There’s no denying that a second -or subsequent!- pregnancy is completely different to the first. Even though you’ve been through this before- and rocked it of course!- so your confidence has improved, and your heart is already melting at the idea of sibling photos, you have found a whole new wave of things to obsess over.
Like will you be able to love anyone as much as you love your precious first born? At least that worry is soon remedied as you know every time you feel a little roll or kick from your growing baby, or hear your firstborn singing to your bump that the little person living under your heart has a place in your heart for life too. Thank goodness a mother’s love doesn’t divide- it multiplies!
Then you start thinking of bringing the new baby home, suddenly your firstborn has transformed into The Oldest. And will be meeting his new brother or sister for the first time. The start of a relationship that will last a lifetime.
When you think about it like that, it is easy to worry about the first introduction, but you’ve got this! Stop worrying and start looking forward to your little ones meeting for the first time. Here are a few ideas on how to make the introductions go more smoothly.
- Prepare In Advance: The more prepared your firstborn is for the arrival of his new brother or sister, the less of a shock it will be when she arrives. Involve the big sibling to be in your pregnancy, let him take maternity pictures with you and talk to your bump and feel the baby moving inside. Talk about becoming a big sibling, read books about having a new baby and get him excited about the fun he will have when the baby arrives. Discuss names with him during pregnancy. You could even offer him the choice between a few (pre approved by mum and dad of course) name options for the little one.
- Involve Your Firstborn In Introducing The Baby To Relatives: Letting your firstborn make the announcement of the new baby’s arrival to relatives if he is old enough can make him feel more of an important part of the process. If you don’t know the baby’s gender you could give the big brother or sister the honour of being the first to discover this on the day of the birth. It will help him to be part of the excitement of the new arrival.
- Be Available: When your firstborn meets his new sibling for the first time, be that in the hospital or at home, have the baby near you but not in your arms. Your older child will have missed you and will probably need a cuddle to reconnect with you before meeting his sibling. If you are breastfeeding and planning to tandem feed your firstborn and the new baby, suggest that your older child offers the other breast to the baby while he is feeding, and shows the baby how to latch. Give him lots of praise for helping his new sibling.
- Use ‘Our’ Instead of ‘My’: Try to use language that involves and includes your older child when talking about the new baby, it will make him feel special. ‘Would you like to show Daddy your new sister?’ puts the new arrival in context of her relationship to your firstborn. It is easy to refer to the baby as ‘my baby’ even accidentally, but using ‘our baby’ or ‘our new baby’ reminds your older child that the baby is part of the family, just like him, and makes him more involved.
- Presents: Having a special gift, even if it is something small, from the new baby to the big sibling starts the relationship off on a good note. It is also a good idea for this to be something that your older child can use while the baby is feeding or sleeping, such as play doh or a colouring book- anything quiet really!
How did you prepare your firstborn for the transition from only child to big brother or sister? Share your tips here!