Unlike the first time around, when you are pregnant with your second child, you have the added complexity of another little person to consider. Not only are you infinitely more exhausted from running around after them all day while at the same time growing another person, there is the whole question of how to prepare #1 for the arrival of #2. Sara Keli shares five ways to be on the front foot for the arrival of a new sibling.
The trick is to make #1 feel part of the journey rather than a reluctant bystander. Take them to appointments; ask for their help with decorating the nursery; talk to them about baby names and what it will be like when their new sibling arrives; let them feel the baby kicking or even get them to help you announce your pregnancy. Reading them books such as New Adventures: My New Sibling can also introduce them to what life will be like post baby. Getting them involved during your pregnancy can also pay off when baby arrives and you need a helper to fetch nappies or pass you the remote while you are mid-feed.
Buy them a gift from the baby
Having a new baby land in your home can be quite the shock for anyone but particularly the first child who will have their whole world disrupted without any choice in the matter. As much as you have talked about it in the months leading up, that arrival can smack them in the face, particularly when they feel isolated while mum and dad are at the hospital caring for the new baby. Start to develop the bond between siblings by purchasing a gift from the new baby. An Ergobaby doll carrier is a brilliant gift idea so your child can care for their “baby” while you care for yours. It is also a nice touch for #1 to choose a gift for their new brother or sister.
Preparing for the birth
So while you are preparing for the birth in a whole other way, you need to prepare your child for time away from you. Make plans for who will look after your child when you go to the hospital and when they will come to visit you. When they do come to visit you in hospital, make a big deal about their arrival and give them lots of attention. Leave the baby in the nursery while you take a walk together or involve them in the first bath. Coming home from the hospital as a family is also really important so they feel part of the process.
Keep things as routine as possible
We all know that when you have a new baby, a routine can feel like the farthest thing from reality. But it is likely that your toddler is already in a routine and to help them cope with the family change, sticking to this routine as much as possible is key. Of course things will change but, where you can, sticking to routine will make a massive difference. It is also not advisable to start toilet training or making any other massive changes in the couple of months before or after baby arrives – keep things familiar and consistent to avoid too much disruption.
Plan for life with two
The trick to life with a toddler and a newborn is to be super organised. The best laid plans often go awry but that is actually when some time spent organising pre-baby will come in handy. For a new mum of two, the last thing you want is to almost have the baby asleep when your older child bounds noisily into the room because they are bored and want your attention s you need activities for your older child to do while you are spending time on newborn care. Tiger Tribe activity sets are perfect for this as they can also be thrown into your bag for while you are out and about. Likewise a Very Busy Bag can be carted around or saved for those times at home when you really need the quiet!