When we brought baby D home, the girls could not have been more excited. The first couple weeks were bliss as they snuggled with me during nursing sessions on the couch stroking his sweet little head or brought him his binkie at the slightest peep. Then they realized what having a new baby in the house meant. Their lives were forever changed.
H was almost four when D was born and she’s adjusted pretty well. Slightly more whining, but in general, not much change. M was two and a half and still considered herself the baby. She was pretty clingy before he was born and has just gotten more clingy since the birth. Here are some ways of helping your child adjust to a new baby.
Ideas for Helping Your Child Adjust to a New Baby
1: Talk about it beforehand. None of what is going to happen should be a surprise. There are some excellent books about becoming a big brother or sister that we checked out from the library to read. Here are a few that I recommend.
- The New Baby
- My New Baby
- You and Me
- What Baby Needs (My favorite!)
- When You were Inside Mommy (This one is great for answering many of the questions that will arise during pregnancy.)
2: Give a special gift to your child when the baby comes. My girls stayed with grandma, so the morning D was born, she gave them their presents from mommy and daddy. We kept it simple and got them both a new shirt and hair bow. It doesn’t need to be something big, just something to let them know you’re thinking about them.
3: Have them bring the baby a special gift. My girls brought D a teddy bear. They love that this was his first stuffy and it was from them.
4: Spend extra time cuddling. As if you won’t be spending enough time sitting down while nursing the new baby, it’s important to spend some time with just your others on your lap. Lately, M has been the first one up at nap time and she loves during on mommy’s lap. Make sure to make time for this.
5: Have something new for them to do while you’re nursing the baby. We set up nursing drawers for this purpose and the girls love them! I plan to write a whole blog about them eventually, but for now, you can have a look at my Nursing Drawers Pinterest Board to get ideas of your own!
6: Let them help, but take it easy. Often, I see people say to let the child help with the new baby. Have them bring diapers, burp cloths, etc. This can be a great way to get them involved, but if you see your child beginning to be uneasy about these tasks, take it easy. Especially young children need to feel that they didn’t just become work horses when the new baby arrived. If my children start to be unwilling to do tasks, I usually realize that I haven’t been spending much time with them. Once I make sure I’m giving them the time and attention they need, they become willing to help once again within a day or so. Remember, their world has just been shaken and they still need their mommy to let them know that they’re loved and it’s okay that they’re little.
I hope these tips help your family make the transition from one to two or two to three (or more!) more smoothly. The most important thing we do as a family is pray together. Ask God to help your children accept the new baby and their new roles. Ask Him to help you to transition into your new role. Pray these things with your children and have them pray as well. And then, relax and enjoy your new little one!