Welcome to Part 4 of our Preparing for Baby’s Birth series! So far we’ve talked about preparing freezer meals, packing your hospital bag, and packing baby’s diaper bag for the hospital. Today we are talking about preparing older siblings for a new baby!
I have managed to have each of my babies about two years apart. Trying to prepare a one year old for a new baby is not an easy task. Fortunately, it’s not really hard, either. My oldest child has no recollection of what things were like before his sister came along. Now that he is going to be 4 when his baby brother is born, I feel like he will adjust easily because he is already a big brother.
My daughter will be just a little over 2 when our next baby is born. I’m doing many of the same things for her that I did for her brother when I was pregnant with her. Bringing another baby into the world is a big transition for everyone. I know there will come a day when all three of my kids will find a groove and it will feel like there was never a time without one of them, but I still want them to have an idea of what is going to happen before it does!
Talk About the Baby Often
We talk about the baby is Mommy’s belly all of the time. We call him by his name and we tell the kids that he will come out soon. I have explained that I will need to go to the hospital for a few days and then the baby will come home with us. I show them his clothes and just generally try to include him in our conversations,
Let Them Love on the Belly
We encourage the kids to hug and kiss my belly and talk to the baby by talking to my belly. They actually really like doing this.
Expose Them to Babies
If there are other little babies in the family it’s great to let your children see them and hear them. You can also teach them how to be gentle by modeling it with a real baby. We do not have any little babies nearby, so we point our babies when we are in public and I show the kids pictures of babies a lot. We talk about when a baby is sleeping, when they are crying, and when they are eating.
If you can’t let your child “hold” a real baby, try letting them hold a baby doll properly. This totally backfired for me with my son, though. I gave him one of my old baby dolls to hold and the first thing he did was toss it across the room. You can’t tell me there’s not an inherit difference between boys and girls. Sis is a different story. She loves her dolls. She loves to cuddle them to sleep and feed them. We try to treat the baby doll like we would a real baby.
Bring a Present to the Hospital for Your Older Children
It’s really important to try to not let your older kids feel left out. Especially if they are very young. I bring a little something special to give to my kids at the hospital when they first come to visit me and the new baby. This may not be feasible depending on how many kids you have, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be something as simple as a new Hot Wheels Car or a book.
Include the Big Kids in Baby Care
I remember the mommy guilt all too well. I felt so bad because I couldn’t immediately take care of all of Bug’s needs, especially when I was nursing. During those early months, let the big kids get diapers for you or let them pick out an outfit for the baby. It’s important to include them as best as you can. If you are nursing, you can set up a special activity for the big kid to do while you are nursing. I’d like to get some Quiet Books for the kids this time around, so they can do something fun while I’m glued to the couch!
Happily sharing with: