How to Reduce New Baby Jealousy

The way you introduce your child to your new baby will impact the likelihood your child will be jealous.
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Your beloved firstborn will likely be super-excited for mommy and daddy to bring home a new baby--until that baby is actually here. Then, when your child realizes that she’s not the main attraction anymore, you may have a problem on your hands. It’s important to take steps to reduce jealousy over the new little bundle of joy by following a few key dos and don’ts.

Do These Things to Reduce Feelings of Jealousy

1. Keep your older child’s routine the same, if possible.

If you think you need to change it, do it before the new baby comes. Children thrive on structure, and if you start changing things after the birth, your big guy might associate it with the new baby--which could lead to resentment.

2. Show your older child lots of affection as soon as you get home from the hospital. Instead of immediately introducing her to the new baby right away, give your child a minute of positive attention. Do the same if your older child comes to the hospital. Make sure to give her a little bit of affection so she doesn't feel completely left out when everyone is doting on the baby.

3. Inform your child that, at first, this new baby will cry and sleep a lot. Even if you end up with the world’s easiest baby, it will probably seem to your firstborn that the little one does cry and sleep a lot! Tell your older child that this is the baby’s way of talking, and engage the firstborn in figuring out what the new baby needs.

Don’t Do These Things that Could Make Jealousy Worse

1. Don’t tell your firstborn that you love him so much that you decided to have another. This could make him fear that you’re replacing him! After all, imagine if your husband said he loves so much that he wants to find another wife just like you. Rather, you can tell your little one that there’s enough love in your family for you to love him just as much as you always have, as well as another little baby.

2. Don’t panic whenever your older child gets near the baby. While your older child may not know his strength, and he may not know how fragile a new baby is, he doesn’t have bad intentions. When he gets close, supervise and teach your firstborn how to gently love on his new baby brother or sister.

Show him to how to “help” you carry the baby to the couch for a feeding session by cradling the new baby in his arms while you hold most of the baby’s weight. Ask him to bring him diapers, wipes or a baby toy, so he feels like he’s being helpful and responsible.

3. Don’t ask your firstborn to be a “big boy” or “big girl.” She will likely rebel by reverting to baby-like characteristics. This isn’t the time to start potty training or retire the pacifier. Expect regression, and be prepared for it. 

If you put yourself if your firstborn’s shoes, it’s easy to understand how hard it is to let go of being the one and only. If you make time to give your older child one-on-one attention, while still giving the new baby the love and attention she deserves, you can ease the transition to become a happy, loving family.

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