Two Under Two

Guilt, Guilt, Guilt!

"I sometimes feel bad for our 6-month-old, because we're so focused on our older son, who is very active and grabs our attention." --Caryn Winkler; Arlington, Virginia

How to deal: It's impossible to be the same mother to your second that you were to your first, but that's probably for the better, says Hull. "With your first, chances are you were constantly fretting over him; children don't need that kind of laserlike focus."

On the other hand, perhaps you're worried that the newborn has rocked your older child?s world. Good news if she's under 16 or 17 months: She might not notice much. Young toddlers are in a great place: They're happy with themselves, not yet pushing the boundaries of their independence and kinda clueless about how a new baby might affect them. "Tessa was just 13½ months old when Sienna was born," says Jodi Trivax, of Birmingham, Michigan. "She just accepts that her sister was always in the picture."

If your firstborn is 18 months or older, life probably won't be so rosy. But you can do things to make the transition easier. "No matter how young he is, prepare your toddler for the newborn's arrival -- and revisit the topic in the months following it," says Parents advisor Jenn Berman, Psy.D., author of SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years. By talking about it you reassure him that everything is okay. "Read books about having a new sibling, buy him a doll to play with, and explain how things will be different -- but also emphasize what will be the same."

You may also want to consider enrolling your older child in a big-kids-only activity. "When I was seven months pregnant, I signed James up for a daddy-and-me soccer class on Saturday mornings," says Farrell. "It brought my husband and son closer together -- in fact, James looks forward to it all week. And it gives me time to focus on the baby."

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