As I write this we are settling into our new lives as a family of five. We welcomed baby Amy into our family earlier this month and I am now Mummy to three children under five. Yes three children under five! Eeeek.
So how did we prepare our children for this new addition?
Get them involved early on
We told Ben and Chloe about their new baby the day we had the 12 week scan. We sat them down and explained that the Dr had taken a special picture inside Mummy’s tummy and found a baby! Ben’s reaction was priceless:
I also took Ben to a growth scan later on so that he could see “Beak” – the funniest thing was when he asked the sonographer if the baby would be born with clothes on!
There’s so many books available on this topic – our favourite book for the job is “There’s a House in My Mummy’s Tummy” – we read it to Ben when I was expecting Chloe and I loved being able to get it out again this time. We read it several times a week during the course of my pregnancy and talked about how the mummy in the book was just like me.
Spend time with other babies
If you have friends with small babies get them round for a visit! I was really worried that Chloe would be a bit rough with Amy but seeing her with my friends’ babies made me realise she was much more aware of the need to be gentle than I had thought. Seeing how both children reacted to other babies put my mind at rest and also got them used to the idea of having their own baby.
Before Chloe was born we bought Ben a little doll thinking he might enjoy pretending to feed and change it while I was doing the same with Chloe, we even bought some tiny nappies for him to change his baby’s bum! Very cute. Chloe is a typical girl and loves her dolls so we didn’t really need to worry about that this time – in fact if anything I was more concerned that she would try and treat Amy like a doll and stick her in her pram!
This is absolutely the most important one. Just talk. Talk about babies in general – what they need, what they can and can’t do (eg they cry a lot and can’t eat crisps so you won’t need to share with them!), talk about where the baby will sleep, if the baby will be a boy or a girl, what you might call the baby (although this can backfire as Ben was briefly gutted that we didn’t go with his name choice!) Talking allows the older siblings to ask questions and really get used to the idea.
Any my final tip
When it comes to that first meeting . . . make sure that you are not holding baby when the older siblings arrive so that you are able to make a big fuss of them – and having baby bring them a present is always a great sweetener!
Image Courtesy of hin255 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net