A new baby will change your family dynamic forever. And if you have older children, there’s always some stressors around introducing a new bub to their brothers and sisters. While a new baby will certainly demand a lot of attention (and rightly so – they need it), it’s normal for older siblings to feel left out, upset and confused. Read on for some tried and true advice for introducing your new bub to their siblings and maintaining a healthy bond between everyone in the family.
Include your child in the baby preparation
If you have older children, getting them involved in the baby preparation can help them feel included, important and also help maintain that excitement. From shopping for baby gear to helping prepare your bub's new room, involving them in this process is a great way to both strengthen your bond with them and start fostering their connection with the impending arrival.
Set the scene
Depending on how old your little ones are, you may wish to have a conversation about what life will look like with a new baby. You can explain to them that babies need a lot of love and care; they need to be fed, changed, bathed, soothed – in short, they really do need a lot of attention!
Talk, talk, talk
Jealousy in this situation is completely normal – your child is welcoming a completely new person into your family and there will certainly be times when they feel they aren’t getting all the attention they want or need. Be sure to ask them probing questions if you feel that their demeanour is off and make an effort to acknowledge how well they are doing at bonding with the baby. It’s wonderful to see a relationship form between your little ones, so make sure they know how happy it makes you. It's also worth emphasising that while their own routine may be different once bub arrives, it doesn’t mean they are any less important.
Protect and prioritise alone time with your older child
We know there’s no excess of time with a new baby in town, but we recommend finding ways to carve out some special one-on-one time with your older child. Whether that’s walking them to school, tucking them into bed, or reading a particular book with them, it can make a huge difference when your older child still has some sense of familiarity.
If your child loves picture books, there’s actually some great options out there around becoming a big brother or sister. If you have any recommendations for our LittleOak family, leave them in the comments.
We all know that every family (and indeed every child!) is different. So try not to get overwhelmed or upset if your older child is taking longer to bond with your bub. It’s an incredibly common experience, and one that can take a little bit of time. So make sure to be kind to yourself and take each day as it comes.
LittleOak has been nourishing children for many years and feeds millions of infants, babies and children across the globe each and every day, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. In the US, we're proud to have our FDA compliant Toddler Milk available for families.