5 Things to Avoid When Having a Second baby With a Toddler
Having a second child is often much easier as compared to baby number one. This is because you do not fear the unknown or how to take care of your baby. However, along with this confidence comes with its share of challenges. As you will soon learn, not all that worked for baby number one will work for baby number two.
Life is also dramatically different from one baby as compared to two. Bringing in baby number two will affect you in many ways. It will affect you in two major ways:
- Physically – as a mother, you are likely to be very tired after delivery and sore. This is especially so if you have delivery problems or even a C section. This might also pose challenges breastfeeding more especially at night.
- Emotionally – you might find yourself worried about bonding with your child. The worry might be whether you will be able to bond with this baby as you did with the firstborn. As a fact, your love is bound to increase or double after delivering your second child.
After delivering your second baby, if you can succeed to make your toddler happy, then you will have a smooth ride. For this reason, it is crucial for you to understand your toddler’s reaction to your newborn baby.
A little sis/bro might look like a threat to your toddler. From his point of view, you used to give him all the attention, comfort and time. You would often respond to his first cry. All of a sudden, all that attention seems directed towards this tiny baby. Besides that, he is suddenly expected to act grown up. It is very normal for your toddler to feel out of place for a while. Your toddler is likely to blame the new baby in the house for this sudden change.
Most toddlers are likely to change too according to the new changes in the family. Suddenly he might appear to might have forgotten how to use the potty. He will not be able to feed himself anymore. Sometimes, he will be crying in equal measure with the new baby. All that your toddler is doing is trying to inform you that a baby and he needs your attention.
As a parent, you will expect your toddler to wait for you to take care of the newborn baby before you can attend to him. But your toddler will not understand that. Therefore, as a parent of 2, you need to prepare yourself accordingly.
There are no two human beings that are exactly alike! Not even symmetrical twins. Raising children that are years apart means dealing with two people who have different needs. However, both have a common ground; they need your attention equally.
Second Child More Attractive
It is a well-established truth that there will always be a better-looking child in the family. This is especially true when there is more than one child in the family. As parents, you can produce good looking children yes, but there will be one who is prettier than the rest.
For instance, in the case of Beyonce and Salonge, it is no brainer that Beyonce is better looking than Salonga. However, it is not always the second born who will be better looking. There are exceptions.
Pros of Having a Second Child
The following are the merits of having a second child:
- Baby number one will get someone to play with. When the children are playing together, it gives you more time to do your things. You can have free time to clean the house, shower, watch your favorite TV show; shave your legs, read a book among other activities.
- More fun in the house – the more the children in the house, the more the fun there will be. You will have more games to play with your kids, more hugs, cuddles and tickles, bigger Christmas, pillow fights and so much more.
- Love will double – as a parent; your love is likely to increase when baby number two comes. From the first time you smell him and hear him cry, your love will grow.
- Kids helping each other – besides baby one playing with baby two, baby one will help baby two to read, do homework, take care of him as they get older. You will have some responsibilities off your shoulder as baby number one will help you in taking care of baby number two.
Cons of Having a Second Child
- More messes and screams – just as it is fun to have two kids in the house, it also means you will be having more trouble. There will be more screams in the house, more puke on your shirt, more poop, more madness. In short, you will be having more of everything bad in your house.
- Sibling rivalry – just as the two will be adorably playing together, most of the time they are likely to be involved in an argument, fights and small brother rivalry. You will have more cases to handle in the house.
- Baby number one refusing to play with baby number two – sometimes the older child will refuse to play with the younger baby. The older child will feel like a grown-up and does not want a baby to be involved in his play. This will leave you with the younger baby to care for.
- Baby one will refuse to help baby two with reading – as baby one becomes older, he will feel like the stories for the younger child are so boring to read for his brother. Baby one is also likely to refuse to share a bed with baby two hence you will be forced to look for separate sets of everything for each child.
There are two sides to every coin. Baby number two comes with the following challenges:
Second Child Syndrome
Second child syndrome refers to the behavioral changes in the second child due to the different upbringing method. The second child is mostly affected by the presence of other children. It mostly occurs when a parent pampers the younger child and assigns all the duties to the older child. Most of the time the pampered child will not directly show his character but it can be seen in his behavior.
Not all second-born children suffer from this syndrome. However, if as a parent you show a lot of favoritism, the syndrome is likely to occur.
A child that is suffering from the second born syndrome will have the following signs:
(i) Low self-esteem and jealousy – if you like comparing your second born to the firstborn, he is likely to develop low self-esteem. It mostly happens when the second child is naughtier as compared to the older and in such cases, you will tell him to learn from the older one. When you compare them, it makes the second born to become jealous of the older one. As a parent, as much as possible you should avoid comparing your children because it will lead the second born to become jealous and have low self-esteem.
