Becoming Four: Five Ways to Prepare for Your Second Baby

It seems like a lot of planning goes into your first baby. There are gender reveal parties, registries, and showers. You wash everything carefully and decorate a nursery. You read all of the books written for new parents and get advice from other moms.

Now, it’s time for your next baby. There isn’t as much preparing this time around – you know what to expect with a baby. No one is running up to you and offering advice. You probably aren’t having big baby showers. But, there is still planning to do. You have a little one at home which means you need to prepare them for a sibling.

Welcoming a sibling can be difficult for small children who are used to having Mom and Dad all to themselves. Preparing them for the transition can make growing your family a bit easier. Here are five ways you can get ready for your newest addition.

Stories

There are plenty of children’s books and television shows that introduce the concept of a sibling. Purchase a few or rent them from your local library. This will help your child understand what happens when a baby is born. After reading a book or watching a show, talk to them about their sibling on the way. Continually talking about the baby and drawing comparisons to these stories will help them look forward to their sibling’s arrival.

Doctor Appointments

It can be difficult for your child to grasp that there is a baby inside Mommy. They may point to your stomach and say “baby” but not really understand what that entails. You can help them get a better understanding by allowing them to come to a couple of Mom’s doctor appointments. Having the opportunity to hear the baby’s heartbeat or see an ultrasound will give them the opportunity to say “hi” to their sibling. This will give your child a chance to bond with their sibling before the birth, making for an easier transition.

Play With Babies

If you have friends with babies, now is the time to get together with them. Giving your child a chance to play with other babies will help prepare them for what’s to come. You can teach your child how to be gentle around the baby, and you can point out how the baby needs to be fed, burped, and changed. You can also use this time to reinforce how you will soon bring home a baby just like the one they are playing with.

If you do not have any baby friends (or even if you do), you can try signing up for a sibling class. Many hospitals offer classes to help children adjust to having a sibling. The class will go over how to help take care of the baby and how to be gentle around the baby.

Become a Helper

You will likely find yourself preparing your home for the new baby. Children love to be part of their parents’ work, so you can designate your child as your helper. Give your child tasks to do like putting away the new baby’s clothes or picking out decorations for the nursery. You could have your child pick out toys they no longer play with to give to the baby. This will introduce the concept of sharing and help them feel like a big kid.

You may need to move your child out of the nursery and into a big kid room. Your child can help you decorate the new space and pick out bedding, wall art, and accessories for it. This will help them feel excited about becoming a big kid and older sibling.

If you do plan to move your child to a different bedroom, make sure it is not too close to the birth. Either make the move well before the birth or several months after. You don’t want your child to feel like they are being replaced by the baby. They are likely to make that connection if the two events are close together.

Gift Exchange

As the birth draws nearer, take your child shopping for a special gift to give their new sibling. It can be something small and inexpensive. Picking out a gift is another way your child can bond with the baby beforehand. Then, at another time, pick out a gift the baby can give your child.

After the delivery, have your child bring the gift with them to the hospital. When they meet the baby, they can exchange gifts. Your child will feel special and involved by receiving a gift from their sibling.

Conclusion

Preparing your child for a new sibling does not require extensive planning. Simply continuing a conversation with your child about the new baby is what is most important. By following some of these tips, you can make the transition a little easier and facilitate a bond between your children.


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