I know the struggle, you love your child so much and decide to add to your family, but wait, how do you love both your children equally? How do you add another child into the mix without your first child feeling neglected? I get it, mama! We have had at least two kids for about 2 and a half years now and we have introduced a new baby to our kids about four times (we are a foster family so the number of kids in our home varies, and while we only have two biological children, we have had several newborn placements). While our kids have welcomed a new baby multiple times, there is always an adjustment period. Now that a lot of my friends are adding new babies to their families, I have been asked for tips on this subject fairly often, so I thought I would share my best tips for adding a baby to your family!
Talk About The Family Change Often
While this is kind of obvious and, if you are pregnant, I’m sure you are talking about the baby all the time, discussing what is coming is so helpful for kids. No matter the circumstance, putting in work before hand makes the transition so much easier. Your child will start to picture what their new life will look like, they have something to look forward to, and it builds trust. Being as descriptive as possible helps your child to understand what is coming. For example:
-When baby gets here, mommy will have some boo-boos for a little while, so I might have to move slowly or play in different ways, but it will only last for a couple weeks and then I will be as good as new! (This is particularly helpful to talk about if you are a c-section mama!)
-I am so excited for you to be a big brother/sister!! You are going to be such a big helper! Sometimes mommy will have to help the baby eat/change/sleep/etc.. I know that you will do such a great job waiting patiently for mommy to play with you!
-God made babies to be so unique! You will notice that babies aren’t able to talk yet, so God gave them the ability to cry. When the baby needs something he/she will cry to let mommy and daddy know that he/she needs help. Don’t worry, the baby isn’t crying because he/she is sad, it’s just the way babies communicate with us!
-Can you count how many people are in our family? One, two, three!! That’s right! When baby gets here, there will be one more person in our family! Isn’t that exciting?
Let Him/Her Have Their Own ‘Baby’
One of the most helpful things you can do is give your child a baby of their own. This can be an actual baby doll, or another similar sized toy that they love (for my son it was Elmo!). Then, pick up some pretend bottles and set aside. a couple tiny diapers. Let them take care of their baby while you take care of yours! You can change their diaper, feed them, etc. simultaneously. This gives your child some independence and allows them to focus on their own baby instead of feeling left out!
Narrate What You Are Doing
When there is a new baby in the house, a lot of things can be confusing for a young child. I have found it is super helpful to narrate what you are doing so your child can understand a bit better. For example:
-Oh! I hear the baby crying, I am going to see if his/her pacifier fell out, would you like to help me?
-Baby has a full diaper, it is time to change it! I am going to get some wipes and get him/her all cleaned up! Would you like to hand me the clean diaper when it’s time?
-Baby is hungry! God made mommies in a special way so that they can feed their babies with their chest! While baby eats, would you like to feed your baby doll or maybe read a book next to me?
-Baby is hungry! I am going to make a bottle for him/her. While I feed baby, would you like to get your baby doll and give it a bottle too?
Talk To The New Baby Like He/She Can Understand You
This is probably one of the most helpful things. As you move throughout your day, talk to your baby and your other child in the same way. Obviously, your baby has no idea what you are talking about, but your other child does. It helps them understand what you are doing and helps them feel as important as the new baby. For example:
-I hear you crying baby! Big brother/sister needs help opening their juice right now, as soon as I’m finished helping him/her, I will come help you!
-It’s ok baby, I know you are tired, we are almost home! When we get home, I am going to give big brother/sister a snack and then I will help you go to sleep.
Take Turns Helping Each Child First
If you constantly help the baby first every time they cry, your other child will begin to feel unimportant. It is so helpful to take turns! If both kids need something at the same time, help baby first one time, and your other child the next. For example:
-I hear that you need help getting a toy out, but this time I am going to help baby first. Next time, it will be your turn to be helped first!
-I know you need to eat, baby, but it is a big sister/brother’s turn to be helped first. I will help you after I help big brother/sister.
Give Lots Of One On One Time
Even though you will be tired and desperately needing time on your own, it is important that your other child gets lots of cuddles and love from you throughout the day. If the baby is napping, use that time to read, put together a puzzle, or even just watch a show while cuddling if you need to rest. Just make sure you intentionally spend time together.
Take A Deep Breath
You’ve got this mama! It will be hard at first, and may even seem impossible to love someone else as much as you love your first child. It may seem like there’s no room in your heart for another, but the cliche is true! Your heart just grows! Take a deep breath and enjoy these sweet moments with your littles, it won’t be like this for long! Now you have my best tips for adding a baby to your family! For more motherhood tips, click here! Or, join the Heart + Home community for encouragement and freebies right to your inbox!
What are your best tips for adding a baby to your family?