"Hello, Pleased To Meet You!..." Introducing New Baby To An Elder Child
hello and welcome to our third blog! This one’s explores the theme of introducing a new baby to their sibling. We hope you enjoy the read!
We here at tidders & nippers have some first-hand experience of the anticipation and challenges of bringing a new baby home to an unsuspecting toddler! And we also know how stressful it can be for parents. Us parents – still firmly gripped by that that sleep deprived, adrenaline driven new-born joy overload – maybe don’t always have the head space to think about new baby integration and making things as easy as possible for that (big) little person waiting patiently at home!
As new parents, we’re super excited about the new arrival, but also really worried about whether our eldest child is going to love baby as much as we do, and not feel threatened or jealous. We are by no means experts on this topic, but thought we’d share our experiences and the advice that we’ve accumulated! Hopefully you find our musings helpful as you go through this exciting transition with your family. We hit a few humps in the road, our eldest was still very young when we brought bubba home, but it was all worth it to see how close our little one’s are now and to watch them play together like best of friends... most of the time anyway!
- Buy / borrow a children’s story book about having a new brother / sister. There are lots of good ones on the market and reading through it with your eldest can help them to acclimatise to the exciting idea of a new brother or sister. Generating excitement and interest could help your toddler become more quickly accepting of the new addition.
- Buy / borrow a doll which you can use to pretend to feed / change nappies etc., so your eldest can get used to the idea of not all the attention being on them. You can also ask your eldest to help you with caring for the doll, praising them when they do so that they get used to the idea that helping with a baby can be fun!
- Regularly introduce your eldest to the changes you’ve made in the home ahead of baby’s arrival. Whether it’s a newly kitted out nursery, arrival of a moses basket or cot, or the re-emergence of general new-born paraphernalia (bottles, baby grows, etc.). This can help your eldest become acclimatised to the idea of change and again generates interest & excitement.
Bringing Baby Home:
- If you have had your baby at hospital / not at home, when you bring your new baby home, if possible have family / friends bring your eldest in once you are settled. That way you can greet them excitedly and then bring them in to meet the new baby, rather than the new baby being brought into where your eldest is and taking all the attention away from them. Make sure to give your eldest lots of attention (even though friends and family may be focused on the new baby)
- Perhaps ask a grandparent (friend / auntie / uncle – delete as appropriate!) to make sure your eldest has all their attention during the introduction. This will help them feel as though they are still a very important little person!
- Think about giving your eldest a present from the new baby to help them feel special and to bond from the get go.
- When baby is sleeping, try to spend quality time with your eldest doing something they enjoy.
- When feeding your baby, maybe try reading a book to your eldest.
- Praise and encourage your eldest to ‘help’ you with baby, getting nappies for you etc.
- Taking time to listen to whatever your eldest might have to say about how they’re feeling can really help, knowing that with time the relationship will settle in.
- Using a sling can be a great way of keeping baby close but also having your hands free to play / look after your eldest.
- Playgroups / classes can be a great way for your eldest to feel like you are doing something fun for them, and can be interesting stimulation for your baby (although it is hard to find ones that fit in with feed / nap times!).
- If your eldest isn’t at school, perhaps consider using some form of childcare for them at specific (short-ish) points during the week, so you get some special alone time with your baby, the same as you did with your eldest!
Have you recently had a new addition to the family? If so, the tiddler tracker might be very useful! It’s a handy, user-friendly baby journal for tracking feeds, sleeps and changes. It allows you to record 24 hour totals so that you can track daily progress and (hopefully!) see a routine emerge over time. Even if you aren’t following / establishing a routine, the tiddler tracker can be a handy way of helping you to remember the last feed / sleep time, or just track your little one’s development for posterity, as well as being a useful record to share with heath care providers during check-ups / appointments.
We hope you enjoyed our blog! We will start working on our next one soon, stay tuned!