If this isn’t your first baby and you have a toddler or even an older child, it can be intimidating to introduce a new baby. Your family is growing and instead of being nervous to bring home baby, there’s some tips and tricks that can make the transition easier for everyone.
We’ve been there before so we put together some of the biggest tips for parents who are expecting their second, third or even fourth little one to their growing family.
Especially if you have little kids, breaking the big news can be difficult or even awkward to navigate. Get your little ones excited about them becoming a big brother or sister and involve them in all the progress. Keep them excited with updates when you get checkups and sonograms and take every opportunity you can to tell them how important it is to be an older sibling. If they’re a little older, encourage them to read stories to your belly or cuddle up next to you while you watch a movie together with the baby.
For your toddler or older kids to get more excited about becoming big brothers and sisters, including them in baby preparation is an important step. Encourage their input for nursery colors, let them pick the outfit that the baby comes home in and even what names you have in mind. Even little kids will be able to feel as if they’re included in the process and it will feel more like a team effort to prepare the house for baby’s big arrival.
Kids under 3 are unintentionally and apologetically egocentric. They’re still learning how to navigate the world and their own agenda and feeling are their priority, which makes it difficult for them to share your attention with a new baby. Relate things back to them by saying things like “Babies need to be carried, like I carried you” or “Babies cry when they’re hungry sometimes because they can’t talk yet like you can now, you used to not be able to tell me you were hungry and wanted a snack.” By offering them constant reassurance that they are just like the new baby will help them understand the way things will change when a baby arrives.
Many kids will try and supplement the confusion they are feeling about a new baby by wanting to do baby things. If your child is weaned, they might demand a bottle or want to nurse when they see the baby nursing. It’s normal for them to want to try out things that the baby is doing, and when parents don’t acknowledge the behavior the kids usually get bored quickly and dismiss the behavior on their own. This is just a way of your kids experimenting with the concept of a baby and in this situation, it could help them from becoming jealous or resentful.
Becoming a big brother or sister is a huge occasion that you can celebrate in a small way every day. Prepare your little ones on their new baby’s arrival by involving them with baby planning to keep them feeling included and anxious to bring home your family’s newest bundle.