Best ways to help your oldest get used to a new baby?

Adina - posted on 04/30/2012 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I have a two year old daughter, and I am getting ready to have my second baby girl in June. My oldest knows she is going to have a baby sister, and she knows she is in my tummy. She is also really good with her baby cousins. She loves helping feed them, and change their diapers ect...but she also wants to hold them 24/7. She doesnt understand they need their mothers. I think she thinks they are like her baby dolls. I want to know the best ways other mothers with multipule childern has helped their kids with the new babys? Also, does most kids reverse back into their baby ways once the new baby is here? My cousin has told me then when she had her second baby which her girls are 8 years apart, her oldest (10) has done some baby things once her sister (2) was born, or even now. I havent even got my oldest fully potty trained....So I just need a little help...Thanks!!!

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Jennifer - posted on 04/30/2012

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Let them help! I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old. Elfrieda is right, when your oldest comes to visit don't hold the baby when they get there. As for reverting back to babyish-ness, we struggle sometimes. We focused on how big my oldest was and the things that she can do that her baby sister can"t (i.e. play outside, go places with grammy and papa, pee on the potty) focus on them and let them help. My daughter loves giving sissy her pacifier, bringing me diapers and wipes and throwing the diaper away. It is a challenge to spread your time. Make sure you spend special time with the oldest too, reading a story before bed or something just you and them. Hope this helps, feel free to ask anymore questions as I am going through this as we speak. :)

Shana'e - posted on 05/01/2012

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I have 6 kids, 5 boys and a girl. There was nothing really 'special' that I did to prepare them for a new arrival except for letting them know there was a baby in my tummy. I showed them the sonograhm pics, had them watch baby birthing shows on TLC. At 2, they'll be more curious then anything. They just want to watch and touch...keep an eye on the touching, though, because I had one say 'EYE' and jabbed his finger in their eye. Cant really get mad, they really dont know until u teach them and you can try to prepare all u want but until the new baby is right in front of them...they just wont 'get it' at that age. None of my boys reverted back to acting babyish when their little siblings were born, but my daughter, Meysa, was another story. She went back to diapers and wanted bottles. UGH Honestly, it was easier to just let her act out and when she asked to draw, or do any 'big girl' stuff, we would say, 'Oh no... Only big girls get to do those things. And we'll know when ur a big girl because big girls dont want to wear diapers or drink out of baby bottles.' We didnt say it mean or as to demean her in any way. We were very loving and kind and soft spoken about it. It didnt take her long, at all, to realize she gets to do more things as a big girl than a baby...
Another question a lot of parents have when pregnant with a second child..one that they may be embarassed to even mention, is how am I ever going to love this second child as much as my first? I was so distraught over this and my sister explained it to me in a way Id never forget, because it was OH So True. Your love doesnt split in half...it doesnt divide between the children. Your love just grows, doubles! Dont have to worry about taking some of ur love away from ur first child to give it to the second. You will have plenty of love to go around! :)

Stifler's - posted on 04/30/2012

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My kids were 16 months apart and I always encouraged "kisses for baby' and cuddles and playing with the baby and stuff and wasn't like STAY AWAY FROM THE BABY YOU'LL HURT HER. They are really good with each other and share everything.

Suzanne - posted on 05/01/2012

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I have 3 children and I have noticed them doing some baby things, but not much. I think the biggest thing is making sure the oldest ones are still getting attention. Especially when other people are oohing and aahing over the new baby, try to bring attention to the older child too. I have noticed that if they are being somewhat ignored even if it is not by me, but people outside the family that is when they have undesirable behaviors. It can show up in all different ways like getting up at night or throwing fits or not eating their meals. Anything to get attention if they are feeling pushed out. They need time and attention too.

