Aside from the regular worries about if you’ll love a second child as much as the first, one of the biggest concerns with a second baby is how the older sibling will adjust.
We added a second child to our family two years ago and a third will join us sometime next month.
Our first two girls have always gotten along really well and had a relatively smooth relationship since the beginning, and I’m hoping to make sure the addition of a third girl is equally smooth.
Here are a few things that have seemed to help that older child welcome the new baby into the family:
- Introduce your child to the baby in a non-threatening way. We sent the baby to the hospital nursery and then my husband and older daughter went together to get her and bring her back to the room. This seemed really exciting to our older daughter, rather than the trauma of coming to the hospital and finding her mom with a replacement baby in her arms.
- Spend one-on-one time with your older child. During the first six months, especially, my husband and I focused on taking our older daughter out for one-on-one time so she knew we still loved her and enjoyed being with her, even if we spent a ton of time holding, nursing, and rocking the new baby.
- Figure out things your children can do together. Even from an early age, I tried to find ways for my girls to interact together. Whether it was showing the baby her favorite books, singing songs together, going on walks as a family, or having a picnic on the living room floor, I wanted my older daughter to feel like adding a baby just made everything more fun, not that it meant that everything had come to a screeching halt.
- Don’t bring up life before the baby was born. It’s easy to say “are you glad we have a baby now?” or “do you remember when it was just you and me and dad?” but I think that tends to not help matters. Focus on the good moments you’re having now, instead of how things used to be.