Preparing Older Children for New Baby
Are you expecting a new little bundle? Being pregnant can bring so many fun and exciting things along with it. The movement of the baby, the shopping for little tiny clothes and the packing of that diaper bag can be such a sweet time. With each one of my babies I enjoyed each step of the preparation for their arrival. Pregnancy wasn’t always so easy for me, but the getting ready part was fun.
When my oldest was born I was not sure what to do as a mom, I was scared and very possessive of this new little baby. I was almost as possessive with each child that came after. I struggled when other people wanted to hold my little ones. I wanted to protect them, to hold on to them. In fact I loved carrying my babies. I held them as much as I could when they were young. I knew that they would soon want to be out of my arms and off to do their own things, so I held on for as long as I could. Yet this bonding I loved so much also brought distance between me and the older children. I really wasn’t prepared for all the turmoil a family goes through when another baby is added to the mix. And I certainly was prepared for the changes that happened in my relationship with my oldest daughter!
Babies are Messy
When my second daughter was born I had not prepared my oldest for what was about to happen. I talked with her about the new baby coming, but she was only 13 months when her sister was born. I will never forget when my parents brought my oldest to the hospital to see me and the new baby. She came in the room all excited to see mommy and daddy, and then she stopped. She pulled back and was distant the entire visit. She seemed so stunned, and uncertain of what was happening in her little world.
I realized I needed to be intentional to reconnect with my oldest girlie, so I tried many things.
Success and Failures
Whenever we were at my parent’s house I tried to give the baby to my mom so I could spend some one-on-one time with my oldest. For several weeks she was distant from me. She was able to connect with her daddy much sooner than she was able to connect with me. After a few days home though she tried to hold the baby. I responded by pulling the baby away from her and telling her to be careful not to hurt the baby. Remember I was dealing with a 13 month old and a newborn. I quickly realized, with the help of others how good it would be to allow her to sit and hold the baby with me or her daddy helping her.
It took my oldest a bit of time, but soon she and I learned how to connect again. It helped that her baby sister slept a LOT! So I had a lot of one-on-one time with her while baby was sleeping. Soon we had learned a new normal and life carried on.
Learning, and Making Mistakes
When I was getting close to giving birth to my son, and third child, I wanted things to be a little different so I tried new things to communicate to the older girls that things were going to change again and that we were going to be bringing a baby home. The girls helped me to set up is bed, and prepare his diapers, and pack his diaper bag. They loved seeing and touching all his tiny new clothes. That transition went a lot better.
With each baby that we brought home I learned more and more. My son struggled a lot when we brought home our Christmas baby. I had learned how to prepare the girls, but I had not realized how differently my son would respond. I did not know how to prepare my son. That was a hard lesson too.
Next week I want to share with you a few tips that I learned about helping the older children be prepared for the arrival of the newest addition to the family. Each child responds differently. That is vital to remember so these tips are just general ideas, you will need to tailor them to your children.