Preparing Yourself and Your First Born for a Second Baby

Gasparilla Children’s Parade & Treasures 2018
January 17, 2018
3 Ways to A Fresh Start
January 24, 2018

From the moment I saw the two lines appear, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I had my first child not that long ago. My son Max will be 21 months old by the time his sister is born. I remember so much of my first pregnancy so vividly and I felt prepared. Bring on those kicks and rolls, the growing and increasingly uncomfortable belly, and everything else.

Turns out, I wasn’t actually prepared. This pregnancy was completely different from my last. A lot of that probably had to do with chasing a toddler around all the time.

More surprisingly, I became highly emotional over no longer having one child. I never for a second regretted the decision my husband and I made to welcome a second child into the world, but I was saddened about the end of our life as it had been for a very blissful year with our boy. And I was sad about how my son would feel about a new crying, pooping thing in the house taking time and attention away from his mother.

It’s not by too much, but my son is more of a mama’s boy. I’m his comfort. He brings me his books and loves to cuddle on my lap. At night, when I’m rocking him to sleep, we look out his bedroom window at the night sky and point out stars and airplanes.

His world is about to change and I hope he’s resilient and takes it in stride and loves his baby sister. I hope he appreciates her from the moment he lays his eyes on her. I hope that despite all the undivided attention I’ll need to give his sister, especially in the beginning, that he still loves me for it and doesn’t feel abandoned.

Throughout these past 8 months, my mind has been consumed with ways to make my son connected to the idea of a baby sister coming and, frankly, also with connecting myself to a new child in my belly when I sometimes can’t think beyond caring for and loving on my boy. So here is how I’ve managed to have it all come together the best way I can:

  1. Start the nesting phase a little early. My nesting feeling is coming in strong just now, a mere three weeks before delivery, but I started the process earlier and was amazed at how connected to my daughter I felt by just doing her laundry, breathing in the scent of newborn detergent. I showed Max his sister’s bed setup, her clothes, her stuffed lamb. I explained what it all was and what it all meant. He seemed pleased.
  2. Encourage your child to embrace the belly. I’ve spoken to Max about how we’d love for him to be a good big brother and nice to his baby sister and he seemed pleased with that too, as if he understood that he has a responsibility and he’s happy to take it on.
  3. Share toys and books early. As much as we wanted to keep things minimal, I’m still amazed by how much a toddler can accumulate in toys and books and it’s essential to switch them out every so often. This helps with keeping him mentally stimulated and also to keep me sane because there’s less to pick up at the end of the day. Instead of me choosing each time which toys/books to place in storage, I tried letting him decide which he was done playing with and giving to baby sister. I can’t be positive that he fully understood the point, but it worked the couple times I’ve tried it and I believe in reinforcement.
  4. Share your designated mom time with your growing baby. Instead of just taking a hot shower and reading a book or giving myself a relaxing facial treatment and calling it a day, I do things that I can delight in sharing with my unborn daughter. I’ll read after my shower while having her listen to music through stomach headphones, delighting in the additional kicks I get from that. Basically, I’m present.

With time and practice, I delight in my daughter in a new way and I’m helping my son to do the same. If you have any stories of your own or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Jennifer Buggica
Jennifer Buggica
Jennifer is a Tampa native currently residing in Riverview with her husband and newborn son, Max. Motherhood is new to her and she's completely loving it, even during the late night witching hour of ceaseless fussing. Jennifer works full time in Marketing for a local credit union, but her true passion is her food blog, The Foodie Patootie, where she cooked through all of the national food holidays in 2014 and continues to introduce her readers to wholesome recipes as often as possible.

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