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Any tips on how to introduce a new baby to your previously only child?

(19 Posts)
cherrybug Thu 07-Jul-11 09:09:19

I was wondering about when the baby arrives (in Nov) how I can minimise any jealousy issues and make sure that my DD who is an only child at the moment doesnt feel pushed out.

DD will be 3.5 when baby arrives and I really want to try and make sure its not a difficult transition for her. I hate the thought of her feeling insecure in any way! It worries me a bit because even when DP and I have a cuddle she comes running up and wants to be included (we have lots of group cuddles in our house!). How will she react when I'm feeding the baby and my attention is diverted?!

How should I introduce them at the hospital when the baby is born, should I get her a special present from the baby? Big sister T shirt?

Any tips/ideas welcome!

Trinaluce Thu 07-Jul-11 09:21:43

Talk to her a lot about the baby while s/he is still in utero and about what will happen when the baby comes. Do you know anyone who's had a baby recently that you could go around and cuddle just to see how she reacts? Get her a present from the baby, but also talk about what a big grown up girl she'll be and how helpful she'll have to be when mummy's feeding/changing/cuddling the baby.

DD will be just shy of 3 when DC2 arrives, and we've just spent a lot of time talking about it, what will happen when I go to hospital, that kind of thing. She loves cleaning things and playing with baby wipes, so I've told her she can help wiping the baby's bum - she was THRILLED! She'll be getting a little Chuggington something from the baby too, so that'll mean she completely ignores the baby keep her sweet.

I'll let you know in a few weeks whether any of this has worked wink

Hopalongcassidy Thu 07-Jul-11 09:29:00

DD was born when DS was 2.8, so a bit younger but he still understood what was going on. We trailed the new baby a lot - Topsy and Tim and the new baby book was great as it was realistic and we could talk about what the baby would be like - very small and cry a lot! It also sparked lots of conversations about what i would need to be doing, like feeding the baby, and it helped that he could ask questions as they came up.

I bought DS's dream present, and it was at the hospital for DD to 'give' to him when he first came in. At the time he was moreinterested in pressing the buttons to make my bed go up and down, but he remembers and talks about how she gave it to him. Also lots of sticker books, for easy presents.

DS was keen to 'help' and have jobs to do, like bringing nappies, baby wipes etc, though that comes and goes.

The best piece of advice someone gave me was that the older child will remember you ignoring the for a new baby, but a new baby won't (momentarily not screaming for ages), which made me feel better about trying to split myself in two. We have obviously had our moments, bf no real jealousy. I'm a little sad at times that DS no longer remembers life before DD,and can't imagine life without her, though being older your DD might.

hugeleyoutnumbered Thu 07-Jul-11 09:32:13

get her to talk to the baby maybe give it a pet name, my friends little girl used to talk to her bump all tyhe time and named it tweetiepie really sweet, involve her in feeding changing, maybe her own new baby with chaging bag so you can do the feeding and changing together? congratulations

3become4 Thu 07-Jul-11 09:39:32

Watching with interest as DC2 is due a few days ago (!) and starting to panic worry about what the the next few days have in store.

Now if someone could tell me how to cope until then...

<rushes off to start a new thread>

LoonyRationalist Thu 07-Jul-11 09:40:23

During later pregnancy include her in talking about the baby, we discussed names for dd2 with dd1 & talked about her alot. When she was born dd2 gave dd1 a present (jigsaws) I had some new books to read to dd1 whilst feeding (we also watched alot of cbeebies & disney princess dvd's)
Involve your dd in care for the baby, my dd1 was 2 1/2 & she would fetch me nappies, & even vests. She held dd2 often, brought her toys etc etc. All children are different but I have rarely had any jealousy, only a tendency to smother with love ;)

clairefromsteps Thu 07-Jul-11 09:40:32

My DD and DS are 4.5, so a little bit older, and their baby sister is due next week. I was cripplingly jealous when my brother came along, so I've been keen that my two don't feel that way too. I've been talking to them a lot about the baby - Usborne do a good book called The New Baby, which we've read. Also, I was advised to always refer to the baby as 'Your baby brother/sister' as it makes them feel like a present for them as opposed to the new usurper. When your child comes to see you and the baby in hospital, time it so that you're not feeding or holding the baby and make sure your older child gets cuddles in the bed with you. Ideally the baby should also come bearing a present of whatever CBeebies tat they've currently got their eye on.

seeker Thu 07-Jul-11 09:40:51

I think you need to be very careful about including her in changing and so on - wait til she asks to help - I think some older siblings get quite resentful when they are asked to fetch and carry for the interloper!

Remember that the baby will be fine if she's warm, clean and fed - it won;t feel neglected and left out. Try to ignore the baby as much as you can when your dd is there (easier said than done, I know!) and focus on your dd. Do your baby doting after she's gone to bed.

Another thing I think - which some people really disagree with, but worked for us and other people I know - is to make sure the older one knows that you think the baby is a bit of a pain in the neck sometimes "Oh, no, there's the baby crying again - she really is a bore sometimes! Tell you what, you eat this chocolate biscuit while I sort her out, then we'll do something together"

Oh, and make sure that the baby does all her firsts for her sister "LOOK! SH'es smilinga t you! She's never done that before!" Show Daddy how you can make her laugh - she doesn;t laugh like that for anyone else" "She's saying your name - listen!"

Try not to get too woujld up about any "attacks" - treat them in a :we don;t hit people in this family' rather than "Don't hit the baby"

And stock up on chocolate and DVDs.

And then collect your Oscar!

LoonyRationalist Thu 07-Jul-11 09:45:02

Sorry took so long to post (dealing with a dd2 potty incident) tthe new baby hat I cross posted with alot of the same ideas. I agree with the books thing too (2 1/2 years on both dd's still love topsy & tim's hmm

Hopalongcassidy also makes a good point that you do find yourself ignoring your new born for you oldest (at times your old self with a pfb would gasp in horror at some things ;) )- try not to feel guilty about it - it is a natural consequence of being part of a family

PinkFondantFancy Thu 07-Jul-11 09:47:02

Someone at my yoga class said that they had a box of special toys for the elder child that they only got out during feeding times and it worked a treat apparently.

cherrybug Thu 07-Jul-11 10:09:40

Oooh lots of good ideas here - thanks so much! I have talked a bit to her about the baby (who she wants to be a girl - cue another anxiety in case it isnt!). Told her the baby might cry a lot and she said we'd have to give it lots of cuddles. So hopefully thats a good sign!

mummyosaurus Thu 07-Jul-11 10:19:13

I bought every new baby story book Amazon stock and read these to DC1 for months before hand. Some are designed to give the sibling when baby arrives.

I thought they were a fab way to get older child prepared and to introduce the idea of the new baby.

Also I echo the advice to make time for the older child when baby arrives.

The best advice I read was (Siblings without rivalry I think) was to imagine your husband had bought home a new wife to include in the family and expected you to love her instantly, how would you feel? That's how the first child is feeling. Be patent and give them time.

In the end I found DC2 had to fit round DC1 routines and social diary, and it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Good luck.

mummyosaurus Thu 07-Jul-11 10:20:08

Also, the baby bought DC1 a present (of a doll and accessories) when he arrived, she loved that.

GwendolineMaryLacey Thu 07-Jul-11 10:21:53

I had some great advice from a friend. He talked to his son and asked how many parents the son had, how many grandparents etc and commented on the fact that they would all have to share the baby. Then he asked how many brothers the baby had (1) and wasn't it wonderful that he didn't have to share his sister with anyone. It worked really well for them, I'm going to use it on dd.

sheeplikessleep Thu 07-Jul-11 10:23:08

I also read that when older child is introduced to the new baby for the first time (i.e. likely in hospital), to make sure mummy isn't holding new baby. So when older sibling walks in, mummy gives older sibling a big hug and cuddle and kiss, before then 'introducing' (sounds very formal, but IYSWIM!) older sibling to their new baby.

sidorek Thu 07-Jul-11 10:35:59

I am not there quite yet, still expecting the first. However, I heard that when you have visitors who come to see the second baby, it is worth asking them to pay as much attention to the oldest as possible. Some people even said that they slipped a little present for the oldest into into the visitors hand, which then is given to the oldest. It is to avoid the situation where everyone is wooing the baby and ignores the other child.

spookshowangel Thu 07-Jul-11 11:02:08

the new baby brought presents for her big sister. and there was lots of involvement before and after.

Catsycat Thu 07-Jul-11 11:22:24

Just echoing what lots of others have said. We talked to DD1 about DD2 when she was a bump - we always called her "baby sister", so it was like she "belonged" to DD1. We used to talk about what baby sister was doing in my tummy (DD1 was 2 at the time and usually said baby sister was playing ball or eating grapes!!!!). Sometimes DD1 would talk to her as well, or sing to the bump. Very cute! Nearer the EDD, we went to the lovely posh toy shop in Broadway and DD1 chose a toy for the baby, and we bought DD1 a present from the baby when she wasn't looking. We wrapped the present for the baby up together, and let her stick stickers all over the wrapping paper, etc so she was really involved.

I had an emergency cs, and the hospital got closed for a noro virus outbreak, so only partners could visit, so the first time she met the baby was at home, when DD1 got home from nursery. We put the baby in her moses basket, with her gift for DD1 under the basket stand. When DD1 came in we said "who do you think is in the basket" and she was so excited squeaking "baby sister!!!", then we said "look under the basket, baby sister has bought you a present!". She has adored the baby since that moment really!!!! We then sent her to get her present for the baby, and she was very proud to give this to her. The first time my DH picked up the baby and sat down with her, DD1 said very tragically "That's my daddy!", but we just showed her that daddy could have both of them on his knee. He has been squashed by them ever since really.

DD1 did want to hold the baby a lot (still does, now DD2 is 18 months!), and we did let her do this - just made sure she was well supported sitting on the sofa with us next to her, so it was safe. I think if we had not let her do this, she would have been really upset.

When the DD2 was small, she did cry a lot and sometimes it did upset DD1 because she literally couldn't make herself heard (even when right next to me!), but a cuddle really helped, a story later, and honestly there seems to be little that can't be cured by a sticker!

Sorry for the long post - seem to have gien you my life story...

Good luck x

Bartimaeus Thu 07-Jul-11 11:28:47

These are lots of good ideas!

I'm working on DC1 atm, but I was DC2 and I'm not sure exactly what my mum told my brother but he was convinced that I belonged to him and that I was a present for him! Never any jealousy, and he was very protective of me from day 1.

My mum also said it helped that she breasfed me because she could put me down at any moment to attend to my brother, so he didn't have to wait. As other PPs have said, a crying baby won't remember as well as a crying toddler!

We have lots of photos of my brother holding me as a newborn (whilst sitting down) - I think it helped him feel important.

Another thing she mentionned was that the first week after my birth my brother was quite disruptive - the problem actually turned out to be my dad! My brother was used to a SAHM and a dad who worked, so having my dad at home during the week confused him. Once my dad went back to work my brother settled down immediately.

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