As you make the transition from one kid to two, there are definitely some major changes to your life. Yes, there is another little person to take care of and maybe a little less sleep for you. But, your heart grows and the love you feel for your first baby doesn’t change, you just double the amount of love for your new baby!
But, that increased love doesn’t mean there aren’t huge changes. Below are our favorite tips for having two kids at home!
First Meeting Between Siblings
We encourage our clients to introduce the new siblings at a calm time. Try to avoid when there are a lot of other visitors around, or when medical providers could be coming in to check on you or baby. Also, we recommend that the parent that just gave birth that has not seen the new sibling is not holding the new baby. This can create some jealous and makes it a bit confusing for the new sibling.
Gift exchange Between Toddler and New Baby
All toddlers love getting presents! And if from their new little sister or little brother, even better! Arrange for a time when the siblings can exchange gifts, sometimes this can be at the hospital but also consider waiting until everyone is home and in their space. Be sure to show the gift is from the new baby to the older sibling. You can also have the big kid make a present to give to the new baby!
Inviting Visitors Over To Meet New Baby With a Toddler
You will definitely be having lots of friends and family over to meet the new baby! But it is important to not leave out the big kid when they are coming for newborn cuddles. Encourage visitors to talk to older child(ren) about topics other than the new baby, and even saying “hi” to the big sibling before they acknowledge the new baby.
Keep consistent rules for both kids
All parents of toddlers know that consistency with toddlers is extremely important to them. And that carries over for when a new babies arrive. By simply telling your newborn the rules, your toddler will hear that she or he isn’t the only one with all the rules. We encourage parents to not let either child interrupt the other. If the new baby is crying while you are attending to your older child, telling the baby to wait for a second can be refreshing to hear. Furthermore, if you say you will be able to pay attention to your older child(ren) in X minutes and set a timer so it can be seen, that can be helpful if you are tending to the new baby.
Have a care bucket for the new baby at older sibling level
Toddlers love to help their parents! Now, if that help is always helpful, that is a different story. But, when you have your new baby home, making a special bucket of ways your big kid can help with the new baby is helpful.
In there can include special toys for only the siblings to play with together or a favorite book they can look at together. Another great thing to include is diaper changing supplies for the older sibling to help with during the numerous diaper changing sessions.
Special Time for Older Child
This one is a bit harder because there are limited hours in the day., but making sure you spend some one on one time with your big kid is so important for both of you. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but maybe reading a few books before bed or doing bath time, just something where it is just the two of yourMake sure to still have some special time for your older child. Having a postpartum doula can be helpful for this, as she can be watching the baby while you and your big kid spend some quality time together.
Encourage More Mature Behaviors, But Do Not Require Them
Putting new rules on the older sibling may seem unfair if you are all of a sudden making all of these new rules for the big kid because the baby is now around. So if you are thinking of potty training for example, either make sure it is completely done before baby arrives or wait a few more months until everyone adjusts to life. Definitely praise the new, mature behaviors as they happen, but keep your any big changes at bay.
It will happen that as soon as you sit down to feed your newborn, your toddler will need something. And you will have a crying baby on your breast and a crying toddler at your feet. But trying to make the feeding sessions as calm as possible. We have had something parents have a special snack that a toddler can only eat when the new baby is eating or special toy that they only get during feeding. If all else fails, TV. We know many parents don’t like to use the screen as a babysitter, but also remember your mental health matters and a little Paw Patrols is better than two crying children, trust us.