I’ve seen lots of questions about this lately from mama’s expecting baby #2. As mama’s we carry a lot of guilt and worry, sometimes these feelings are useless, but not in this case! It’s real – our first born children are used to having us all to ourselves and even the most kind-hearted toddlers and preschoolers will struggle to sharing their mama, and papa.
Although the new baby will be a very abstract concept to your toddler or preschooler, until they actually arrive, it’s important to talk to them about baby, to introduce this big change that is coming to their (and your) world.
- Make sure that you share your pregnancy news with your children, when you share with everyone else, don’t keep it a secret that may slip from someone else, they should hear it from you
- Share how your body is changing as baby grows by answering your child’s questions
- Talk to your older child about what baby will – how they will eat and sleep, A Lot!
- Let them know that baby will cry, and need attention
- Talk about how siblings can be helpful with the new baby
- Involve siblings in preparing for baby’s arrival, they can choose a special stuffie, blanket or outfit
- Be realistic – Baby will not be a playmate until they are much older
- If you are planning a home birth – make sure you talk to your older children about this too – even if you don’t plan to have them at home during the birth – things can happen fast and you want them to be prepared
There are lots of great books available to help you teach your older children about the new baby arriving soon. Our friend @advoflittle, Laurie McGowan, mama of 4, including 1.5 year old twin, and pregnancy and birth advocate, shares a few of her favorites. Ask at your local bookstore, or shop these titles online at Amazon or Chapters):
What Baby Needs, William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN, and Christie Watts Kelly (2004)
Baby on the Way, William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN, and Christie Watts Kelly (2001)
It’s Not the Stork: A Book about Girls, Boys, Babies, Families and Friends, Robie H. Harris (2006)
We’re Having a Homebirth, Kelly Mochel (2009)
Stay Tuned for Part 2: Helping Siblings Adjust to New Baby