Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is always exciting! For nine months you plan, buy, spend, worry and spend countless nights dreaming of what your new bundle will look like, and how in the world you will be able to take care of him.
Having a new baby is an adjustment for every member of the family, but sometimes especially for the older siblings.
Being open and honest about the new baby is the best way to approach the situation. Let the older child rub your belly, talk to your belly and ask questions. Involve the siblings in preparation activities like washing and folding clothes, arranging new toys or stuffed animals, and any other age-appropriate activities. Making the child feel like this is her baby too is especially important.
Once the baby is born, try to continue any special things you did with the sibling that you did before. If you snuggled for an hour before she went to bed, try to continue that routine. Remember that the new baby doesn't know that you spent hours snuggled on the couch with your first baby, but your first baby does!
Also realize that while babies are fragile and caution should be used, they are tougher than we think. Allowing your older child to sit on your lap while you nurse the new baby will not harm the new baby, but it will allow the older child to feel included and welcomed. It is possible to snuggle two babies at one time. Newborns are used to being cramped and squished in the womb anyway.
Teach your baby to love the new baby and it will make the transition go a lot smoother!
Laura Carter is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom who homeschools her five children.