Welcoming another baby into your family is exciting, but for many second-time parents the excitement can be tempered with the fear that your baby and their sibling won't get along. You've had a baby before, sure, but not with an older child in the house! How's that going to go? Is your older child going to the new arrival? Is the baby going to like their sibling? And if the initial meeting goes off without a hitch, i there a way t tell if your baby is falling in love with their sibling?
This was a huge source of anxiety me. My son was, as many only-children are, the unquestioned center of my world the moment he entered it. Not that I didn't have a life outside of him, of course, but he was definitely my favorite part of it. I knew, deep down, that I'd certainly love this new baby as much as I loved her brother... but what if they didn't love each other? Was it going to be like that time in high school when my two best friends didn't speak to each other for a year, because that sucked.
Turns out I didn't have to worry — we somehow lucked out of the very typical "jealous phase" and, as we speak, my 5- and 7-year-old are playing upstairs together, giggling.
Clinical psychotherapist Kevon Owen explains that, in many cases, a growing love between siblings will come just from being around one another. "Familiarity is closely related to comfort," he tell Romper via email. "At very early ages you may not know who people are, but you know who is present in giving you love and attention. You can encourage recognition by allowing older siblings to be a part of attention and care."
Of course, that's not to say there won't be potential setbacks, either for the older or younger child.
"Look out for resentment from older siblings," Owen advise. "Resentment sets back endearment." As previously stated, a negative reaction to a younger sibling, especially early on, is quite common. This can create a negative reaction from a younger child.
But it's understandable, right? They're going through a very big life change with the introduction of a sibling, and they'll need your help adjusting to a new family dynamic. "Help [siblings] to endear themselves to each other by making sure to preserve their awareness of being loved. ... There is a shared awareness that needs to be taught," Owen says. "Older siblings need to learn to share... [but] they also need to have possessions and identity that is uniquely [for] them. Nurture this as well."
As your older child becomes more fond of the new arrival, you'll probably have some idea that things are going well for them. But what cues will your baby give you? Though it will be better if you are mindful of the process, all this can occur naturally, and sometimes earlier than you might think!