Helpful tips for introducing your little ones to the new baby!
If you're worried about how your little cherub(s) will welcome the newest member to the family, here are some top tips!
1. Ideas to prepare your child for the baby's arrival?
-Reading to your little one- There are some great books out there to read to your child that explains about mummy having a baby in her tummy and what life will be like when baby arrives.
-Buy a doll- Let your baby practice bathing their dolly, taking the baby out for walks, and changing a nappy. Children love to imitate and you may find they use their doll to copy you as you care for the baby.
-Talk about the baby- Talk to your child about how they are going to be a big brother or sister, and what they can do for the baby as they are the big brother/sister. Let them be involved with antenatal appointments if possible, or get them to feel the baby kicking.
2. How will your child respond?
In an ideal situation, your little one will welcome the baby with lots of kisses and cuddles and you'll get the cute picture of the first cuddle they have together. However, don't beat yourself up if your little one becomes jealous or doesn't take much interest in the new baby. They are probably distracted by all of the attention they are getting from other family members or pleased to have you back! Try and get your child involved in caring for the baby, such as helping you change the babies nappy, helping at bath time, or helping to choose what clothes the baby will be wearing. If you are experiencing jealousy with your child, give them some quality time with just you alone. Read them their bed time story and have some play time together when the baby is napping.
3. How can I breastfeed and look after another child?
A lot of mum's worry about breast feeding the baby and looking after their toddler. Have a special book you can read to them, give them a special toy that only comes out when you breast feed, start up a conversation with them or something as easy as putting the television on are some simple things that can distract your child for long enough to get through a feed.
4. Try not to change your child's routine too much
Children thrive on routine so try to keep it as normal as possible. Of course, you are human, and there may be days when you can't get out of the house in the morning in time for baby group or the bedtime routine has to change slightly to accommodate bathing and getting two or more little ones ready for bed. But if you generally keep to the same structure you should find that the baby will fit into family life perfectly, rather than family life fitting around the new baby.
5. Give a gift to your toddler from the baby
It doesn't have to be anything expensive, but some parents found buying a gift for their toddler that is 'from the baby' helped the toddler to accept the baby into the family. It can also relieve any jealousy that the toddler might have towards the baby receiving gifts. Get your little one involved with opening any cards or presents that you receive, and suggest that family members give your toddler attention first before cuddling the baby.
Remember, nobody is the perfect mum. Don't judge yourself for giving your toddler a snack because you needed five minutes peace to feed the baby, or feeling bad that you didn't manage to get out of the house today, or that your child has watched far too much television for one day! It will get easier, but if it isn't there is always somebody that can help you. Don't battle along alone! Talk to friends and family, speak to your Health Visitor, or pop along to a local Children's centre or baby group.
We'd also love to hear any of your top tips, or stories of how your little ones reacted to meeting the "new noisy machine!"