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Old 14.09.2009, 00:28
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Elder kid react to newborn?

Just want to hear some experience sharing on this subject......

I have a 2-year old daughter and recently gave birth to a baby boy (3 weeks old). I read from quite a few books and thought I was well-prepared to handle the reaction of the elder to the new borne but it seems there're more complicated than I thought. My daughter couldn't talk yet so there's no way I could fully understand what she feels

Just wonder if any of you experience the similar situation or any suggestion to me....

- before I came home from hospital, she had the chance to see her brother when visiting me but everytime he was sleeping like an angel....So the first time she heard him crying at home, she was so frightened and cried till her body was completely shivering...

- she acts very uneasy everytime my husband holds her brother

- she lost her appetite drastically (not the normal appetite lost occasionally happening to baby). e.g. she used to have 3 bottles of milk everyday and now she rejects it completely. might be she think milk bottle is for baby only (she saw us feeding her brother with same bottle)?

- this morning, she vomited all of a sudden - some white watery liquid (without eating or drinking anything). This NEVER happens to her. She didn't cry but looks a bit afraid though, plus looking pale. The rest of the day, she gradually getting better and completely normal approaching evening..
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Old 14.09.2009, 08:16
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

No real advice - here are some suggestions:

- take her to your doctor and get her checked out just to make sure she is not unwell.

- let your husband focus on her, while you focus on the baby...and if you have other people that spend time with her, that she enjoys, get them involved also (we adopted two 'aunties' when our second child was born, they would come and spend time with the older once or twice a week)...

- reassure her as much as possible

- show her what she *can* do with her new sibling - touch/tickle his feet, bring nappy, rattle a toy, etc...

- make sure you are giving your first child some extra special times in the day - perhaps your husband can plan to take the baby out for a short walk each day while you focus on the older one for maybe half an hour - make it 'quality' time...

Oh, and the other word of warning - she will get used to the 'baby' but will very likely hit another tricky time when bubs gets old enough to crawl around and get into her 'stuff'...
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Old 14.09.2009, 09:31
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

Hello!

Not much advice from experince as we only have 1 child but my neighbour and friends recently gave birth to second child whilst having a 2.5 yrs old and the reaction to daddy holding the baby was also very strong. Seems like she understood mom had to do it but dad "had to be hers"

This lasted about 2-3 weeks and now it is back to normality (baby is 6 weeks old).

I am sure it is all temporary and will pass but I also second the suggestions given above (doctor, special time etc etc).

Can you maybe have the baby in the sling/baby carrier some time in the day so you are "free" to play with your daughter?

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Old 14.09.2009, 10:04
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

it has been said that to bring a new baby into the house is to be compares to papi coming home and bringing a new wife into the house.

everyone, including you and papi will go though an adjustment period to find out what everyones new role in the new family are.

don't let anyone tell you that she is "attention seeking", and meaning this in a bad way. she used to have about 110% of your attention, and now you are giving a LOT of your time to the baby.
one neighbour said that "our princess had been knocked off the throne by the new prince"

you can also tell her the benefits of being big - babys cant have ice cream, walk or talk etc.. and she is your "first born"..

it just is. in 3 years time they'll be scrapping like the rest of them

and the little boy is 3 weeks old! your hormones are still in lala land - just give everyone time.
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Old 14.09.2009, 10:25
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

I’ve seen similar reactions to that of your daughter before. The poor child probably just doesn’t know what has hit her. However much we explain to a child, even an older one who understands the words, ‘reality’ is a different story altogether. And even if she could talk, it is quite possible she wouldn’t be able to express her feelings – or perhaps, when she sees how much you love the new baby, dare to voice them.

The only advice I can pass on is to give her time – it is a real shock to realise that she now has to share the love and attention of her parents, grandparents and any visitors too with this newcomer who doesn’t do anything except, drink, sleep, cry and fill his nappies!

Children react in many ways, either retreating into themselves, becoming aggressive or maybe going back a step or two to being a ‚baby’ again. After all, you don’t get cross with the baby when he soils his nappies… As soon as she realises that this potential usurper is not taking her place and that you still have time for her, she will probably feel more settled and confident of your love and go ‘back to normal’.



I once read a reply to someone who was trying, unsuccessfully, to understand her child’s reaction when a sibling was born.
Imagine your husband comes home from work one day and says that although he still loves you very much, just the same as before, he now loves another lady too. She will be coming to live in the same house. She will need a lot of his attention and you’ll have to share your husband’s time with her. She’ll now sleep in his room; he’ll buy her special delicacies, pretty clothes, in fact, every she wants. He won’t be going out alone with you as much as before; indeed, he’ll be going out alone with his new lady friend instead. The whole day will be geared to his second ’wife’ and her wishes and you’ll just have to learn to wait until her every whim has been fulfilled before he has time for you.

I guess it wouldn’t be much comfort that he tells you that his feelings for you haven’t changed.


