and smell good - most of the time. They are also notorious for being poor sleepers, loud and disruptive. No one could tell you this more than a brand new Big Brother or Big Sister. Often, they can't quite understand what has happened; they've been the focus of all of the attention for quite a while, and to have to share the spotlight with a tiny baby who doesn't even DO anything - well, you can almost understand why an older child might feel slighted, couldn't you?

Child psychologists often recommend making a fuss over the newly inaugurated older sibling. Playing up the strengths of the older child, focusing on their fun and downplaying the baby are actions that many of us have done - but are the best ways to make sure the new big brother or sister doesn't feel left out when  new baby arrives?

In our house, each older sibling was the recepient of a new toy, game or article of clothing that had been coveted - it's just amazing that the new baby knew exactly what to bring the siblings! A new Lego, a book or a doll can go a long way towards softening the blow.

Try to put the older child in charge of something - maybe he could be the person who brings you a cup of water every time you sit down to nurse the baby, or she could fetch a new diaper for you. Everyone loves to feel important and necessary.

Play up the strengths of your older child. Can she ride a bike? The new baby cannot. Did he recently learn to read? It'll be years before the baby can. Tell your older child that he was sent first, in order to teach the baby how to do things; and remind him that baby will look up to him for the rest of his life.

We always made a special effort to have "Big Brother/Big Sister" and "Little Brother/Little Sister" t shirts on hand, and we allowed the older child to pass out candy that proclaimed his newly minted status.

Encourage visiting family to make a fuss over the older sibling. Have Grandpa take him out for ice cream while Granny gets to know the new baby. Then when they return, maybe Granny can read or play a board game with big Brother. Everyone loves undivided attention, and a little will go a long way to helping to smooth out hurt feelings.

What are some ways that you have helped older siblings be comfortable with a new arrival in the house?

by on Feb. 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (41-46):
psm56
by on Mar. 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM

One excellent piece of advise I got was this:   Don't blame things on the baby.   Older sibling wants to go to park, but it's too cold out for infant.  Do not blame baby, " we can't go because it's too cold out for baby"...   Also, get some books and read about being a big brother/sister.  Found plenty for free at local library.

propswife
by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 4:42 AM

My younger son was born in January.  Before his birth, my older son (4yrs. at the time) went to see Santa and actually saved the beanie bear given to him by Santa for his coming baby brother.  When baby brother was born, he gave big brother some toys that he really wanted.  When big brother came to the hospital, he parked his butt in a chair and said, "Somebody gimme my baby!."  Not the baby, MY baby.  He was there for an ultrasound and we talked a lot about what he would be able to teach his new brother.  Overall he was very excited to have a baby brother and couldn't wait to play with him.  This was also the time that he was really learning to read, so every night when I nursed his brother, my big boy would also be in the chair being read to or reading to me.  After baby was eating less frequently, we started "date night" on Friday or Saturday when I would take my big boy to the dollar movie.  He never has complained about his brother getting more attention and they are 12 and 8 now.

soontobemommie3
by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 9:12 AM
We got them involved!
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SabrinaLC
by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 10:53 AM

We always gave them warning that baby was coming.  Warning makes it sound bad though, lol

We still played with the older kid but tried to include the new baby in with it so that they could get use to the idea of a new member of the family

soontobemommie3
by on Apr. 13, 2012 at 11:28 AM
They also got a "gift" from sister. :) and the l&d nurse made them big brother bracelets.

Quoting soontobemommie3:

We got them involved!
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Meltopia529
by on Apr. 14, 2012 at 9:56 AM

 I only have one child. He did have to adjust when I started babysitting though. He just turned 16 months old, I've been babysitting for about a month now. It took him awhile to get use to sharing me with another baby. Now I'm ready to have our second, and I think he'll adjust just fine

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