The gift of a sibling is an amazing gift indeed but there are definitely some adjustments that will have to be made.
Congratulations on the news of your impending arrival.
The news of expecting a baby
is an absolute whirlwind of emotions.
There are so many wonderful things to come but at the same time you probably can’t help but feel anxious about the unknown. On the one hand, you’ll be feeling like a pro if you’ve done this before but that very sentence might just be enough to send you into a spin too. You know you should feel confident about this one but in many ways you just don’t, right?
There is a huge amount of uncertainty that comes with expecting a baby
– regardless of whether it’s baby number one or twenty-one. Each baby is an individual and the very same can be said for each pregnancy
and birth experience. Will the baby be a sleeper? Will they feed well? How will your own recovery be after the birth? There are so many questions that just can’t be answered until the reality arrives.
A huge anxiety
for parents is the way in which a new baby will impact the other children – particularly the youngest. For so long now they may have been the baby of the family and you can’t help but feel like you’re shaking their little world up in a really big way. The gift of a sibling is an amazing gift indeed but there are definitely some adjustments that will have to be made for all members of the family. Having an idea of what to expect certainly helps.
Here are some gentle ways to prepare your child for a new baby coming into the house:
1. Talk about the baby as often as feels natural but try not to make every single topic baby-centred. While trying to normalise the idea you might encourage a bit of resentment if your child feels as though everything comes back to this new little person.
2. It is a good idea to highlight the fact that this will be a baby rather than a little person who will be playing football and dress up as soon as they are welcomed into the family. It is important that young children know that a baby is on the way rather than someone who can do the things that they can do. It’s all about knowing what to expect.
3. Gently talk about some of the things that babies do. Mentioning that babies cry, wake a lot at night and need to be fed regularly will help instil the normality of it all. You can talk about the ways in which the older sibling might be able to help you manage these things because the role of an older sibling is super special.
4. There are some really helpful books that you can weave into your bed-time stories. Many of them explore the idea of “waiting for baby” and what it means when Mammy is pregnant and others touch on life when the baby comes along. You might do these every couple of nights while ensuring their regular books are included on those other nights.
5. If any major changes are going to be required such as a change in sleeping arrangements it is a good idea to do these things before the baby comes. This helps disassociate that change with the baby and may prevent any resentment. Try to keep your child’s routine as normal as possible as this is their security blanket.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.