Having your second (or third or fourth) baby is a pretty different experience than having your 1st. In addition to thinking about your new baby, you may be worried about how your older child will adjust (and of course, how life will be for YOU with a bigger family)!
We’ve put together some ideas to help everyone in the family, including you, adjust to this next exciting adventure.
1. No need for guilt
A lot of moms start to feel guilty about the arrival of a new baby—“I feel bad that my toddler will no longer be the center of attention.” But research shows that having a sibling can be a really awesome experience for a child. A built-in playmate and confidant for life!
2. It actually may make your life easier
We’re not going to sugar coat it—having a newborn and an older child is tough. The sleeplessness, noise level and overall demands may increase. But remember that pretty quickly, your newborn is going to become an infant, and then a toddler, and then a big kid! Many moms of 2+ kids say that as their kids grow and are able to play with each other more and more, things actually get a lot easier (back to the built-in playmate concept).
3. Prepare your tot
There are lots of things you can do now to help your older kid get ready for a baby. Look in your area of a sibling prep class. Give him a baby doll to hold and and take care of. Read books about big brothers and sisters. Let your toddler kiss and talk to your belly. You can even buy them a toy “from the baby.” You may be surprised at how well they adapt to their new, real doll ;)
4. Time big changes well
If your older kid is on the verge of a big change—like a new big kid bed or potty training—plan the moment strategically. It’s best to avoid a big change too close to the time of the baby’s arrival, because that is a lot for a little one to handle. So consider making the big transition now, or holding off until the baby is a few months old and everyone is settled down a bit.
5. All the snuggles
Your big kid will always be your baby, and it’s important for you both to remember that. Spend lots of time cuddling, playing and telling them how important they are to you. It will be soul-lifting for you both.
6. Plan ahead
Make a list of your big kids’ needs, and think about ways to make day-to-day activities easier. This may mean hiring a babysitter to play with him so you can take a nap in the afternoon. Or maybe you want to arrange a carpool so you don’t always have to be the one to get him from daycare. Do what you can now, to make those first few months easier for you.
7. You have enough room in your heart
A lot of women will say, “how can I possibly love another child as much as I love this one?” It can be hard to wrap your mind around until you are in it, but all we can say is, we promise that you will love your next baby just as much as you other children, and your family will feel that much more complete. And speaking of love...
8. Prepare your heart for the moment they first meet
Watching the 2 things you love most in this world see each other for the first time is just... there simply are no words. Have the camera ready and prepare to be breathtaken.