Babies, especially newborns, are quite a joyous treat for the eyes; but not necessarily for your firstborn who might feel insecure and threatened by the arrival of the new baby. All the attention and care that goes out to the baby could annoy your first child or even crumble down his entire universe. Prepare your first child well in advance.
How to handle your firstborn when your second born comes?
A word of caution: It is not going to be a cakewalk and could be really trying as well!
But, you can definitely manage it successfully because you’re a Supermom (or a Superdad)!
When to reveal to your first child about the sibling coming?
A very puzzling situation that every second-time parents face is about the right timing for disclosing the good news to the firstborn. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the same. However, you wouldn’t want the child to overhear your conversation with an excited friend and get to know about it – so, the best time to let him know about the baby is whenever you are letting everyone else know. Keep him informed from an early stage that a baby is waiting for him inside mamma’s tummy. The earlier the better as it gives him more time to get accustomed to the idea of the new baby. Also, use this time to remind him that he too came from mamma’s tummy.
Be prepared to answer endless queries once you disclose the good news to your little one. Classic ones include : “Mamma, why did you eat the baby?,” “Can I go inside and meet the baby now?” etc.
1. Involvement as a preparatory step in welcoming the sibling
Children just love it when we treat them as equals and get them equally involved in what we do. While you prepare your first child for the sibling, a bit of involvement from their end can do wonders:
- Take your first child along for your antenatal checkups and show him the baby in the scans. Your little one would be more than delighted to have that first sight of the baby.
- Ask for his suggestions while you buy things for the baby. If you are planning to set aside few of his toys for the baby, make sure to cheer him for being that wonderful big brother who shares his stuff with the baby.
- You could even ask his suggestion while you are picking a name for the baby.
2. Spend some special bonding time with your firstborn
You may find that the new baby in the home is pretty demanding and needs your time and attention for eternity. However, it is equally important to squeeze in some time (at least an hour a day) for the first child. Make sure that you don’t deny him too much of his favorite activities that he used to enjoy with you – like an evening stroll in the park, bedtime stories, bubble bath, pretend play with toys etc.
3. Encourage the first child to spend time with dad while mom is busy with the newborn
The focus should be on enhancing the bond between the father and the child so that even when mom is busy with the baby, dad could easily take over and be a great companion to the first child.
4. Seek your elder child’s help wherever possible while taking care of the younger one
While tending to your newborn, get your firstborn to help you in ways he could and believe it, he would love being the responsible big brother! This is a great tip if you are looking out for ways to avoid jealousy between the siblings! Prepare your first child to be an efficient caregiver.
If your child is above 4 years old, you could seek his help in:
- Getting the baby’s dress from the wardrobe.
- Pacifying the baby by singing songs.
- Letting you know if the baby cries while you are busy with other household chores.
- Wearing small accessories like mittens and booties for the baby.
5. Ensure that the visitors (friends and family) spend time with the first child as well when they come to meet the new baby
Multiple visitors a day is a norm when you have a new baby in the house. The visitors shower their love not just in the form of presence, but presents too. The usual case is the gifts would be just for the newborn and not for the firstborn.
Ideally, you should encourage the closer friends to spend time with the first child as well so as to avoid any sorts of ill-feelings creeping in.
6. Remind the firstborn regularly that he is special and loved
A piece of your soul, the apple of your eye, is how the first child feels about himself before a new baby comes. But maintaining that emotional connect, even after the addition of the new family member is an added responsibility to the second time parents. Authenticate the fact that he was also taken care of in the same way as the new baby by showing his baby pictures with you.
Heighten his self-worth by praising him whenever possible, even for the smallest of things he does efficiently. Physical connect has an unmatched significance; cuddles and kisses mean a lot to him.
An additional word to the second-time new parents who are trying to prepare your first child for the arrival of the sibling: You may mostly find that the first child is evidently hurt with the new addition to the family and all the attention deviating away from him. The postpartum blues might even tear apart the mom when this situation arises.
Be assured that all of it is completely normal and with time, everything gets better (especially now that you know the best tips ever!).