Postpartum and Relationships: How It Affects Taking Care of Older Children
The period in a woman’s life immediately after childbirth is known as the postpartum period, and it can last for up to eight months. Many changes occur in a woman during and after pregnancy.
Mood changes postpartum
Most women feel alright and are without major problems after pregnancy. However, some may experience ‘baby blues,’ that is, a feeling of sadness and moodiness. It can last for up to two weeks after birth and sometimes longer.
With baby blues, women may feel sad, cry a lot, feel moody, and have trouble sleeping, eating, or making decisions. In some cases, postpartum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and psychosis may also be seen.
These changes are normal and usually go away in a few days. However, in some cases, they don’t, and help should be sought from professionals and family.
Challenges faced in caring for a newborn together with other children
Initially, it can be a bit overwhelming to care for more than one child together. You are busier and need to manage your schedule better than before. It is also physically tiring to take care of two or more kids. However, with some planning and help, you can deal with it in a very effective way.
How older children feel about newborn siblings
Most of the time, older children are very excited about seeing a new member join the family. Sometimes though, they may feel jealousy or resentment since the newborn now gets the complete attention of the parents. Toddlers and kids might try to get more of your attention by misbehaving, throwing tantrums, or refusing to eat.
However, such problems are usually short-lived, and the older child can easily be made to like and welcome the newborn. This can be done by discussing with the child about the newborn and involving the child in helping with arrangements for the new baby.
Maintaining relationship with older children and caring for them
- Try to involve the child in selecting things for the new baby, the baby’s room, and other things. This will make the child feel involved.
- A good activity is to get your child’s help in selecting a name for the baby.
- Help the older child select and give a gift for the newborn. This can facilitate attachment between the children. At the same time, you can also gift the child something he/she likes, and you can say it’s from the baby!
- Try to arrange some special time for your older child. This can be taking the kid with you for shopping or other outings or even some extra stories during bedtime.
- Talk about the newborn with the older child. Sensitize the child to what the baby is going to need and how the child can help with it. Amusingly and surprisingly, we may notice that the children can be very sincere, involved, and helpful in helping their little sibling out.
- Reinforce in the children's minds the bond that the children and the newborn will have with each other. Also, you can tell them about the responsibility that they will have as elder brothers/sisters and how they can care for their younger sibling.
- Try to answer any questions that the child may have. Make the child feel assured that even with the newborn, they will always have your time and attention.
- Encourage older kids to talk about their feelings, whatever they are, and try to address them positively.
- Keep some games and toys that are safe to play with handy with you. In case the older child feels like, he/she can play with them while you care for the newborn.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Sara Gale
Sara loves traveling and exploring new places with her family. She is mom to 2 lovely children and loves bringing them out on adventures.