How to prepare Siblings for a new baby

One of the scariest thoughts that went through my mind when I was pregnant with my second child, was "What if my first child feels left out" team this with the guilt of ruining his world with a new baby and no longer having my full attention, it can feel quite overwhelming... if you let it creep in that is!

The good news is, is that most of us feel the same way! That's right, we just don't really talk about the moment when we realise we can't 'undo' the way your family is about to change.

A great technique I learnt through my hypnobirthing course is to "Let go of the things you can't control" and this is probably what you need to do right now. You won't know how your older child/ren are going to respond until baby is actually here, so theres is no point emotionally draining yourself with every scenario possible for the next few weeks and months to come.

It's great to prepare though, and there are some really easy techniques you can use to help prepare yourself and your older child for the arrival of a baby.

  1. Involve your older children from the start. They don't need to know the full details of how a baby got inside your tummy, but educate them on how/ why people are made and that as a Mum you have a really important job to do. Make yourself a hero in their eyes who is bringing them the best friend and play mate in the world. A really great book you can use called "Let's Talk to Mummy's Tummy" and is a week by week guide for children with stickers and beautiful illustrations from Helen Lacy:

  2. Set aside some "Big Kid Time" each week Allocate a set time of the day/ week where you or your partner play intensely with your child. When baby arrives, they will know that their "Big Kid Time" is soon, and are more likely to respond to being asked to wait or play independently. It also gives you confidence that they can occupy themselves, and that they are getting quality time with you throughout the day.

  3. It's time to decide on your bedtime routine This one isn't saying there is a right or wrong way to sleep, BUT it's time to make the choice of where you'd like your older children to sleep when baby arrives to help your older child get settled and into a routine before the huge changes a newborn brings. Whatever you do, stick to it, and if it's not working, give your eldest enough time to get used to any changes you need to make. If you're going to carry on co-sleeping, why not look into a ready-bed or mattress that can go in your room for your older child so you all have more space. Are they moving in to their own in the near future? Why not start the transition now and get them excited about being promoted to the big kid in the house! Choosing their own bedding, night light and working on your bath, brush, book, routine is a great place to start. But sleep is one of the biggest things, and most important bit in those first few weeks of having a newborn to allow your body to recover and give you enough energy to look after yourself and children.

  4. It takes a village Creating a network of support is crucial this time around. It's not as common to do an NCT course, pre-natal learning etc with your second baby, and most people on their second child don't all have them at the same time meaning you sometimes have to start attending classes on your own or choose not to go at all with your older child in tow. What I hear A LOT is that people need more mummy friends with a newborn AND an older sibling as you parent a little differently when you've already done it once.

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