As soon as I heard little baby choking sounds I turned around, grabbed the baby and pulled out the plastic belt all in one swoop. My toddler just stared at me with her mouth open. I am sure I also said something brilliant like, “What were you thinking!” in my very loud, upset mommy voice. I know it was not one of my best moments. Fortunately as it turned out, the baby was fine but my toddler was upset. She was crying because the baby was crying and I was yelling. She had no idea what was wrong. In her little 23 month year old brain the white strap looked like it belonged in the baby’s mouth. After I calmed down I explained to my toddler why the baby was choking and told her to never put anything in baby sister’s mouth unless I ask her to do so. At first I wondered if this was a case of sibling rivalry but after some research and thought I realized that this incident was just a case of a toddler being a toddler.
The best defense to head off sibling rivalry is a good offense. According to an article in Baby Centre, you should tell your toddler about the baby while you are still expecting. Also, talk about what will happen once the baby is born. Let your toddler help you with whatever baby preparations you can. Involve you toddler in caring for the new baby whenever possible.
We were able to do this in a unique way. Every time I had a new baby we would bring home a new soft washable baby doll for our youngest child. As we fed, changed or bathed our infant our youngest child would feed, change or bathe their new “baby”. Another way to include your toddler is to let them help you decide what the baby should wear or what toy the baby could play with.
Above all talk with your toddler about their feelings and let them know you understand. Let your toddler know how much you love him or her and then spend one on one time with them. The good news is that most siblings grow out of their rivalries and have strong loving relationships.