Wednesday 4 November 2015

Preparing for a new sibling

Preparing for a new sibling

Even though Sienna seems excited about the idea of being a big sister, we want to try and make the transition as smooth as we can for her so she doesn't feel like her whole world has turned upside down when baby girl comes along. I'm sure she will still have moments of that as one day the baby won't be here and the next she will but we have been doing a few things to ensure she slowly gets used to the idea and has an idea of what it will be like. We have put a lot of thought into what to do and what not to do before and after the birth so I thought I'd share my tips.

Things to do before the birth;

Include them in the pregnancy
You may wait until after the 12 week point to be safe but try to include your child as soon as possible.   Explain in the beginning that they will be a big brother/sister and explain you will grow the baby until it is ready to come out. Throughout your pregnancy take them to your appointments, show them scan photos and talk about the baby. If they're old enough, they can help you pick out names and new clothes or toys, it will show their role is important and they are still very much needed and wanted.

Read books about new siblings or being a big brother/sister
Most toddlers love books and it's a great way of learning but it's fun at the same time. Really emphasise that being a big sister/brother is the coolest thing and a very important job. You can get some really great ones on Amazon or you can choose to personalise your own which makes it a bit more special. We have 'The Super, Incredible big sister' book from I See Me personalised with Sienna (and baby girl's!) names. It comes with the medal that you award at the end of the book and it's just such a cute idea! Sienna absolutely loved it, she couldn't wait to show all the family and wears her medal with pride. The book was perfect, all the names were spelt correctly and it's brilliant quality with fab pictures. I highly recommend this one!

Preparing for a new sibling

Use a doll as a baby through role play
If they have a doll and accessories, show them how gentle they will have to be or mimic noises the new baby will make to get them used to the idea. Show them how to change the nappies, feed them, wind them.. of course they won't be doing this themselves when baby is here but it will give them the knowledge of what mummy and daddy will have to do with the baby. It's also a lot of fun! Sienna's Rumbly Tummy doll is fab for this!

Keep it positive
You may have worries about how you will juggle 2 kids or how you will cope at the end of your pregnancy when you're feeling tired and heavy but try not to express these worries in front of your other child. Try to only say positive things about the pregnancy and baby so they pick up on the excitement and enthusiasm.

Things to plan after birth;

Have a present waiting for them from the new baby at the hospital
This will (hopefully) help them have a positive reaction to the baby straight away.. they will also have something to play with at the hospital.

Greet them with open arms
Have the baby in their cot next to your bed when your older child(ren) first come to meet them. If they walk in to see you holding the new baby, they may instantly feel jealous or pushed out. Make sure you scoop them up, kiss them, cuddle them, ask them how they've been and then introduce the baby. Also have them travel home with you and the baby (if you can) so you all go home as a family, not separately as this can make them feel pushed out or replaced too.

Try to keep routine
This will probably be really hard with a newborn but it is important to try and keep the routine the same or at least get it back to a similar routine asap. Keep meal times at the same time, try to give them similar meals (freezer meals are handy for that!) and if you're used to all going for a family walk every evening, keep that the same with baby included.

Bond but also have one-on-one time
Plan some days/activities that you can all do as a new family such as swimming or a Sunday movie afternoon to allow them to bond with the baby but also ensure you still have one-on-one time with them without the baby. Make baby's nap time special times for you to do activities together like you used to do before baby was born.

Remember their age
Yes they are now a big brother/sister but they are also still only 3/4/5/6 etc.. Try to remember this. Sometimes they will want to be the helpful big sister/brother they are but sometimes they may also want to throw a tantrum like the 3 year old they are.

Plan activities for breastfeeding time
Breastfeeding can be time consuming with a newborn, so if you plan to do it, try to have some planned activities your toddler can do while you are feeding. You can read while they sit next to you or they could have a special colouring book they only have while you're feeding baby.

These are everything I have thought of..I really hope these help us, I'm sure I will let you know when baby girl arrives in February! Let me know if you have anymore tips to add!

Super Busy Mum
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