Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bringing Home Baby...#2

When I was pregnant with Baby #2, I worried. Not so much about having a newborn in the house again but about what the adjustment would be like for Baby #1. You see, my son was the center of my universe. At 5:27 pm on September 29th, 2009, my world no longer centered around me. It revolved around him. And now, things were going to change. Because on May 6th, 2011, I found out I was pregnant with Baby #2. This meant that my universe would now center around two little miracles, instead of one. Thus, the worrying began.

My hub and I worked very hard in the months leading up to our daughter's birth, and in the days that followed, to prepare our son for the big changes that were a-comin'. 

Our last photo as a family of 3

A few pointers from an experienced admittedly still learning-by-the-minute Momma of two:

Before Baby #2 arrives
*Make it a very big (and exciting!) deal to be a big brother/sister! Make it  a very big (and exciting!) deal that your firstborn gets a new room and bed! No more nursery! It's big boy/girl room time. Yahoo!

*Let your firstborn help with getting things ready so he/she feels involved. My son helped Daddy paint the nursery. He brought out his own set of tools when Daddy was hanging shelves. He did his own art projects alongside Momma while I was crafting away with nursery projects.Fun and productive at the same time. Let the multi-multi-tasking begin!

*Buy an “I’m Going to be a Big Brother/Sister” book. Read it each night and talk about the new baby that’s coming. Talk about the things that your firstborn is able to do because he/she is a big boy/girl that babies can’t do (e.g., “You get to eat snacks, like icecream, and play with really fun toys! Babies don’t get to do those things yet. They're too little.”).

*Never blame your belly or the baby for your inability to do things with your firstborn (e.g., rather than saying, “I cannot pick you up because the baby is big now," try something like, “Mommy can’t pick you up right now, but I can hold your hand.”)

*Spend lots and lots and lots of one-on-one time with your firstborn, especially in the beginning and middle of your pregnancy. As you reach the pregnancy finish line (yahoo!), allow Daddy to take on more of the parenting role while you relax a little. This will allow (1) you to rest up your big ol’ pregnant self (which will be MUCH needed--pregnancy is a lot harder with a toddler running around!), (2) Daddy to realize just how much he is going to have to take on once baby comes (e.g., doing the entire nighttime routine with your firstborn, alone, many a night), and (3) your firstborn to get used to you not always being able to be there, even when he/she is asking for you. This is really hard, especially when the world has been orbiting around him/her since birth. But very necessary.

*Just before the baby’s due date, have your firstborn buy a gift for the baby. Talk about what a sweet big brother/sister he/she is and how much the new baby will love the present.

*Have a gift ready for your firstborn, from the baby, and bring it with you to the hospital. As soon as your firstborn meets the baby, let him/her know that the baby got him/her a present.

When you are in the hospital:
*Make sure that whoever is caring for your firstborn while you are in the hospital has lots of fun things planned! You want your firstborn to associate his/her sibling’s birth with fun and happy memories; so, leave money, directions, and phone numbers for kid friendly adventures (e.g., zoo; aquarium; kids museum; etc.). Even though Momma and Daddy will be gone for a few days, that doesn't mean your firstborn can't have fun!

*At the same time, have the caregivers try to keep as much of your firstborn's routine as consistent as possible (i.e., same bedtime and naptime schedule). His/her whole world has just been turned upside down. Having consistency wherever life allows is key. 

*Let your firstborn visit each day, but no more than 45 minutes or so per day. It may be a little scary for him/her to see you in the hospital room, in a hospital bed, and unable to scoop him/her up as you usually do. Reassure him/her that everything is okay and stay upbeat and happy the whole time he/she is there, focusing on him/her and not the baby.

*If possible, let Daddy go home and help put your firstborn to bed each night that you are in the hospital. This will make both Daddy and your firstborn feel better (reunited and it feels so good...) and allow you some one-on-one time with your newest addition to the family.

Bringing home baby...#2
*When you bring the baby home, make sure you spend the first few days lavishing your firstborn with lots of attention. Your inclination will be to focus on the baby, but you don't want your firstborn to resent his/her new sibling. If both kids are upset, sometimes tend to your firstborn first, saying something to the new baby like, “I know you’re sad, but you are going to have to hold on for a minute so I can give your big brother/sister a hug.” Other times, do the opposite.

My babies and me, first day at home

*Expect some temporary behavioral changes in your firstborn. For some, this means (more) tantrums. For others, this means (more) clinginess. Again, your firstborn's world has been rocked. Young children communicate through their actions, not their words, so try to clue in on what his/her behavior is saying. And know this is normal. And know this will not last forever.

*Let your firstborn be "Momma's Little Helper" whenever possible. This may mean putting soiled diapers in the diaper genie, bringing you burp cloths, patting the baby's back during burping, or singing to the baby when he/she is upset. Make a BIG deal out of the fact that your firstborn is such an awesome helper! Praise and compliments go a long way.

*Enjoy life as a family of 4 and remember that everyone, Momma, Daddy, firstborn, and baby, all need time to adjust to this new life. True story: For several weeks after my daughter was born, my son started waking up for the day at 4:30 am. This was tough, especially since my hub and I had often been up with our newborn for much of the night and many-a-time had just laid our heads on our thank-the-Good-Lord-for-these-amazingly-comfortable pillows when our son would come be-bopping into our room. Luckily, it was a phase. Luckily, we managed it. Luckily, we survived (albeit with the help of lots of caffeine, daytime naps, and patience). 

Our first photo as a family of 4

Adjustment? Yes. For everyone. But trust me. When Baby #2 arrives, you won't know what you ever did without him/her.

Oh, and when all else fails, don't be scared to consume a glass of wine, or two, at the end of a particularly challenging day. Or every day. You know. Whatever it takes.

No comments:

Post a Comment