Once the excitement (or shock) sinks in of having another baby when you already have a toddler at home, you may be left with many questions.
Will my toddler still love me? Will they get jealous? How do I prepare them for my growing bump and the baby’s arrival? These are all very valid questions!
Many families go into ‘over preparing’ their little one. Telling them they’ll be an amazing big brother or sister (I’m guilty!) or going to the book store and buying every big brother book they can find (guilty again!!).
Chris Minogue has over 35 years experience working with families and has developed a practical approach to nearly every parenting question you might have – including this very topic.
We asked Chris to share with us her top 5 tips for how best to prepare your toddler for the new arrival – or ‘intruder’ as it may just turn out.
1. Don’t ‘over talk’ about the baby
They might know something is happening if they have been coming to your appointments or are noticing your growing baby bump – but it doesn’t mean you need to keep talking about ‘the baby’!
For your toddler, this is often like saying Santa is coming in December when it’s only March. The more over the top you are about the baby’s arrival, won’t necessarily make them more accepting – having them come peacefully into the family will.
2. Preparing for the hospital
In the weeks leading up to your baby’s arrival, your toddler will start noticing the car seat, bassinet or nursery being set up. These are all visual cues that something is about to change and the perfect time to prepare your little one using simple language and age appropriate explanations.
Around 2 weeks beforehand, why not take them for a drive past the hospital and simply explain ‘Mummy is going to come here for a few nights to get the baby.’ They may ask who is going to look after them? Explain in simple language and keep it practical. It is also important that their daily activities/routine stays as consistent and ‘normal’ as possible during this time.
3. The Hospital Visit
Some people like to shower the toddler with gifts – but I often wonder what that tells the toddler? It’s the baby’s birthday and I get all the gifts? What happens when visitors bring gifts for the baby and not the toddler – a meltdown? Just introduce the baby as part of the family from the very beginning – it’s the baby’s birthday!
4. Feeding with a toddler around
If you need to feed the baby when the toddler visits, suggest they sit beside you! You need to explain that mummy needs to feed the baby and not whip the baby off and put it down. This will work against you when you get home, as the toddler will expect you to put the baby down every time they demand your attention.
Simply explain that ‘Mummy is just feeding the baby and will give you a cuddle when I am finished.’
5. Exploring the baby
Let your toddler explore the baby by touching the hands and feet – but be sure to protect the face. By doing this, they wont be curious about the baby and you will avoid having to say ‘No. Stop. Don’t’ – which may trigger a reaction or even tantrum. The word ‘Gentle’ will be enough.
You can then place the baby down in the bed, so that your toddler knows that the baby is still around and not being whisked away. They will start to understand (and accept) that this baby is now part of the family.
Remember, this is a big change for all and your little one’s wont necessarily be best friends straight away! The honeymoon period generally lasts for around 6 weeks, where the toddler will shower the baby with love. They will then start to realise that this house guest isn’t going away and you may start to see periods of aggression or acting out. Deal with this as typical toddler behaviour and not as a result of the baby.
Want to know more? Our Nurturing Sibling Relationships video with Mothercraft Nurse, Chris Minogue, will make you feel confident in preparing for your new arrival.
Enjoy this special time and be sure to capture plenty of memories, because you’ll look back in no time and wonder where on earth the time went!
What is the legal age for baby car seats in Australia
There are often a lot of questions thrown around the online parenting forums when it comes to car seats and everyone will have an opinion on the when, what and hows… look at any post from an influencer showing their child in a carseat and you will no doubt see the ‘online safety experts’ pulling…
Behind the Brand | Boody with Shaun Greenblo
Soft, comfortable and quality would be the top 3 words that come to mind when I think of Boody. I personally fell in love with the product when I had my first born and was introduced to the baby onesie but that quickly extended to their stretch jersey wrap (the perfect fabric and size for…
A guide to 2nd time pregnancy (Spoiler: it’s not easy!)
Remember when you fell pregnant for the very first time? Suddenly it was like you became this holier-than-thou unicorn creature that must be nurtured and protected at all costs. You were to rest and be fanned with palm leaves at all times, fed grapes (read: chocolate ice-cream, salt & vinegar chips and two-minute noodles) and…
Get your kids to wear weather-appropriate clothes with these 5 tips
Struggling to get your little one to leave the house in weather-appropriate clothes? We’ve all been there! Winter sneaks up on you and it’s 12 degrees outside but your child is insisting on wearing their favourite outfit – which in my case consisted of one pink lace sock, one white, sandals and a pretty lace…