A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Preparing Big Brother {Avoiding Jealousy}

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Preparing Big Brother {Avoiding Jealousy}

When it comes to adding a new baby into the family, I have always heard jealousy of the new sibling is extremely common! Having been an only child for 6 years before baby sister arrives, I can certainly see how this would be true for Shaun as well. For his entire life, he has had Mommy all to himself, and quite frankly, he is quite the mommy's boy! While I'm not 100% sure we can avoid the new sibling jealousy altogether, we have been taking steps to try to lessen it anyway...

  • Don't blame baby. I think this is perhaps the biggest thing we've been trying to do. During my pregnancy I have unfortunately not been able to physically do as much with Shaun- carrying him around, chasing him, etc...and while I think he does understand to an extent that this is because of baby, I do my best not to actually come out and say so directly. Instead I try to come up with an alternate option that I can do...snuggling up and reading a book, having a picnic, watching a movie...something fun that he enjoys! Once Finley arrives, I know I will be spending a lot of time taking care of her, particularly nursing! This will be a challenge for us I am sure, learning to juggle both my babies who require so much attention, but my hope is that through baby wearing I can become an expert multitasker! Regardless, I will do my best not to place fault on baby sister for taking Mommy's attention away!
  • Talk up the big brother role. Another biggie we've been working on throughout...telling Shaun how exciting it will be to be a big brother and all the cool things that big brothers get to do that baby sisters don't- like playing the iPad or video games, or getting big boy toys. This seems to be helping a lot already, he's beyond excited to be a big brother and doing big boy things!
  • Keep him involved. I will talk more in depth about this in a later post, but for now I'll just say that we try to involve Shaun in all things baby...Mommy isn't the one going out and shopping for new things for baby, Shaun is helping- allowing him to make decisions like her middle name or her nursery theme. He is involved in doctor's appointments, and has been to each and every ultrasound...he's even made videos of baby's heartbeat at the appointments- mixing his love of making videos with the excitement of baby sister. He is learning how to take care of a baby sister, and again playing up the role of big brother as being Mommy's big helper. The goal is that he sees that we are not replacing him or trying to take our attention away from him, but rather this is all about him as the big brother as well.
  • The big brother gift. Babies get a LOT of gifts, from the shower to the hospital...it's unavoidable. Even now, as we prepare for baby- new baby things are being brought into the house constantly...and we just cannot afford to buy big brother new things all the time too! So far, this doesn't seem to bother him at all...in fact, it seems like he loves checking out all the new baby gear (and testing everything out on his baby sister practice doll), but I know at the hospital when all the attention is on baby sister, this could most certainly change. So we are planning an awesome gift, just for big brother. So far I'm not yet 100% what all this will include- for sure a big brother tote bag and matching big bro/lil sis shirts, but I intend to add some fun things as well...perhaps a Thomas camera and roll of film? A new train? Whatever it ends up being, we want to make sure he has a super special gift on the big day too!

As I said, I'm sure we won't be able to avoid the jealousy altogether, but at the very least we can say that we've done and will do everything in our power to lessen it at least!

For those moms who have been there, what tips do you have for avoiding new sibling jealousy? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. My boys are 22 months apart, and my oldest got EXTREMELY jealous of his baby brother when he was born!! We did the big brother gift at the hospital when he got to come see baby. He just didn't understand when I was pregnant that I was going to have a baby. But once baby was here, he learned he was not going away (like the little guy I babysat!) and he got used to him. They're now best friends :)

    Now when my daughter was born (March 2013) my boys were 6 & 4. They understood that there was going to be a new baby in the house & they are in LOVE with her! They help with whatever I need them to, (the 6 year old even helps (with supervision of course) change diapers! - The 4(now 5) year old gags... but will take them to the trash willingly!) They love feeding her bottles when it's bottle time (she only gets 1 a day, other than that she's BF).

    Your son will adapt to little sister, and end up loving her so much!!


  2. I remember going through this when I was expecting baby #2. The most important part of it for us was to tell our oldest who was 23 months at the time our second was born that it was OUR baby. We all had to protect and take care of the baby. I would ask her for help getting bottles from the other side of the room or a toy from the toy box, and I think it really helped. We even let her hold the baby under very controlled and well watched circumstances.

    Sometimes I think the new baby gets billed as "mom & dads new baby" and kids feel left out, when really it's an addition to the family as a whole. My oldes loved helping (even if it wasn't really helpful sometimes) and I think it made her closer to the baby. We never had any resentment issues with her, even though I totally expected them.

    Now that we're expecting Baby #3, we're doing the same thing...we'll see how it goes. :)


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