New Baby Jealousy

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Having a second or subsequent baby is a wonderful experience. If the new baby has a toddler for an older brother or sister – times can be real exciting in the household when the new baby is brought home.[WIDGET1] Toddlers are usually happy to have a baby brother or sister. But the green-eyed monster is sure to crop up sooner or later – so don’t fret when new baby jealousy takes over your otherwise happy toddler.

There are ways too ease the into transition from being the one and only baby – to becoming “big” brother or sister when the new baby is brought into the picture. The planning and setting of the stage should begin way before new baby makes their appearance. In other words – prepare your toddler months before the happy event occurs.

One thing I’ve done that has helped is to beef up their role as”big” brother or sister is to build up their expectations during the pregnancy – telling them that they will have an important role as “big” brother/sister. I set my toddler in my lap and let her feel the baby move and go on and on about how she will help me – hold, rock, feed, bathe, dress, etc. the new baby. They get real excited about the prospect of it all. Refer to the baby as “their” baby brother/sister. I believe this helps to ease them into the transition – and even a 2-year-old has some understanding about what is happening.

Always keep the toddler built up about the new baby. They will look forward to the arrival, but be honest about how it may take Mommy some time to feed and take care of baby too. That’s why it is so important to include the toddler in whatever activity you are doing at the moment – even if you are sitting in a rocking chair and nursing the baby you can ask the toddler to run and fetch you a burp rag – or something to make them feel important and useful. Be aware though, even with all this preparation – your toddler is bound to feel jealous at some point.

In my experience – when I brought my new 1 week old daughter home from her bout of jaundice – my 2 1/2 year old son quickly tired of having a new sister to share with Mommy and Daddy. He innocently looked at me with his big blue eyes and pointed to his tiny helpless baby sister and declared “Would you please take her back to that big house.” My husband and I got a good laugh out of this – for he was referring to the hospital as “that big house.” I quietly explained to him that baby Sis stays and that he would eventually be glad to have her around.

As with every change in life – it takes time to get use to it. We went through some rough spots where my toddler son would slap his baby sister – just to see if she would react. Of course the toughest thing for us parents is not to over-react to the situation. I would firmly explain to him that he was hurting her and that behavior was not acceptable. We just have to remember that to a toddler – the world once revolved around them and they are simply trying to defend their debunked position.

A little tender loving care and much patience will guide the jealous toddler into a loving older brother/sister. My children, now 5 and 2 1/2 get along quite well. One thing I have to laugh about is that my once helpless tiny baby daughter has become quite apt in defending herself against her ambitious playful brother. When she hauls off and slaps back at him I can’t help but think turn about is fair play. (I do not advocate “hitting” and violence – but be aware that toddlers do show aggression occasionally.) However, as my belly swells bigger each day with baby number 3 – I shrink back when my petite daughter shows her strength to her older brother and realize that my once jealous toddler son may be the gallant protector of my new little baby. And so here we go again….

One word of advice – never leave a toddler alone with the new baby. They are not old enough to “baby-sit.” Keep an ever watchful eye out when mixing the two – and soon, both will be old enough to play with and enjoy each others company.

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