The Lies We Tell “Oh, she just loves the new baby…”

My best buddy gave birth to her gorgeous son 6 months ago. He’s honestly gorgeous, following suit from his big sister. But when he was born, her daughter suddenly became frustrated and angry by the change in family dynamics. This made me see a little girl act completely out of character and my friend break her heart at each outburst. I am so grateful that my wonderful friend was willing to share her experience in a really raw and honest post…

“Oh, she just loves the new baby…”

Well, this really wasn’t our experience.

Our little girl is a real character, she’s cheeky, precocious, stroppy (oh jesus is she stroppy!), vibrant, affectionate, hilariously funny, I could go on for a while. Of all these things I know of her, I didn’t know how she would feel about a baby sibling.

When she was 23 months old, we told her that mummy had a baby growing in her tummy. For the next five months we included talk of the baby in daily life, and tried to prepare her for this story we kept telling to become a reality. We would chat about the baby, she would kiss my tummy, she would tell me what she would show and teach the baby. It was heartwarming, but I knew she was just playing along with this story we kept telling her, not really understanding that an actual baby would soon become part of our world, why would she.

Not long after we told her about the baby, her behaviour nose-dived. Playgroups and playdates became things of nightmares for me. She suddenly hit a stage of I cannot and will not share anything/take turns/be nice to other children. She started hitting if another chid tried to take something from her, and she had her first tantrums. Terrible two’s coincidence, or a reaction to this story about a baby coming? Who knows. Luckily this only lasted for a month or two and then she settled back down.

When our baby arrived, a beautiful boy, we wanted her to be the first to meet him and Daddy brought her to the hospital. She was suprisingly uninterested in him, much preferring her big sister present instead. I’m thinking it’s going well. Then came the question. “Mummy, where’s his mummy?”. It broke my heart to say “darling, I’m his mummy”. She didn’t respond and I didn’t know whether she understood or not. The next day I was discharged and we wanted our little girl to be part of bringing the baby home, so she came with my husband to collect us. The baby needed a feed not long after they arrived and, as I put him to my breast, she looked at me, no screwed up whining toddler face, no sound of crying, just tears streaming down her little face as she put her hand on her chest and said “mummy, me”. To this day I am confident I will never feel more guilt and sadness than I did in that moment.

The first week at home was non-eventful. Our little girl was sleeping as well as she normally did and I used this as a measure of everything being ok. I was wrong. She then woke one night crying out & daddy went in to her and quickly called me – she was roasting, 40°, and was then very sick. This was unchartered territory for us as in her entire life she’d had two very mild colds. The doctor couldn’t find anything wrong & put it down to a virus. For the next 6 days her temperature kept spiking and she was under the weather. I remain convinced that it was the upset of the baby’s arrival that caused it. My mum tells me I used to get so over-excited every Christmas as a child that I ended up ill, so I do believe emotions can play a part.

Until the baby was about 6 weeks old our little girl wouldn’t go near him, and she just wasn’t her usual self. I felt so guilty for ruining her life as I saw it. We had such a close relationship and were stupidly cuddly, and all that changed, courtesy of an emergency c-sec delivery. Daddy became ‘the one’ to her, got her dressed, took her to the potty, prepared her meals, everything. She couldn’t understand why I couldn’t pick her up and it killed me when she would cry and beg me to. Her behaviour nose-dived again, particularly at home, she was clearly punishing us for having changed things. Playgroups and playdates were no longer just the stuff of nightmares, they were the stuff of mini breakdowns for me. I tend to be very irrational at times of upset and I was convincing myself that my little girl wasn’t normal, thinking everything from ADHD to sociopath. One of my closest friends rationalised things for me and got me through this phase, and I’m so grateful to her. She put up with her children being on the receiving end of mine’s unkindness at all these playdates, and with me being a weak, worrysome, blubbering mess. She had to cuddle me more than the baby!

Then, when the baby was around 6 weeks old I started to notice something… she was different with him. Me, daddy, other kids, we were all fair game to be naughty, push boundaries, really demonstrate just how unhappy she was at no longer being the sole centre of our world. But, the baby, well he must have been ok. I would suddenly see out of the corner of my eye that she was sneaking in a quick kiss on his head, stroking him, offering to share her biscuit, talking to him. Then it happened, she asked to cuddle him. I cried happy tears as I took about a million photographs and then sent one to just about everyone we knew. Finally, the moment I had been desperately waiting for.

Things then very quickly improved. Our little girl went back to her usual self, my bond with her was back on track as I could start doing everything with her again. In a nutshell, my world suddenly felt complete.

Now, the baby will soon be 6 months old. Our little girl adores him. She likes to know where he is all the time, if he wakes from a nap grizzly she often gets to him before I do, mimicking just how I say “it’s ok baby boy”. I know, and am regularly reminded by friends with older ones, that it will change, probably as soon as he starts to crawl and get at her toys – he’ll no longer be favourable to her. But, for now, I’m happy to admit I’m smug about my little family. What we went through for the first 6 weeks was without doubt the hardest time of my life, so I’m going to allow myself a little smugness now.

I hope my story gives hope to anyone going through or anticipating going through the same with the arrival of a new baby. It’s not always the perfect picture that many paint (I think perhaps a lot of people hide the less than perfect reality), but given time it will get better.

Have you had a similar experience when introducing your new bundle of joy into your family?

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  1. March 23, 2016 / 7:11 am

    What a beautifully written honest post. I am so pleased that your little girl did start to love her brother and I’m sorry it was a bumpy road for you all. Luckily she will never remember those first 6 months and will always know she loved her brother. I hope mummy can put those first 6 months to the back of her mind and now enjoy watching the fantastic sibling bond, that is so magical to watch x

    • firstooth
      March 23, 2016 / 7:17 am

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. She’s very protective over her little brother now and adores him, the sibling bond really is a wonderful one. It makes us mummy’s proud x

  2. March 23, 2016 / 7:16 am

    I haven’t had this experience yet, but we are looking to expand our family in the future and I hope out little man is accepting of his new sibling. It makes things difficult when this happens!

    • firstooth
      March 23, 2016 / 7:23 am

      My friends little ones age gap was a little larger than ours so her daughter was used to the sole attention and found it harder to cope. It’s a big change for everyone but I hope your son is accepting of the new baby, and if he isn’t it’s perfectly normal. Good luck with baby 2 plans x

  3. March 23, 2016 / 7:32 am

    Wow, I think it’s so good that your friend shared this as I bet there are so many people who go through it but don’t talk about it. It must have been unbelievably heartbreaking for her and I’m glad her daughter came round in the end. A baby is a lot to adjust to for the parents, let alone siblings!! #BloggerClubUK

  4. March 23, 2016 / 9:02 am

    Having a new baby changes the dynamics in a family. It’s a big adjustment process, but it sounds like she loves him with all her heart now 🙂

  5. March 23, 2016 / 10:51 am

    I’ve not had experiance of this yet as we only have Blake. We do want another child In the future which I hope Blake will be accepting of. Thank you for showing the honest side of what could happen as u don’t normally hear about it.

  6. March 23, 2016 / 10:52 am

    Having a new baby changed everything in more ways than you can ever realise. Glad your little girl is ok now xx

  7. March 23, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    what a lovely post. Sounds like you really went through some tough times emotionally and you’ve got that down so well in words. My two boys were super close and now fight like cat and dog, mind you, if I try and get between them then they cant bear to be apart!! funny little thing are kids:)



  8. March 23, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    Wow, the beginning of that post made me feel your friend’s guilt and heartbreak so strongly – it’s so hard introducing anything new to a child that changes the dynamic of their little bubble, well done to your friend for dealing so well with it and thanks so much for sharing X #bestandworst

