Bringing home a new baby is always an exciting occasion. You may feel that bringing home your second baby will be a simple thing after figuring out how to care for your first, but many families find that there can be a whole set of new challenges. Your baby’s older sibling is likely incredibly excited to meet the new little one, however, sharing their parents with another child may be more than they expected. Luckily there are steps that you can take to make this transition as smooth as possible.
Before baby comes home
- Talk to your child about their future sibling. Talk about the doctor checkups that mommy will go to during her pregnancy and show them ultrasound pictures. Have them feel mommy’s tummy when the baby is kicking.
- Allow them to be involved in picking out an outfit for the new baby, setting up the bassinet and nursery, etc.
- Talk to them about how they can be involved with helping with their new sibling. Explain that you will be spending time taking care of the new baby, but that doesn’t mean you love them any less.
- During story time, read a story about an older brother or sister who gets a new sibling.
After the baby’s arrival
- Try to maintain a routine. Routines provide consistent expectations and help provide stability in your child’s life.
- Involve your older child in the baby’s care. Have them throw away the diaper for you during changing time and help bring the burp cloth or pacifier. Emphasize what a good helper they are and how important their role is.
- Spend at least 15-20 minutes of one-on-one time with your older child every day. It is very easy for older children to feel jealous about how much time you spend with the new baby. Having personal time with them reminds them that they are important too.
- Know that it is normal to have some behavioral regression when a new sibling comes home. There may be a period of bedwetting, poor sleep, etc. Try to be patient and understanding as your child is processing this new change.
Using these strategies will help make your transition to a larger family as smooth as possible. Be patient and show yourself and the other members of your family an extra dose of grace. Before you know it, you will be settled into your new, expanded family.