The addition of a second child in the family has this bittersweet component. There is something very special about the first child that teaches you how to be a parent. When you are on the brink of shifting all the family dynamics there is often a sense of grief as you expand to include the new babe. It will all be about more love, even on a physical level your body creates more oxytocin receptors the more children you have – and your first child will now have a small sibling that will adore them, but in that moment before it all evolves there is a little sadness in leaving behind the familiar.
One of the opportunities in this shift is that the partner is usually given a chance to have a greater connection with the older child, perhaps taking over bed times or having special outings to give mother and baby a chance to sleep. Usually this new love affair is very satisfying to the older child and allows the mother and baby to have some pleasurable time to greet and get to know one another.
If there is jealousy it is challenging because compassion for your first-born and a natural protective stance for your baby are conflicting sensations. There are a couple of great remedies for the sense of abandonment or competition that may arise as a family expands.
- For a child that is weepy, clingy, can’t allow anyone but mom to put them to bed.
- Refuses to do anything on their own – eat, dress, go to the bathroom – things they are capable of doing and were previously engaged in.
- Wants to sleep with parents
- Has no interest in going to daycare or having any type of babysitter besides parents.
- Will get fevers and ear infections in this time as a symptom of distress
- Children that react fiercely to a new baby
- can be violent to the baby, the pets, themselves or their parents
- bite, use strong language about the baby – “I hate that baby!” etc.
- wants to stay up late with the parents and get their own time in with them
- can have severe tantrums and rage attacks – definite intensity to their emotions
- will regress in terms of eating, toilet training and sleeping
- lots of mischief when mom is nursing or feeding the baby
There are a range of remedies to assist your family through these types of transitions and if you need further assistance in prescribing feel free to contact me at www.pipermartin.com. I offer both online and in person consultations.