How to Welcome a New Member to your Family
I’m pleased to welcome …with Preston Davis who will be guest posting on Momma Lew today! His opinions may differ from that of Momma Lew’s.
Bringing a second baby into your family can be exciting and scary. By now, you are probably accustomed to dealing with changing diapers, getting very little sleep, baby proofing and the insane pile of laundry your home has now become. For most couples, the first child is the learning phase in regards to parenting skills/baby care. But having a second child presents unique challenges of its own.
While learning to navigate with two babies seems overwhelming, the biggest challenge you will have as a parent is battling guilt and dealing with jealousy. You will feel guilty at some point during your pregnancy or following the birth of your second baby. It’s natural. You will wonder how you can possibly care for and love two children. But, you will do it.
Your guilt may get worse before it gets better, especially if your first child is resistant to the idea of a new baby. Age and personality both play a huge role in how your child will handle their younger sibling. If you are at all concerned that your little one will have a difficult time, there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier:
Tell them as soon as possible:
If your child is really young, you can probably wait a little while. But, if your child is a little older or prone to jealousy, you should tell them as soon as possible to give them more time to adjust to the idea of sharing mommy and daddy with someone else. How you tell them is entirely up to you, but simply taking them out for ice cream and bringing it up casually will give you a good gauge on how they will react. Remember to ask how they feel, if they are nervous, etc. Make sure you reassure them that you will still be their mommy and daddy and that you will love them the same.
Purchase them a helpful gift:
A fun way to help your little one get excited for the new arrival is to start bragging about how they get to be a big sister or brother! There are shirts available that you can purchase for your child that can help them understand the situation better. Another option is something like the customizable Big Sibling Book found here, which can be personalized to include your child’s name and their new sibling’s name, and tells your child all about why being a big brother/big sister is so much fun.
Keep them involved in the pregnancy:
When possible, let your child accompany you to doctor’s meetings, especially when you get to hear the baby’s heartbeat or see the little one on an ultrasound monitor. By including your child and keeping them updated on the pregnancy, you can help them understand the excitement involved in adding a member to the family by letting them see and hear their new sibling.
As the pregnancy progresses, you can help them understand what’s going on by talking about how they’re growing and changing in your stomach. When the baby starts moving, your oldest may enjoy feeling them move in your tummy, talking to them, or even reading their little sibling a story.
Let them buy a gift:
A fun way to get your little one excited is to let them pick out a gift for their new sibling. It’s likely they’ll want to buy something inappropriate for a baby, like a hard figurine. You can either let them get it and just tell them it’ll be a while before they can play with it, or direct them to something more baby friendly. Letting your child choose something they want to give them will make the experience more personal for them. This is a great way to show them how to love their new baby brother or sister.
Keep an open mind:
It’s possible that your child is going to be jealous and angry no matter how hard you try to prepare them. Some kids react in anger by smacking their parent’s tummy, yelling, or saying they hate the baby. This is not all that uncommon and can be extremely frustrating. The best thing you can do is let them feel what they are feeling but assure them you still love them. Help them understand it’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to hit or yell. Let them talk about their feelings, ask them questions, and give them more cuddle time. Most jealousy cases will resolve the minute they hold their new baby brother or sister the first time, though with some kids it may take a little longer.
Author Bio: Preston Davis is a first time dad, blogger and DIY extraordinaire. Master of the grill and all things culinary, he currently lives in Southern California with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter. Follow him on Twitter to see what he’s up to: @withPreston.