For You General

And Then There Were Four! Preparing The Others For The Next Baby

Oh brotherGiving birth to your adorable new baby is a feeling only another mother can fully comprehend and even then, words to justify these overwhelmingly intense emotions of awe seem to escape us.

Bringing your fragile little bundle of joy home to his jealous siblings however, is probably easy to sum up in just one word. Chaos! Your euphoria from the past hours since his birth is likely to be shattered with your fist step through your front door as all hell breaks loose.

An older child could have his nose pushed way out of joint because mom is now in demand by this tiny brother or sister who is simply not interested in being his playmate! Life is tough for him as his feelings of rejection grow.


Rejection, jealousy, spite

And after rejection comes jealousy. And after jealousy could come some spiteful behaviour towards this tiny little person who appears to be snatching his mom from him. But it is easy to prevent your older child or children from experiencing rejection or jealousy when baby brother or sister makes an entrance into their worlds.

It is all in the preparation of your older child’s attitude before baby comes home. And this responsibility lies squarely at your feet. You wouldn’t plant a flower bed without preparing the soil first. Likewise, prepare the foundations before baby arrives and continue to prune the roses to ensure a happy and well adjusted family emerges. Because you know your child best, you will have a good idea of what to say or what to do to make this upsetting scenario easier for him. But we have some extra pieces of advice from child psychologists that may help pave the way.

By the time you reach your third trimester you would have made casual mention of the sibling’s arrival so as you start heading towards the end of this time you could begin to drive the subject home a little stronger. It is no good, however, to just focus on how wonderful this new child will be as this could conjure up insecurities.


A photo of brother

Address the subject using him as the focal point of the conversation by suggesting you take an up-to-date photograph of him, let him choose a photo frame for it and then place it in the baby’s room. Tell him this is so his new brother or sister can always see him and learn to respect him as the older brother.

Involve him without making him feel he is just being -used’ to assist you in showering his new sibling with all the attention. You can do this by involving him in baby’s baths, dressing him, changing him or the like. Make it a team effort and allow him to choose which of the jobs he wants to do such as washing baby’s hands, laying his clothes out, or putting pre-selected music on at baby’s feed time. You can even give your team a name!

When he asks if you’ll take him to the park but you’re busy with the baby don’t tell him as much. Rather word your answer with him as the focus!

One final point, and an important one at that, is be sure that when you introduce your son to this formidable force who is about to invade his life you or Daddy are not holding the new bundle. Place baby in a carry cot instead.


It’s a man thing

So you are open to looking at the situation of sibling jealousy over baby in a new light, but are you prepared for Dad’s possible jealousy?

Yup! This is often the case. When he comes home from work Dad is used to having all the attention from both his wife and his older children and if we’re looking at a first-born scenario, then it is more common than imagined that Dad will battle with not being the centre of your universe.


One for the boys!

Boys! This is not the end of the world! It’s time to tell your wife that you are, in fact, feeling jealous. Don’t leave it. It could damage your marriage in the long run.

Talking to your wife is possibly the best medicine for the situation. It is important, also, to get physically involved with your new baby. Don’t be afraid of him. Babies are far more resilient than you think so take over or share baby’s bath routine, changing and dressing, or putting him down at bedtime. This could be a very precious bonding time with your baby!


 – Bev


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