Do you have a plan for helping your older child transition into being a sibling?
The early weeks of having a new baby at home can be trying for your older children.
Sometimes people are really surprised to find out that while we work with many first time moms, we also do a LOT of work with families welcoming second, third, or even fourth babies!
Adding a new sibling to the family brings some of the same challenges, but totally new ones as well.
You’ll have all the typical concerns about learning to breastfeed with a new infant partner, learning new time management skills, and figuring out changing family roles and dynamics.
In addition to all of that, there are the questions…
“Can I love a new baby as much as my older one?”
“Can I make time to give both the attention they deserve?”
“Will I ever sleep again?” 🙂
and finally, “How do I help my older child/children adjust to being a big sister/brother?”
The first two just seem to work out along the way…and we can help with the last two!
Here are some steps to help prepare your family for the birth of a new sibling:
Before the baby comes, develop the habit of spending one-on-one time with your older child/children on a regular basis. It may be just 5-20 minutes, but let your child lead this time. Watch his favorite show with him, read a book, color pictures together, etc.
Once baby comes, it will be important to have routines that include built-in time with the older kids (baby may join in but the older child will still be your focus).
Talk about how babies act, the care they need, and the amount of time they require. Read age-appropriate books about new babies. It often helps younger siblings to have a baby doll of their own to care for.
Beef up your village: Spend time (and make sure the older child spends time) with the people who support you. Make sure your child feels comfortable with whoever will be caring for them during the birth if they will be staying with someone else.
Take care of YOU. This is the ideal time to build your support team. The first few weeks after welcoming a new baby is the best time to accept ALL offers of help!
Do you have a family member who’s willing to pick up your older kids from school? Yes, please! Are your friends offering to bring by hot meals (or even to drop them by in a cooler stationed on your front porch!)? Wonderful–dinner is served!
Consider looking into what types of paid help might benefit your family. This is a great time to have a housekeeper come even once or twice in the first month!
Look into hiring a postpartum doula to support your whole family with learning how to integrate a new baby into your lives.
Another great thing to do is to attend a Sibling Preparation class with your older child/children…and we’re offering one!
These classes are fun for kids but also will give you extra tools to support your little ones in building great sibling relationships.