Welcome to a new series that I’m calling, “Parenting ProTips.” Most of these tips are things that I have learned from other mothers–often through my years in La Leche League. They are mostly NOT my original ideas. But they are things that I tell my clients over and over, and should be written down for our village. So in honor of Mother’s Day, here’s ProTip #1!
When you are welcoming a little brother or sister into your family, try not to blame the baby for all the things getting in the way of the big siblings’ fun. For instance, instead of saying, “We can’t go to the park right now because Baby is napping.” Try saying, “We’ll go to the park after I take a shower.” Instead of saying, “Shhhh….quiet! Baby is sleeping.” Try, “Let’s go play with the PlayDoh in the family room!”
If big sister or brother is young enough, you can also try “making the baby wait” when he is asleep or content. Since it is SO hard to give the older sibling attention when you have a newborn’s rightfully pressing needs to attend to, you can play it up when they don’t actually need you. So, when baby is napping, you can say within the bigger sibling’s earshot, “I can’t hold you right now, Baby–Junior needs me to read him a book!” Sure, it’s a little sneaky, but the bigger kiddo will hear you putting his wants and needs first once in awhile. It will make it a little more palatable the next time he needs to wait for the baby’s needs to be met. Be careful, though, this can backfire if the big sib knows the baby didn’t really need you.