Updated: Aug 18, 2022
You’re expecting another baby! YAY! Now your first child will have someone to play with and you get to enjoy all the baby cuddles again. But let’s be honest; the thought of taking care of another baby is overwhelming. In addition to that, you’re worried about how your first child will adjust to the new addition. Stick with us and keep reading; we’ve got you covered.
One on One Time
After you bring your new baby home, prioritize spending one-on-one time with your older child every day. Take at least 15 minutes and focus all your attention on doing something that they enjoy. Depending on the age and interests of your older child, this might be going for a walk together, doing a craft or reading a story.
During this special time, try to keep your phone put away and the TV off so that there are no distractions.
Be Mindful of Your Words
“Be quiet! The baby is sleeping!”
“Stop throwing things! You could hit your little brother.”
“No, we can’t go outside. It’s too cold for your baby sister.”
Sound familiar? Be mindful of how often you discipline your older child because of how their actions impact the new baby. Of course, it’s important that they learn what they can and can’t do to keep the baby safe, but rephrase your words to have a more positive outcome.
“Right now it’s quiet time. How about we read a story together?”
“Can you take your ball outside to throw?
“When it gets warmer we can go outside. Can you help me plan a picnic for this weekend?”
Notice how none of these sentences have anything to do with the baby. However, your older child will inevitably hear things like this: “Hold on, please. I’m changing the baby’s diaper.” So, try to make things more fair by saying similar phrases to your baby:
“Hold on baby sis, I’m helping big sis put on her shoes.” This may sound silly because your baby doesn’t understand, but your older child will understand, and they will appreciate being your first priority sometimes. It really works!
Be a Team
Having a second pair of hands and someone else to entertain your baby can really come in handy. Ask your older child to help with anything that they are old enough to do. This will make them feel important. Even if your older child is a toddler, they can help by doing small, simple tasks.
“Can you bring me a burp rag? Thank you! You are such a great helper!”
“Little brother seems upset. What do you think we should do?”
“Can you sing a song for your baby sister? She loves to hear your voice.”
This extra responsibility will help your child learn empathy, patience, and teamwork. They will also learn that everything isn't always about them.
Try to Maintain Routine
Maintaining a routine will undoubtedly be a challenge. Your schedule won’t look the same, but do what you can to maintain some kind of routine. For example, if you usually read to your older child before bed, do your best to continue that habit. Ask your partner to help with the baby during this time or read all together. The more “normal” you can keep your routine and habits, the more easily your child will adjust.
Recruit your partner, grandparents, aunts and uncles to spend extra time with your older child. Your new baby will need a lot of your attention and you will likely be exhausted. Keeping your baby happy and your older child entertained will be much easier if family members can give you a break every once in a while. The extra attention from others will make your older child continue to feel special and reduce the chances of jealousy.
Practice Skin-to-Skin Contact
If your first child can safely hold your baby, they can practice skin-to-skin contact. Bonding between siblings is so important and practicing skin-to-skin contact is a powerful way for them to form a stronger attachment. Plus, it’s so beneficial for both of your children in many other ways. It will help them relax and feel more content, while helping your baby adjust to life outside the womb.
You Can Do It!
There will be countless, overwhelming moments when all of your children need you at once. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t be everything for everyone at the same time. (Trust us; we’ve been there.) Having one child is challenging, having two (or more!) is another ball game. Despite all obstacles, you will use your super mom strength and continually rise to the occasion. Just keep reminding yourself that your babies have a best friend to grow up with, and that you get to be showered with twice the love.