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New baby

It's always lovely to hear when a Pines family tells us they will be having a baby. 

 

A new baby should be a happy and exciting time but it can cause mixed emotions for children. 

 

We recomment that you try to keep the news of the new baby a secret until at least your 12 week scan.  This is because you might find that your child becomes unsettled, irritable, anxious, worried, jealous, sad or a mixture of all of these things.  It can also be hard for your child to deal with loss and any emotions you and your partner might have if the pregnancy is not viable.

 

A child who doesn’t understand or know how to express their feelings may even become angry, shout, scream, cry or hit.  What this really means is that they are trying to tell you something.

 

Our job as adults is to help them get these feelings out so we can help them understand them and manage them.

Sadness

It is strange to think that your child might be sad.  Here are some possible reasons why:

  • You might not be able to spend time or play with your child because you become tired because you are pregnant or because you are looking after baby

What could you do?

  • Plan other games and activities you can which are not so tiring

  • Arrange for other family members to help with child care whilst you have time with your other children 

  • Get your child involved in routines, they can become “helpers” and feel involved and useful and this helps them to understand the “big” brother or sister role 

Jealousy

Where do feelings of jealousy come from?

  • Babies get a lot of attention - it is not hard to understand that your child may feel they are coming second
  • Having to share you with another person may lead to feelings of jealousy, of being replaced or displaced  
  • No longer being the youngest child means they have to cope with the loss of that special attention they used to get 
  • In a new family, perhaps with a step parent, children can feel as if the new baby is more important than they are 

What could you do?

  • Help your child understand that everyone in the household is loved

  • Explain that babies are very small and vulnerable and need a lot more help to give them a good start in life

  • Involve your child in appropriate caring responsibilities to give them a role

  • Share stories with your friends and family about how helpful and loving they have been will make them feel a sense of value and importance

Anxious or worried

Why would a child feel worried?

  • Going to the doctor or to hospital is something that happens when you are sick and might be frightening

  • Mum's body goes through significant changes which make her look and feel different

  • They might not understand the role of "big" brother or sister

  • Children cry when hurt or upset, does this mean baby is unwell?

What could you do to help? 

Angry

Why might a child get angry?

  • A child who doesn’t understand or know how to express their feelings may become angry, shout, scream, cry or hit.  This really means they are trying to get your attention. 

  • For the first time, your child may have to share their personal space and possessions or even give up some of their old clothes and toys 

What could you do?

  • Make sure you have quality time to talk with your child about their worries and concerns

  • Let your child identify things they can gift to their “baby” sibling – this gives them an opportunity be involved in choice about the changes 

  • Involve your child in talks and decisions about how their room might be decorated

  • Ask your child about toys they liked as a child and encourage them to share them with their sibling

  • Ask you child about toys they absolutely do not want to share and make sure this is respected

  • Some children get a small present from their new born baby to say thank you for welcoming them, sharing, being kind, etc.  This will be a physical reminder of how baby loves his older brother or sister.

Summary

  • We need to accept our children's feelings
  • Our job as adults it to help them get negative feelings out so they don't get worse
  • When feelings are expressed in anger, shouting, screaming or hitting, we need to show/model different ways to express their emotions (remember that behaviour is a way of communicating with us)
  • Be aware of our own feelings and make time to explore your child's feelings, e.g. a good time to talk might be during play, when walking, or in the car. Use bed time to reinforce positive messages.   
  • Make sure you let school know about a new baby so we can be aware of distractions and concerns your child might have which affects their learning
  • See the resources below for ideas to start having conversations with your child

New baby ideas

Tell us your ideas and we will add them to this page to help other families.

Resources

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