Updated: Jan 23
The birth of a new sibling is a very exciting and unsettling time for your toddler. There is a lot of guilt mothers feel after the new baby - guilt for not being able to give their first “baby” the attention they have always received. You may notice changes in your Childe during the day and changes around sleep. Your toddler may act out more as they get accustomed to the birth of their new sibling, and often times test limits. To help them feel more secure, it is important to keep consistent boundaries.
If the older sibling was a solid sleeper, there may be a regression after a new baby is born. Sometimes, the guilt we feel, makes way for letting a few of the old expectations we have in place slide because we are feeling sorry for the adjustment our older child is going through. Here are some tips to help your older child with this change:
1. Prepare your older child for the new baby by reading many books about becoming an older sibling, have a discussion around mommy being gone for a few days while she is in the hospital, and have your older child “help” prepare in any way they can by involving them in the process.
2. Keep the bedroom routine step-by-step, predictable and consistent. For example: bath, PJ’s, brush teeth, 1 or 2 books, song, kiss goodnight. If possible, try to use this as bonding time with your older child.
3. Keep the rules during the day and at night the same. This will help your child feel more secure. If your child starts making “extra” requests, do not give in, as they are trying to test the boundaries. Setting limits will reassure your child.
4. If your older child calls for your in the middle of the night or comes into your bedroom, take emotion out of your voice, with minimal talking, tell them to go back to sleep. Do not give too much attention to this or they will continue to try to get your attention at this time. A toddler clock works great, reminding them it’s not time to wake up yet. This may happen for a week or a few weeks, but if you remain consistent, they will stop.
5. Spend at least 20 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time, with your older child, focusing solely on them, without the baby around.
6. Breathe. Cut yourself some slack. You are doing a great job and everything will settle again soon.