You’ve been around the block when it comes to caring for a baby, right? Well, every infant is different, and your parenting style might change when you have an older child to keep track of. You might be more accustomed to caring for a newborn, but it’s not always easy to give equal attention to both children. Your oldest child will probably be surprised by how much time and attention a younger brother or sister needs, especially after being the center of attention for quite some time.
Rather than dividing your time between children, consider activities that incorporate both of them. Your older child will feel more included if he or she can help care for your newborn, so you can have them be an assistant when bathing, changing diapers, or simply playing with your infant. You might never achieve a perfect balance, and it’s only natural for you and your partner to feel guilty occasionally.
There are bound to be times when your oldest needs to wait a few minutes to eat lunch while you wipe your newborn’s spit up and everyone has a meltdown. This is just the beginning of raising a family, and we’re giving you fair warning that many days will be rough.
If you thought it was hard to cater to an infant’s wants and needs, juggling an infant and an older child will make every day feel like a marathon. Crying or whining will become the soundtrack of your life, as moments when everyone is happy will be few and far between. Sometimes you wish you could be the one that throws a tantrum and screams “It’s not fair!”, but instead, you’re the maid, chef, and mom 24/7.
You can find scare tactics about raising two children everywhere, but you won’t always hear about the moments that make all your hard work worthwhile. Maybe your oldest will give your infant a smooch on the cheek, or you’ll see the two of them playing a game they invent a few years down the line, but raising a family will always have enough perks to compensate for the collapses. Stay positive, take deep breaths, and enjoy their youth.
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
- “Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling.” KidsHealth. The Nemours Foundation, Nov 2014. Web. Accessed 12/6/17. Available at http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sibling-prep.html.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “New sibling: Preparing your older child.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mar 2015. Web. Accessed 12/6/17. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/childrens-health/in-depth/new-sibling/art-20044270.