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Bringing Home Another Baby
by Rebecca Garland

 

Your first baby shifts your world completely. Things that were once so simple become more complicated, and your learning curve feels very steep. Finally, you get the new little one figured out and start to really enjoy parenthood. “This isn’t so bad,” you think, “Maybe we should do it again.” And suddenly you’re preparing to bring home your second baby.

The Second Child
The second child comes home to a totally different environment than your first. Your first-born child got undivided attention in an almost silent home. It’s entirely possible he was held, rocked and cuddled almost his entire existence until you could force yourself to put him down for playtime or a nap. Your second, unfortunately, probably won’t enjoy the same luxuries.

You love your second child just as much as the first, but the needs and demands of your child already at home will severely limit the time you can sit around admiring the newborn. It’s also highly unlikely your home will ever be silent again.

Your world adjusted to accommodate your first baby, and your second comes into a world that is already going full steam ahead. Parents of young children everywhere agree that making the baby fit into your current routine is far better than trying to change that of the older child. This may be why second children are almost always better sleepers.

Sibling Rivalry
The hardest part of the second baby isn’t the sleepless nights – you’re already experienced in that. In fact, although every baby is different, you will be amazed at how much more comfortable you are with your tiny newborn than you were with your first. With all this experience in dealing with babies, your challenge will be dealing with the sibling.

As all parents do, you jumped face first into parenting, presumably voluntarily. Your older child will be jumping into a role that he or she may not want.

And the worst part is, he or she may not realize it until after baby is home. Many older children act so perfectly around the baby for the first few days that parents breathe a sigh of relief and relax thinking they’ve dodged this bullet.

While a blessed few do get this lucky, most begin to see signs of jealousy and anxiety after the first few days. New parents are already so tired their anxiety over the interaction between the two children can feel almost overwhelming.

When your older child begins to question the desirability of the newcomer, do everything in your power to help him adjust. He may express his doubts through whining, tantrums, mournful looks and unrelenting demands. Validate his feelings and avoid making him feel bad for not being excited about the baby. Give him special jobs and reward him with attention and gifts for being such a great big brother. Find special time to play together, even if the dishes have to wait.

Things change dramatically with a new baby. Parents are managing more than just a newborn and an older child, they have to manage them together. The older child is trying to process the changes to his once perfect existence and deal with his emotions. His parents are there to provide support and loving help while they try to find their own balance.

Fortunately, there is one person in the house blissfully unaware of the drama the rest of the family is wrapped up in. The second child sleeps, eats and plays completely unconcerned that her arrival has changed so much for everyone else. She simply needs love, and despite his misgivings, her older brother will soon love her as much as her parents do. It may be a rough beginning, but sooner than you think, your newly expanded family will be completely perfect.

 

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