Making Room for Baby: Helping Your Child Adjust to a New Sibling

By Meagan Ruffing

There’s nothing more exciting than finding out that you are expecting; again. Thoughts of tiny toes and sweet baby breath flood your mind and your world is all of a sudden in total bliss. Along with another baby though, come worries of, “How will I possibly love this baby like I love my first,” or “How will my child adjust to having a new baby in the house? Will he still know that I love him just the same?”

Having another baby, whether it’s your second, third or fourth, can be an exciting and overwhelming time. There are lots of things to consider; including how everyone’s life is going to change once your due date has arrived.

Here are eight effective tips on how to make a smooth transition from one baby to two, or more.

1. Belly Banter – Prepare your son for the upcoming arrival of his baby sister. Let him touch and kiss your belly while you are still pregnant. Having a hands-on experience will help him make the connection that there is something special inside of your belly and you want him to be a part of it.

2. Gift Giving – Pick out a gift from your unborn baby to ‘give’ to your older child after she is born. If you are allowing your older child to visit you at the hospital, give the gift to him and tell him it’s from his baby sister. This will make him feel extra special during a time that may be a little scary for him.

3. Hold on Tight – Help your daughter hold your newborn son. Let her sit in an adult’s lap (or yours if you feel up to it) and let her ‘hold’ the baby with help. Once she sees that this baby is a living, breathing person – she will start to take on that roll of big sister.

4. Nursing/Bottle Basket – Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, fill a basket, bin or bucket with special toys that your older children have never seen before (think dollar store toys). Only take the basket out when you are feeding the new baby. Your older children can play with their new toys and feel like they are still a part of what you’re doing.

5. Date Day/Night – Have your husband watch the baby while you and your son go on a date. Take him to his favorite restaurant or stop by the park to push him on the swing. It’s important that you continue to take time just for you and him so that he gets that one-on-one attention with you.

6. Tummy Time – Have your daughter help you with the baby’s tummy time by letting her pick out which toys to put in front of the baby. This small act of helping out will make her feel like she is taking an active role in the baby’s life. Bonus: you’ll all get a laugh out of watching the baby try and reach for the toys.

7. Special Play Time – Newborns tend to sleep for most of the day. In between catching up on your naps, make it a point to have special play time with your son. Whether it’s rolling out play dough or baking brownies, this time at home with him will make both of you appreciate the special bond that you have had from the beginning.

8. Spread the Love – Be sure to hug and kiss your husband in front of the kids. When they see mom and dad are happy; they too, will be happy. This public affection will reassure your other children that they are safe and loved on by two happy parents.

Meagan Ruffing is a parenting journalist and stay-at-home mom to her three children. Check out www.meaganruffing.com and her new book, “I See You: Helping Moms Go from Overwhelmed to In Control” for more parenting tips.

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