We have a 11 day old baby girl and a 2 1/2 year old boy. Overall he has been very loving and accepting of her, but definitely suffering a bit of jealousy at times and having some difficulty with the adjustment. At times he has hit and kicked both her and me. I also had a c-section so am particulary fragile. Before she was born he slept with me most of the time, but we had started to teach him how to sleep in his own bed. Now he is going to bed at night usually with dad in his twin bed, and me and baby are in the big bed. I know he feels jealous and his emotions are normal and to be expected. But how do people cope with this? We've basically been telling him that when he does these things then he can't be around the baby and/or mom, until we know that he is done hitting and kicking, and telling him it makes us feel sad. We also try to give lots of positive reinforcement when his behavior is good. Are there any other suggestions for specific things we could try?
HUGS. Lots and lots and lots of hugs. My DS (also 2 1/2) responded very similarly to my DD (10 weeks) at first. Though he seemed so excited and just loved her so much he also had extreme bouts of jealousy and acting out. Being firm or focusing on OUR emotions did not help him. Instead I started telling him how much I loved him, and how I understood it must be so frustrating for him when mom is busy, and that it must be hard for him to have her here. I started just holding and hugging and cuddling him a lot. Since co-sleeping with him is not really and option for us, I try to take a nap with him during the day while DD sleeps in the pack n play. It took about 2 weeks of pouring on the love but he doesn't seem to have any anger toward me or her anymore. It's actually adorable the way he talks to and about her all day and includes her in everything. At 11 days in, I was in the same place you are... wondering how people cope! Now I'm having tons of fun watching them make each other laugh. Just remember he does not understand so many of the aspects that require your time and attention for your new DD, and explain as much as possible to him. My DS understands pretty much everything, but even if your DS doesn't understand it all, he will understand the feeling behind the words. Hang in there mama! And remember to take some deep breaths and take care of you, too!
Sleepy, running, wife to DH 08/09 - Mama to DS 8/08 & DD 1/11
"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb