It’s normal to have a mix of feelings when you are expecting your second child. Excited, nervous, your feelings will probably run the gamut. Most mothers worry that they won’t be able to love their second as much as their first (spoiler alert – your heart grows and you will!), or that they will have difficulty handling two children. Well, the latter may definitely be true in the early days, because your first child will almost certainly be jealous of the new addition. The younger your first is, the more likely this is to be the case.
TODDLER JEALOUSY IS TOTALLY NORMAL AND UNIVERSAL AND IS NOT PREVENTABLE.
The main cause of sibling jealousy is just plain old attention.
Think about it – your first child is used to 100% of your attention, so even if you split your attention evenly – that’s still half as much. You can talk about pregnancy, you can read books about baby and give them presents or an activity box…and that still won’t change the fact that the parents are now very busy with a new baby and don’t have the energy or time for them like before. Toddlers in particular are not as able to understand what’s going on and are likely to show their displeasure by:
- pinching, pushing, or hitting baby
- trying to wake up baby
- shouting and screaming
- throwing tantrums
- clinging to parent (often physically)
- destroying things in the home
- potty-training regression
- being aggressive towards parent
WHY SIBLINGS AREN’T INCLUDED IN POSED SESSIONS (7-14 days old):
Posed newborn sessions are held early, when baby is only a week old and still able to curl up and sleep through posing. This age is right in the heart of the worst days for sibling jealousy.
Even for siblings who are excited during pregnancy, the arrival of baby is a HUGE and very stressful adjustment that takes time – for both the sibling and parents. Young siblings, especially toddlers, are very, very demanding and emotional in the early days and parents are totally overwhelmed by trying to care for a new baby as well as a clinging sibling who is acting out constantly in a cry for attention. In many cases, the added dynamics of an early session that’s “all about baby” and the requests for parents to kiss the baby or hold it can make the toddler sibling’s reactions extreme. Posed sessions with a young sibling are usually very difficult and stressful.
My advice? Let some time pass! Give yourself the grace to recover and get used to life as a family of 4 before having any portraits taken as a family!
OLDER NEWBORN SESSIONS (4-10 weeks old) GIVE SIBLING TIME TO GET USED TO BABY:
Siblings are only an add-on option to my older natural newborn sessions, which are held 4-10 weeks old and are a lifestyle, family- oriented session. By that time, parents are in a routine and feel less overwhelmed, the toddler is used to baby, and baby is awake and interactive. This is a recipe more likely for success — which makes for beautiful photos of siblings interacting and a better experience for everyone involved.
Want more tips on dealing with toddlers jealous of new baby?