  9. Kerry Norris
    March 23, 2016 / 4:19 pm

    my daughter behaved exactly the same way. It took about 6 weeks for her to come around to the idea and actually start interacting with her sister. She was so incredibly naughty for those first 6 weeks which really isn’t easy whilst having s newborn x

  10. March 23, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Apparently I completely blanked my little sister when she was brought home from the hospital…

    I loved this post, despite it initially filling me with so much fear I immediately ruled out ever having a second child. Sounds like it’s working out well now, though – fingers crossed their bond just grows stronger as they both get bigger.

    • firstooth
      March 23, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      Oh God! My friend didn’t mean to do that haha! I bet it grows even stronger, but maybe not when he starts playing with her toys, that might be a bit rough. .. (two is great though I swear and all kids handle siblings differently)

  11. March 23, 2016 / 9:49 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this – thank you for sharing such an honest account. I hope to grow my family at some point and it does worry me about how my son will cope. I’m so glad you came through it! #BloggerClubUK

  12. March 24, 2016 / 7:54 am

    We were very lucky, our eldest took our youngest with ease although for the first year she was a bit clingy with me constantly asking me to play with her (she is a daddy’s girl). That said, I have heard of other people having dreadful experiences. I was more concerned about the fact Helen would be getting a sister. A boy, I felt, would have been less of a threat to the relationships she already had established. As I say though, thingas didn’t work out like that and it was all fine. #BrilliantBlogPosts

  13. March 24, 2016 / 10:53 am

    Apparently I asked my Mum to take my baby brother back to the hospital after a few days! I have big age gaps so havent been through this with mine, but it all sounds prefectly normal and am glad to hear things have settled down now.

  14. March 24, 2016 / 10:59 am

    Wow! Bless her. It sounds like you had a stormy time of it while she adjusted. The bit while you were BF was heartbreaking!

  15. March 24, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    The behaviour you describe at the beginning is a phase every toddler goes through around the age of 2 and I am sure this would not be a reaction to the baby but once he arrived I’m sure she probably felt pushed out and jealous of having to share Mummy and Daddy. You are proof that patience and love are all you need to get through it but it’s a challenging time

  16. March 25, 2016 / 9:11 am

    Hi Lizzie, I love the honesty of this post. When we had our second child the Dr. warned us that my son may not understand why we were taking her home with us, but it worked out okay. He wasn’t overly interested or disinterested in her, which is still the same sixteen years later!

    It must have been a relief when your friends daughter started accepting that she had a brother who was going nowhere.


  17. March 26, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    I always ask parents how the sibling is getting on with the new baby brother or sister, and I always get the same answer. I was starting to think my daughter was the only one who really didn’t like her new sister. Things are a lot better now, but it was reassuring to read your experiences

  18. March 26, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    Yes, yes and yes!! Worse thing is 11 months on we still having issues 🙁 I thought it had turned a corner but we seem to have regressed a little, sometimes he is lovely to his sister but sometimes he is not nice, it’s hard to know what to do , he gets so much attention and we always make sure we tell him how much we love him but it’s so hard to know what else to try. Hopefully as you say things might get back to how they were, I’m really pleased your daughter is back to how she used to be. Thanks for linking up! #bestandworst

  19. March 27, 2016 / 6:53 pm

    I remember when my son was born (my third child) my youngest daughter who was two and a half at the time didn’t speak for weeks, and actually looked so shocked, bless her. Then she asked me when he was going back! Kaz x

  20. March 28, 2016 / 12:39 pm

    Hmmm this post is very well timed for me I am 5 weeks away from having our second child and Monkey who is 3 1/2 has started to kiss my belly and ask about the baby too. I am hoping he will be okay when he arrives but to be honest I have no idea! At least knowing that it sorts itself out will help if things do go wrong!! 🙂 Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK I hope that you join us again this week x

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