If you are the parent of a toddler and you are expecting a baby or you have recently welcomed a new baby into your home, you might be wondering whether your toddler will form a close connection with his or her baby brother or sister. When a new baby comes home, newly – minted big brothers and big sisters often take some time to grow into their new roles. It has been almost a year now since I brought Blake home from the hospital, and I can truthfully say that I was concerned about this very issue during the first couple of months after he was born.
As the months passed, a few things happened that helped Dylan adjust to his baby brother. One thing that was really bothering him was that I had spent nearly a week in the hospital after giving birth. The extended absence was rough on Dylan, because I had never been away from him for more than about four or five hours. Once he realized that I was not going on any more “extended vacations”, he seemed to become more curious about the small person who was always strapped to my front.
To this day, I am so thankful that my parents got an Ergo carrier for me. With that carrier and its infant insert, I was able to wear Blake almost all day, every day. Blake loved it, and since my hands were free, I was able to play with Dylan and do all of the things that we had enjoyed doing during the previous spring and summer. We went for long walks, played at the playground almost every day, and spent tons and tons of time out in the yard. I think that the fact that Blake did not interfere with the fun and games (because he was in the carrier and my hands were free) helped Dylan to understand that his brother was no threat to my relationship with him. He learned that I was able to care for both him and his brother so that they each got what they needed.
Things got even better after it got cold and snowy and we had to move our play time indoors. Blake became mobile and wanted to crawl all over the house. He also loves to interact with people, especially his big brother. They sometimes play together and Dylan loves to feed Blake bits of food from his plate or his snack. Dylan even likes to hug and play wrestle with his little brother. While their relationship is not immune to the typical sibling spats over toys, space, and whose needs Mommy has to meet first, I can say with confidence that Dylan has adjusted well to being a big brother.
If it seems like your toddler is having a hard time adjusting to the new baby in the house, take heart. Some toddlers take a little longer than others to grow into the role of big brother or big sister. It is not something that can be rushed or forced, but it will happen and it is a wonderful thing to see.