One of my greatest joys as a mother is watching the love between my children grow and deepen. I know how much my relationships with my own sisters has shaped my own life, and I am so grateful my children have the blessing of sibling relationships. However…it wasn’t always easy. One of the hardest transitions in life for a child can be when a new sibling is added to the family.
Typically children are very excited to have a newborn in the family. But we all know just how much care and attention a newborn requires. The constant feeding, changing, and calming of a new baby requires a lot of your already limited and exhausted attention. Often times our other children can begin to feel frustrated and desire the same amount of attention and care.
One way I included my older children was to give them “big boy” or “big girl” jobs to help with the baby. Examples of this included brining the diaper and wipes over for changes, or helping me arrange the nursing pillow. I talked a lot about how lucky the baby was to have such a wonderful helper for a big sister or brother. While this seemed to help, I could still see frustration, confusion, and jealousy sneak in when the baby’s needs had to be constantly met.
This is when I tried a new tactic to make my older children feel loved. We have a stack of family photo books that stay on a shelf in our living room. Each child gets their own album for their first year of life to document their time as a newborn and all their milestones. I also have a yearly family book I create for our entire family. When I noticed one of my older children feeling sad because they felt forgotten or excluded, I would have them bring out their baby book. We would look through it together and talk about what they were like as a baby. I would point out photos of myself and my husband taking care of them the same way we were currently caring for their new sibling.
This activity allowed us to sit side by side, look at photos together, and talk about their time as a baby. Even though it may be done with a baby nursing or in my arms at the same time, this quality time filled their little hearts and reminded them of just how loved and cared for they are.
The crazy part is that I found that this activity was also very helpful for me! In the newborn phase I was always exhausted, and it often felt like this phase would never end. Looking back at my older children as babies reminded me of how quickly time can pass, and encouraged me to try to treasure the good parts of this season of life and not focus the hard parts quite so much.
Molly is a newborn photographer in Cumming, Georgia, serving the Atlanta area. To book your session, contact Molly here.
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Molly specializes in family & newborn photography in Greenville, SC. A former teacher and mother of three, she is known for capturing the joy & love of families. Photo sessions with Molly turn family memories into artwork for your home and for generations to come.