It is a big decision to make, the decision to add to the family. A lot or parents set out to have a baby, and they succeed. Then, the baby grows up into a toddler and then a child, and the parents are wondering what happened. They are wondering who came and stole all the time from them, because suddenly, their little newborn they just brought home from the hospital is now an independent little person and they get sad. They miss the newborn days, the smell and sight of a new little baby.
This usually means that they will begin discussions about adding to their family. The statistics tell us that people are waiting until they are older to have children, which means that inadvertently, their children are closer in age. They only have so much time, so it is usually important for them to try pretty quickly if they do want more children.
One of the biggest concerns for parents in this situation is how their first-born will react to a new sibling. If they will react well to the news, or if they will feel like they have been replaced and that they are no longer the baby in the family. A new addition is bound to have an impact on the older sibling, but it is impossible to say for sure exactly what and how bad that impact will be.
There are signs that the first born is just not ready yet for a new brother or sister, so we are here to discuss them. We will also discuss some ways to help them adjust to the new baby, because at the end of the day it is the parent’s decision to have more children, and they will just have to hang on for the ride.
15 Watch How They Handle Jealousy
The biggest concern a lot of parents have when it comes to bringing in another baby is they worry that their first child will show an ugly side of jealousy. This fear is well justified because jealousy is a major problem when it comes to introducing a new baby. There are thousands of resources available to help a family who is struggling with some jealousy from their older child. If you need to assess whether your little one has a jealous-streak, then the best thing you can do is test it out.
Do you have a friend who just had a baby? Or at the very least someone younger than your little one? Invite them over and spend some time with the little one while your child is in the room.
Watch how they react to a smaller baby getting all of their mom’s attention. If they react negatively, it is also a great teaching tool, and you can help your little one adjust by having frequent visits with smaller babies to help them get used to the idea of sharing mom.
Jealousy can be a big problem because it may lead to your older child regressing in development or acting out in a negative way as they try and gain more of mom’s attention.
14 Are You Ready?
We have to sneak one in here for the parents. We often think that the hardest adjustment happens to our child, but sometimes it is hard for mom to adjust as well and we need to take that into consideration.
Some moms, even though they want another baby so bad, are wary because they are the ones afraid of losing the special times they have with their first-born.
Being the only child, a bond has grown like no other, it has always been the two of you. It can be hard to imagine welcoming another little baby into the family.
Mom may wonder how she could ever love another little baby as much as she loves her first, is that even possible? Is it possible to split the love in two? Well, no, because you are not splitting your love in two, you grow more space and love in your heart for another little baby. Mom needs to really spend some time reflecting on if she is ready for another little baby. Not only when it comes to enough love, but when it comes to doing the newborn routine all over again. Pregnancy and newborn life is a whole different ballgame when you have a toddler and young child to chase around too.
13 Needs Mom Too Much
One of the first questions parents need to ask themselves when trying to decide if their first baby is ready for another one is how dependant are they on mom? Are they still young enough where they rely on mom for every single thing? This would mostly rely on if your first is very young when you want to start trying to conceive. It is possible to breastfeed while pregnant, and even to breastfeed two babies at the same time, however it may change the relationship.
There are some cases where the hormones from pregnancy could affect the taste of your breastmilk, and some babies will refuse to nurse, or go on a nursing strike. If the baby still relies on mom for a lot of these tasks, it is going to be incredibly hard to help them make that transition, especially if it is done all at once.
Babies and young children need their moms, but newborns need them more and it is impossible to split ourselves into two. If mom is planning on going for those Irish twins, she may want to start detaching her baby from herself now.
This doesn’t mean that mom needs to stop ignoring her fist baby, please don’t do that, just start teaching your little one to be more independent.
12 Easily Stressed
Our children are so much more than just cute little babies who love to run and have fun, they are their own person. They have their own personality and temperament.
There are babies and toddlers out there who seem to be more stressed than your average child, and if your baby is one of these babies than they may not be ready for a sibling just yet.
This is not to say that you can never have any more children, it just means you may need to wait a little longer. It also means that you may need to put in a bit more work when it comes to getting them ready for a new little baby. This could involve the use of resources like play groups, to help them learn to be around other children. It may even include conversations with the doctor about how to help your little one relax a little bit more. Every child, even those who are highly stressed, are different and it may take a bit before finding what works for them. Once you do, however, you will be ready to go and it will be a better environment to bring a baby home too.
