This is something I had never considered when I first found out I was pregnant with Baby No. 2. I just assumed Tyler would love his new sibling and would be really excited. After all, as a child I loved my little brother and there was 4 years between us. I can’t remember ever feeling jealous of him, he was a new buddy to play with.
My husband and I first told Tyler we was going to have a little brother or sister from the very beginning, I think more from our own excitement, expecting Tyler to share the excitement. We would say to him, ‘Do you want a baby brother or a baby sister?’ He would very angrily reply ‘NO BROTHER! NO SISTER!’
We thought, okay, maybe he’ll get used to the idea, or maybe he doesn’t know what he’s saying. But every time we asked him, he’d say the same thing. It seemed he REALLY didn’t want a sibling. Eek.
I suppose I could see his point of view. for the whole 3 and a half years of his life, he has been the centre of attention, the only child, the first grandchild on both our sides – so he has have all the love and time and toys all to himself. Why would he want to share it with another sibling??
I thought maybe this is normal. But on asking a few friends who had or are having a second baby, they said the older sibling was excited and looking forward to the new baby. Now I was worried. Especially when Tyler poked my tummy and said ‘I don’t like Honey Nut!’ I was like, oh crap, how can I make him like her?!
When we found out Honey Nut is a girl at my 21 week scan, Tyler reacted really weirdly, and kind of reverted to being a baby, talking in a more babyish voice and just being extra clingy with me – I want mummy. Mummy mummy mummy.
How did we get him to like Honey Nut?
Everything changed the next day, and it had nothing to do with me! I left Tyler at my parents and went to work, after doing a little family gender reveal. My parents and siblings were super excited to find out we’re having a girl. And I think that excitement rubbed off on Tyler. They were all like ‘You’re going to have a little sister!’ to him, with lots of hugs and excitement all day, while I was at work. So by the time I got back, I suddenly had my boy happy to be having a little sister. A miracle!
It’s been a month and a week since that day, and he’s still okay with it. He gives Honey Nut kisses on my tummy, and since we’ve been able to see her move through my tummy, he goes ‘Come on Honey Nut!’ waiting for her to kick.
I burped the other day, and then Tyler came up to me and said ‘Can I burp Honey Nut’ and then patted my tummy! So strange, where did he get that idea from?!
Last week he even chose a babygro for her, a green and white polka dot one. He was very grumpy choosing it, when I asked him which one to get ‘YES. THE GREEN ONE!’ ‘Okay, shall I go pay for it then?’ ‘YES!’ – still this was such a positive, he chose it for her!
We visited my friend last week who has a 3 month old baby boy. It was the first time Tyler met him. He was very grumpy at first, looking at the baby with a sort of annoyed look on his face. He was almost like a grumpy teenager, sitting on the sofa glued to his tablet.
My friend and I were having lunch at the table and we put the baby in his bouncer. He started to cry. I called out to Tyler “Please can you help us, can you help the baby stop crying? Howabout putting his flashing light on?” Tyler stomped over, and waved the light over the baby. And the baby stopped crying! It was so funny, Tyler really looked like a teenager being forced to help. When the baby stopped crying, he gave the light back to me and stomped back to the sofa.
But, I was so amazed – he helped when I asked him too. I think that’s the key, getting him involved, like he is so helpful. I think that’s how I’ll get him interested when my baby is here.
Even though he was grumpy that day, he was interested. The baby was put in the moses basket for a bit, and Tyler went ‘Where’s the baby gone?’ I said he was in the basket, and he went over and just watched him.
Here’s a 1-minute clip of Tyler’s journey to meet my friend’s baby – you can see how annoyed he looks at the end, it’s so funny:
Other ideas for getting the firstborn to like a new baby
I’ve been asking people for other ideas, and this is what I’ve heard so far:
- Give a present from the baby to the sibling – I did this. I got little a new train ‘from Honey Nut’ and he really believed it was from her.
- Tell him he is the favourite when the baby is born. The baby won’t understand, so don’t worry about hurting her feelings. Just for the early days, always say to him ‘You’re my favourite’, so he won’t feel jealous
- When people come to visit the new baby, tell them beforehand to say hello to the older child first and bring a present for the older child as well as the new baby.
- Give the firstborn his own polaroid camera when the new baby is here, so he can take his own photos of the baby and feel proud of his photos.
Do you have any more ideas or tips I could use for getting Tyler to like his new sibling? Please let me know!