I have been mildly (mildly?) concerned lately about the transition with baby number two. (Due in four weeks.)
I have heard other mommas’ concerns about bringing a sibling into the mix, especially when the first is still little, but I always thought, “No biggie! More fun! Bigger family! Someone to play with!”
But, now that the time is so close, I often fall asleep worried about how Rad is going to feel : Like I don’t have enough time for him? Like our bond is changing? Like his territory is being invaded?!
My little guy loves other kids – but he loves me more. He loves me A LOT.
He’s at that age, right? (22 months.) Where it’s like – I want to be in my mom’s lap or holding my mom’s hand or sitting right next to my mom playing, all the time. (Which I love and crave.) And, while R weaned himself a couple months ago from breastfeeding (I was like, “You don’t need to do that!” But, I wonder if my milk changed in the midst of pregnancy? He would give me a yucky look when he would go in for a drink …) he’s still obsessed with my nipples. (Was I supposed to put that out there?)
So when this new baby comes – and for R it’ll be like one day it’s him and us and then suddenly it’s him, us and baby (all I can ever think about is the book, “Mail Harry to the Moon!”) – and I am holding that baby in my arms and cuddling that baby while we nurse, isn’t Rad going to be like, “Those are MY NIPPLES! You’re breaking my heart.” And damn if breaking our babies’ hearts is the one thing we all put our everything into avoiding. (“You want more ice cream? Oh. Ok.”)
I found myself reading through a great moms’ blog the other day when I came across a post about getting ready for baby number two. I love this website but I didn’t love the post. They had interviewed thirteen mothers and to be honest, there wasn’t much positive going around. I thought, “Ok, I know it’ll be busy and yeah, tough at times, but that’s like everything.” (i.e. Labour. First child. Careers. Life.) “There must be someone positive to talk to about my concerns.” So I turned to my good friend Diana, who, you all may remember posted about sharing her love and time with her second born a while back. It was something she had been wanting to write about for a while and I am so glad she shared it. At the time I didn’t feel the anxieties about bringing a second baby in, but now I do. So, I knew to turn to her.
I wanted to hear how I should be prepping Rad for this change, in whatever way I could. I wanted to read something beautiful, and that, she delivered.
Prepping a Toddler for a Sibling
1. How worried were you about getting Sara ready for a sibling?
I wasn’t so much worried about getting her ready because I knew she loved babies. I had a huge feeling of guilt though (as I talked about in a previous blog). I didn’t want her to feel left out in any way and so I included her in all my midwife appointments and an ultrasound. She was even able to use the Doppler with the midwife’s assistance to hear “her baby’s” heartbeat.
2. What things did you do to prep her for the idea of having a new baby around the house? (Baby doll? Any particular books you loved?)
We played a lot with her baby dolls, practicing how to diaper and dress them.
I nursed Sara till I found out I was pregnant so we talked a lot about how the “milkies” were for the new baby growing inside me.
And like I said, I included her in everything as we prepared for the baby’s arrival.
We talked a lot about the baby coming and I always made a big deal (and still do) when we’d see a baby while out in public.
She helped me every step of the way to prepare for the baby, even going to pick out the crib with me and wash and fold clothes for baby.
She loved feeling the baby move inside me and as I got bigger and more excited, so did she.
4. What are some tips you can offer up for those first couple of days? First couple of weeks?
Take lots of videos and pictures because life will be a blur for those first few months.
Also, relax! You’ve done this before and chances are that the baby will just fit in nicely to the already established routine you have going with your toddler.
Yes, things will be more challenging, you will be more exhausted but with everything, it’s a stage and will pass. Before you know it, the baby won’t be a baby any longer. For some reason, the second baby’s first year flies by so much faster. So be sure to take the time to capture all those exciting firsts.
5. How did Sara do? Did she struggle at all or embrace her new little brother with barely any hiccups?
My story was kinda unique in the fact that I literally slipped away in the night, had Gavin and was back just after Sara woke up. Hahaha!
I will never forget and I am so thankful that my mother-in-law was there to capture pictures of the moment Sara first laid eyes on her new baby brother. It makes me tear up just thinking about that precious moment! We came in the house with the baby in the carseat with a blanket over top. We placed the carseat on the floor and let Sara remove the blanket and see her new baby brother! It was the day after her second birthday and even though I thought she was so big at the time, looking back at the pictures, she was so little! She had just gotten out of bed and was wearing only her pj shirt and underwear and her hair had major pillow shock! Haha! Her sweet little hand immediately went to her brothers’ face and she stroked his tiny cheeks. It was love at first sight!
She was and still is an amazing big sister! After he was born, I continued to include her in everything. She was right there in the tub with him for his first bath, fed him his first bottle and would help change every single diaper – sometimes trying to do it on her own if I wasn’t paying attention!
It was like he was always meant to be there, he fit so perfectly into our little family and Sara couldn’t be more excited about it.
(Yes. Sara is trying to nurse Gavin. I’m so glad Diana shared this video! It’s a favorite.)
6. What are some words you can say to a mom who is (suddenly, because she wasn’t before) nervous about the transition? (a.k.a. Me.)
You can do this!!! You’ve done it before and guess what?!? This time it will be a piece of cake! Hahaha
Honestly, I’d say to take lots of pictures and videos of those first few weeks because it’s so hard to remember anything and you don’t want to forget those precious moments. And the best part is, you get to share all those exciting things with your toddler too!
And it’s ok to be nervous. That’s part of being a mom. You know, questioning yourself with everything you do when it comes to your children. It just means that you’re an amazing mom because you care so much about those little stinkers!