No matter how much you prepare your first born, there will be an adjustment period when your second baby arrives. The same thing happens when the third and fourth babies arrive, too! Older siblings may need a little bit of extra love and attention before and after a new baby arrives.
"You can take that baby back to the hospital now."
"Put that baby down and play with me!"
"Bababababa," toddler pushes baby.
This is all common. Somehow though, you think that your first born will accept and love this new baby with ease and zero effort on your part. Who knows! Maybe you are right. Maybe you will be the first parent in the history of it all to have nothing but smooth sailings when baby #2 arrives! I wish nothing more for you.
As I have just given birth to baby #5 (yes, FIVE), I'm here to tell you that going from baby #1 to #2 was the most challenging for us. The reason being that our first born was the earth, moon, stars, sky and air to us. She consumed us. I'm not saying that the other four are not this amazing, as the heart grows and loves each child in the same -- yet different way. But that first baby is so new. If you are going to be a helicopter parent, it's with the first child! So, when a new baby is due to arrive, there may be a pedestal being knocked over.
Some young kids can't wait for a sibling. They love their own baby dolls, friends' babies, and anything to do with babies, but even these children will have a transition period of adjustment to go through. Others will know from the start that they don't want a baby to 'move in!' No matter which scenario you are dealing with, know that you can help!
Before Baby Arrives
Record baby's heartbeat.
Bonding can begin as early as a showing belly and a recorded heartbeat. Saving that miraculous sound in a stuffed animal that your first born can snuggle with will help to keep the new baby be a constant in daily life.
Get a baby doll and accessories
. Changing a baby doll's diapers and letting your oldest use a baby doll sling/carrier will let him feel like a little dad.
Read books about babies
. There are hundreds of book options, but make sure to read the book before purchasing. You want to find books that celebrate the family and recognize the older sibling's feelings.
Plan a big sibling gift.
Let him be present at the birth
. If you are able, allow your oldest to be at the birth of this baby. You can show him birth videos and make sure that there is someone trustworthy and special to hold him. Seeing his sibling being born grants him the knowledge of understanding that this baby can't just be returned someone. It lets him know that this baby is a part of his mommy.
After Baby Arrives
Hold your first born
. There is always room to hug on and hold your first baby!
Continue his normal life.
Yes, life will change, but anything that you can keep the same should remain that way. This is not the moment to enroll him in a daycare if he has never been before.
Snuggle and nap with your first born.
Whenever the opportunity presents itself, snuggle and sleep with your first born. This shows that the safety and comfort of your relationship is still intact.
Give your first born little jobs
. Make him a helper. Let him get diapers or pick out clothes for the baby. Let him help you burp his little sibling. He can pick out books to read, music to listen to, and movies to watch!
Talk to your first born -- and listen
. Children of all ages have the right to own their emotions. Do not downplay or push aside how your oldest is reacting to and handling the new addition. Keeping open lines of communication continue to build your relationship.
Remember that you are capable of loving both of these tiny humans, but it will take time for your first born to understand how much life is changing. The absolute best advice I can give you is to love him through it. Love is always the answer.