Brandi Davis of Child and Family Coaching has some important advice and tips about what to expect from your firstborn (and how to handle it) when you’re preparing to welcome Baby #2 into the fold.
You are so excited. Baby #2 is on the way. Maybe your first born is excited too, maybe not so much. A new baby, and even pre new baby, entails a lot of family changes and sacrifices. So what can you expect, from Baby #1 now that Baby #2 is there (or almost there)? Here ya go…
Regression. There is a new baby in the picture right now. This new baby is getting a lot of attention for doing baby things. Crying, pooing in a diaper, crawling after a time. Baby #1 wants that attention too and may try to get it by being a baby itself. Get ready for crying, tantrums, accidents, crawling, asking for a passy, throwing toys, you name it. If a Baby #2 does it, Baby #1 will want to as well. No worries, there are ways to temper this regression. Give Baby #1 some new privilages because, “They are so big now.” A later bedtime (10 minutes can even do), let them pick a weekend activity, let them pick a dinnertime meal. Be sure to notice their amazing independent achievements. Getting dressed solo, cleaning up after themselves, an amazing T-Ball game. Encouraging their “big kid” accomplishments will keep them in “big kid land”.
Violent Thoughts. I have seen kids throw baby dolls into the trash or put them in a box and try to send them away. One friend’s son had her draw a picture of the baby only to have him rip it up. Sometimes they will ask you to give the baby back. Not so sure how well THAT is gonna work or what that would look like in your child’s head, hmmm. Kids feel things, they feel them BIG. As long as the violent behavior is not TOWARD the baby, let it happen. We all need to vent from time to time.
You don’t have to ignore these actions, they are great opening for conversations. “Wow, looks like you are feeling a lot of things about the new baby. What is on your mind?” “It’s OK to draw pictures and rip them up and pretend to send baby dolls away, but we cannot hurt the REAL baby. If you feel angry, let’s talk about it.”
BEWARE, shaming your child because of how they are feeling or reacting to those feelings will only make things WORSE. Just take a breath and talk to your child about the big changes going on.
Nothing. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “Oh my child is just fine with the new baby. They don’t seem to mind at all. They love the baby.” I tell them “That’s great, but still be ready.” I have yet to see a whole year go by with no reaction to the new family member. Baby #1 may be fine with Baby #2 at first, since all Baby #2 really does is sleep and eat and cry. They are so little and may not be in the way yet, at least not in ways that Baby #1 can feel. Then they start moving and touching toys that belong to Baby #1 or they are doing cute things (well, things that are cute when one is a baby, not so much when one is a big kid). So you may see no reaction, no acting out, even love for the new baby, but unless a whole YEAR has gone by, you are not in the clear yet, so be ready.
Keep in mind that in most cases, Baby #1 did not ASK for Baby #2, and even if they did, they did NOT realize what life would really be like post baby. They may be worried that with two kids, there will be less love to go around. They may feel that they should have been enough. Why did you need another kid? The family was perfect just the way it was. Many of us survived the new baby, or were the new baby, and it all turned out just fine in the end. Just ask my little sister. I didn’t want her. I told her the Gypsies left her on the porch and she wasn’t one of us. Someday they were coming back for her. In the end, we became best friends and all was forgiven (wellllll most was forgiven, tee-hee). I’m so glad those Gypsies never did came back for her.
Brandi Davis, ACC, is a certified Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.