Babies and Their Brothers

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When we found out we were pregnant with Gracie, I went through a whole range of emotions. But I think the one that was the most consistently overwhelming was my anxiety about how Bean would adjust. I worried that he would resent having a sibling, or that he would think we loved him less because we had to share our love with another baby. Looking back, I see how small Bean was at the time and realize that he probably wouldn’t have cared less either way. But at the time, I was really worried.

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We read a few things about introducing siblings when the baby is born, but mostly we went on our own parenting instincts. One of the hard-fast rules we followed from the very beginning was trying not to restrict Bean’s interaction with Gracie. From the minute he first met her, we tried to encourage him to talk to her and touch her. He was hesitant when he first met her, but after we gave him permission to hold her hand or touch her foot, he seemed to warm up. We tried to view it from Bean’s point of view, and we felt like if the baby was something that was off-limits to him, he’d be resistant to accepting her. Instead, we wanted Bean to feel like Gracie was a gift just for him. Someone he could play with and hug and kiss and talk to anytime he wanted. Giving him that freedom helped him warm up to her really quickly.

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Another thing that really helped was getting Bean a little stool for Gracie’s room. We kept a stool in her nursery that was just for him. He could move it around wherever he wanted so he could see what was going on. He’d drag it over to her changing table when we changed her, or to her crib while we peeked at her when she was sleeping. Giving him something that he could control to help him be part of the process was great for him. He loved her diaper changes and feedings and bedtimes just as much as he loved playing. It made him feel like a big boy.

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While making our home life encouraging and comfortable for him was important, it was just as important that our time AWAY from our home was special for Bean, too. About every two weeks or so, Chris and I would leave Nana and Granddad with Gracie Girl, and we’d whisk Bean off for a little one-on-one time. We took him to the park or out for ice cream or to the splash pad. One time, we went to the science museum here in town to see a Curious George exhibit, too. Spending that quality time alone with Bean was good for ALL of us. It reminded me and Chris how cool he was, and it gave Bean a chance to really feel special and loved. Looking back, those little play dates with him were some of my most favorite memories.

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Introducing siblings to a new baby can be overwhelming – for you and them! But if you take the time to do it in the right way for your child, it can be the beginning of a really solid foundation between your children.

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6 thoughts on “Babies and Their Brothers

  1. I love the idea of little dates with the older child. I’m concerned with how I’ll balance my time between my two boys come January, and I think that would go a long way. Thank you!

  2. Brianna

    When I was born my brother came to visit me in the hospital and when the nurse tried to take me away he shouted, “Where are you going with my baby!” A little later my mom had taught him how to crawl out of the house during a fire. The smoke detector went off for some reason and she looked over to find my brother crawling, dragging me out of the house to save his baby.

  3. I’m right in the thick of this these days. Somedays I feel like I knock it out of the park with how awesome I’m doing helping Zoe adjust to a baby and other days I feel like I’m riding her like she’s a teenager already and should know that she can’t cuddle too hard or pick the baby up out of the swing or any of the other ways she tries to help… it’s exhausting some days.

  4. I don’t have much to contribute because I only have one kiddo right now. But that last picture? So beautiful – he loves his little sister so much. Just too cute!

  5. Sara R.

    We just kind of winged it when our second was born, but I love the step stool idea!

  6. So precious to see Bean getting along with Gracie. I have pictures of my 2 year old self carrying my newborn brother. We used to play together all the time. Then life, teenage years, self-centredness got in the way and then we drifted apart. We’re now living in different continents and I still wish that we have a closer relationship. Maybe when he settles down in the near future, we might have a second shot at this sibling relationship. I think manoeuvring sibling relationship esp during teenage years, for me at least, is also very important because during that time of confusion and puberty, it’s easy to hate everyone and everything. In consequence, missing out on forging possibly lifelong ties with your sibling. We were only about 1.5 years apart, both going through teenage years at the same time. I wish we made more of an effort to stick closer. Ah, but he’s still my little brother no matter how old he is and where he lives. :-)

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