Cynthia - posted on 05/01/2012

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I included my little guy in every baby preparation possible! He helped pick out the pacifiers, the diapers, everything. I went to the library and took out every book they had on welcoming a new baby and we read them together. I didn't have the opportunity to let him be around other babies, because I didn't really know anyone else WITH a small baby at the time. I obsessed over the best way to handle it when he came to the hospital, worried myself about sick over jealousy concerns, would he hurt the baby or be too rough with it, would he not like it??? He helped put all the little baby things away, one time he tried to stick a toy through my belly button to give to the baby. :) The morning she was born, we left him with his granparents and they brought him to the hospital later. My husband sat over in the corner chair with the baby so he would see me first, he came in and to my bedside and I showed him that my tummy was little now because the Dr had got the baby out. Then my Father in law led him over to see the baby. He climbed up on the bed by me to hold her. The first thing he wanted to do was unwrap her , so we let him under close supervision, of course. He examined her from head to toe. It was so cute. He had to look at each little finger and nail, and her mouth and her little double chin :) then he had to check out that funky belly button, and look at each of her teeny tiny toes. After he had his examination, he just sat and held her for a while. After I got home my parents immediately went home (they live 4 hours away) and I was left on my own with 2 kids that I didn't know what to do with ! :) I found that the easiest thing to do , was involve him in everything and he loved it! If I was nursing her, he'd get me a burp cloth and a storybook that we'd read together, then he'd sit and hold her little hand while she nursed. When I changed her diaper, we got him a little stool so he could reach and he'd hand me the wipes, the diaper, the rash cream, etc. When it was bathtime, He'd get his own washcloth but he wasn't allowed to have it near her face. He'd wash her tummy and her little feet and toes. We got a boppy and it was the best thing ever, because we could put it on his lap and lay the baby across it , that way he could "hold " her without having to have continuous help. ( he was 3) She very quickly became "his" baby and I just always talked to him about how he much she loved him , and he was such a big brother, and told him constantly how much she loved it when he played with her or helped take care of her. Today they are 5 years, and 21 months and they are inseperable. If my husband tries to take him somewhere, she cries the whole time he's gone. We even had to start taking her to the kids Sunday school class at our church because she would cry the whole time he was gone. They play together constantly, and she always follows him around. He never reverted back to "baby stage" and never intentionally did mean things to her. They've had a wonderful relationship from the start! Best of luck with your little ones!

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Katy - posted on 05/02/2012

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My oldest was 2 1/2 when my second one was born. I think I had it easy as my oldest is very attached to Daddy and not me. The only time I had a problem with her acting out was when I was feeding the baby. If your husband is or can be home with you for a period of time it helps. My husband was home for 2 weeks when the second one came along. We helped her to understand that babies are fragile and need Mommy alot. We let her help when she wanted to (fetching diapers, wipes, etc) and let her hold the baby with help. Now they are 4 1/2 and 20 months and play together all the time!

Claire - posted on 05/02/2012

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My second was born when my first was 26 months. We involved him in preparing for baby and he saw the baby car seat,stroller,crib, bath etc well before hand. For sometime before the baby came, he tried to sit/play in all the above till he got used and i think it helped him not present a fight when baby took over. Like others said, lots of hugs, kisses, spending time with him along with involving big brother intaking care of the baby has helped me so far.

Virginia - posted on 05/02/2012

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I feel as a mother and my experience with 5 very close "1yr apart "You just need let her know who mommy is but let her help and don't let her feel left out or pushed aside . Love her the same ! God Bless!

Janet - posted on 05/01/2012

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When I was expecting my second child, my mom bought my daughter a new doll, so she could practice holding and taking care of a real baby. My mom showed her the right way to hold a baby and how to take care of it. It seemed to help her get use to the idea of a new baby, you could also tell your daughter that all baby's need their mother sometimes, and that she won't always be able to hold the new baby, maybe she can hold her "baby" when you hold the new one.

