Your older children will have anticipated the birth of their new baby sister or brother with much excitement. However, the reality of having a new baby who takes a lot of your time and attention may be very different to what they may have imagined.
Here are some suggestions to help your toddler, or older children, adjust to your new baby.
1. If your new baby is going to use your older child’s cot and/or, pram/stroller, ensure you make this transition well in advance so that your older child does not feel displaced by the baby.
2. Some parents buy their child a small gift from the baby to be given following birth.
3. Ask your close family and friends to make a fuss of your older child, as well as the baby, when they visit you, both in hospital and at home.
4. Have activities with you for your older child when they visit you in hospital—young children can become very bored in a hospital environment.
5. Involve your older child in caring for the baby such as fetching nappies, bathing etc.
6. Mothers, try to spend individual time with your older child (or children) while your baby is asleep or when your partner is home.
7. Fathers, try to spend individual time with your new baby; perhaps when you come home from work you could bath your baby.
8. Older children will often vie for your attention while you are feeding the new baby. Try setting them up with a game, DVD, food/drink, near where you are feeding so they don't feel left out. You could also read the older child a book while you are breastfeeding the baby.
9. If your older child reverts to previous behaviours such as bedwetting, wanting to be carried or requesting a dummy, accept this as a normal reaction. Try not to make a fuss, and this behaviour will soon improve.
10. Maintain your other child’s routines, e.g. if your child goes to preschool or playgroups, continue this even if you need to decrease the hours. This will help your older child from feeling as if the entire world has changed because of the new baby and help prevent sibling rivalry.