Real Mom Advice: Introducing Siblings to the New Baby
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I was first overjoyed, then a little nervous about how her brother would react. He was my first baby, and we have always had a really great connection. I kiss his boo-boos, snuggle with him when he's sick, and I rocked him to sleep the first two and a half years of his life. He's a sensitive soul, my firstborn, so I wasn't sure how a new sibling would fit into his life.
At 3 1/2, Luke's attitude toward his new sibling could go either way: either he'll love her dearly, or he'll resent the breath she breathes. Luckily, he's been pretty excited so far. He loves to kiss my belly and say goodnight to “little sister.” I am still pondering how he'll react when he sees that squirming little pink bundle of joy in the hospital suite.
Adding a new sibling can be tricky, even for experienced parents. All kids are different, and no reaction will be the same. Preparing for a new sibling? These experienced moms can help you navigate the waters.
Tonya Wertman‘s son, Lucas, was 4 1/2 when she gave birth to her daughter, Lola, in January. She discovered that allowing him to experience ultrasounds helped make the idea of a sibling more concrete. “We talked about what it meant to have a baby a lot and found a sibling class through a local university that was very helpful. I also took him to ultrasound appointments with me so he could ‘see' the baby.”
Courtney Adkins is mom to two sons, Garrett and Connor. She and her husband helped Garrett adapt by including him in a variety of new-baby tasks.
“Garrett was almost 4 when we had Connor. I showed him ultrasound pictures, let him listen to Connor's heartbeat on our Doppler, and let him feel and watch my belly. The day I had Connor, Garrett stayed with my sister-in-law. She brought Garrett up after we were settled in the mother/baby unit. I had [my husband] Dave meet her out the hallway. When Dave brought Garrett in, it was just the four of us. I didn't want Garrett to be overwhelmed by everyone there; I wanted him to take it all in without a bunch of people bombarding him about being a big brother. When we got home, we let him help with little things like getting diapers, powder–just enough to make him feel like he was really helping. We included him in tummy time and let him rock Connor in the recliner. He did so much better adjusting than we thought he would. He's an awesome big brother!”
Karen Chavez‘s son Martin was 9 when little brother, William, was born. With an older child, Karen was able to let Martin experience the entire delivery. “Martin was pretty aware. We had planned for Martin to hang out with my mother at her house when I went to the hospital, but when the day came, Martin insisted on riding with us to the hospital and staying. We arrived at the hospital around 11 a.m., and William was born at 9:01 p.m. Martin stayed the whole time, was there when William was delivered, and was able to cut the cord. After we got home, Martin loved feeding and rocking William and couldn't wait for his chance to rock him to sleep.When I'd put William to bed at the end of the day, Martin would get a blanket and pillow and fall asleep on the floor in William's room. Sweet days.”
Tara Campioni's first daughter, Hannah, was almost 4 when little sister Emily was born. To help Hannah prepare for big-sisterdom, Tara promised something very special.
“Hannah went with me to every appointment and talked a lot about the new baby. To make her feel special we promised her she could be the first to hold the baby. Other than the nurses and doctor, she held her before me or my husband. She still talks about it to this day about how she was the first to hold her.”
How did you prepare your little one for a new arrival? Share your tips in the comments!