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Going from One Child to Two

A friend of mine is having her second little boy next week…not only are her and her husband so excited, but so is her almost 4-year-old little boy.  She is an active MMB reader and loves reading the comments from other moms with advice as well. Her request was for a post on any tips for “bringing home a baby” and going from one child to two…so here it goes!:)

Before I had my daughter, I remember scouring the internet for advice and talking to anyone that I could. I remember a friend telling me not to minimize the shock that a new baby can have on your other children. They are used to your full attention, not sharing toys, a well-rested parent, and most likely, having their needs tended to pretty quickly.  Not every child is thrilled to have their world rocked a bit…

Some of the things which I did, which worked successfully (so far!) include…

  • Include your older child in making the little decisions: my son chose which diaper my daughter would wear (we used the pampers brand which had sesame street characters), picked out her pajamas every night, and which blanket she would have over her in the stroller when we went for a walk. Not only did these little decisions make him feel important – but they also gave me a little help. I would be getting her out of the bath and wrapped into a towel, and he would be there with the PJs ready to get her dressed…

 

  • Use having multiple kids to your advantage! My kids also wake up pretty early, and I am the type who needs to shower every morning to wake up. Not wanting to sacrifice sleep time in the morning, I would set my daughter up in a bouncy chair right outside the bathroom, and ask my son to “read” books to her while I showered and got ready for the day.  Both kids were entertained, and I was a refreshed mom!

 

  • Set aside special time for one-on-one time: One thing I missed a lot was spending individual time with the children. Try to do something special with each of your children one-on-one…and let your spouse do the same. The kids obviously enjoy the special time, and I love the little adventures that we have with each child.

 

  • Plan ahead: Not surprising I would include planning in a post…but I found that when I would nurse my daughter, my son would need something. She was a finicky eater, and if I ever took a pause while feeding her, she would not start eating again, until her next scheduled eating time. I started leaving my son’s cup in the fridge on an accessible shelf, had baggies of snacks ready in the pantry for him to grab…that made it a lot easier for him to help himself if he needed it.

 

  • ENJOY the little moments: On one last corny note…I have to say, I massively love each of my children individually, but it is the moments where they have sweet exchanges – a kiss, a kind word, or a laugh shared just between them that makes my heart truly burst. Enjoy each and every one of those moments…and of course, capture them on film to remind them that they liked each other when they are teenagers!

Siblings

OK, so these were some of my lessons learned. We would love to hear your advice…any tips and tricks to make this adjustment easier?

Ann Marie - September 25, 2012 - 7:14 pm

I went from one to three. My son was a little over 2-1/2 when the twins were born. He had a great transition, but I can’t really take any credit. I was on bed rest the last few months so he got a lot of nature walks with grandpa and shopping with Grandma. When he would go out he would tell people “I am going to have TWO babies!!” and people would make a fuss. I read to him a book about being a big brother which really helped, cause as soon as Dylan and Julia arrived he started quoting lines from the book “Don’t worry baby, I am here, I am your big brother..” It helped that they weren’t toddlers when they were born – ha ha – they just slept and ate. So they didn’t take his toys or anything. And since it was such a big deal to take all three of them out, when the twins were tiny I would leave them with Grandma and Grandpa sometimes and we would do things with Tyler by himself. But he actually really enjoyed the babies when they were little. He liked looking at them and watching them. When Dylan and Julia got older, they worshipped Tyler and thought he was the greatest. Dylan used to copy things Tyler did and said. So, of course, Tyler didn’t have a problem with that!
Hope your friend enjoys this special time!!

Jenn - September 25, 2012 - 8:12 pm

My 1st born was 2.5 years when her little sister arrived. Before the birth I stressed about how much the new baby would take away from my older one. In reality, it was the reverse. The new baby was very content and sleep a ton! My older daughter continued to dominate our household and it wasn’t until the baby started walking that the things began to balance out. I may have been lucky with an easy newborn, but the adjustment was much smoother than I imagined.

Most moms have the new baby in their arms when the older sibling arrives at the hospital. Someone suggested I have the new baby in the bassinet so my arms would be available to reunite with my 1st born. This simple suggestion made a lot of sense to me.

We put a photograph of my older daughter in the new baby’s bassinet at the hospital. I think it helped her feel special and included.

Before the birth of my 2nd child, we decorated onesies with fabric pant and tie-dye. My older daugher was proud to give her handmade shirts to his little sister.

Enjoy this exciting time!!!

Beth - September 25, 2012 - 8:49 pm

Along the same lines as your be prepared tip – I found when I was nursing my second was a difficult time because I was a little stuck and couldn’t “check up on” my three year old. So I put together a small plastic box of small new things to play with that could only come out during nursing time. I filled the box with a new coloring book and fun markers, some small plastic animals, a couple little books, and some other dollar store type items. This helped a lot because it kept my older one in the room with me and busy while I nursed so I didn’t have to worry about what he was doing in the other room. And since the items only came out at nursing time, they kept their appeal much longer than those items normally would.
Good luck!

Jen - September 25, 2012 - 9:24 pm

I really agree with just including the big bro or sis in as much as you possibly can. At first it can seem daunting, but I assure you, the novelty wears off. Before you know it, the big bro/sis isn’t as interested in every aspect of the newborn anymore and everyone is happy.

When I was expecting my 3rd, I took my 2 older girls to the store to pick out special baby gifts of their choice for their new baby sister. They were small items but chosen with little hands with love. We wrapped them together and they were all ready to go for them to bring to
The hospital/ or greet new sibling upon arrival. To this day , they recall what they purchased and feel so happy when their little sis plays with their gift.

Giving your child a sibling is a wonderful gift and there is truly nothing more heartwarming than when you see them together. Enjoy this special time and good luck!!!!

Gina Driscoll - September 26, 2012 - 9:53 am

My daughter was 28 months when we had our second daughter (now almost 4 mos). We brought a picture of our oldest to the hospital so she felt special when came to visit. We also had her pick out a gift for the baby and got a gift from the baby for her.I thought both were great tips that I had received from others.

At home, we tried not to drastically deviate from what had once been our day to day. I am nursing and the baby tends to want to eat a lot at night, but we are really good about sharing or trading off with bed and bath so she didn’t all of a sudden feel like I wasn’t availble. I also include her when I can and ask her to get diapers, clothes, blankets, etc. When the baby cries, I ask her to talk to the baby or sing to her and now she does it on her own =-) She will start talking or singing and then say, “she stopped crying” and stop and then start if she starts crying again. It’s very sweet. I also often ask her to get a bunch of books and sit next to me when I nurse, so I can read to her. Things obviously change when the baby comes, but I found that it worked best for us to try and integrate what our life had been pre- baby with the baby and so far things are going great. The other day my daughter said to her sister- I love you, I love you soooo much. It brought tears to my eyes…those are the moments to cherish forever!

Lauren - September 26, 2012 - 3:05 pm

Thank you everyone for the great ideas. I can’t wait to see my little guy interact with his little brother and I feel like I am even more prepared with the ideas/tips shared.

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