I’ve fished whole almonds from my toothless newborn’s mouth, pulled stuffed toys off her sleeping head and saved her from many a cuddle that a World Wrestling Federation pro would be proud of, all simply because her big brother just wants to be near her and get all up in her face with love.
Here are a few little guidelines to helping your new baby reach his first birthday, and to grow robust enough to fight his older sibling off
1) Reduce opportunity.
It’s very important for the siblings to have bonding time, but for the safety of your wee one, you really should endeavor not to leave them unattended with the toddler.
I’m not talking about leaving the toddler to babysit while you go to the casino. I mean, even having a quick shower.
Toddlers do not understand that pieces of Lego are not tasty snacks but indeed choking hazards.
Due to the youngest child being the most vulnerable and having the least mobility, I find them easier to corral in the bathroom/kitchen/bedroom and keep a close eye on matters.
Once again, you’re seriously looking at another couple of years before you can safely have a little relax on the toilet on your own.
2) Keep baby’s bedroom door shut.
Toddlers are, by their very nature, curious creatures, so they are all over a sleeping baby like a sugared kid on a Hershey bar. As a mother of a new baby, there is nothing more annoying than your toddler constantly waking up your baby, yet it will inevitably happen. All the freakin’ time. There will be noise and there will be tears and there will be little elephants stomping up the hall outside the baby’s room—this much is pretty well unavoidable. If the door is closed, however, what you can avoid is the toddler climbing into the cot, putting toys in the cot or smothering the baby with blankets and love.
3) Do not entrust your toddler to keep an eye on the baby.
Only an idiot would leave their 9-month-old sitting on a bed and ask their toddler to ensure she didn’t roll or nose dive off the edge, whilst they quickly popped to another room to grab something. This hypothetical idiot should not be at all surprised to discover that with no supervision a toddler may think it’s a prime opportunity for bed trampoline Olympics, thereby bouncing their baby sister onto the thankfully very plush carpet.
Only an idiot, indeed.
4) Do not leave the toddler eating near the baby.
A toddler does so love to share, provided we’re not talking about toys, which are a constant source of power struggle. If a toddler is eating any kind of baby-prohibited snack, they are super keen to shove it in their sibling’s face holes (plural).
Nuts, rice crackers, olives, grapes; in fact, anything that really requires teeth.
You must observe closely at snack times because even if your toddler is a genius at puzzles and singing the alphabet, they have no common sense.
As mentioned, I saw my newborn lass lying on her back and her brother slam dunk a whole almond into her mouth, like a little, white, grubby-fisted Michael Jordan.
5) Do not allow your toddler to ride the baby.
Not like a horse.
Not like a motorbike.
Not like a merry-go-round.
No riding. Full. Stop.
You’ll be amazed how often this one will come up.
6) Never leave the toddler in charge near water.
Much of this post is done very tongue in cheek because I am never going to win the Mother of the Year Award. However, this one, no matter much you think it’s a no brainer, may be the most important thing you ever read:
Your toddler is not a babysitter.
Whether they’re 3, 4, 5 or even 6, they cannot be responsible for younger children near water.
Not the bath.
Not the wading pool with two inches of water in it.
Nina’s note: What a timely post for me! I’ve often wondered just how my three-year-old will interact with his new baby brothers, and particularly about how to keep the little ones safe and intact from their big brother’s lovin’.
Danielle is a writer, a tv producer, and a great lover of food. She’s a wife, a mother, and a photographic enthusiast. She’s a mother to two kids, blogs about amazing recipes (complete with beautiful photos) and even launched her own TV segment, Holsby TV. She blogs at Keeping Up with the Holsbys.
How do you make sure that your new baby and toddler play safely and happily?