Wednesday, December 10, 2014


It is very exciting to welcome a new baby into the home.  Older brothers and sisters have been waiting in anticipation as they see their mother's figure change shape and see the baby scans.  They have no idea how that new little member of the family will alter their lives for ever.

Many siblings are very comfortable with a new baby in the home.  If they have been included in baby discussions, have had some input into buying baby clothes, or helped to decorate the nursery and/or helping choose a name than they feel they have some stake in the life of their new brother or sister.

Things don't always go as planned, though.  Single children can easily become jealous of the time taken away from them by their mother.  There is a great deal of literature out there to assist you with older children being eased into sharing their parents with a new baby.

When I saw this photo of a friend's grandchildren I was touched by it and also with the words included alongside the picture.  "Our big boy can't get enough of our little boy.  Touching, cuddling and leaning on him."  This family has three children.  These two are the oldest and youngest and there is a little girl in between.  Obviously the four year old boy in the picture feels very comfortable with two younger siblings.  How does this happen? 

It is a fragile time for all concerned when the new baby arrives.  Here are some suggestions  that may ensure the whole family bonds quickly.  
1. Encourage older siblings to hold the baby when they want to - especially as soon after the
    baby is born.

2. Let the older kids help look after baby where possible e.g. dress, bath, feed and rock the baby.
    Let them push the stroller, sing, chat and read to baby.  It is good that they develop some  
    responsibility towards their new sibling, but not so great that it becomes a burden to them.

3. Let them know how much you appreciate their love and care towards their new sister/brother.

4. Include the older ones in cuddle times with baby so they don't feel left out.

5. Even though it is difficult, ensure that older children get some one-on-one time with you.  
    Dad would be a great help in observing your older kids' behavior, and keeping up a healthy 
    dialogue with them so they can express their feelings about the new addition.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC

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