Maleseli Kolisang is a mom of two children, the youngest one being fresh out the oven.
She experienced the same struggles that new moms experience when they have a second baby. Adjusting to someone else receiving all the attention is hard for any child to bear, especially younger ones.
All of a sudden, their world is rocked, and they are not receiving ‘adequate’ attention from their mother. This translates into a needy, overemotional, and clingy baby.
Psychologist Mark Banschick states that families are also adjusting to being a family of more than three, and while this happens, the new child tends to get most of the attention as “the world revolves around them”. If the older kid does not display aggressive behaviour, they tend to be more jealous.
This is especially the case for younger children who, technically, have not had too much time as the only child.
For Maleseli, the struggle became real. The first few days were a breeze as his 4-year-old son Leseli Kolisang admired the new human in the home. But as time progressed, he started signalling his discomfort of having the baby around.
He was crying a lot more often than usual and did not want to spend time on his own. According to Maleseli, her son “became a baby again”.
It is normal for children to regress after the birth of a new baby. Even potty-trained toddlers can start wetting themselves, due to the psychological effects of a new family member, Dr. Branschick adds.
After talking to Leseli’s school teacher, she suggested that they give Leseli a ‘baby’ to take care of. He was then given a doll that he would know and love as his own. The teacher explained that he named the baby “Nana” which is how they refer to the new baby at home.
Since then, he is always the first responder at home, jumping at every little cry, and “putting back the baby’s hat when it falls off her head” Maleseli explains.
Writing for Motherly, parenting expert Elizabeth Pantley explains that getting children involved in taking care of the new baby is a fun and helpful way of making them adjust easier and sometimes quicker.
For Leseli, practicing firstly with the doll was helpful and he used the same love and care to take care of her new sister.
Maleseli is happy that his son has adjusted to being a big brother, and she can also let go of feelings of guilt associated with giving a new human more attention than your first.