Adina - posted on 05/01/2012

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Thanks everyone! This actually helps out alot. My sister and I are almost 9 years apart, and I had to be mommy too because our dad passed away like 5 months after my sister was born. And my mom took it really hard since it was a car accident. So I had to grow up fast, I never was the big sister/little sister I was more like mommy. I don't want to have my youngest feel like she is getting second hand stuff, or that her older sister gets more or has more. That is how it is with my sister and I. My little sister which is now 16, and I am 24 she thinks mom likes me more, and that since I am moved out with kids my mom shouldnt help me like she does. But I know I am going to do my best to make my oldest feel proud to be a big sister, she tells people her baby sister is in mommy's tummy, and she blows rasberries on my belly...lol

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Just talk to them about how each mommy needs to hold their babies a lot. Suggest getting each child their own baby to hold just like mommy. That way they can take care of their baby just like mommy is going to have to take care of the new baby. However, you will need to make surety involve them in everything you do with the new bay. Meanng them feeding their baby while you feeds ours. Diaper changes, they can do theirs on the bed beside the new baby. Yep, you will go through a few extra diapers. Be sure to keep and reuse them as much as possible if they are disposable. EventuLly it will wear off with some kids. Others it won't. Good luck.

Mary - posted on 05/01/2012

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What helped for me is I gave my daughter a baby doll and told her "this is your baby to take care of and I have mine. I also did this with her brother when my third child was born. None of my kids acted like babies. My kids had fun taking care of their own babies. This is what helped me. I hope it helps you too.

Tracey - posted on 05/01/2012

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We are working on kid #6 (my 4th and his 4th but all together 6). Our current youngest was the first baby my husband and I had together so we had 2 sets of older kids (his and mine) to help adjust to a new baby. We just make sure to keep the kids involved. Give them to opportunity to help if they want to, but didn't pressure them too if they would rather not. Also, talking about the baby over and over again to other people in front of the kids isn't so helpful, so we made sure to throw in bits about what all the kids have been up to so they didn't feel like they had been left out of the spotlight.

Lori - posted on 05/01/2012

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I've been there! For us the best thing was to try and keep my sons schedule as close to the same as possibly to make a smoother transition. Also making a conscious effort to give equal attention to both kids. (my husband and I would switch off when the baby first came home) play up the big sister/bug brother role too, my son was such a proud bug brother when his sister was born and he still is!

Brittany - posted on 05/01/2012

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Let her help. Also give her a baby when you bring home her sister. That way she can take care of her baby when you take care of your baby. It helped my son! He LOVES his sister and helping!

Ashe - posted on 05/01/2012

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I have 4 kids, a step son, 6, a daughter almost 3, son almost 2 and baby son 6 months. My daughter was 2 as well when bub was born and she talked non stop about holding him and feeding him and sharing her bed etc. she was 'pregnant' as well, (with Dora the explorer and boots)! When bub was born she was keen to touch him and talk to him but did understand that babies are very little and you have to be very, very gentle with them! She loved it when I told her how much the baby loved her (she would always respond by saying "and no one else!". It really didn't have as much of an impact as I had imagined and she rarely became resentful of me and never resentful of the baby. She did revert to wanting to drink from a baby bottle and I indulged her for a while, she is over that now and a wonderful little mum. And my now 2 year old boy did and still does experience a little jealousy but really not too much, I make extra effort with him to give him cuddles etc to make him know he is special. He is such a tender and sweet big brother to the baby and I can't wait to see them older and playing together :)

Cynthia - posted on 05/01/2012

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I forgot to add, we also got him a little bag of small gifts, things he could do while at the hospital and gave it to him when he was done holding the baby for the first time. Also,

Morgan - posted on 04/30/2012

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i got my daughter a special baby for her. so every time i needed to feed or change or just give some love to she would have her own baby. but the excitement will wear off. but its always nice to have a second pair of hands willing to help. but in the beginning when the baby needs a lot of attention this is what worked for me

Gemma - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have a 2 1/2 yr old daughter and a 12 week old son. My first mission was to have number 1 out of nappies by the time number 2 arrived, which we mastered, thankfully! Then I too had the usual worries that you're having, including how will I have enough love for 2, will she get jealous of baby etc. The moment Brooklyn was born she was instantly in love with him, as were we as parents. She wanted to hold him, we let her but explained how fragile he is. As others have said let her help with everything, nappies, bottles, burping, clothing etc & also make sure you still have lots of alone time with you and her, then I believe she won't 'need' to be with bub 24/7.
In short, it will work, don't know how, it just does!
Good luck and enjoy your new love :)

Brandie - posted on 04/30/2012

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We have 3 kids, ages 5, 2, and 10 months. For our 5 year old, we got her a small gift from her brother and sister when they were both still in my stomach. Since she was 3 at the time of her brother's birth, she was able to understand things that needed to be done and she always wanted to be a part of anything he was doing. We let her have special time with him, letting her hold him on our bed, helping to feed him, etc. but also explained that the baby needed time with mom to cuddle and feel safe. She loved to pick out the baby's outfits for the day and that helped her feel included in some decisions.

My son was 1 when my youngest daughter was born so he didn't really understand fully what was going on but he certainly cried a bit when my attention was drawn to the newborn. To help combat this, I made sure to sit on the floor with him alot, especially when he played because I could still hold the baby and have room in my lap for him when he needed to come in for a hug. Now that she's 10 months old, he's super protective of her and loves to play with her. He helps out with diapers, brings us wipes, and tosses bottles into the sink.

Our 5 year old reverted to some more babyish behavior when each of her younger siblings was born but it only lasted for a few weeks and we made sure to correct the behavior and redirect her to thinking in more of a helpful big sisterly way. Once the babies were no longer a novelty, things got back to normal. Simply including the child in everyday, routine activities will allow you to spend time with your oldest which will allow her to feel included. We also did small errands with our oldest just to have a few minutes of alone time with her while the other kids stayed home with either parent. Just running to the post office or going to the grocery store gave us and her some bonding time and allowed the focus just to be on her.

Best of luck to you!

Janet - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have 3 children myself, oldest girl who is 10 and a son who will be 3 soon and then my baby girl who is 4 months. I got the same advice, don't be holding the baby when the kids come and visit. Of course my oldest daughter is a huge hell, gets me whatever I need for my baby girl and my son helps out once in awhile lol gets me a diaper, Blakey, burp cloth or throws away the diaper f it's not stinky lol. Everything has been smooth sailing so far! :)

User - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have an 11 y/o daughter and a four year old son. When I was pregnant with my son, I kept my daughter as involved as possible. Every appointment, every ultrasound, we included him in nighttime prayers, and she would even help me sing to him. I woke up one night to her reading him a story at 1 o'clock in the morning. It also helped that my father had 2 children while my daughter was younger so she knew what to expect a little. After he was born she helped me gather the needed items for diaper changes and clothing changes, an even helped me bathe him. They are very close now and my son looks up to his older sister with such admiration. Now I am pregnant with my third child ( another boy ) and my son is so excited to become a big brother. He is always talking to my belly an every chance he has, he is giving his little either a hug or a kiss. I wasn't sure how my son would react to me with a baby but I know he is very gentle with my infant nephew, and my best friend has a daughter who is special needs and very small, and he just loves her. I think the most important thing is to include the older sibling as much as possible with the baby, but don't forget the importance of giving the older child or children alone time with mommy and or daddy. Good luck :)

Amy - posted on 04/30/2012

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My oldest was a new 2 year old when my second daughter was born. My mom gave my oldest a baby doll that has a bottle and "diaper" so she was able to feed and change her "baby" when I was doing the same with my youngest. I made a concerted effort to make sure that my oldest didn't feel like she was being replaced, and to love on her and spend some time with her as much as I can. She has adjusted well, my youngest is 9 months old today! There have been a few things that my oldest has done that seems a little "baby-ish" again, but it doesn't usually last very long. She was not yet potty trained at the time of my youngests birth, but she is now. We chose to not even begin potty training until several months after the baby was born because we knew that would be a big enough transition. I know it can seem very daunting. Go with the flow and listen to your gut! Best wishes!

