It is not easy for a child who has always been the center of attention to share that space with another baby. And invariably a lot of attention goes to the new baby!!
Having a baby the second time around is almost more fun than the first. As a parent you feel far more confident this time around, you know what to expect and you are no longer nervous about how to handle a new baby.
When I was expecting my 2nd child, my son was under 2 years old…a baby himself. While I felt much more confident about taking care of a new baby I was worried and apprehensive about how my son would deal with having a little baby around.
It is not easy for a child who has always been the center of attention to share that space with another baby. An invariably a lot of attention goes to the new baby!!
Like everything else about parenting I found that when I sought help on this topic I either got contradicting advice or the ‘things will fall into place by themselves’ kind of advice. So it was basically all trial and error for me like many other parents…I got some things right and I wish I did some differently. Today I am sharing all that I would do if I had to do it again with my first born (hindsight is fantastic :-)).
1. No Major Changes Just Before Baby Avoid any major changes in the life of your toddler in the last 3 months before the new baby is born. Moving house, changing your baby’s bedroom, moving your child from a crib to a bed, starting a new school, potty training etc. are some changes that are best avoided to ensure your little toddler does not undergo undue distress and starts to feel displaced just before the arrival of the baby.
2. Take care of any Existing Sleep Issues
You should take care to make sure your toddler is sleeping well before the new baby comes along. Your new baby is definitely going to keep you awake at night for feeds. If you need to wake up to attend to your toddler as well at night, you will be exhausted and at your wit’s end. It is best to ensure that your toddler’s bedtimes and sleeping habits are well set before the second baby comes along. Moreover a well-rested child will be more capable to adjust to the changes in his environment.
3. Plan the First Meeting We didn’t plan this one very well! When my son came to the hospital and saw his baby sister for the first time he didn’t think much of her. Every one told him he was going to have a play buddy and I think he was expecting someone more fun than a wrinkly baby wrapped in a blanket :-) So after the first few minutes he decided to give her a little smack to get her attention! Luckily we were all watching and could stop him just in time!
It is a good idea to plan when and where your toddler will first meet his sibling. I personally think it is best they meet at home when your toddler is in a good mood. Irrespective of where they meet I think it is a good idea that mummy’s arms are free for the toddler while the baby is lying in bed.
4. Have a Gift Ready
There is a lot of power in a gift! Buy something special for your little toddler and keep it nicely wrapped and ready for him. When you come home with your baby, give him the gift and tell him it’s a gift from the new baby for him. It’s difficult to dislike a baby who got you a gift you were waiting for!!
Somebody told us about this little trick about 10 days after the birth of our daughter. So I prompty organized a present and left it for my son to discover at the table and told him it was from his sister. It worked like magic!!