Introducing a new baby to your babies
I remember the day I went into labour with Teddy, Nell was with my Mum and Dad for a short weekend away so hubs and I could do one last weekend of cinema, dinner and relax before one became two and the sleepless nights were back. He wasn't due for another week but moments before we were due to leave for the cinema I started to feel my stomach tightening. I was timing my contractions without letting on at first and then the excitement took over and I blurted out 'IM HAVING CONTRACTIONS!' I rang my Mum to tell her and organise how we could get Nell back home so she would be around when her new baby brother arrived. It would of probably been easier leaving her with my Mum till all the drama was over but I was adamant I wanted her home.
My contractions were about 5 minutes apart by the next day and getting stronger every time. I down played the pain and convinced them to meet us. We had decided to meet at a service station to collect Nell which was about a 2 hour round trip. The car was not somewhere I wanted to be stuck but if this labour was anything like my last I knew I had a while longer until I needed to go into hospital, hell I still needed to blow dry my hair! It was this journey in the car that a wash of guilt flooded over me. Am I doing the right thing for Nell? Will I still be able to give her enough time and energy she deserves? I don't want to push her away, I hope she loves him. Hormones were rife and I got very emotional. To the point I didn't want to leave for the hospital to have baby no.2. My partner was brilliant and kept me calm and convinced me Nell would love her baby brother and we were giving her a gift of a sibling.
The thing is, just like having baby no.1 there is never a right time. Baby no.2 is just as hard to plan as no.1. If you wait too long the first one is out of nappies and pretty self sufficient, so do you really want to go back once its got so easy, but then having two babies is, well.. a lot! Experts say there is an age gap window in which you should have the second child, settling around the 3 year mark. This is mainly for the mothers body so it has time to recover from childbirth and rebuild hormonally and nutritionally ready to conceive again. But it doesn't always work like that, I'm currently expecting 3rd and 4th baby within 4 years. We always knew we wanted the age gap to be close, in the hope they would grow up close and always have a friend, also for selfish reasons, I could get the babies out and get my body back. Not to mention, not everyone gets a say in when they can conceive. Regardless of when you have them there is always the worry of how they will react to the new additions.
Introduce your new baby before they arrive;
I found the best time to do this is when you have a bump to show them, this makes it easier to understand, and that not everyone has a baby in their tummy and you shouldn't ask Sheila at Waitrose when hers is due. (True story). By the time you have a bump you should also have some scan pictures to help explain. Depending on the age of your little one, depends on what you will be asked and how they will react. Nell was about 1 when we told her and I may as well have told her we were going to go for afternoon tea at Harrods, she didn't really have a clue. She did however understand that apparently a baby was in my belly and she could give it kisses and read it stories. We also bought her a new baby doll for her to look after and again give that visual of whats happening.
Talk about them in relation to their brother or sister
This is a great way to get them excited about the impending babe. Relate to them more as their brother or sister rather than 'Mummies baby'. When pregnant its easy to be negative 'Mummy can't do that, Mummies tired..' So try hard not to blame the baby for everything in front of your infant. When setting up nursery or buying baby grows, let them help choose items (or at least think they are helping). Again we used Nells baby doll to help, showing the type of things we will be doing when the new baby arrives, changing nappies, bottles, putting baby in the moses basket etc...
Let them help!
When baby arrives, LET THEM HELP!! Believe me, I know its hard! You want to be in control and everything to be perfect for your perfect new born but really you are in no rush and if you have to re do the nappy a couple of times a day or one outfit change takes an hour its ok! They will love being involved and feel very proud. Remember babies are also more resilient than you think, it doesn't matter if your toddler is a little heavy handed with the water wipes.
Dont over hold your new born;
This one is not just for your little one but also for you. You will not have the time like you did when just having one baby, to sit for hours and nurse and coo over your baby and you are only making a rod for your own back! They will become used to being held and then your toddler could become jealous. When babies happy put them down, asleep or awake they will be fine. It will get them used to self settling from early on and you can spend some quality time with your big baby!
I hope my tips help, please leave us a message if you have any questions or tips of your own!