Will our toddler feel displaced by our new baby?
Preparing your toddler for the new arrival
A first-born child is used to being the absolute centre of attention. So the arrival of a sibling can be extremely upsetting. A whole range of emotions may be expressed by your child when he discovers that another baby is soon to be joining the family - including excitement, anxiety, love, hate, pride and jealousy.
These are natural reactions to what is about to be a huge change, and it’s important to allow your child to express his full range of emotions, both good and bad. This outlet makes any real physical or aggressive outbursts far less likely when the baby is born. Tell your toddler that your feelings towards them have not changed, and they won’t change because of the new arrival. You will love him in just the same way as before.
Before the baby is born, give your toddler permission to feel cross or jealous by telling them that a lot of toddlers feel this way. Once the baby is born tell your toddler often that your love for him has not changed. He is still as special and lovely as he ever was.
After your new baby arrives
You can use a doll that cries, and even goes to the toilet, to give to your child. He can then feel like mummy, and copy the different things that you do with the new baby, like feeding, changing and carrying.
Another good idea is to ask friends and relatives to come round and specifically spend some time talking to your toddler, rather than be with your new baby. If there are any incidents when your toddler becomes aggressive towards your new baby, make it very clear that this is unacceptable behaviour.
Give your toddler some involvement with your baby’s routines. Ask him to let you know when he thinks the new baby needs a feed. It would be unusual for your toddler to allow its sibling to cry for long, and he’ll enjoy the fact that you trusted him to look out for the baby’s needs.