When a new baby comes home, it’s an exciting time. But it can also be intimidating when you have older kids at home too. How can you manage to keep your big kids and baby happy at the same time? It’s not as hard as it seems. You can manage – check out these 7 tips for our best suggestions how to transition your big kids to having a new baby at home..
Big Kids and Baby: So Many Questions
I remember being pregnant with my second child and wondering how I was going to care for 2 children. I had so many questions that kept floating around my brain.
How would I make sure both my children were fed?
What happens if I need to take my almost potty trained child to the bathroom when I’m nursing the baby? (spoiler alert – it either results in a screaming baby or a mess to clean up)
Would my house fall into disarray?
What about when both children are crying? Who do I comfort first?
Would my heart have enough room to love them both? How?
Will my first child feel left out? Will he think I have forgotten about him?
How will my relationship with my child change? What about my partner?
How will I manage to do everything I have to do with my big kids and baby when I am trying to heal from giving birth and trying to adjust to the transition that is before me?
Will they know that I still love them?
How do I make sure they are ready for this big change?
But mostly, how do I prepare my big kids?
So many questions.
7 Tips for Bringing Home Baby to Older Siblings
There’s so much more to think about when you bring home your second child than there was when you brought home your first – you have a whole other human that you need to care for in addition to your new baby! But have no fear. Check out these tips to make it easier on both you and your big kids!
1. prepare your kids
- Get your older kids excited about the new baby while you’re still pregnant. Involve them in doctor/midwife appointments, let them feel the baby kick, or ask for their input on things like the baby’s name. Talk about what is developing as your pregnancy goes on. Using age appropriate language, answer their questions surrounding birth. If they will be attending the birth, show them videos of birth so they are prepared for the sounds and sights that might arise. YouTube has many wonderful birth videos you can share – both home births and hospital births. Talk extensively about how your home will change when the baby arrives.
2. Let them pick out something special for baby
- Maybe you let them pick out a special gift to give baby, maybe a special outfit, or maybe they just make them a card. Either way, let them do something special to welcome their new sibling.
3. Pick out something special for them FROM baby
- With a new baby comes plenty of gifts for said baby. Often, the older kids feel left out. Pick out something special just for them for the baby to “give” to them. An activity they can do on their own is perfect as it gives them something to do while you are otherwise busy with the new baby – something as simple as some crayons and a colouring book would be perfect.
4. prep your pantry
- Kids like to snack, and it always seems that they are hungry when you are with the baby. Plan ahead by stocking your pantry with lots of easy to grab things that they can get themselves. Preparing a “snack bin” in the fridge or in the pantry that they are allowed to pick from is a great way to foster independence and keep them fed when you are busy with the baby.
5. Make a busy box
- Make a box filled with special activities that only comes out when you are feeding or comforting your baby. Depending on the age of your child, you might include books, puzzles, busy bags, or special toys. Place this box next to your feeding station so it is always easy to pull out (not sure what that is? Check out these tips for how to set one up).
6. lower your expectations
- Seriously. Lower them, and then lower them again. Early postpartum is not the time to be worrying about screen time and perfect meals. Do what you can, and that’s enough. If your older child watches a little more Netflix than usual, don’t sweat it. If supper consists of cereal, don’t worry. This time will pass and you’ll be able to get yourself back into similar routines that you were in before.
7. Arrange Help
- There’s no denying that you will be a little preoccupied with your new baby. Arrange for someone to come in a few hours a day to help out. They can either play with your older children, or care for your baby while you reconnect with your older kids. You can ask a friend or family member, or hire a postpartum doula.
Bringing home a baby when you have older kids doesn’t have to be so scary. With some simple preparation, your kids can thrive. You may find that they still have some difficulty with the transition, but with your love and support, they will adjust to the new normal that having a sibling brings.
Still feeling overwhelmed? Send me a message and let’s chat. I would love to help you figure out how you can make this transition easier for you and your big kids.