One of my biggest stressors while pregnant was how Piper would react to this huge life change so I polled the women in The Mama Notes Facebook Community and asked for their tips! They were so helpful and we implemented many of them. I’ll be sharing more on our transition in the coming weeks and in the meantime here’s some great advice!
We took our daughter out to one of her favorite places with just mommy & daddy when we got home from the hospital. In our case, we went to the playground and got ice cream while we had family in town to watch the baby. The new baby, visitors, and 2 nights w/ mom and dad away proved to be a lot for her to process- so I think this helped ease her anxiety about all the changes and assure her that her world wouldn’t be completely turned upside down- only a little.
I’ve heard talking to her and asking “What are you excited to show the baby when she gets here? (fave toy, place, donut shop, whatever)” and make a plan to take/show the new baby big sister’s favorite things. Talk about it and how she “gets” to show baby sister this thing when she arrives!
We’re doing a lot of talking about all the great things she can teach the baby and help us do with the baby. I love the idea of a special outing with mommy and daddy after the baby comes.
One small thing we did was to make sure neither of us was holding the baby when our son first met him, he was in a neutral spot lying between us so that our son’s first impression was not that we were unavailable to him because of holding the baby.
It is tempting to say ‘be careful’ constantly even when he is just approaching the baby but I try to only say that if he is truly doing something that will hurt the baby, I do not want him to become discouraged about all of the rules around touching the baby but instead feel free to love and touch him.
One thing I did was to always refer to the new baby as my daughter’s baby. So when she came to the hospital I would say, “Your baby brother is here,” “Your baby is awake, hungry, etc”.
Another great tip I received was to communicate her time to the baby. So if he was sleeping I would say out loud, “Baby, it’s your sister’s turn with Mommy. Thank you for sleeping, but now I’m going to spend time with just her.” It made her feel better because I found myself constantly telling her to hold on so I could change him, feed him, rock him etc. The act of telling him to “hold on” made her feel like she was still a priority.
We found that reading books about becoming an older sister helped prepare her beforehand. And then after the baby was born, we made sure to give her older sister lots of one-on-time with each of us just so she didn’t feel like the baby was getting more attention.
Just talking to our older son and trying to still give him my undivided attention part of the day really helped with the transition.
We still talk a lot about how lucky we are to all have each other. And how our baby is super lucky to have a big brother. We make a really big deal about what a good brother and big boy he is ???? We read books too! The hardest part for me was a change in the routine because I couldn’t do everything anymore, so preparing your older child for changes in the routine ahead of time is a good idea!