5 Simple Ways to Help Your Firstborn Adapt To Baby Number 2
Posted on 17 Jan, 2020 by Sarah Hart
It doesn’t matter how old your firstborn is, when a second child arrives in the household there will be some adjusting to do! There’s a 2.5 year gap between my own two children and I’ve a “sweet” little video of my older daughter “hugging” (read: crushing) her new baby brother. It’s only natural that she felt some jealousy. After all, she’d had my undivided attention for the first 2.5 years of her life.
I’ve written this little blog to provide a few simple ideas to help your eldest adjust to having a new baby brother or sister in the house:
BEFORE BABY ARRIVES
1) As best you can, prepare them before the newborn arrives with talk of their baby brother or sister coming to join the family. Look at family photos of your eldest as a baby and talk about how tiny they were/ how many hugs they needed and then talk about how this new baby will need lots of love from everyone. There’s a huge selection of books available (for various ages) that help prepare older siblings for a new arrival:
- “There’s A House Inside My Mummy” by Giles Andreae – recommended to me when I was pregnant with my second – told with humour and a simple rhyming text, my daughter loved this book. NOTE – perfect if you’re having a little boy as the text refers to a new brother!
- “The New Baby” by Anna Civardi – this Usborne First Experience book gives really simple information about what happens when a new baby is born, perfect for 2-4 year olds and lovely illustrations. You can contact local Tonbridge Usborne seller, Jennie Fox https://www.facebook.com/foxsfantasticfactandfiction/ to order
2) Routines are bound to change slightly once baby arrives – there will be less time for your older child’s bath time routine etc. So where possible try and slightly change these routines BEFORE the new baby arrives so your eldest doesn’t feel such a big jolt. If Mummy normally does bathtime but when new baby comes along it will be daddy, try and have daddy do bathtime for a few weeks or so before your due date.
AFTER BABY ARRIVES
3) Have a new gift ready for little brother or sister to give your eldest. At my newborn photography sessions I’ve had siblings who’ve “bought each other” similar soft toys, that are referred to as “the bunny baby Freddie bought you”. Lovely idea to help your eldest bond. Check out dollmaker, Lydia Stonely from Staplehurst, Kent who has a wonderful selection of dolls for role playing big brother/sister: https://www.pollyhadadolly.co.uk/
4) Encourage your child to help with the baby but don’t force them. Children love to feel useful – if they’re happy to “help” change baby’s nappy by getting everything out you need, then let them (even if it does take twice as long!) Praise them lots for being so helpful to you. If they don’t want to help, then that’s also fine, and let them know that.
5) Try to ensure not everything becomes about the new baby. Hard as it is, try and set aside some one-on-one time each day with your eldest for reading to them or playing with them. If you’re taking a photo of your new baby, make sure you also snap some photos of your eldest too.
Expect that there will be mixed emotions when baby first arrives and your eldest may regress with their behaviour or play up for a short while, but they will settle into life as a family of four before you know it and there’s a whole load of mischief and adventure that awaits them! Enjoy!
PS. If you’d like to book a newborn photography session to capture the bond between your siblings, you can view my gallery here: https://sarahhartphotography.com/newborn/ – get in touch if you’d like more information!