Rangatiranui beat me to it with this last thought!
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Old 14.09.2009, 10:42
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

you said it better
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Old 14.09.2009, 12:17
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

Not being a parent and all... have you explained to her yet her new and proud "position" of being the elder sybling yet? This may sweeten the blow a bit...
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Old 14.09.2009, 12:45
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

This sometimes works. Some are as proud as punch at the idea. But some then feel too much is expected of them. They don't want to be big yet. Some children resent being told 'you are a great help'; they want to be loved for what they are, not for what they do; whereas others love running and fetching. Basically you have to guess how the child feels - and the feelings may well change from minute to minute.

Some 'first' kids (I got this first-hand from an adult!) are very disturbed as they think they somehow didn't meet up with their parents' expectations. Otherwise, why on earth did their parents want another baby?

Their ways are not our ways and their thoughts are not our thoughts...
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Old 14.09.2009, 12:49
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

we found it important that they get 1 on 1 time with a parent too - and should be mum and some time as they see then that it's not just the mum ignoring them for the "new favorite"

also when folks come around and bring small presents for your baby, make sure you have a small stash for the elder child so they both get one - also helps with avoiding the jealousy thing

if it does get really bad make sure you don't leave them in the same room together - hopefully it doesn't get that far.... but best to keep a close eye on it to ensure...

it does pass eventually - especially when they get to do activities that the baby can't - that makes them feel more involved

good luck
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Old 14.09.2009, 15:11
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

Some good advice here; thought I would share an anecdote.

The difference between our two is more like 3.5 years, so our elder was talking when baby arrived. We thought we had prepped her, and she was excited to bring baby home. Then, after about 3 days of that, she asks, "When do we send the baby back to the hospital? I'm tired of her." So much for preparing her....
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Old 15.09.2009, 20:57
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

I also have to say that you should give it some time... it takes some getting used to! Our "big brother" just chose to ignore his baby sister when he was 2, but after about 4 weeks we found him sleeping on the floor under her crib one night... I like to think of that when they beat each other up nowadays
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Old 15.09.2009, 22:47
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

Firstly, congratulations on your new baby! One of each, so you get the full parenting experience.

Lots of good advice here. One practical thing you can do is get into the habit of actively putting the baby down to sleep in his cot/ basket in his room, rather than just letting him nod off anywhere like a cat.

That way, it frees you up to concentrate on your daughter without the constant presence of her brother snuffling away at the end of the sofa, and without the constant reminders of 'sshhh, remember your brother's sleeping, quiet, don't throw that there!' etc.

We did this with our daughter to give my then 4 yr old son a bit of space - and what do you know! Turns out babies will just drop off to sleep by themselves, right from newborn! Wish I'd known that first time round...

(If babies self-settling is equally unknown to you, at this age expect him to be awake for around an hour and and a half - he should feed, burp, change, stare vacantly around for about 15 mins or so and then as soon as he no longer wants to meet your eye - bang! That's your signal to kiss, cuddle, drop him in his cot and walk away. Miss that 10 minute window, and the next 2 hours are up the chute.)

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Old 17.09.2009, 15:13
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

I really feel for you -- because we went through exactly the same thing. Hopefully yours will not last as long.

My daughter was 20 months old when her brother was born. We had spent at least 2 months preparing her, talking to her about what was going on, getting her a toy newborn to 'practice', reading books about babies and siblings.

Nothing helped once he was born. She had an immediate intense revulson towards him. She changed completely overnight. She felt lost, sad and angry. She started waking up and screaming several times per night. Every time we walked with him into a room she would flinch and then scream "Take him out!". She lashed against me and would often hit me. For months she would not allow me to cuddle with her or put her to bed and during this time she developed a very strong bond with her father. She was extremely jealous when my husband would hold the baby. She said to me: "You have him and I have my dad".

We talked to our pediatrician first, then even to a psychologist. Whatever advice they gave us we followed, but we found that the only cure was time.

When her brother turned one, she started slowly playing with him. At first he irritated her most of the time because he was getting in her way and taking her toys. Then slowly she started liking him, perhaps because he adored her.

Now they are 4.5 and 3 and are literally inseparable. They share toys and teach each other and complement each other in many ways. I am finally relieved, but it took almost 2 years for all traces of jealousy to disappear.

My only advice: treat your firstborn like a secondborn as much as you can. And cheer up -- it will all pass!
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Old 20.09.2009, 23:38
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

thanks to all of you for the useful advices !

I have actually been practising some of the actions already and would try some others. I strong agree that 'time' would probably be the most effective 'cure' but currently my husband and I are facing 3 big challenges from the elder (my daughter) and we are currently doing some 'trial & error' to see if we could deal with it.

- she seems to have lost her appetite completely. She used to drink 700mL milk but now goes to zero and no daily products. She refuses most of the food we prepare even though she used to like... we're so worried that she will soon suffer from nutrition deficiency

- she turns to very bad temper 'all of sudden' in the past 2 weeks.....scream and cry for very little thing that doesn't go with her wish. We used to tell her off for bad behavior but now we're not sure if we should continue given the 'stress' she's facing (new brother...)

