One of the most frequently asked questions from my small group coaching community is about welcoming a new baby into the home. Preparing your child for the arrival of a new sibling can be daunting — especially if your child was the only child you had before! Here are some tips for helping to ease that transition a bit for all of you.
Talk about baby coming in the months and weeks before your due date. You can just make it part of your normal everyday conversation, especially if you’re already showing or can feel the baby moving. Show your child the ultrasound photos and talk about baby’s name — it doesn’t have to be super intense, just as you’re having it done and making those kinds of decisions. Like whenever you would talk about it with an adult!
Talk about what to expect with a new baby: loud crying, needing to use gentle hands, etc. Read books about becoming a big sibling! Mister Rogers has a series of books that deal with tough topics, and he has this one about welcoming a new baby to the family. It talks about real issues that might come up with a new baby.
Get your child a baby doll to practice taking care of so you can demonstrate how to touch baby and she can practice. When I had my Nora, Lila was particularly interested in diaper changing and she would practice with the same diaper on a stuffed animal over and over again.
As you’re starting to collect baby items and set up a nursery, let your child be involved with it! Let her help you put baby clothes in the drawer or make small decisions like which artwork to hang up.
Before bringing your child to the hospital to meet the baby, have whoever’s watching her show her some pictures or videos of the new baby. Let her sit on the hospital bed to hold the baby in her lap (with your help, of course!).
Once baby is born, letting your child help with basic baby care things can help! Ask her to bring you the diaper changing supplies. Let her help feed him if he’s going to be using a bottle, or let her “read” to him from her favorite books.
Having some quality time with your first child after baby has arrived is also important to help fill her cup. It can be hard to suddenly have to share your parents!