(ii) He feels nothing is expected of him – if you do not appreciate your child whenever he does something, he will feel that nothing is expected of him. It makes him feel that he is not good at anything. He will end up feeling that he should not be assigned any duties.
(iii) Hates comparison – every time you try comparing your children, the younger will take offense. Mostly he will do the opposite of what you expect of him. The second born is likely to develop emotional issues when he is compared with the older child. If you do not give equal attention to your second born, he will become demotivated. Ensure that you do not compare your children and you assure your second-born that he is equally loved and appreciated in the family.
(iv) Introvert or extrovert – when the second born is not given enough attention, he closes to himself and isolates himself and mostly end up becoming an introvert. He will start shying away from people and avoid making friends. An extrovert, on the other hand, opens expresses his frustrations. He becomes easily angry even on small matters.
(v) Sibling rivalry – one of the most common second born syndrome sign is sibling rivalry. Your child might not fight like enemies but they will never agree even on a simple thing. They mostly develop negative feelings towards each other. The firstborn might try to love the second born but the younger will never appreciate the love.
(vi) Try to get your attention – your second-born might fight to get your attention at all times. He will always be asking questions or seeking your help even in simple things. He will refuse to do anything independently but will want your help or from someone else. He might also do mischievous things as long it will get your attention.
Things to Do
The following are some of the things you can do before you get your second baby:
1. Plan ahead
To help your toddler from feeling that the second baby is taking his place, ensure that you plan before the second baby arrives. If you are going to change your toddler’s room so that the newborn can sleep there, make sure that you do it early enough. Explain to your toddler what you are doing. Ensure that your toddler understands that the new baby is not taking his cot.
Also, make sure that your toddler knows how to feed himself and use the potty. However, if your toddler cannot learn this before the new baby arrives, do not push him. Remember that even if he learns these things, he might act he does not know them once the new baby comes so as to get your attention.
Most importantly, make sure that your toddler has playmates. This will help him develop social skills that he can use once the second baby arrives.
2. Breaking the News
Know the right time when to tell your toddler that he will be having a small baby. Wait until he can see the changes in your body and tell explain to him. Ensure that you talk more often about the new baby to come. This will help him get prepared and accept him when he comes. You can also take your toddler to the clinic or visit a friend with a newborn baby. All these preparations will help your toddler know that he will be having a little bro/sis.
If you are planning to have your baby in the hospital, start talking about the visit long before the due date. Tell your toddler what will happen to him while you are away. Your toddler might require some time to adjust. When you finally go to the hospital, assign your toddler something to look after. This will keep in engaged until you return.
It is paramount for your toddler to feel secure. If you handle him carefully, you will have a lot of easy time in the family. Ensure that your toddler feels good and secure around your newborn baby. When he feels good at this tender age, it will build his confidence even in adulthood.
Your toddler needs to continue feeling loved, wanted and appreciated in the family. When the new baby arrives, you can make your toddler feel loved by allowing his granny to spend some time with him. Grannies know how to make their grandchildren loved and appreciated. Most importantly, when you are not looking after the newborn, spend some quality time with your toddler. Do not let him struggle to get your attention.
4. Accepting the Secondborn
A toddler feels good, responsible and important in the family when he gets a chance to hold the newborn baby. Encourage your toddler to hold the new baby as often as possible. However, ensure that you are close by so that he will not drop the baby. The safest way to help your toddler hold the baby is to let him sit on your lap as he holds the baby.
By involving your toddler in caring for the new baby will not only help him accept the new baby faster, but also it will allow you to spend more time with your toddler. It will also make him feel like a responsible elder brother.
Never leave your toddler alone with the newborn baby. The toddler might try to share food with the baby which might harm your baby. Furthermore, if the baby starts to cry, the toddler might rock the pram in an attempt to make the baby stop crying and overturn the pram hence injuring your baby.
Ensure also that you get a baby carrier which you can use to carry the baby around. But never allow the toddler to handle the carrier with the baby in it.
It is important that you do not make your toddler feel rejected after the second baby arrives. But also you need some quality time with your newborn baby. You need to strike a balance between the two. Give your toddler time to adjust to the new reality in the family and you will enjoy the expansion of your family.
Toddlers play a significant role in your new baby’s life. Therefore, do not leave him out. The following are some ways you can help your toddler feel part of the new baby’s life:
- Find a gift that he can give to the new baby. It can be an old toy or book. However, ensure that you give him a new gift as a replacement for the one he gave away.
- Create special time for you and your toddler. It might be time to help him with his homework or read him his favorite story. During the time that you spend with your toddler, let the dad look after the new baby.
- Assure your toddler of his place in the family. Tell him that he is the elder brother to the new baby. This will make him feel responsible and appreciated.
- Let your toddler play a role in the baby’s care. You can allow him to hold the baby from time to time or send him for a diaper or cloth from another room. You can also allow him to dance around the baby when he comes home for the first time. This will make your toddler accept the new baby faster and even love him.