For all mothers out there, it is common to find yourself being concerned when carrying your second child with regard to the thoughts of transitioning and tending to the needs of both babies equally. One might worry about the topic of arising jealousy, the extra workload, or even child support obligations that come from being a mother of two. But do not worry as there are plenty of ways to prepare for the arrival of your second child, not only for yourself but also together with your first-born child. If you find that some of these concerns resonate with you, then here are some pieces of advice from us.
Baby Brother/Sister Concept
If your first child is still at a tender age, then it is imperative to prepare them with the concept of a brother or sister in a positive light. Especially when children are young, the idea of having another sibling might not have formulated in their minds yet. It is also important to pick the right time to tell your child as telling them too late might not give them enough time to prepare and telling them too early might warrant impatience or difficult conversations. One optimal way to inform your child is near the anatomy scan, but we believe that you should still choose a time when you and your family are most comfortable. Some other ways to ease your child into the preparation is to educate them with books or show them old baby photos of themselves.
Rather than leaving your child at home or daycare, why not bring them along to your baby appointments? This way, they will not only feel involved in the preparation, but it can also help them familiarize themselves with everything that is going on and as well as future changing environments. In fact, you can even try asking your child to help to decorate the nursery. You can also involve them in decisions like choosing a name for your baby!
Another good way to prepare your child is to introduce them to other babies. With some prior experience, as well as good guidance on how to behave around babies, your child will be better prepared to know what is expected of them when your second child arrives.
If you have to move any kind of furniture or change any familiar space, it is better to do it early so that your child does not feel a sense of loss when the baby arrives. Taking away things that they might associate with their own personal belongings or space can make it feel like the baby has stolen these things from them. It is always better to start early.
Arrange for help
Perhaps the biggest concern for all mothers is how to tend to the newborn baby while still providing your first child the attention that they need. One good way is to ask for help, in which someone that you trust can look after the baby for a couple of hours while you spend quality time with your child. This will also reduce any sense of jealousy that might arise as your child is still able to spend time and communicate with you effectively.
Shop for a gift
One fun way to engage your child in an activity together is to shop for the future baby. This way, not only will it allow parent and child to spend quality time together, but your child can also develop a sense of excitement and anticipation for the new baby. It can also guide your child to take on a more nurturing role when it comes to the newborn. So rather than seeing the baby as competition, they will also assume the role of a caretaker and view the experience positively.
Spend time together
If there are things that you still want to do with your firstborn, and you haven’t done it yet, it is better to do it early before the baby arrives. We recommend making special memories together and taking pictures so that you and your child can look back on it fondly. One suggestion is to take a trip to an amusement park as this is an activity that you might not be able to do for a while when taking care of a newborn. While pregnancy can be stressful for mothers, it is always good to de-stress by spending time with your family. It can also help your child to feel appreciated and loved, certainly killing two birds with one stone.
Keep your child engaged
When your second child has arrived, a good way to constantly keep your firstborn occupied is to give them things to do. Without this, your child might start to seek your attention even when you are busy tending to the newborn. You could give them toys or let them watch a certain TV show at feeding times. You could even assign them tasks to help with the newborn such as preparing the crib or bringing you the baby food. If you find that it is quite difficult to handle your child, there are also options such as daycare centers and recreational classes that you can send them to.
Learning to share and wait
Some positive concepts that you can teach your child include learning how to share and be patient. We recommend teaching this to your child before the birth of the second child so that it does not feel like a change due to the arrival of the newborn. In addition, these are life skills that will follow them as they grow older.
Finally, our best advice to all mothers is to just relax and take it easy. While it might seem daunting to carry another child and transition into the family (as change always is), is it also a very exciting time for all of your family members, especially your first-born child. Some emotions such as negativity and impatience might arise but understand that these are normal; what matters is how you deal with it together with love and as a family.
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