Should I worry how my toddler will react to a new baby?
Q: I am expecting baby #2 in a few months. How can I make the transition a smooth one for my first born child, who will be about 28 months old by then? Anything I need to worry about with a new baby in the house?
A: You shouldn't worry about a single thing, since you are about to experience the ordinary miracle of a new baby and all of the joys involved! Congratulations! It is good that you are aware that this extraordinary event is going to be equally mind-blowing for your 2-year-old son. Recognizing that your son's universe is about to be turned upside down will help you to be empathic with his feelings.
A boisterous 2 year old may show his anxiety and jealousy by jumping on the sofa and making a huge mess of papers lying around. A more timid and thoughtful 2 year old may show his anxiety and jealousy by being perfectly well-behaved and subdued. This latter type of reaction is more of a problem since it signals his willingness to conceal fears and to take on the burden of pretending to be a miniature adult.
Help your son by taking the time, many times a day, to show him that you are still his devoted mother. Try some activities before the infant arrives such as explaining that a little brother or sister is growing in your tummy and letting him feel your belly for the baby's movements. Reading bedtime stories about new babies or purchasing a stuffed animal or doll that can symbolize a new baby are other ways to prepare for the new sibling. After the baby arrives home, find ways to include your son with the newborn – hang out in bed together or have him help you change, feed, or tend to the new baby. Show your son that his presence is meaningful and important. Always reassure your son that he still counts.
Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger