Welcoming home a new baby can be fun and exciting, but it can also be a little nerve-wracking. If you have an older child at home, you may have the feeling of “been there, done that,” when it comes to the new baby. However, introducing the new baby to the new big brother or big sister can come with it’s own set of problems. Here’s a guide to what nobody tells you- until now!
Regression because of a new baby is totally real. And it totally sucks. It can be anything from a potty trained toddler having accidents to a school-aged child having new problems at school. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can predict and it’s not really something you can keep from happening. What you can control is how you approach it. Try to be understanding of the new changes at home and how it affects everyone in the household. You and your partner may think it’s going okay but big brother may be having a really hard time with all the attention on the new baby. Lend a listening ear and make some extra one-on-one time for the older child as much as you can.
Oh outbursts…. This may be something you can sort of predict since it realistically happens with every child. If your child usually doesn’t throw a tantrum, you may be in for a surprise. My best advice? Have a plan on how you want to handle that sort of behavior before it happens. While it can be very hard to not lose your cool, no one wins when everyone is upset. A child is not going to react in a positive manner when all the adult does is escalate the issue. Trust me- I’ve been there and done that! My daughter would continue with the bad behavior if that’s what grabbed my attention the most. So learn form my mistake- don’t let the only real attention go towards the older child when they’re throwing a fit or making a bad decision.
Yes- this really happens. You could be so excited for your older child to come to the hospital to meet the new baby…. And it is not love (or even like) at first sight! Sure, the baby is cute. And there’s no taking the baby back! But you may want to be prepared in case big sister isn’t so fond of the new baby. I have seen people gift the older sibling a present from the new baby. I don’t know from experience if that actually helps, but maybe the idea will help you!
Preparation really is key- for everyone in the house. Here are my 5 greatest tips before bringing a new baby home:
– Have a house full of snacks that the older child can easily get themselves. You’ll be busy feeding, changing, and recovering. Teach the older child some independence with getting snacks a few weeks beforehand so it’s not directly related to the new baby.
– Let the older sibling help pick out clothes, their cloth diapers, items for the nursery, etc. Letting the older child be more involved with some of the new baby decisions can make it more fun!
– Make a plan with your partner and any close friends or family ahead of time. Keeping the older child busy with one-on-one activities can make their transition a little easier. Even if the attention isn’t directly coming from mom or dad- they’re still getting the positive attention desired.
– Spend more time talking and enjoying each other’s company, less time in front of the television, computer, or phone. This is another thing I learned first hand- I would get distracted while caring for the newborn and watching tv that I didn’t bond with the older children while caring for the newborn. They would ask specific questions and I would only half answer them. Maybe turn on some light music as background noise instead, curl up with a book, and enjoy your children together.
– Take it easy on yourself. I’ll be 100% honest- I asked myself many times if giving my girls a new sibling was such a good idea. There were days that my postpartum hormones got the best of me no matter what I did! Take a few minutes for self-care and try not to stress yourself out. The days are long but the years are short- you’ll get through this! And when you need a little help- your village is right behind you!
Do you have any (real life) tips for parents bringing home a new baby with another kid at home? Let us know in the comments!