Having a baby is never a walk in the park, especially the second time. You have labor to deal with, the hustle and bustle of antenatal classes, cravings––we can't forget those and cramps. During all this, it’s easy to overlook our older children. Now, you’re probably wondering, “What about them?”
Bringing your new child home to meet the older one is a delicate undertaking. Your children don’t just develop an instantaneous attraction at first sight. Sometimes, it’s the opposite. Some parents have come home to find their older kids truly upset about the new baby's arrival. Sometimes, the older child may even throw tantrums, demanding that you return the baby.
According to the American Academy of Pediatricians, this is because “your child is still very attached to you and does not yet understand how to share you with others. Your child may also be very sensitive to change and feel threatened by the idea of a new family member.” Here, we will give you a few tips on introducing your older children to the concept of a new baby and preventing unnecessary theatrics after childbirth.
Five Steps to Introduce Your New Child
You should take the first steps to smoothen your infant’s arrival into the family weeks, or better still, months before childbirth. These steps include:
Educating your child: For many older children, the first emotion they feel on the new baby's arrival is a surprise.
But you can prevent that by educating them. Explain to your child in inappropriate terms what is happening. Tell them how their little brother or sister is growing inside you.
Including your child in the activities: You can ask for your kid’s help to build the nursery. That will help them feel like they are a part of the new and exciting change.
P.S.: If your kid has to move out of their room to make way for the baby, this would be the best time to do it. That will give your kid time to adjust to those changes before the baby arrives.
The next step you should take would be when the baby arrives. Some things you should do include:
Reassuring your child: Your child may not know the specifics, but they will likely notice the rising tension as the expected delivery date draws nearer.
Before leaving for the hospital, you should tell your child you won’t be gone for long. Tell them you’ll be with their baby sibling when you return.
Getting a ‘gift’ from the new baby might seem strange, but it works. A gift from the baby would help your child see them as an actual person. And not just the crying new addition to the family.
If the kid is too grown to fall for that trick, you can give them the gift to celebrate becoming a big brother or sister. That works, too.
After you finish the introductions, you still have one crucial step to follow.
Give your older child a lot of attention: This is difficult but most important. You have to give your older kid a lot of attention.
Managing Older Kids' Feelings
If the older kids feel overlooked or ignored, they might start to nurse resentment toward the baby. That is where the problem lies.
You can read to your kid while you nurse the baby. You could also give your kid a doll so that they can take care of their own ‘baby’ too. It could also just serve as a distraction. Either way, it’s a win-win.
If you follow these steps, your older kid and baby will be tight friends in no time. However, the activities of pregnancy and childbirth might make it impossible to make all these arrangements for your kid. In that case, you would be better off with a nanny. Good nannies that would be suitable for your child’s unique needs aren’t exactly easy to find, but at The Elite Nanny Team, we can make that happen. We are a luxury nanny agency committed to providing the best nanny services, with nannies passing many selection processes to ensure they fit the job.
With The Elite Nanny Team, you can’t go wrong.