11 Special Needs Children Matter Too!
There are a lot of children out there with special needs. This ranges in anything from Autism to ADHD, and this can have a large impact on if they are ready for another baby. It may take a little bit longer for these children to warm up to the idea of having a new baby in the house, especially if they have concerns around displaying emotions and communicating.
We also have to look at how much attention these children need. All children need attention, but those who have special needs tend to need just a little bit more, and it can be harder for them to give up some of that attention they are so used too.
Sometimes, it can even be medical attention that is a necessity and can not be ignored or waved off. There are so many factors to consider when parents are thinking of welcoming a new child into he world when they have a child with any type of special needs. The best thing for these parents to do is reach out for support and help from family, friends and medical professionals to help get them through the transition.
10 How Is The Behaviour In General?
Behaviour is always something to take into consideration, and when parents are planning on trying for a new baby, they must take their older child’s behaviour into account. We are specifically talking about negative behaviour here, and it varies by each individual child.
If your child exhibits a lot of negative behaviour, such as hitting, biting and running away, then they are not ready, and it is best to try and get this under control before bringing a new baby home.
Newborn babies are very fragile, and we definitely do not want to bring them home to an unsafe environment. If your child has shown that they like to hit and bite, it would be best to work on getting this to stop before bringing a baby home. If you need help curbing the behaviour, you can always reach out to your medical doctor. They can help in a lot more ways than just physical illnesses. You don’t want your little baby getting hurt, which may happen because negative behaviours are sometimes a way of coping with a stressful situation, and they may lash out at the baby. Young toddlers do not understand that new babies are fragile, and they could do some serious damage.
9 Still In Separation Anxiety Mode
Babies and children go through many stages of separation anxiety. They go through it as infants, because they don’t grasp spatial awareness, they don’t understand that there are rooms and areas beyond the one they are in. So, when mom or dad leaves the room they truly believe that they are gone forever. They eventually learn that the world is much bigger than the four walls they are currently in, but they learn just in time for the next stage of separation anxiety.
When they get a little older, they enter another stage of separation anxiety and that is the one where they know there are other rooms, but they have no sense of time. So, when a parent or loved one leaves the room they are worried that they won’t ever come back.
These are hard times for children, and their parents, but it is fleeting. It will pass, and the best way to help it pass is to have time away from your child. Leave them every once in a while, (not alone of course) because it will help teach them that you do come back, and you don’t disappear forever. However, this would not be the best time to introduce a new little one into their lives.
8 How Do They React To Other Children?
We all imagine this perfect world where we give our children the gift of a sibling. They are immediately in love and they have just made their first best friend. They will grow up together and sit together sharing secrets and having laughs. Most of the time, this is not the case. Siblings fight and argue all the time, even if they do love each other. It is important to watch how your first child interacts and reacts to other children.
Take them to playgrounds and parks and watch them interact with other children. Of course, there may be some issues as they figure out sharing and other systems, that is normal.
You want to look for abnormal behaviour, are they completely ignoring the other children? Do they want nothing to do with anyone else and are perfectly content to just play alone? This could be a sign that they are not ready for a sibling just yet.
The good news is, the more you take them to be around other children, the quicker they will warm up to others and you will be well on your way to adding to your family.
7 They Tell You
Most of these entries are about if your first child is a baby, or a young toddler, but there are some instances where your first child is older, and you are thinking about having another baby. Some think this would be easier, because your older child is much more self-sufficient, but it could actually be worse. They have had much more time to just be alone with mom and dad and have all their attention, so it could be an even harder transition for an older child.
A positive is that you can communicate with them. You can have open discussions about the fact that you want to bring another baby into the world. The problem with that is they will most likely say no, that they like things the way they are.
Now, we all know that our 6-year old does not make decisions for our family, but it does show us that they are not ready yet. What parents can do is take this answer as an open for a family discussion. Talk to them and ask them why they don’t want a sibling and what they are worried about. This can often help bring about a discussion that can ease their worries and by the time that new baby comes, they will be over-the-moon in love.
6 Is Baby #1 Sleeping Through The Night?
When we think about a newborn, we all know that there is very little sleep involved. It is hard to get anything done, much less close your eyes for a minute and get a short nap in. This is made even harder when you have an older child.
If you already have a toddler running around, the whole notion of ‘sleep while the baby sleeps’ goes out the window.
Unless, of course, you happen to have both of them sleeping at the same time.
If your first child is not sleeping through the night, at least primarily, then they may not be ready for another baby, and neither may you. We like to think that all of our children come first, but there is a hierarchy that we don’t like to think about. A newborn requires much more attention than an older child, and the real problem is that their needs are time sensitive. You can not get a newborn to wait or have patience, it doesn’t work that way. If your older child is still waking up at night, and you are in the middle of feeding your baby than the older child is just going to have to wait. Especially if you are a single mother who does not have anyone there to help you.
