While bringing home a new baby can be stressful for mom and dad, it can be especially stressful for the newly named big brother or sister.
In addition to spending a few days away from mom and dad while they were in the hospital or birthing center, they’re returning home with a new baby – and one that won’t be leaving anytime soon. While its normal for a new sibling to act out towards mom and dad, as well as the new baby, during the first weeks and months after the baby is brought home, there are a few things you can do to help cultivate the love between your toddler and your new baby.
1. Solidify your daily routine.
Keep what you can consistent. A new baby often brings unpredictability to the home and schedule. Keeping your toddler’s sleeping and eating schedules consistent can help to build her sense of security.
2. Spend alone time with your toddler.
Reassure your toddler that she is special by setting aside time each day just for her. Giving your toddler a bath, reading your toddler a story and playing with your toddler while the baby is sleeping will help to remind her she is still special to you.
3. Put your toddler’s needs first.
The needs of your firstborn child do not always have to come second. While there are many times your new baby will have to come first, when possible put the needs of your toddler first. If both kids are hungry at the same time, get your toddler her snack first. Your toddler understands that the new baby is always getting put first, so when safety isn’t an issue, putting your toddler’s needs first can help her to feel special.
4. Let your older child be a helper.
Being a big sibling has its advantages. Let your toddler assist you feeding, bathing and changing your new baby when appropriate. Having a special role in the life of the new baby will help limit her need to feel competitive.
5. Talk baby talk and play baby play.
Reading your toddler books about babies, purchasing a baby doll and accessories for your toddler and talking to your toddler about when she was a baby can help her to relate to the needs of the new baby.
With a lot of love, some extra nurturing and a little guidance, you can help minimize resentment and help your toddler develop a strong love for your new baby.