How To Prepare Older Child For A New Baby
One of my biggest worry these days is how Lauren would react when we bring home the newborn. I tried my best to explain to Lauren that in this big belly of mine, is her ‘mei mei’ (younger sister in chinese), but she doesn’t seem to get the concept of another baby. In fact, she still refer to herself as THE ‘baby’.
I imagine being in her position. She is used to be the only child. She currently spends all her waking time with me; she gets a hug whenever she runs to me; we go for walks and playgroups together; but soon this will all change. In the early days, I’ll spend most of my time nursing the new baby, Lauren might feel left out. How can I show her that I still love her just as much?
So I read up, asked for ideas and here are some of the advice I got:
- When your older child meets new baby for the first time, let someone else hold the baby or have the baby laying down in moses basket, infant seat, etc. This way, she can focus on the baby one-to-one instead of being confused seeing a baby in your arms, which is their usual territory.
- When your older child visits you at the hospital, let your partner and your older child go to the nursery together and bring the baby to you. This way, she would feel like she is welcoming the baby and introducing it to you instead of finding her missing mommy holding another baby.
- Schedule quality alone time with your older child, to let her know you still love her very much.
- Ask everyone who visits to first greet your older child first before looking at the baby.
- Constantly tell your older child a lot about what a great big sister she is and how proud they must be for being the older one.
- Get your older child a baby doll for her to look after, so you both can be ‘mums’ together.
- Get your partner to pay more attention to your older child, it is the perfect time for them to bond, leaving you with the newborn.
- Buy and wrap little gifts in advance. Whenever your older child feels upset about being left out, give her a gift and says it is from her little brother/sister.
- You will find yourself saying, “Just a minute, I have to do this for baby.” Make a point of ‘telling’ the baby, it is now time for you to do something for your older child.
- If your first child is older, involve her in the decisions making process. Let her picks out the baby items when you shop, or even have her picks the name.
- Get your older child a “Big Sister” t-shirt, blanket or whatever she likes to feel special.
- If you have always been the one to put your older child to bed, continue to do so after the new baby arrives. Let her know you’ll always be there when she needs you.
- If both children are crying at the same time, attend to the older one first. The new baby is too young to know any better.
- Children love to hear praise. Say to your partner,”Lauren is so helpful today. You should have seen her. She got diapers and wipes for the baby just when I needed them!”
So how did you prepare your older child for a new baby? Any recommendation on children’s books about siblings? What happened when your older child met new baby for the first time? Do share. I would appreciate any insight. Thanks!
PS: How to enjoy your third trimester.
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