Dear mamas thinking about a second baby or already expecting #2 (or #3 or #4 or #5…) or in the early days and months of being mama to two babes, this is for you. If your worry and anticipation and new brutiful (brutal + beautiful) emotions are a little less about what to pack in the hospital bag and much more about how your first born will possibly be okay during your hospital nights away or your hours of newborn feeds or your heart suddenly loving double or more, you’re not alone. As a mama to four, I hope these tips ease that transition.
1) Let your older child(ren) feel what they need to feel. It’s not our job to fix their feelings, but just hold the space for them to feel. I promise as you don’t fight or try to fix it, they’ll be able to process those emotions faster and move into a much more peaceful place as you make that transition. And don’t forgot to be kind to yourself because it can definitely be challenging!
2) Prepare for a range of toddler emotions. Older sister/brother may be mad at you or the baby or everyone and regress in some way. It can be a tricky connection to make when the emotions surface after the novelty of their new baby has worn off a little bit, but listening, understanding, and giving them new opportunities to grow and help with baby goes a long way.
3) Emphasize their new, exciting role as big sister or brother. Our family loves reading the book I’m a Big Sister or I’m a Big Brother during the pregnancy and first couple of months postpartum to help them understand the changes coming and that your love as a mama will only grow for them.
4) Spend one-on-one time with your older child(ren). Making 10 minutes (minimum) of child-directed time while baby is sleeping in the wrap or in the crib or with your partner will really fill their buckets and helps them feel secure and loved and needed as part of the family.