This is a big change in your firstborn’s life and they will have to deal with and overcome emotions like jealousy, disappointment and fear. If he is overwhelmed and unable to express his feelings, this may manifest in tantrums and crying bouts. As it isn’t easy transitioning from being an only child to being a big sister or brother, they will need all your love and support to manage their emotions well.
Here’s what your firstborn wants you to know...
Your little one needs constant reassurance that you still love him unconditionally. When he sees you always tending to his new sibling, he may feel that he is not important anymore.
Tell me you still love me
Your little one needs constant reassurance that you still love him unconditionally. When he sees you always tending to his new sibling, he may feel that he is not important anymore. Hug and kiss your firstborn as much as possible to show you love him.
Please be patient with me
Your firstborn won’t be the baby of the family anymore and needs to figure out where he stands in the family. He loves his new sibling but may feel frustrated, fearful and jealous. Unable to put such overwhelming emotions to words, your toddler may end up crying incessantly, throwing tantrums or clinging to you 24/7 like a koala to show you how he feels. Before you snap at him in frustration or anger, remember that he is reacting this way because he doesn’t know how to handle his emotions. Show more patience and discuss his concerns with him.
I need some “us-time”
You used to spend one-on-one time with him, so he misses not only your bright and chirpy manner, but your full attention. Try to set aside quality time for you to reconnect with your older child by handing the new baby over to a family member for a short period of time daily. Doing things that he used to love doing together will make him feel special and that he still has your attention.
Please treat me nicely, mummy
Your busy new-baby schedule and sleepless nights may leave you exhausted and frustrated, but resist the urge to snap or yell at your older child. The first few months are vital in setting the foundations of the sibling relationship. Choose your words carefully and don’t let your older one feel like you’re scolding him on account of the new baby. When you reprimand him for misbehaving, being noisy or not following instructions, refrain from doing so when you are carrying the new baby. Your older child will notice that and will feel that the both of you are a “team” and he is the outsider.
When you have a brand-new family member, your older child needs your understanding and love above everything.
I’m not sure if I like this new baby
Your firstborn sees the new family addition as a squirming mess who cries, sleeps and poops all day. Because of this new Zzzz monster, he has to walk around on tiptoe and cannot scream, shout nor laugh loudly. He was probably waiting expectantly for a fun new mate to play with, not this boring little stranger who only wants to sleep and eat. Get your firstborn more involved with caring for baby, so that he can understand his sibling better. He can entertain the baby with stories or songs when you are busy, or help with diaper changes or bottle-feeding. Offer praise and assure him that the baby loves what he is doing. Allow him to cuddle the baby (under adult supervision), take baths, as well as read stories or sing songs together with baby. This strengthens their bond, so that they’ll form a strong sibling relationship.
I’m trying my best, mummy!
Despite any misgivings your firstborn may have about the new baby, he will try to make it work because he loves you. Sometimes, he is doing the best and yet, mummy gets frustrated despite his best efforts. He’s not quiet enough when the baby is sleeping, handles bub too roughly, badgers you to let him carry the little one or drops the bottle of milk he’s trying to feed bubba with. He may not do things well or perfectly, but he is trying. So, ignore your firstborn’s messes and cuddle him. Acknowledge and praise his efforts. Give plenty of compliments, so that he knows what a great job he is doing.
When you have a brand-new family member, your older child needs your understanding and love above everything. It is important to hear his thoughts, acknowledge his feelings and include him in the new baby’s care, so that he won’t feel left out but loved.
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