We’re expecting baby No. 2! We’re thrilled, but I’m worried my firstborn will feel neglected when all my time is suddenly spent nursing and changing diapers. How can I make the transition easier on him?
A: It’s easy to feel worried about how bringing home a new baby will change family dynamics and even feel sad about how your own relationship with your oldest is going to change. The upside? There is absolutely nothing like the feeling of introducing your newest addition to big brother or sister, knowing that long after you’re gone, these two little ones will have each other.
Here are a few ways to ease the transition:
Make a “feeding basket.”
Fill a bin or bag with toys, games, books (even snacks!) that your oldest can play with only when you’re feeding or changing your baby. This way, instead of it being a time when your firstborn feels neglected, it will be a time when he’ll feel extra special.
Plan a weekly date.
Whether it’s a 30-minute trip to grab a smoothie or reading books together while the baby sleeps, this extra-special time will reassure him that everything hasn’t changed. If possible, let him plan the date.
Prepare him mentally.
The books I’m a Big Sister and I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole are excellent ways to introduce older siblings to what babies can do and what being an older sibling means.
Don’t think it’s over after the first month.
While you may think everything is back to “normal” after those first exciting weeks, the transition doesn’t hit most kids until later, when Grandma goes home and that baby is still there (and still taking up a lot of his mom’s time). This is a great point to implement the weekly dates if you haven’t already.
—Elle Rowley, mom of three and creator of Solly Baby, a line of American-made wraps for babywearing