Another child will fill your life with happiness, but in return, your patience is not going to multiply and your days won’t get longer! Here are some ideas that can really help you out.
In terms of food, you already know that your freezer and pantry have to be filled to full capacity. But that's not all! Look for sales and go to thrift stores and garage sales to find the treasures for your elder. Small toys, books, special craft materials (buttons, ribbons, glitter), etc. Be creative! Cooking utensils such as ladles and plastic dishes can become fantastic bath toys, while a special on dried lentils at the grocery store will allow you to create a “lentil bin” to play with, much like a sandbox. Take a large box and hide everything. Do the same with some of your child’s toys and hide them.
When the second baby comes, take out these little treasures little by little. This way, you’ll have something to occupy your eldest while you’re breastfeeding or taking care of your newborn.Make sure to have varied items for different occasions. Your fisrt born is impatient in the car? To distract him, have a few games at hand, such as Magna Doodle, audio books, look and find books, etc.
Prepare your older child to the baby’s arrival
- With a doll, show him the appropriate gestures to be made. Even if he’s still very young, explain to him the way to act with a baby: "We must hold his head, touch him very gently, etc." Show him the movements of infant massage, so he’ll be able to reproduce them with the baby. If he’s very young, he can just learn to put some oil on the baby's legs, and if he’s a little older, he can learn specific massage movements.
- By carrying a doll in your arms, show your child that you can’t do certain movements when you’re holding a baby.
- Use figurines to create different scenarios, such as one when mommy is tired or the baby tries to sleep. Let him speak freely through the figurines. Don’t be afraid to tell your child the truth by fear that he will take a dislike to the baby; honesty reassures children and is the basis of trust, after all!
- Show your child pictures of when he was a baby. And explain that, like him, the baby will need to be rocked and that you will sleep with the baby just like you did with him when he was born.
- There are many books out there about a baby’s arrival. Find one that fits with your family values and that involves some of your eldest’s favourite characters.
- If the child will be present for the delivery, don’t be afraid to play “mommy’s giving birth” with him (with sound!). Show him pictures and movies about delivery, and talk about it together. Make sure he feels comfortable with the person he will be with on the D day.
- You can also bring your child to a breastfeeding hall, where he’ll see other babies, hear the noises they make and witness their different reactions. If you’re still breastfeeding your eldest and are planing on tandem nursing, find pictures of kids being co-breastfed simply to talk about it with him.
The Club Med method
No, I’m not suggesting that you become a G.O.! The Club Med method consists in going around the house to identify all the possibilities of problems and find solutions before the arrival of baby #2. Try to find as many plans B as you can. Think about your son who may wake up often at night, while you and your spouse will be exhausted. You could think about setting a place to sleep in your child’s room, so daddy won’t panic at 3 a.m. after his son wakes up for the fourth time... he will just lay on a mattress by his side.
Ask your friends and family, or other parents on our Forum, what their eldest’s reaction was to the arrival of the second baby and think about what you could do if you find yourself in the same situation. There’s no need to put everything in place right away, just keep in mind several solutions and immediate applications.