Introducing your newborn to their siblings can be an exciting time, but also ushers in a new family dynamic. We spoke to our favorite doula group to get some tips on how to make this transition a smooth one.
If you're in the DC area, check out Metropolitan Doulas for great postpartum care!
- In the months leading up to the birth, introduce books or stories about bringing home new babies -- there are many to choose from. Depending on your older child's age, she may appreciate hearing stories from your childhood about new brothers or sisters. Check out our board book Just Like Mommy!
- Some children enjoy having a new doll or lovie to take care of as you care for the newborn. Having the new doll in advance of the birth can let you model behavior so the older sibling knows what to expect. Our babybeam toddler play pillow is great for creative imitative play.
- Create special tasks that are just for the older sibling to help with newborn care. He can bring you a fresh diaper from the drawer or be in charge of a special burp cloth. Some older children can even help with bottle feedings.
- Conversely, some children find being a helper is a downgrade -- they would rather be on the same level as the baby, not the parent! In that case, let the older sibling pretend to be a baby -- just for a while. She will soon see it's not as much fun as being a big kid.
- Expect some behavioral regressions from your older children. If he has recently potty-trained, you may see more frequent accidents. He may be interested in breastfeeding, or even ask to try it out. As the family transitions to having the new baby, these regressions will fade out.
- Try spending some alone time with each of your children every day. Especially at the beginning, this alone time can be an important way to maintain your connection with all your children and to let them see that each child as equally important to you.
- When your older child needs your attention, tell the infant out loud "It's your brother's turn now." Hearing you tell the baby to wait can make it easier for the older sibling to be patient when it's his turn to wait.
We love all of these tips and suggestions! Hiring a doula can also be a great way to ease the transition as you expand your family. Check out Metropolitan Doulas and their services if you think a doula could assist you!