Ten Tips for When the Next Baby Comes Along

After baby number two arrives things may get a little tense between you and your toddler.

Let's put yourself in your toddler's shoes for a moment … You're the centre of attention and all your needs are met the moment you demand them! Cuddles when you need them, sitting on a knee to have stories anytime and food as requested, then all of a sudden your mummy goes away for a few days and life just isn’t the same.

Mum and dad bring back a little bundle that may cry night and day and demands her instant attention. Your mummy seems tired and she doesn't spend time with you like she used to. She gets cranky at things that normally didn't matter and you have to try really hard to get her to notice you and give you the attention you were used to.

This can be a difficult time for all the family but there's a few things you can try to help make life a little less stressful:

  • Avoid making any changes in your toddler’s life either two months before or two months after a new baby arrives. This could include things like toilet training, changing from a cot into a bed, starting day care and moving house.
  • Introduce your toddler to visitors as the big brother or sister not the baby as their little baby. This makes your toddler feel important.
  • Use a toddler feeding bag. This is a small collection of your toddler’s popular food choices (not junk), favourite books that they can look at alone or with you, puzzles that are age appropriate, a new toy from the baby, easy to use drink bottle of water and a short dance or music DVD. Have all these items in an easy to open bag or box that your toddler brings out only at baby’s feed time, then puts it away when feed time is finished.
  • Have your toddler fetch and carry things for you; it makes him feel important and a valuable member of the family team.
  • Don’t push your toddler away from being with you and the baby. Instead, help him to be involved and show him the behaviour that you expect. Just telling your toddler to be gentle and not poke the baby’s eyes will not be enough. Show him how and where is acceptable to touch the baby such as stroking her head or feet.
  • Read books together about families i.e There's a House in Mummy's Tummy
  • Ensure child safe areas for your toddler to roam in when you are breastfeeding.
  • Give your toddler attention when the baby is up not only when she is asleep.
  • Keep your toddler’s life as routine as it was before the baby was born. If you don't have a routine, it will be a good time for you to establish one. Routines eBook has routines for babies and toddlers.
  • Give extra cuddles and make eye contact at your toddler’s eye level.
  • Understand that your toddler’s world has changed and for a while he may regress for a short time with more night waking, toilet accidents (if previously toilet trained), and food refusal. Hang in there and keep your cool while encouraging acceptable behaviour, it will pass.

    Jan Murray has been committed to studying and working as a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Child Health Nurse for over 25 years. Jan has a bachelor of Behavioural Science, is a mother and nanna, who co-founded and directs Settle Petal. Jan provides information and support for parents to develop their knowledge base and confidence.

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