January 17, 2018 by Drafts & Crafts
We felt so many emotions as we prepared to become a family of 4: nervous, excited, overwhelmed, & blessed. I wanted to share some tips that I believe made it a smoother transition on our first child and for myself.
Since becoming a mother of 2, I have had a few mamas who are excepting baby number 2 to ask me how the transition has been and what they should expect from baby number 1. I always like to preface by saying that I am not an expert and every child is different, but I did want to share some ideas that helped our family. I can promise you I experienced every single emotion while pregnant with Winnie. I believe everyone does, but I think they happen at different stages depending on your current situation and the current temperament of your first child. For instance, from the moment I found out we were expecting baby number 2, I knew my kids would be pretty close in age and it didn’t scare me. Tanner was 10 months old when I got pregnant. He was the best baby so I was not worried at all about having another. Then when he started to become a wild toddler around 15 months, I was a nervous wreck, thinking what did I get myself into, why did I think I was ready for a second baby. BUT we prepared the best we could, I tried to work on the things I was worried about and now Winnie is here and Tanner is a wonderful big brother. I hope these tips can also help your family too!
While pregnant here are some ideas to start preparing child number 1:
- tell the child they are going to be a big brother or big sister from the moment you find out you are pregnant
- tell them they are getting a new baby, not that mommy and daddy are having a new baby
- talk about the new baby every day
- have the first child help get the nursery ready for their new sibling
- bring the child to a doctors appointment where they could see or hear their sibling
- get the child a baby doll of their own to teach them how to be gentle and hold a baby
- do your best to save up leave if you will be returning to work
- make sure your husband will be able to take a few days or more when the baby is born
- plan ahead and see if your family or friends can help you with your first child
- make some frozen meals because cooking with 2 kids is a big adjustment
- dependent on the age of your first child, work on those daunting tasks that need work (potty training, bed transitioning)
- get a gift for the first child and give it to them in the hospital when they come to meet their sibling for the first time.
- plan ahead and order some simple toys off Amazon to keep the first child busy when you have to tend to baby. They will be thrilled to have some new items and it will keep their attention for a little while. They do not need to be expensive or fancy. Winnie happened to be born the week before Christmas, which was lucky for us because Tanner had so many new toys to occupy him. If you do want to get crazy, I would get one big item, like a play kitchen or tool bench would be amazing for the first child to play with. Here are some items that we got for Tanner to play with after Winnie was born:
1. Window Markers
2. Coloring Book and Stickers (order a few coloring books and sticker books in their favorite characters)
3. Play Doh and play kit – Tanner loves this Melissa and Doug Kit
While at the hospital:
- give the first child their gift from baby 2
- don’t hold baby number 2 when the first child walks in if you can help it. Sit the first child next to you in the hospital bed and have daddy bring over baby number 2
- introduce the second baby as “our baby”
- let the first child hold (with assistance if needed) their new sibling
- encourage them to touch, feel, smell, the new baby
When coming home:
- get the first child excited, remind them of their new role as big brother or big sister
- encourage them to help, even if it is simple things like, hand mommy a diaper or throw something away
- encourage them to sing to their sibling or bring then toys
- whip out one of those new toys if its a day when you need a break or the baby is extra fussy
- try to plan at least once per day (for 30 mins) where you give your undivided attention to your first time, color with them, make a snack with them, take them outback and play. This has been a big help for us, but also is very hard some days with all that has to get done.
- and last, listen to your mind and body! If you are having a tough time, ask for help. Remember anyone who has a baby knows how tough the transition can be. Ask a friend to pick up your first child if you need a break. Ask someone to come watch the kids so you can go to the grocery store alone. This can be life saving!!
I would love to hear if you have any more suggestions or what worked for your family! Best of luck to any expectant mother out there!
Keep in touch,