Falling In Love Again With Your First Born

Falling In Love Again With Your First Born

I remember sitting with Matt just before Gracie was born saying, “How will we ever love another baby as much as Tilly?” says Penny Attiwill, mother of 5 year old Tilly and eighteen month old Gracie.

According to psychologist, Rosalie Pattenden, a senior counsellor with Relationships Australia, feelings of anxiety that a second child will never be as special as the firstborn are common. She says, “I see many couples who wonder whether they are doing the right thing having another child at all.”

If you are considering (or already expecting) another baby, you will welcome Ms Pattenden’s reassurance that ‘love is like a chocolate cake – and we have a whole chocolate cake for every person in our lives, we don’t have to divide it. There is enough love for everybody. However, you might also be dismayed (or relieved, if you already have a second child) to learn how normal it is for your unadulterated feelings of tenderness towards your first-born to evaporate into frustration and irritation as you fall in love with your new baby.

Penny Attiwill says, “the first few months were hard work trying to juggle Tilly’s feelings while I sat for hours and breastfed, and Gracie needed the majority of my attention. Just as Gracie latched on, Tilly would say, “what can I eat, I’m hungry?”, and I would find myself snapping, “can’t you just wait!”

Betty Chetcuti, psychologist and mother of two was completely shocked to discover she had ‘fallen out of love’ with her firstborn. She explains, “there was a point when I felt that all my love had been transferred from Nicholas (my firstborn) to Liam (the baby). Nicholas became the bad boy – I was tired and stressed and I was always upset with him. Chetcuti’s wakeup call came when she was watching a video of her children. She says, “Liam (the baby) was standing doing nothing for about five minutes and there was Nicholas in the background whimpering ‘Mummy, Mummy’ the whole time. I had panned the video towards him for a moment and offered some superficial praise, then focused straight back on the baby.”

Chetcuti, who now shares her hard won mothering skills along with her professional knowledge through ‘Being a Mother’ workshops, went into action to rekindle the flames with her older child. She says, one thing that helped was a drawing I made of a sun with Nicholas’ name in the middle. Each day, I wrote down all the good things he did at the end of the rays – for instance, if he wanted to share his toast, instead of being annoyed I would write down ‘sharing’. This helped me change my perception so I was focusing on the positives instead of being hypersensitive all the time, and really taking time to notice Nicholas helped me fall in love with him again.

Penny Attiwill’s tip for keeping love growing as your family grows is letting the first child help with pushing the pram and baths and nappies so that they feel they’re really involved. In a way, watching Tilly do those things made me love her even more. She was so gentle and proud of her new sister that my appreciation of her as an individual deepened.

Learning to love again:

  • Look at your first-born’s photo album to remind you how adorable (and agreeable) she used to be – and will be again soon.
  • Give yourself time with each child separately. Taking turns with your partner, rather than simply handing the older child over to him, will help you both bond with each child.

Remember, if you had a close, loving relationship with your first child there is every reason to believe those loving feelings will return.

 
Last Updated: February 21, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Parenting Editor, Author, Infant Massage Instructor & Mum of five


6 comments

  1. This article was very helpful. It brought tears to my eyes. I just had my second child February 7, 2015. And I have 4yr old. I often feel frustrated when she demands attention at the same time or when she climbs on my back when I’m trying to burp the baby. But she is my first born and I love her with all my heart. So I will follow this advice and focus on how much joy she brought to our lives since the moment I found out I was pregnant so that our relationship can be the same as before the baby was born ♡

  2. I have the same feelings.. Its such a impossible thing to admit. I feel like a terrible mother. I have a 4month old and a almost 5yr old. My 5year old irritates me a lot.. She’s just trying to get more attention. She sometimes wakes up unexpectedly and just cries inconsolably. She never admits why she cries but I know it’s because she is still adjusting to the change..shes sad.. It breaks my heart. Whatever this is.. My feelings need to change. I will try your tips

  3. What if your a single mother. How do you keep that bond with your first born gain a bond with the new born and of course work. All without losing your mind?

  4. This article is really helpful. I’m also facing this.I have a new baby aging 20days and another of 3years. In the first few days after returning from hospital,While I was breastfeeding my new one,my elder child was looking at us with a sad eyes,now he is busy with his father.he plays,he eats,he do everything ,which he usually did with me,do with his father. but now,when my new member felt asleep,I give time to my elder son.I do some flirt,sometimes play with him,and now gradually he is becoming normal with me. 🙂

  5. I dont understand the video reference. Im sure she has magnitudes of videos and photos of her first born doing nothing special. The 2nd born deserves some photos ect of his life too.

Leave a Reply

Please note: in order to prevent spam and inappropriate language, all comments are moderated before they appear. We appreciate your patience awaiting approval. BellyBelly receives many comments every day, and we are unable to approve them all as soon as they are posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

loaded font roboto