How do I introduce a new baby to a 5 year old DS?(29 Posts)
I'm about to have a DD, and DS (aged 5) is pretty excited. I'm trying to manage his expectations (she's not going to do much other than cry/sleep/poo/feed), and make it feel like it's good for him (he's got a new room, with big boy bunk beds). But I'm worried about what to expect, and how to make the experience as positive as possible (he gets a lot of affection and attention from me, i don't know how he's going to cope, bless him!). Most of the advice I can find on introducing a new baby to a household is relevant to toddlers....does anyone have any tips for a 5 year old?
My DS was 3.3, I perhaps not that relevant, but one thing he did talk about for ages afterwards was the present dc2 had in her cot for him when he came to visit.
You are doing what you can to prepare him - but its after the baby is born that really matters a lot - I made mistakes when my second child was born - I had prepared my DD who was the 3 1/2 yrs old very well - but after my son was born I was so besotted with him and so tired that I did not include my DD as much as I should - sometimes I was so stressed I snapped at her and looking back she was trying to help me in her own little way.
I wish I had realised at the time that I was not giving her the attention she needed and she must have felt pushed out.
I had no idea how I was going to feel after DS was born and I wish I had realised at the time!
My ds1 was 5 when ds2 was born. He already had a little sister though so I don't know if that helped. He did lash out a
lot bit when dd was born but he was only 2 then and not talking yet so there was a lot of frustration. When ds2 was born I found the transition much easier as ds1 could understand. He was old enough to begin to be able to see things from my perspective too and he understood that the baby would need feeding lots, that he would sleep i my bed with me and so on so he didn't really seem to mind that the baby was always there. Rather than trying to make time just me and ds1 (or me and dd or whatever) which would end up being stressful trying to time it between feeds and so on we just incorporated the baby into our lives. We snuggled with him to read bedtime stories etc. Ds1 has a lovely relationship with his baby brother, he absolutely adores him, he misses him when he isn't there, he loves to cuddle him. The best way to wake ds1 up in the morning is to pop ds2 into his bed and watch while ds2 wraps his chubby arms around ds1 and ds1 rolls over in his sleep to hug him back before he wakes up.
Its no big deal...lit will be his baby sister fgs..lnot like you can take her back...your ds needs to learnbresilience not be pandered to...ldont believe i am reading this
Doormat - how helpful of you
My DS was 4.5 when dd was born and was also 5 weeks into his reception class (plus we had moved house a couple of months previously) so he had loads on. I talked about him having a baby sister but didn't go on and on about it. He didn't want to visit me in the hospital so we didn't push it. His introduction to her was dh bringing him back after school and he ran over to her Moses basket and was very excited. From then on he has loved being with her but isn't over the top ( which I've heard girls can be with babies) and they've since just bumbled along together. Now she's 8 months, more interesting and almost moving he's a bit more boisterous with her
Doormat - Its not pandering to prepare your child for a new baby - its a big change in their world and their feelings of security. No child ASKS to get a baby sister or brother - its not their decision - but it has a big effect on their life!
I have just had ds who is 2 1/2 weeks old. Dd is 4 and as much as I did to prepare her for baby nothing can prepare you for the first few weeks. It's hard to still give as much attention to dc1 whilst bonding with/feeding dc2 but it really is important to keep dc1 involved.
We have been making all the time ds is sleeping about her and not going on too much about the baby and letting her help with bathtime and changing etc but not asking if she just doesn't feel like.
Almost 3 weeks in and its all starting to settle down. Dads back at work so we're back in our routine, I'm knackered but that's to be expected.
Try to keep things as normal as possible for ds but don't beat yourself up if things don't quite go to plan. Enjoy both of your little ones and just go with the flow
My dd was 5 when ds was born. She took him in her stride, pretty much and she was old enough to be bribed if necessary! Try very hard to keep her life going in terms of school and out to tea and parties.
Two things to remember. The baby will be fine if fed, safe and warm- so if you have to neglect anyone, neglect the baby.(!)
And it's good (in my opinion) for your 5 year old to realise that you find the baby a bit of a pain in the neck sometimes too. That any he won't have to feel guilty if he does. So saying "Oh, no, the baby's crying again! Hang on a minute, I'll just go and sort her out, then we can do something more interesting. You get the Lego out and I'll be down as soon as I can" is no bad thing.
Oh, and we invented a game called "Hunt the Baby". We used to put him on the beanbag in the living room and pretend to search the house for babies, finding lots of imaginary sub standard ones and rejecting them until we finally "found" our real one and decided to keep him. Maybe just us.....
Work really really hard on building their relationship. Point out any real or imagined preference in the baby for her big brother- ooh look, she smiled/waved/burped just for you. This will pay massive dividends in th future.
My eldest was 4 when his brother was born and he was very pleased and excited. I tried to include him in everything with his brother and ask him his opinion on things eg. Does the baby want a blue top or a red top today? Do you think he wants a nap now etc. etc? I would also ask him to get the nappy changing stuff and ask him to chat to his baby brother whilst I changed nappies so he felt involved and needed.
I also made a point of asking my eldest if he wanted a drink or snack before I settled down to BF so he didn't feel left out.
I did continue to take my eldest to the cinema ( one of his favorite treats)along with his baby brother (I think he was about 4 weeks old the first time) so as far as he was concerned life continued as before.
I just had a chat with someone this morning whose eldest took one look at the new baby and said "I don't like THAT and I don't like Mummy!" and then ran off, poor little love.
Haven't read the rest of the replies but the accepted wisdom seems to be don't be holding the new baby when the older one sees it for the first time, have newborn in the cot or being held by someone else so that you are free for a cuddle. A gift from the baby might help, although at 5 your DS will probably realise that its not actually from the baby! And as he's old enough to help, try to involve DS with things like fetching nappies to help you change LO and sitting for a quiet story and cuddle while you're feeding the baby.
Its quite a big age gap now, but in a few years it won't seem so much. My DS1 loved entertaining the little ones, making them laugh and regressing to rolling around on the floor with them (+ once they're a bit older he can babysit!)
Davsmum it is pandering...yes it is a big change but children need resilience....and i am not being unhelpful...i just say it as it is....been happening for eons and will happen eons after...
DS was five when we had DD.
When she arrived she had bought him a present! (this helped avoid any jealousy about all the gifts she was getting.) it's many years ago so I can't remember what it was- but you know what your DS loves!
He was brilliant actually and it was lovely that he was big enough to hold her and feed her (after a few days, I failed at breast feeding.)
FWIW I think Doormat has a point, I have mentioned a couple of things on here that I know others have done, but actually with my own DCs I don't think I did anything specific and they were all fine with it, they're all good friends now and I've never consciously done anything to promote that, just tried to be fair and impartial to them all.
Of course children need resilience Doormat! However, just demanding or expecting them to accept a new baby is very naive.
Children need preparing for a big change - their whole world changes and the preparation that the OP is doing is more likely to build resilience than your attitude would!
If you do not prepare the child you can expect some negative reactions later whereas with some love care & thought you can make sure you minimise any upset.
Such fab advice, really useful, thank you!
Especially 'if you neglect anyone, neglect the baby....as long as it's fed/watered etc'...DS is going to some fun day camp stuff in the school hols, and then back to school, so i'm thinking 'daytime = baby time' , after school = DS takes priority (as far as poss)....and i really don't care if that's pandering, i want to pander to both of them a bit, as well as giving them the resilience as doormat quite rightly says they need.
Pandering to DH, now that's another matter, he doesn't get a look in for months!
Davsmum the more you make a big deal...the more unsettling it is for the child...
Children are cluey little things and if they sense apprehension they will play on this...
Like donut my children have all come along and i never made a big deal of it....just mummy having a new baby...are you going to help me....
My children are aged now from 29 to 12 and they all get on...because they have too...
Just because i am matter of fact and children have to accept it does not mean there is no love or care...it wasnt made a big deal of.....
The issues I always found were not with the new interesting exciting new baby-but when that baby started to move and want things that big brother/sister had, or worse refuse to do what they wanted.
My DD2 arrived at the end of June last year when DD1 was almost 4, we included her by letting her choose a teddy for the baby, she still talks about the teddy she got for DD2 and we read books about being a big sister.
Luckily DD2 was a great (daytime!) sleeper and napped the summer away so we were able to be out and about doing most of our usual things.
Agree that things get tougher when the baby is moving around and sleeping less. Now I try to spend nap times doing something with DD1 (as she is not in fulltime school yet).
At the moment my time is very divided between an older somewhat independent DD1 and not-very-mobile clingy DD2, but I am looking ahead and thinking in another 6-12 months they will be more equal and able to chase each other play together at the park etc.
Nobody makes DD2 laugh as much as DD1 does and I hope they will be great friends.
