A Second Baby
a second baby brings about
many changes in the family that will effect everyone including
your other child. Toddlers around two
years find it a particularly stressful time because they
have not yet built up a sense of security. The new baby
arrives and because the parents are spending more time
with the baby, feeding etc and less time with the toddler,
the toddler can feel left
out and unloved. There are many things
a parent can do to help their toddler feel secure and
reduce the attention seeking behaviour resulting from
the arrival of a new baby.
before the baby arrives
is a good idea to prepare
your toddler for the arrival of the new baby.
This is best done later
in the pregnancy because toddlers have
no understanding of time and do not understand how long
it is to wait a week for something to happen.
your toddler nearer the end of your pregnancy
by including her/him in visits to the doctor and in
plans for the arrival of the new baby. For example choosing
a piece of equipment or an outfit for the baby,
this should be offered as a limited choice of perhaps
two buggies or two outfits you would be happy with.
Some children like to prepare for the baby by copying
what is happening in their play with their dolls. This
gives you an opportunity to make positive noticing comments
while they are playing – noticing comments describe
what the child is doing and has been found to have a
very positive effect on children’s confidence
and self esteem.
moving your toddler from a cot to a bed too close to
the birth. If you do decide to make
the move to a bed it is best done three
to four months before the birth therefore
making it a special event in your toddler’s life
and not attached to the birth of the baby.
parents become anxious to have their toddler toilet
trained before the birth but unless your toddler is
showing readiness for toilet
training it is not
a good idea to start at this time.
hospital births today do not involve a long stay in
hospital. However if for some reason you need to spend
longer in hospital it is important that your toddler
sees you frequently and is made special
at the visits to the hospital. Reminders of mummy at
home can also be helpful e.g. looking at photographs
of mummy and cards sent by mummy everyday can be read
out to your toddler. The cards can be written beforehand
and put with the post each morning for your toddler
the baby comes home
prepared for some changes in your toddler’s behaviour.
Even the best prepared toddler will need time to adjust
to the arrival of the new baby and the changes that has
brought to family life.
The reality that the baby is not going back to the hospital
and is here to stay will be hard to understand and the
following behaviours are
toddler may want to be breast fed or want a bottle,
want you to help him with tasks that he could previously
perform himself e.g. putting on his coat or feeding
himself. Remaining calm during these times, helping
your toddler with tasks when appropriate, noticing and
praising achievements will help him/her to feel better
and tantrums especially when you are feeding the baby
can be coped with by naming your child’s feelings.
Saying something like “I love playing with you
and I can see that you feel upset now because I am feeding
the baby and can’t play with you but if you could
bring me your book we could read it together”.
Keeping some special
activities for your toddler while you
are feeding the baby and allowing them to help by handing
you a clean nappy can also work well.
the new baby is also a common behaviour.
It is best to show your toddler how to touch the baby
gently. If your toddler hits the baby, remove
the baby from the situation, get down
to eye level with your toddler and explain that hitting
is not allowed, acknowledge the angry feelings by saying
something like “I can see that you are angry but
we do not hit”
about new babies can also be helpful
in explaining feelings experienced by toddlers about
to have some time with your toddler alone every day
and if possible get someone to look after the baby sometimes
so that you can have that special time with your toddler.
Notice the good behaviour
and remember to give lots of hugs,
kisses and approving smiles during the