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.
A gift list… again?
You already have everything you need, but your friends and family want to celebrate the baby’s arrival. Here are a few gifts suggestions in case you’re running out of ideas.
- You have a baby-carrier. What? You only have ONE baby-carrier? There are many different kinds on the market, that meet specific needs. If you already have the pouch, why not add a sling or a wrap? They are very useful, especially when you have an older child that needs a lot of time and attention. Carrying your baby allows you to meet the needs of both your children at the same time!
- You already have a washable diaper kit, so why not add to it? Add diapers that you really like or allow yourself to ask for THE really cute diaper on which your baby’s name can be embroided.
- There are many different baby products : oils, creams, soaps, etc. Ask for an organic-fair-local soap basket, or ask for a few different ones. It’s always very uselful!
- Ask for time. The grandparents want to help? They could offer you a few hours from a cleaning service or pay for a special activity to do with the oldest child. Your friends don’t know what to give you? Ask them to come spend a day at your house, bring a lunch and take the eldest to the park while you take a nap.
The arrival of a new baby in the family can be stressful. You want to keep offering the best of ourselves to our first born while taking care of the baby, who obviously requires a lot of our time and attention. Don’t guilt yourself! Letting your child watch television a little bit more or serving him spaghetti every other day with not be detrimental to your child’s development. The important thing is to listen to him because it's a big change for him too! Being able to help him adapt to the new situation is a lot more important than having a temporary Dora overdose!