Getting a new sibling

Welcome back to the world where little things mean a lot and you don't always get enough sleep. The difference for you this time is that you know what to expect. For your older child, it's all new and might be a bit of a challenge.

Some older siblings fall in love with their new little brother or sister at first sight, only to wish after a while that you would give the baby back to the hospital.

It's completely understandable if the older child feels jealous. The new baby doesn't always meet the older sibling's expectations. How was it to know that the baby would get so much attention and would be useless as a playmate? Also read about: Further reading: When siblings fight

Sibling jealousy can be resolved with love, understanding and attention
If possible, try to spend the first few days together as a family. You all need to get used to your new roles. If the older child is jealous and upset, it needs to be given love and attention. Then it will start feeling secure again and find it easier to accept the younger sibling.

A new role for the father or partner
Often the father or partner gets a completely new role when the new baby arrives. If the mother is busy with the new baby, the older sibling will often seek out the other parent. This can be wonderful because they can do activities more suited to the older sibling's age while the mother is busy, for example when she is breastfeeding.

Here are some more tips for supporting a jealous sibling:
• Make sure the older child does not feel guilty for being jealous. Say you understand how it feels. Talk about it. This shows the older child that all feelings are allowed, but not all behaviours. For example, it is not okay for the child to hit its little sibling.

• The best thing you can do is include the older child as much as possible and as much as it wants when you are with the baby.

• Praise the child for all the nice things it does for its little sibling.

• Always make the child feel that being the older sibling is an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

•  Many parents give the older sibling a present from the baby, so that not only the newborn gets presents.

• Ask friends and relatives to greet the older sibling before admiring the baby. They could also bring a small gift for the older child.

• If possible, make the breastfeeding sessions an enjoyable time for the older sibling too. The father could read a story to the older child or play a fun game outside, or the older sibling could sit and do something quiet next to the mother while she is breastfeeding.

Further reading: Tips for dealing with sibling jealousy 
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