Jealousy and A New Baby: Ways to Keep Your Older Child from Throwing Shade
While I was pregnant with my second child, I often wondered what my first would think of the new baby. They would be 20 months apart and I was worried about an appearance from the, “Green Eyed Monster”. Google had yet to become the click and search guru for moms. All of my friends were still on baby number one. So where to go from here? I asked my pediatrician and his nurses for advice and bought some books.
I read that when children are close in age, the older one might feel like he/she is being replaced, especially if you take their crib from them and immediately give it to the new baby. Eeeek —this horrified me! I did not want my little girl to feel she was being replaced with a newer model. So I did what many pregnant moms before me have done–I took my 18-month-old to the mattress store and bought her a new bed. She “helped” pick out her new bedding. When I got home, I took apart the crib and told her “You’re a big girl now. You get to sleep in a big girl bed!” She was so excited to have a big girl bed that she helped me put the parts of the crib in a closet. By the time the baby was born, she had forgotten about her crib , and we didn’t have any issues at all. With her personality, we may never have had any, but I wasn’t going to take any chances!
Another issue, according to one of the nurses, was people coming over to the house with gifts for the new baby and not the other child. She gave me a great idea to keep my daughter from feeling left out. I purchased books, puzzles, a few articles of clothing, and a game or two. I wrapped up each present in cute little girl paper. I hid those presents in a cupboard. When someone came over to visit the new baby and bring him a gift , I pulled out one of the presents and gave it to her, saying that this person also brought something for her. She was so excited she wanted to share with the baby what she got too. It worked like a charm!
When baby number three came along, the other two (who were by now 4 and 6) enjoyed opening the gifts, showing them to the baby, and proceeding to play with any toys themselves. They wanted to “help” with the baby this time around and wanted to feel needed. I had them bring me diapers, wipes, burp cloths, blankets and binkies. When they wanted me to read a book to them, they wanted to either hold the book so the baby could see it, or help hold the baby. They also were quite happy being older and able to do things that the baby couldn’t do, like playing on a soccer team and eating popsicles.
It turned out the “Green Eyed Monster” I was so worried about never paid a visit to our house. I hope some of that is because I took time to think of creative ways to help my other kids still feel loved and included. By just taking the time to find out how your other child/children are feeling about a new arrival (and taking into account their different personalities) you too, can come up with a plan that works for your little ones. You’ll be just fine!