My second baby is due very soon and I’ve got a lot on my mind. I’m not so worried about loving the baby as much as my first – everyone has reassured me that the heart just grows to expand, and I can’t wait to fall in love all over again. What I am worried about is getting Pumpkin prepared and how she is going to handle this huge change in her life. She seems excited for the baby and points to my belly and says “my baby brother!” But how on earth could a two year old ever, really truly be prepared for the changes a baby brings?! (How many fully grown adults are truly prepared?!)
I feel so fortunate that we can give Pumpkin the “gift” of a sibling. In fact, this was probably our biggest motivator for wanting a second child. (What? You thought I missed sleepless nights?) Her Daddy and I are quite close with our own siblings and we just can’t imagine our childhood or even our adulthood without them. Sure we had our fair share of sibling rivalry (a wrestling match over a found dime comes to mind – I still say it was mine!) but even those memories are fond ones now.
Despite this “gift of a sibling” I am sure my darling daughter will have some growing pains with her new little brother. My friends have told me some of the things their eldest have said about the new baby, things like,
“Can you stop feeding it?”
“Can we send her back?”
They are cute and even funny, but I’m sure it wasn’t easy hearing them!
Here are some tips I’ve found really helpful for preparing my little girl to be Big Sister:
- Talk about the baby coming, and what babies are like. Try to spend some time with other new babies so she understands that newborns cry, sleep and nurse a lot. Use her toys to role play what a baby does and what a mommy does. Be sure to include what Big Sister does (realistically).
- Help her feel like a big girl. Talk about the things she can do because she is older.
- Show her pictures of herself as a baby.
- Have her help get ready for the baby. Let her pick out decorations for the baby’s room, clothes for the baby to bring to the hospital, and a gift she can give to the baby when he’s born.
- Talk about the trip mommy will take to the hospital and that she will be with Grandma while mommy delivers the baby.
Tips for when baby is born:
- Have Pumpkin come visit at the hospital. Try not to have the baby in my arms when she gets there. Instead spend a little bit of time with her one-on-one before introducing the baby as she will be missing me.
- Fill her bucket by spending special time with her as much as possible, and when possible, just before the baby needs me.
- Make sure visitors don’t just focus on the baby. I plan to have some small gifts wrapped up for Pumpkin in case a visitor shows up with gifts for the baby.
- Include her as much as possible with the baby. Invite her to sit with me and read a book together when nursing. Ask her to hand me the diapers when changing. If she has her own doll, suggest she feed and change her baby too.
- Let her talk about how she feels about the baby and the changes that have happened, and don’t tell her she shouldn’t feel this way.
- Be patient if Pumpkin wants to act like a baby and regresses. This too shall pass!
Deep breaths… I know we will have challenges but I also know Pumpkin will be a fantastic big sister. I can’t wait to see my two babies together – surely at some point we’ll be able to snap a “sibling love” photo, right? I’m going keep my camera ready!
Do you have any other helpful tips for preparing and supporting Big Sister or Big Brother? Please share, there are many ways to connect with us: