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3 months in and dd is still not happy about having a baby brother(13 Posts)
She is 2.2
I expected a certain amount of jealousy and for her to be unsettled for a while, but I also thought she would eventually come around to the idea and either start to like him or at least resign herself to him being in the family.
Most of her friends have also had baby brothers in the last 6 months, and apart from the odd bit of jealousy they are all really adoring of their siblings and pleased with them and protective and interested.
Trying to be as objective as possible, prior to ds being born I would have described dd as a fairly secure, happy, confident child. Since ds arrived she is screechy and whiney and so cross all the time. She hits him at any opportunity. She hates him having anything. She hates me or her father paying him any attention. She hates me feeding him.
I still give her lots and lots of attention. I never tell her that I can't do things with her "because I'm doing X with ds". Dp and I both get one-to-one time with her. We don't push the baby in her face all the time, but neither do we sideline him because she throws a tantrum. We're really trying to be calm, consistent, loving, reassuring parents about this but I am starting to conceed that we are failing horribly.
The other day dd and I were having a cuddle when ds woke up. She immediately tightend up and didn't want to let me go to him (I wouldn't turf her off my lap just because he squawked). Then he started crying and I gently said I was going to go and get him. She started crying and saying "No, no!" so I said something along the lines of "I think W wants to come and see his big sis, I'll go and get him and then we can all have a lovely cuddle together and you can show him your new painting" (thinking to play it down and distract her) and the next thing she's helplessly sobbing on my lap and telling me she doesn't want W and he's not nice to cuddle and I'm her mummy and he smells of poo (to be fair, he sometimes does ) etc etc and I'm trying to reassure her while he's now screaming for a feed and ...
... it's getting harder, not easier.
I really think I've tried to deal with the whole thing in a sensible, consistent and realistic way. Obviously not. Tell me what I'm doing wrong.
I should add that sometimes she is very sweet with him - it is very much for my benefit, but she will give him a kiss or gently bounce his chair. I am always full of praise when she is nice with him. It very quickly moves from gentle bouncing to bashing him on the head with a car though.
I also involve her in doing things with him - she can help me change his nappy or choose his clothes for the day etc.
Well, I am not sure you will approve of my advice, but I would say that you need to get a balance of reassurance and firmness. So, I would say that there should be times when you make it clear that W is here now, and she just has to get used to it, as well as times when you are gentle and sympathetic. The clue, I would say, is in assessing whether at that time your DD is genuinely distressed, or just put out that she has to share you.
To be honest, in the example you have given above (I had a 23 month old and 3 month old), Once I had tried a bit of reassurance, I would have simply moved on to saying "well x, Mummy loves you very much, but I have to go and get W now, because he is very hungry. Do you want to come and get him or shall I go on my own?" I find that given two choices (not necessarily including an option for what my 2 year old would really like to do), DD will choose the option that seems the best of two evils!
Also, I would say that the arrival of DS probably has just coincided with the onset of the wonderful twos! She will grow into being a big sister. And soon W will be big enough to withstand the onslaught of a jealous sibling.
First, don't think that because other mums with a baby and a toddler say they have no jealousy problem, that they haven't. I thought I had no problem, until I found dd1 lying in the buggy (that was now dd2's) in a puddle of her own wee. One of my friends at the time calmed me down by saying that her elder child manifested his jealousy by vomiting at will.
However, I can see that your dd is very clear in articulating her jealousy. She is also into the terrible 2s - when she might well be screechy and whiney anyway.
You seem to be doing a lot of right things. Perhaps have the courage of your convictions to be firm with her when you need to feed or do something for ds, while allowing her to have her feelings. Don't tell her how to feel, just tell her what you are going to do - just as you might insist on holding her hand to cross a road whether she likes it or not. I mean, give her the message that this is the way it has to be and that you don't feel in the least guilty for doing it. Three months is not a very long time.
Perhaps you might sometimes anticipate when ds needs a feed and be already holding him ready to feed before he cries? Perhaps have a routine of holding the baby while you read to dd, or carrying baby round in a sling so that there isn't so much of a change for dd when you have to attend to his needs. Sounds counter-intuitive to give her more of what she doesn't want, but it might help her get used to the situation.
Don't beat yourself up about this - these are dd's feelings which are quite natural and you haven't created them by doing anything terribly wrong. My suggestions are just things you might try and are in no way The Right Way of Doing It. Child rearing is not easy.
You might also discuss the problem with your hv.
I agree with Lou. Also 3 mnths isn't very long and 2 yr olds are often like this anyway.
I found we suddenly reached a point where I was aware that DS couldn't remember a time when DD wasn't there (maybe about 6-9mnths).
Now they get on great.
my dd was 5 when i had ds and 2 years on shes still jealous but less so now he doesnt need me quite so much.
I do wonder if I'm not firm enough sometimes. Maybe it would be better for her if I were firmer about it. It can be so heartbreaking though - she's only a baby herself and has had two years of having me all to herself. I really don't blame her for feeling a bit put out about it all.
Sometimes I think she needs MORE understanding, and MORE space and MORE reassurance.
Sometimes I think she needs to just learn that he's here to stay, he's just as important in the family as she is, mummy loves him too and that's that.
Oh the guilt!
I don't think you're doing anything wrong at all, I think it's just a case of time - time for her to grow up a bit (as you say, she's still very little) and time for her to get used to it. Just carry on being as reassuring as you are and I'm sure it will work out in the end. My DD was completely ambivalent about her baby brother - not jealous, angry or anything else negative - she just completely ignored him and it was like he didn't exist. But as soon as he started crawling she found him more interesting and realised that they could play together and now she loves him. So things could improve when he gets a bit more 'interactive' for her.
Thank you Tink. I shall repeat the MN mantra - this too shall pass.
No sibling advice but my DS is the same age as your DD and does all of those things without the need of a younger brother/sister, he has driven me round the bend today telling me not to do everything that I have done, even "Mummy not do a wee" etc, and howling and clinging to me because DH wanted to do his nappy! I keep repeating the mantra too!!
It will pass. I promise. But the only thing that you need to do is, as you say, be consistent. But I would be OTT in your loving affection to your DD wherever possible.
DS had the same level of jealousy when DD was born. It was horrible. DS was violent towards his sister. He would try to kick her head, wallop her head with metal cars, cover her up with the duvet. Nasty.
Now she's 15 months and he's over 3 and they giggle and play and make mischief together. He's so caring about her too. Always looking out for her and where she is, what she's touching etc. It's a remarkable turnaround. I'm always telling him what a great brother he is.
I would suggest you make more of a fuss of your DD. She's scared you don't love her. Really. Reflecting upon my DS at the time DD arrived, all his behaviour was desperately insecure, miserable and trying to tell us how unhappy he was.
Is your DS a wakeful baby? I mean, do you have the opportunity to spend even more time with DD than you do now when DS is sleeping?
ds3 (my youngest) is the one who is like this. It's probably just part of her personality.
I always give him some special time at bedtime. But otherwise and like the others suggest on here - kind (through gritted teeth sometimes ) but firm. (He's 3, but because his eldest brother is severely disabled sometimes has to act as the 'middle' brother rather than the youngest iyswim).
broccoli...you could be me with my two boys...one 2.8 and one 3 months....but....it is getting easier very very gradually...oldest ds has become sooooo clingy to me, like sparkymummy....
perversely we are trying a different tack and we are trying to show eldest ds he is so much bigger and older than the new baby by moving him into a big boys bed (but leaving the old cot in his room)....early days but he could be straight on the therapist's couch after this!
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