5 How Many Transitions Are You Making At The Moment?
Bringing a new baby home is a big transition for everyone, but more for your older child. Toddlerhood has its own set of transitions, so if your little one is in the middle of a lot of changes, they probably have more than they can handle right now, and they would not be ready for another baby at this moment. There are a lot of transitions that toddlers go through. They may have to get transitioned into a toddler bed or other sleeping arrangements if the crib is needed for the new baby. If they are bedsharing, then they will need to be transitioned to their own room as it is not safe to bedshare with a toddler and a newborn.
This also may be the time that they are potty training, and that is a tough transition for a lot of children. The problem when you bring a new baby home to all of these transitions, is that there is always the possibility that they will regress.
There is a chance that a perfectly potty-trained child will start to have accidents once the baby is here. They also may want to start sleeping in your bed again. It is best to have all of these done well in advance or be prepared to wait a few months after the baby is here to start these changes.
4 You Have A Tantrum-Prone Toddler
All toddlers throw tantrums, that is a fact. The severity of the tantrum will vary by child, but they all have them. It is a normal part of development as they are learning about control and how to control their own reactions and emotions. Some toddlers are more tantrum-prone than others, and if this describes your child, they may not be ready for a new baby just yet.
A lot of the times, tantrums are a method used to get their parents attention. When a new baby comes, the older child will be fighting even more for mom’s attention, which means that this could increase the amount and severity of the tantrums they exhibit.
There are also cases when tantrums have to have consequences, and while we all know that it is right to discipline our children, we want to try and limit the amount of times we have to discipline them when the new baby is here. Not because we want them to get away with everything, but the older child will associate getting in trouble with the new baby and this may lead to resentful feelings towards the new baby. If that does happen, hopefully it'll lead to a maturing, growing lesson for baby #1.
3 Does Your Child Understand?
There are some that think the best time to bring a new baby into the world is when their first child is not old enough to understand exactly what is going on. This is the perfect situation for ‘Irish twins’ or babies born within a year of each other. This may work for some, but developmentally it does not make sense to do this. They may not understand what is happening, but they know something is different.
They pick up a lot more than we give them credit for, and when they can’t understand, it is impossible to talk to them about it and explain it all. It is best to wait until they are a little bit older and when they do understand.
If they are old enough to understand what is going on, then they are older enough to converse about it. It is much easier to have a talk with your child and discuss what is happening and that this doesn’t mean that mom and dad don’t love them anymore. This would be a sign that they are ready for another baby. It also would be a bit easier on mom and dad. When parents have children too close in age, it can be hard because their needs are still pretty similar. By waiting a little bit, you can rest assured that your oldest can start doing some things for themselves, taking a bit of the work off you.
2 Independent Living Is Important
It is also best to wait until your first child is somewhat independent before bringing a new baby into the world. Now, we are not talking about independent like they are in college, but they should be able to do some basic things for themselves.
If they are still relying on mom for 100% of everything, they probably are not ready to be a big sister/brother yet. If they have the ability to play independent, follow simple commands and even get their own shoes or jacket on then you are good to go!
This all works in mom’s favour as well when it comes to the new baby. One of the best ways to help an older child get used to their new little brother or sister is to let them be involved in helping care for their new baby. If mom is able to get them to help by bringing her a diaper, some wipes or even the baby bottle it will help them warm to the idea of this new little baby quicker. Little kids want to be big kids so badly, sometimes we have to let them and ask them to help us.
1 The Best Remedy: One-On-One Time!
We have talked a lot about signs that your first child is just not ready for a sibling yet, but at the end of the day, does it really matter? We, the parents, make the decision for the family and sometimes we want to have another child. Sometimes, a second child is a surprise and we have no choice but to get our little one’s ready as quickly and smoothly as possible. Sometimes, we can prepare them as much as possible before the birth but it all goes out the window once the baby is here. They all of a sudden forget all those good talks that you had and start acting out, so what is a parent to do?
The best thing to do is to make time for your first born. We know that newborns are a lot of work, and a lot of that work falls on mom, but it is important to make sure you make time to spend some quality one-on-one time with your oldest.
This is the best way, and possibly the only way, to ease as much jealousy as possible. If mom can not do it, then someone should be. A father, aunt, uncle or grandparent should be making it a priority to spend time with the first-born. It will pay off and they will start warming up the little baby in no time.