How to Help Big Siblings Adjust to a New Baby – Solly Baby

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How to Help Big Siblings Adjust to a New Baby

How to Help Big Siblings Adjust to a New Baby

Whether you’re welcoming your first baby or your fifth, adding a new member to your family is a big transition. That said, the more your family grows, the more people will need to adjust to having a new baby in the house.

A common concern for expecting parents of one or more is how big siblings will handle having a new brother or sister that requires round-the-clock care and attention—and that’s so valid! The adjustment for you as a parent is big enough. Imagine it with toddler-sized brains and emotions! Still, welcoming a new baby with big siblings in the picture doesn’t have to be intimidating. There are lots of small but significant ways that you can help prepare your older kids to welcome your youngest. Here a few suggestions to help ease the transition:

1. Don’t assume it will be hard for them
Maybe you’ve heard horror stories about older kids struggling to adjust to having a new baby around, but just like everything else, your child is their own person and will have unique responses to everything. Instead of automatically assuming that becoming a big brother or sister will be difficult, give them space to experience the transition however they need to.

2. Ask open-ended questions
Do this before baby comes and after as a way to give your older child(ren) space to express what they’re thinking and feeling. Some questions you might ask could be, “What do you think it will be like when we have a baby in the house?” And “Is there anything you’re wondering about or nervous about?”
Mom reaches down to caress toddler daughter while babywearing in the Solly Wrap

3. Narrate positive interactions
Reinforcing positive interactions between big siblings and the new baby by narrating them out loud in the moment. This not only affirms your older children, but encourages them to continue interacting with baby in those ways in the future. “Do you see the baby smiling? She really loves when you tickle her feet gently like that.

4. Spend one-on-one time together
A new baby inevitably requires a lot of your time and attention—some of which used to be reserved for their big siblings. Though it may be hard, try to find time to focus some of that attention back on the big sibs by planning some 1:1 time together. It doesn’t have to be fancy or long. Even if it’s just a grocery run, it’ll feel special (and easy!) to hang just the two of you.

5. Avoid blaming baby for your unavailability
Placing blame on baby when you can’t tend to their older sibling can create feelings of frustration and resentment. Instead of calling out the needs of baby “I can’t because baby needs [fill in the blank],” try letting the older sibling know when you will be able to help. “I would love to get your coloring supplies for you as soon as my hands are free.” 

 

@sollybabywrap The only thing better than baby snuggled up to you? Baby snuggled up to your other baby. 🥹 #NationalSiblingDay @Haley Moore ♬ original sound - Solly Baby

 

6. Wrap with them
Help older siblings adjust to baby by giving them opportunities to be a caretaker as well. While you’re wearing baby, have them wear their Solly Dolly with a baby doll or stuffed animal. They’ll feel a sense of ownership taking care of their own baby alongside you. If they aren’t interested in wearing a stuffed animal, offer to let them wear the new baby in your wrap with your supervision.

7. Talk to baby about big sibling
Encourage and affirm big sibling’s new role by calling out specific characteristics or actions while they’re within earshot. Say something like, “Do you see your sister painting over there? Her rainbow is beautiful. Maybe she’ll teach you to paint one day.” Or “Wow, thank you for getting the diaper bag for me. Isn’t big brother so helpful?”

8. Invite them to help, but don’t force it
There’s nothing sweeter than a big brother or sister who feels protective over “my baby.” Give them opportunities to help care for their little sibling and feel like they have an important role to play in your family dynamic, but don’t create pressure. Let them know what you’re doing and provide options to assist such as, “I’m going to change baby’s diaper now. Would you like to be in charge of getting wipes or do you want to keep reading your book?”

9. Tell them stories about when they were a baby
This helps them not only relate to their new sibling, but creates an opportunity to direct attention towards them as well. For example, when you put baby in a hand-me-down outfit that your big used to wear, you might say something like, “I remember when you were a little baby and you used to wear this outfit. You were wearing it the first time we took you to the zoo and we took a picture of you next to the giraffes!”

 

 

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