Ashleigh - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have a 4 1/2 month old daughter and my oldest daughter turned 3 at the end of march and my oldest was the same as far as wanting to help and she does help but she loosed interest in helping all the time and she was fully potty trained when jaclyn was born and for the first month or so she had accidents all the time but it didn't take long for her to bounce back but lots of one on one mommy time with your oldest will help but let them help when they want to and acknowledge their needs and you and them will be fine!

Jami - posted on 04/30/2012

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honestly my kids were still babies when they became big siblings. 2 days shy of 16 months between the first two and 19.5m between the younger two. the oldest and youngest are 2 weeks shy of 3 years apart. I liked to play up the "big" (grown up) part of being a big sibling. none of mine were even starting potty training until my youngest was 3 months old and it was just part of being the biggest brother. I hope things work out for you, and that you can get better advice from other moms :)

Lynn - posted on 04/30/2012

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I have three boys. We did a birthday party for the baby and the older boys picked something small out to welcome their brother. Then at the party brother gave each of them something. We made sure it was something they really wanted. We also had them plan the party, with plates, hats, and cake. They loved it. We also had a "baby" that they could swaddle too and put a diaper on. Both of them loved it and used teddy bears. :) when we came home we had them make a sign and such. We also made sure to have "special" time with each of them the first couple weeks. Especially with mom. Just remember to be patient with them as they will sometimes act out and sometimes not favorably to get attention. Hope this helps.

Melaney - posted on 04/30/2012

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I don't know how much help I can be, but I have a 21 month old and a 9 month old. It was an adjustment, but the oldest has accepted her baby sister and they get along great. If you let them help in anyway it makes them happy to have the baby. You might also when you come from the hospital, you hold one of their babies and daddy hold the new baby and let the oldest see there is no threat or vice versa depending on which parent is favored. Good luck on the new baby and just breath, it gets easier the older they get.

Belinda - posted on 04/30/2012

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Bring a doll home for her with the baby , this is what I did for daughter and she fed her and changed her when her sister was changed. I also had them on opposite schedules for a little while, let her help get diapers and feed baby (if pumping,or not breast only) my girls were 14.5 months apart so a little closer.

Taylor - posted on 04/30/2012

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I agree with what has already been posted, let her help. My daughter was 10 months old when I had twins and it helped out a lot. Another thing I did was when people would come to see the babies I would make sure to tell them before they got there, to spend some time with my daughter before moving on to the boys. It helped with her knowing she was still important when the boys were getting so much attention. Good luck!

Jane - posted on 04/30/2012

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My daughter was 16 months when my son was born i brought her a gift 'from baby' which started them off geat and a while later when i got home from hospital i noticed she wanted to hug and hold him all the time i brought her a doll try hat she 'fed' when i fed my son and 'changed' when i changed him etc which took a bit of her attention off him. I didnt have any problem with reverting back to bby thibgs she turned 2 last weekend and she is almost fully potty trained. Goodluck. Sorry abput all the mistakes also my phone is terrible to type on ):

Elfrieda - posted on 04/30/2012

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I can't help you from experience, but I'm in the same boat. My son will be almost 3 when our baby is born. I'm just so happy that my sister-in-law is having a baby 2 months before me. I plan to take him to visit them to try to prepare him for what it will be like, because how can you explain something like that to a toddler?



The other suggestions from people that I'll be following is: don't be holding the baby when he first gets to meet him/her, ask him to help with getting things like diapers and pillows (he will enjoy that, he loves to help), praise him for being such a good big brother whenever I catch him doing something right, and refer to the baby as "our baby". I'm also trying to stop calling dolls "babies", because a doll is a doll and a baby is something entirely different. I don't mind if he drags a doll around by its head, but he'd better not try that with a baby!

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