If you are expecting for the second time you may feel like you have done this all before. You know all about funny colors of baby poop, you've already practiced your swaddle and learned all the lullabies. You're familiar with how to install and buckle up a squishy newborn into a car seat. You are seasoned; this mom thing, you have got it down.
....But wait. You are bringing a new tiny baby home and maybe you have a young toddler or a preschooler who still needs you so much! How are they going to react? Will they be upset that there is another tiny human that is taking up so much of your time and energy? And, how are you going to sleep with TWO itty bitty people who require you for everything?
Don't worry, here are some tips for you to help make the transition from one child to two (or more!):
1. Give your oldest some adjustment time. Your oldest child is feeling as overwhelmed by this life changing experience as you are! Give them extra time to process the new experience of being an older sibling. Set aside time during the day to spend one-on-one to make the transition a bit less jarring for them.
2. Give them a Big Helper responsibility You know that your preschooler or toddler loves to feel like a grown up and help out. An older child can "help" by getting a diaper for the changing station or picking up the baby's pacifier or blanket. They can participate with baby in activities like tummy time if you turn it into a game "let's all do tummy time together, now let's roll over!", they can participate in entertaining baby with toys or telling the baby about their own favorite toys. Older children can sing songs or tell stories to the baby as a way to interact with them.
3. Use the new baby as a teaching tool A new baby is a great way to introduce topics to your older child, if you have a curious child, they may want to know where exactly this baby came from. Use this opportunity to introduce age appropriate concepts to the child throughout pregnancy and after the baby arrives. Your older child will be amazed to know that he came into the world the same way!
4. Stick to a routine Your older child may struggle with the baby napping frequently throughout the day, you may wish to use this time to create a new routine for your child, such as having a quiet play or creative time during nap, or watching a special television program during this time. Find an activity that your child loves to keep them happy and to avoid disrupting your baby's sleeping schedule.
5. Babywear! Utilizing a baby wearing device can free up your hands in public so that you can take care of your older child. Strap baby in and take a walk or head out to the park. You will be able to keep baby safe and snug, as well as breastfeed easily, while your older child gets their wiggles out.
Do you have any tips for making a new addition to your family an easier transition? We would love to hear them!