The story I’m about to share makes me chuckle every time I remember it. A few months ago, I had cause to take a pregnancy test and I didn’t want to go alone so I asked a friend to accompany me. We’re both mothers of one; I have a son and she has a daughter.
When we got to the health centre, I asked her to please just take a test too so I wouldn’t be the only one (you can tell I was really in need of that moral support, right?) and she graciously obliged. When the results came out, I wasn’t pregnant…but she was! Talk about a shocker! Whoop! Automatic godmother right here, people!
I’ve decided to start playing my role now by sharing some tips that can help prepare a toddler to be a big sister. This is for you, B!
- Make her more aware of other babies before her sibling arrives.
- Show her own baby pictures to her over and over, so she gets how she was once a baby too.
- Buy her a doll, so she can play “mum” herself.
- Tell her who will take care of her and what to expect when you go to “bring out the baby”.
- If your husband will become her primary caregiver when the baby is born, let the bonding start now with fun bath time and bedtime routines.
- If there will be any new routines (such as sleeping in a different room or having meals at a different time), try to start them now so that she doesn’t associate feelings of displacement with her sibling’s arrival.
- Create a balance between special moments shared with her now that her mummy is still all hers, and times spent learning how to be independent and interact with family and friends when mummy is unavailable.
- When your firstborn comes to see her sibling at the hospital for the first time, it would be nice for her to see a picture of herself beside you; her place in mummy’s heart is forever.
- Have your husband (or whoever is bringing her to see you and the new baby) inform you before they arrive, so you can settle your baby and put him or her down before your toddler arrives. That warm, attentive and affectionate welcome will go a long way to assure her and make her more receptive to the newcomer.
- As soon as you can arrange it, take a picture of them together. If she can hold him or her, that’s even better.
- Let her know in advance that you won’t be going back home with her; you and baby will come home in a few days. Hearing your voice regularly will soothe her.
- Don’t be hard on her. If she’s acting up, respond with patience. She’ll get used to the new addition easier that way.
Enjoy being a mum of two!