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When three becomes more

When three becomes more

There are ways to smooth the transition for a big sister or brother. One is letting them feel as jealous as they want to.

Welcome back to the world where small things count, where you struggle to get some sleep and get your head around everything. But things are different now. This time you know that it really is a passing phase. You're more confident because you've been through it all before. But for your older child it's completely new and not entirely without complications. You might well see some jealousy.

That’s totally understandable. Your new baby doesn't always live up to their older sibling’s expectations. Who could have known that the new baby would steal all the limelight and wouldn’t even be good as a playmate?

But there are ways of smoothing the transition:

Spend time together

If possible, try to spend time together as a family in the early days. All of you need time to work through your new roles.

If your older child is jealous and miserable, she or he needs special attention from you and plenty of your time. That's the key to getting them to accept the baby and feel secure again.

A new role for dads

Often the dad can play a whole new role. If mum's busy with the new baby, it's quite common for the older child to turn to dad. But it's important for mum to have time for the older child too While Dad looks after the baby.

Here’s some more advice:

• Don’t make the older sibling feel guilty about feeling jealous. Say you understand. Talk about it. In this way, you can show your older child that all sorts of feelings are allowed but that certain kinds of behaviour are not, like hitting their baby brother or sister.
• To prevent the feeling that the newborn is getting all the gifts, many parents buy a present for their first-born from the new baby.
• You can also ask your relatives and friends to say hello to the older child first and then admire the new baby. They could even bring a little present for the older sibling.
• The best thing you can do is let your older children be involved as much as they want and as much as possible.
• Never make it seem like a problem to be the eldest.
• Never compare brothers and sisters with one another.
• Praise your child for any nice things they do for the baby.
• If possible, and if mum can cope, make sure the time you spend breastfeeding is enjoyable for the older child. Perhaps there's a special book you can read or some special bricks that the child can play with while you're feeding the baby.

Do you have any other tips? Share them here.

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