Making sure that your older child, or children, accept your new baby is a big worry for many new mums. Here are a few simple ways to help that happen:
Firstly, avoid large crowds in the hospital when you introduce your older child or children to the new baby. A big crowd, on top of a new sibling, may just be too much for your child to handle. Also avoid making the big introduction when your child is hungry or tired. Buying a small gift to give from your older child to the baby is another way to make introductions go a little bit more smoothly.
Try to stick to your usual routine with your older child as much as possible. It is not your new baby they are likely to resent – it is the change having a baby around makes to their lives.
Accepting your child’s feelings, and listening to his or her fears, resentment and other problems without getting upset is another big part of getting your older child to accept your new baby. If you get angry or upset, you are just reinforcing their idea that your new baby is more important than they are.
Read books about having siblings, and do not get angry if your child tells you he or she hates your baby, or is annoyed by him or her. This is normal, and it will pass.
Getting your older child a doll, with a bottle, and baby equipment, can really help to take the edge off things when your new baby arrives. While you are being mummy to your new baby, your older child can mimic what you do – a fun way for them to be involved.
You can also get your older child to help with the baby. From choosing your babies names, to selecting toys, passing you nappies or carrying your bag, sometimes taking responsibility for your new baby is all your older child needs.
Look for similarities between your older and your younger child. Tell your child that the baby has the same nose or hair as he or she does (if it is true!) Talk to each other, find out what your older child is thinking, and encourage your older child to assume the role of teacher. Even if it does not seem like it now, your older child will get accustomed to, and love, your new baby.