Growing Pains: Preparing Your Firstborn for a New Baby
No matter your excitement about the arrival of your new baby, it’s a natural thing to be worried about your firstborn. The feeling that your firstborn will fare once s/he is no longer the only of the family. It is normal regardless of their reaction to the new baby’s arrival, either with joy, anger, or seemingly no response.
The good news is you’ve got over eight months to prepare your firstborn for your lovely family. Quite a lot will be attributed to age as under three years old kids may not understand the new change in the family dynamic as a 5-year-old would. Thus, learning about your kid’s evolving feelings and possible reaction to this great news is very important. Now is the time to accept, love, and show your kid how to be an awesome brother or sister. As a result, we’ve rounded important things you have to do to prepare your firstborn for a new baby.
Before the Arrival of the New Baby
The way to go is to address some changes before the new baby arrives in your family. You must observe the following during the pregnancy to prepare your firstborn for a new baby:
#1 – Share the Big News
There is over one thousand and one way to tell a child about a new baby no matter their age. Some kids may not imagine what having a new baby around will be like until it’s time. So, if your kid shows much of an interest, try to give them simple information accordingly. An example of such information may be “The new baby will sleep here and play with these toys” or something like “We’ll sing songs together because the babe likes it,” and many more.
#2 – Involve your Kid in the Preparations
Try to remind your child that they were once a kid. The way to do this is to involve your child in the preparations. Dig through the attic to look for baby clothes and gear you put away a long time ago. Also, ensure to pull out baby books and photo albums showing when your kid was an infant. The essence of doing this is to remind them what cute baby they were and how much fun it will be to have another new baby in the house.
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#3 – Ask for their Advice
You can carry your child along by asking for their advice in some important detail. Try as much as possible not to impose this but let them do this out of willingness. Your child can advise on toys, beddings, clothes, and many more. Take your child out with you to shop for baby things. Try to keep the trip shot to make the experience worthwhile for your child. During the trip, let your child pick out some items you must purchase immediately – probably a pajama, small toy, or more.
#4 – Expect Little Moodiness
It is normal for your little one to show a different feeling about you in coming baby as day by day. It’s because you may not be able to bend to pick up your older kid as your laps begin to get smaller. This feeling may be aggravating like their life is being upended. So, if this sounds like your child, ensure to listen carefully to understand from your child’s point of view. Do not make your child feel bad, especially when they aren’t acting warm-hearted to the idea of a new baby.
#5 – Exposure Preparations
Another thing to do is visit the library with your kid to pick out some baby books that will explain what’s happening. Examples of such books may be “What to Expect When Mommy is Having a Baby” or “The New Baby,” which addresses a big brother’s reluctance to welcome a new sibling. All this will open up their understanding to see things the way they should be.
#6 – Explain the Medical Mysteries
It is normal for you champ not to understand the mysteries associated with being pregnant. Explain to them that visiting the doctor is important for pregnant mommies, and nothing is wrong with that. Ensure to take your child along with you on your visits. Consequently, it will probably initiate a connection between your child and the unborn baby. This connection may occur when your child experience hearing the heartbeat and seeing the baby via an ultrasound. They may likely ask questions at some point which your OB can answer.
#7 – Focus Attention on the Big Sibling
It is important to note that young children are self-centered since they are yet to learn about their world. Focus your attention on your firstborn too to feed their ego by talking about how great a big sibling they’ll be. Also, encourage them to see that the family will need their help and support at the new baby’s arrival. Consider adding some touch by changing your older child’s room as you decorate the baby’s a sleeping area or the nursery. A change of the lamp or the bedspread or the room structure will do the work.
Before the Arrival, At the Hospital, and After arrival
You can try these strategies as your due date approaches to help your firstborn prepare to become a new sibling.
#1 – Try Out Real Situations
You can try out real situations by allowing your kid to play a big brother or sister role for few hours. That’s if you know someone who recently had a babe in your neighborhood. If that’s out of reach, there are courses at the hospital, although they won’t let you touch the babies. As a substitute, they have true-to-life dolls that will give your child a feel for what they can expect.
#2 – Draw up a Game Plan
As your due date approaches, educate your child about the new developments, especially about the time you’ll leave for the hospital. Let her know who will care for her in your absence. Also, let them know they’ll be able to visit or talk to you and the new baby after birth. Try to keep a routine to make your child’s life close to normal a few days before delivery.
#3 – After Birth
Immediately after birth, let your child be the first to meet with the new baby. Ensure to keep this meeting a little private so your firstborn can react naturally in the absence of others. It could be overwhelming for your child since it’s the first feeling of reality of having a new sibling. So ensure to stay on time with what they are feeling.
#4 – Encourage Celebration
Let your older kid pick offer a gift to their new baby brother or sister and vice versa. The arrival of a new babe is a cause for celebration.
What’s Next at Home?
#1 – There may be regression
With the arrival of a new baby, every family member will adjust to its new dynamic, while your older child may not be thrilled with the set of new roles. Don’t act up when they ask series of questions to express their anxiousness about their new position. Please give them the extra hugs they deserve, and when they act the big kid role, heap on the additional praise.
#2 – Keep the Attention on both Kids
While some kids may welcome the new babe with open arms, while others may not; however, others may fall someplace in between. It is important to exercise little patience as they adjust over time. Your priority at this junction is to give both kids mutual attention so that your older kid. This attention will help them feel they are getting a sibling that’ll be a lifelong friend.
Welcoming a new baby in a family is a life-changing event. As we all know, these changes at times can come with excitement, stress, and some growing pain for your kid. It is important to understand that bonding takes time, and there may be some challenges as it comes. While all these changes occur, the challenges will not last. So, do not put much pressure on yourself, and you’re firstborn. In the end, you’ll count it all joy, and everyone in the family will unite.