When you give birth to a newborn and you have older children at home, it can seem impossible to have everyone bathed and fed, and still spend quality time with each one of them. You’ll certainly spend a lot of time nursing your newborn because he or she will be wholly dependent on you, from feeding to bathing to diaper change. As such, the other kids may feel neglected and this may lead to sibling rivalry from the onset.
The arrival of your newborn should not lead to you completely neglecting your other children. Remember, they also need your love and attention. The extent of sibling rivalry and its related consequences depends greatly on how well parents handle this crucial phase. As a new mom, you can still show love and attention to your older children while at the same time nursing your newborn and keeping everyone on the same page.
Here are ways to give equal attention to your newborn and older kids.
Make the older child feel important
Savvy guests who know a thing or two about sibling rivalry will also buy a gift for the older kid when visiting the newborn baby. If this does not occur, have a few gifts in store for the older child when guests lavish gifts and adoration on the newborn. Allow her to unwrap the presents and try out the rattles.
Further, assign your kid a job in the family setup such as ‘mom’s helper or assistant’. This will help pull the kid out of the ‘I wish I were a newborn, too’ thought. Your child can help you with changing diapers and bringing the milk bottle and clothes when they are far from mommy’s reach. As a show of appreciation, you can pay her for her help. And when one of the visitors stares at your newborn and utters, ‘What a beautiful baby,’ promptly add, ‘Indeed, now we have two wonderful kids.’
Moreover, you can also ask the child to sing lullabies to the newborn. This helps to promote bonding between the child and the newborn. Along the way, you can be sure your child will pick up some housekeeping skills.
What irks children a lot is sharing their mother with the newborn. For children under the age of three, the concept of sharing is alien because mom is their most valued possession. Therefore, they’re likely to feel a sense of resentment when the newborn demands the most amount of attention from their mother. While it sounds good to affirm that you’ll give your older kid similar attention and affection, in reality, that could be improbable and unnecessary. Newborns demand plenty of maintenance, and you can’t divide yourself in half to give elsewhere.
So, consider carrying your newborn in a baby sling to free your hands. This allows you to play a game with your older child. Alternatively, why not read a book together to the baby during feeding time? As the newborn grows and gets older, put her in an infant seat and let her watch you play with her big sister or brother. As such, you’ll be entertaining two kids at a go.
Avoid drastic changes in your kid’s routine
For sure, the birth of your newborn means you cannot do some of the things you used to do for your family such as preparing meals, doing laundry, ironing clothes and taking your kid to school every morning. A good solution is to hire the services of a confinement nanny. The lady can handle the house chores, prepare meals and look after the baby while you take the older child to school or out shopping. This helps provide a cushion against the tension of so much adjustment and insecurity.
With the tips mentioned above, parents can minimise the possibility of sibling rivalry and develop a strong bond between all family members.