- we just finished toilet training successfully --PP training 3 weeks and Poo training 1 weeks before the brother was borne. pp training is able to be sustained but she kind of afraid of poo. She holds it really badly until she had tummy pain and shxx on the pants. We try to give her diaper to do the business but she is so confused because she doesn't feel like having it in day time (which is good) and meanwhile she is afraid to poo....we don't know what to do...

guess we have just to wait for time pass...
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Old 21.09.2009, 08:25
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

Lots of love, attention and involvement - but discourage any self-pity, or selfish and unruly behaviour - in the long run, if she goes down that route, she's just storing up more misery for herself. On the other hand, don't suppress her expressing how she feels! ( Hard being a parent isn't it!).

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Oh, and the other word of warning - she will get used to the 'baby' but will very likely hit another tricky time when bubs gets old enough to crawl around and get into her 'stuff'...
12/14 is quite tricky too. Our two love each other very much, and miss each other when they're away on school trips. But how they fight the rest of the time!
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Old 21.09.2009, 08:53
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

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- she seems to have lost her appetite completely. She used to drink 700mL milk but now goes to zero and no daily products. She refuses most of the food we prepare even though she used to like... we're so worried that she will soon suffer from nutrition deficiency
Just a suggestion but perhaps get your husband to take her to a restaurant and they can order a hot (or cold) chocolate milk each.

Dad and daughter can then enjoy spending some time together, daughter will feel like she is getting some kind of grown up special treat and you have the reassurance that she has got a glass of milk down her.

Thereafter, you can perhaps keep a tub of chocolate powder in the house and prepare a chocolate milk for your daughter every now and again if you feel her milk intake is lacking.

For the lack of appetite, I have found that getting my almost-three-year old to help me a bit preparing dinner works wonders. He thinks it's fantastic that he "cut" the mushrooms up (plastic knife, own chopping board and a chair to stand on) and even ate them at dinner.

Up until then he had refused point blank to even look at them, nevermind put them anywhere near his mouth.
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Old 21.09.2009, 11:18
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

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Just want to hear some experience sharing on this subject......
Congratulations on the birth of your baby. There is lots of advice here and varying opinions. Our eldest son was 25 months old when his younger brother was born. He came to visit us in the hospital and all he talked about on the way home were how good the donuts were that someone brought to the hospital.

But I have to say we had no problems at all. I tried to keep his routine constant, bought a double stroller and he sat in the front and was very proud. The older child was still sleeping in a crib and I was fine with that. Some parents make the mistake of putting the older child in a bed as they need the crib. We bought a second crib and that is where the baby slept.

I never told his older brother to be quiet when the baby was sleeping. This is the worst thing you can do, both for your toddler and the baby. Now his younger brother can sleep through anything.

Most everyone who visited and brought baby gifts also brought something for the older one. It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive, and I kept a small stash of things just in case.

Be very careful about leaving the baby in the room with your toddler even if it is just for a second.

Try to give your daughter lots of attention right now. This is probably what she needs most and the reassurance that her world has not turned completely updside down. Trying to stick to the routine that you had before, certain things that you did together, etc, that is important.

Our 2 year old still took afternoon naps so when baby napped I did too...there was no internet back then so I didn't have any forums for diversion.
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Old 21.09.2009, 13:14
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

Another good option to solve this matter could be to try to involve the elder daughter with the baby-caring routines. Give her the responsibility to feed the baby with baby's bottle, for example (of course, under your supervision), ask her to help you with washing the little one... simple tasks like that, rewarding and praising her for any care she gives to the baby, saying something like "I wouldn't did it without your help, thank you".
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Old 21.09.2009, 23:46
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

How about offering her a special gift and tell her it's welcome present from her baby brother.
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Old 22.09.2009, 12:41
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Re: Elder kid react to newborn?

I hope things are settling down a little with your daughter.

There are some excellent ideas on here and most of us love passing the tips which worked with our children, but please, let's not forget that each child is an individual. Even if we don't mean it this way, to a Mum who is under great stress, suggestions may come over as "if the poster does this or that, then the problem would be solved or not have arisen".

It cannot be said loudly or often enough that what works on one child, does NOT necessarily work on the next. What motivates one child, depresses the next. What challenges one child may be way too terrifying for another. What is comforting for one, may feel like 'babying' for another.

I could write a book about the things which should have had a positive outcome with my children or children I worked with - and didn't. And the 'wrong' or 'negative' things which happened which should have ended in a minor catastrophe but, to everyone's surprise, had a positive result.

Some babies cry more. Some less. Some babies stop crying when you pick them up. Others don't. Some 'first children' love helping. Some don't want to know. Some children lose their appetite when they are unhappy. Others eat more to compensate. Some 'first' children like being 'the big one'. Others want to go back to being cuddled like a baby and drinking from a bottle. Some children enjoy extra time with their Mum or Dad. Others reject it! 'I can do without you too'.

Sometimes it helps, if the child is old enough to communicate his/her wishes, to ask what he/she would like. Often we try to guess - and guess wrong.

I realise that none of this is going to help much.
However, I cannot resist the temptation to pass on the words of wisdom acquired through the years either.
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