Worrying about how my two year old was going to react to the new addition to the family ranked highly in the lead up to the new arrival. I had been given the top tip of giving a present to my child ‘from’ the baby at their first meeting. I’m fairly sure that the fire truck with sirens and ladder that our newborn gave his older sibling helped a great deal in terms of first impressions and would highly recommend this approach to any expectant mum with existing children.
I was so relieved when my child seemed to take well to the newborn – cuddles, kisses and shaking their hand. It’s also lovely to see them ‘protect’ their young sibling from others. However, children are people with emotions, having good days and bad like any of us. Added to that are the floods of hormones racing through their fast-growing bodies, as well as lots of new things they have to face and absorb on a minute by minute basis – everything from words to mastering motor skills.
It’s no surprise then that even the most loving sibling will feel jealousy at no longer being the sole focus of their parents and having to share time, energy and cuddles with another. For mothers that are breastfeeding, this can be an even greater issue as a hungry newborn wants to feed as much as possible and creates a physical barrier for the other child in terms of access to their mum.
This is a challenge I’m facing myself and I think will be one to learn on the job. No matter how many books you read, every child is different, emotions vary and everything from how much sleep the children have had through to the food they’ve eaten will have an impact.
Please do share any top tips you have found that have worked – it’s great to have a range of approaches to try!