Remember that the baby stage does not last too long!
Hi OP. I'm going through this at the moment - 5yo DD1 who's at school, and 8 wk old DD2. I don't have much advice as I've found it hard, personally, and have posted on here for support. I think my concern about my relationship with DD1 and hers with DD2 is probably unfounded and I should have tried to just get on with things and not worry as fundamentally everything is ok.
I think the only thing I'd do differently was after the baby was born - we had so many people over and were so concerned to entertain DD1 that when that all died down after a few weeks and it was just me and the DDs after school each day she was used to having loads of attention and refused to watch TV, just wanted to do endless role play games. That made it pretty hard as I needed her to be occupied for at least some of that time and she was also getting pretty tired with no down time. She's back into it now but I guess we should have stuck more to her normal after school routine. Good luck! I am finding it easier this last week as the feeding gets quicker and DD2 can sit in her bouncy chair more. It changes quickly.
Hi I have Ds 4.5 and a 21 week Ds. Ds was very excited about being a big brother, we went shopping together and bought the baby a gift from him. When he came to see me and the baby in hospital, the baby had a gift for him (angry birds game= very happy boy) the next few weeks we had alot of awkward behaviour from a boy who has been extremely well behaved since day 1. He started to wet/poo his pants at home and say it came out too quick. He's been potty trained since 3. He also wanted to be a baby alot, climbing into the cot, talk babyish and want to play "mummy and baby". This lasted for the first 6 weeks until the Easter hols and he was off school. I think he got to see what happened when he wasn't here and realised it wasn't much and he wasn't missing out. His behaviour changed back after that and he's now dry again (thank god) and loving his baby brother.
One thing that really worked was giving an extra 30mins staying up time. I take the baby up to bed at 7pm, feed him and lay him down and ds1 comes up at 7.30pm. I arranged this by loudly saying to husband "I think x should be able to stay up and have an extra 30mins as he's older" "come on baby it's time for your bed, your not as old as x".
This worked an absolute treat and he loved it and every night he says "am I having my extra 30 mins?" The irony is he didn't come to bed til 7.30 anyway and I need that 30mins to settle the baby down so works brilliantly. We then get to have a cuddle and story time and no bedtime drama. Thirdly I once gave him the job of washing out the babies bottles, sink full of soap suds, kneeling on a chair and he did a great job. I think they love responsibility and to still feel important. Good luck, you can only do what's best and I think it's a good age gap as they understand more. Now ds1 gets loads of smiles from ds2 he's very happy.
Oooo forgot to mention, a day at a Thomas land was also a winner. Ds2 was about 4 weeks and slept the while time, so the whole day was basically mummy ir daddy going on rides with ds1 and again we told him it was a treat for him for helping me soooo much with the baby. Alot if things are a spratt to catch a mackerel so to speak but it definitely works.
My ds was 4.8 when his little brother came along. I found the one thing that I hadn't really given much thought to was what their relationship was going to be like. Make sure you capture the first time they meet. Ds was so proud to hold his baby brother for the first time. You really need to make your older ds feel included in looking after his brother. His job was to get the change mat, nappy, wipes etc. I let him choose outfits for the baby etc. while I was pregnant I took ds shopping so he could buy some little outfits for the baby.
I found the first few days and weeks relatively easy but its as the months go on and your tired and things start get back to normal. It does change what you can do for a while compared to when it was just ds. Try to make special mammy time for the two of you. Make sure you give him lots of praise when he's being a good big brother.
I don't think it's pandering. I think it sets them up nicely to have a good relationship. My SIL (who has four DCs) advocates letting siblings meet the baby before any other relatives (including GPs). As others have said, let him help make decisions e.g. what the baby wears.
Have some special toys, books or games that only come out when the baby's being fed - that's a time when he's going to feel left out/neglected so it's nice if he has something to look forward to at that time.
Ds1 was 5 when ds2 was born. I was very ill and ds2 was born at 24 weeks so for ds1 a lot was anticipation and he was beside himself wanting to come into nicu to visit his brother.
He's home educated and I didn't really do anything in particular when we came home they just fit in together. Ds1 adores his brother, their favourite game is having ds1 roll sponge balls a ds2 and he shrieks with laughter, it's the cutest thing.
Basically I would just carry on as normal pretty much. I Didn't do presents or anything. But ds1 does love to help me with nappies and things so maybe be prepared for that and involve as much as possible.
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