There’s nothing quite like adding a new baby to the mix, sending your entire life (as you knew it) into chaos.
“Babies are so lovely! Let’s have another!”, you thought.
Of course, you’d forgotten about how much they love being awake at night, how much time they spend breastfeeding and how wretch-inducing those dirty nappies can be.
You’ll never get to experience that first baby shock again, because a second baby is very different.
Becoming a mother of two (or three or more) simply isn’t as big a change as becoming a mama for the first time.
Remember how terrifying it was when you were left alone with your first born for the first time?
You won’t feel that fear this time around. You’re already a pro.
That’s not to say the transition will be smooth, however, particularly for the youngest member of the family.
All of a sudden, your first born who has enjoyed only child status up until now will be vying for your attention at every turn.
Even the most communicative self-assured child will struggle with the big change in their life. It’s not easy becoming a big brother or sister.
10 Things Your First Born Wants You To Know
At times, your first born may seem unlovable as you struggle with daily outbursts and tantrums (your first born’s, not yours).
When those stressful moments wash over you, here are some things your first born really needs you to remember:
#1: “I Need Reassurance That You Still Love Me”
Whilst you may think that your unconditional love is a given, that might not be how your first born sees things.
If you seem snappy, tired and short tempered, your first born is unlikely to put it down to being tired.
In fact, she’s likely to assume it’s all about her.
In order to make sure your first born still feels loved, you need to tell her and, more importantly, show her that she is loved.
#2: “I Miss You, Mama”
I know, you’re sat right in front of her on the sofa, how can she possibly miss you? But, you know what? She does.
She misses you with every fibre of her being. Why?
Because she hasn’t had you to herself since the baby arrived.
She misses having your full attention. She misses you not being tired.
If you’re still physically recovering from the birth, she probably misses you chasing her around the house.
She misses it just being the two of you.
Must read: check out the very touching Loving Two poem.
#3: “I Need Some Time With Just You”
It might feel impossible when you have a new baby to care for, but you should carve out some time to spend just the two of you.
Make sure your baby is fed, changed and asleep and then handover to dad for some bonding time so you can reconnect with your first born. You can stay close to the baby so you can dash in if needed, but do try to go into a separate room so your first born feels she has you all to herself.
Use this time to reconnect with your first born using play. Do whatever it is you two love to do together. It doesn’t really matter what you do, the important thing is that your first born feels special for a little bit.
Try to make time to do this each day where possible.
#4: “These Big Emotions Are Scary Sometimes”
You probably spent the best part of nine months trying to prepare your first born for the new baby. Hopefully, that groundwork will have made the transition easier for everyone, but it still won’t be hassle-free.
A new baby brings with it plenty of big emotions. Your first born is desperately trying to work out her new place in the family. She’s not the baby anymore and she’s busy trying to work out what this means. She is frustrated and scared and angry, but she’s also loving and happy.
There are plenty of big emotions and whilst it would be great if the two of you could sit down and talk things through, that isn’t going to happen. These emotions are so big your first born can’t vocalise them, so instead she’s showing you how she feels.
#5: “I’m Still Your Little Girl (Or Boy)”
Those big emotions we just talked about? They can make your first born do some pretty terrible things.
You might find her acting out, throwing tantrums and generally making your life more difficult. And when your undercarriage is littered with stitches and your nipples are chapped, you probably don’t have much in the way of patience.
This isn’t helped by the fact that your first born suddenly seems a lot bigger to you. Overnight, you expect her to act older and be more mature, but she’s still little.
Try to remember how young she is and remind yourself that she’s expressing her big emotions in the only way she knows how.
#6: “What You Say Impacts How I Feel, Mama”
These first few months are important for your first born and the new baby. They are laying the foundations of their future relationship, one you want to be strong and loving.
Think carefully about the words you use and how you treat your first born. Try to avoid creating situations that could cause your first born to resent the new baby.
Don’t expect her to do more simply because there is a new baby in the house. Instead, make sure all of your big sister talk is focused on the positives.
Give plenty of compliments and big up the good times they have together, don’t lay it on thick when something goes wrong. Remember, she’s trying her best to be a great big sister, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.
#7: “I Feel Left Out Sometimes”
As you’ve probably noticed, the new baby is pretty much always attached to you.
She’s on your boob, in your arms and enjoying your attention all day long. Your first born notices this.
And when you snap at your first born because she’s being noisy or not doing what you want, she notices that you and the baby are still cuddling. Make sure you save plenty of cuddles for your biggest kid, too.
Get her involved with the new baby so she feels included. She can help out with nappy changes and can entertain the baby for you. Give plenty of compliments and make sure she knows what a great job she’s doing.
#8: “I Need Time To Bond”
Somebody new just rocked up and turned her life upside down and that’s going to take some getting used to. Create as many opportunities as you can to allow your children to bond.
In the early days, this can mean skin-to-skin.
Your first born will love cuddling the baby. It can be slightly terrifying for you, especially since your newborn looks so delicate compared to your first born, but you can make it safe by staying close.
Give them lots of opportunity for cuddles. Bath them together, read them stories together and get the baby involved in any role play games your first born likes to play.
#9: “New Babies Aren’t Really That Fun…”
You tried to prepare her for this in advance, but it’s not easy to get a small child to understand what it means to feed, sleep and poop all day long.
Hell, you’re probably a bit surprised by just how repetitive it all is and you’ve done it before!
Your first born misses being the spontaneity of life before the baby.
She misses being able to scream and shout and make a lot of noise.
Life is different now and she’ll need time to adjust to the change.
Luckily for you, babies don’t stay ‘boring’ for long and pretty soon that tiny newborn will be clambering around the room desperate to keep up with your first born.
#10: “I’m Doing My Best To Be A Great Big Sister Or Brother”
When you’re feeling downtrodden by the daily struggles, you should sit down and write a list of the positives.
Try to think about all the times you’ve felt proud of how she’s adapting to life as a big sister. The times she has tried to soothe your crying baby, the times she has helped without being asked and the look of pride on her face when she gets to cuddle the new baby.
And, if you need further reassurance, just look at the way the baby looks at her. It’s pretty much guaranteed that the baby you grow, birthed and fed will save her biggest and best smiles for your first born.
Just look at the way the baby looks at her – she’s already an amazing big sister.
Recommended Reading: 7 Books To Prepare Your Children For A New Baby.