Having a second baby is a lot different from having your first. When preparing for the day the new baby is to be born, you need to take into consideration, the welfare of your first child.
From day one, you should be very careful and sensitive in regards towards their relationship as this could have life-long effects on them.
Below are my two-cents’ worth, of some of the dos and dont’ts that you should take note of.
Do make arrangements for your child to be taken care of during your labour and subsequent hospital stay.
dont’tarrange for your child to be taken care of and spending the night at an unfamiliar place or with a new person; it is just not going to end well.
Doensure that you explain to your child what is going on and that mummy is ok, and the new baby is his/her sister/brother. dont’t assume that your child is too young to understand what is going on. By doing things differently and talking to your child, he/she will understand that something big is happening.
dont’twait till you’re already in labour, or about to bring home the new baby to start explaining to your child what is going on. Start talking about him/her having a sister/brother early on during the pregnancy. Also, dont’t make major changes to your first child’s life just prior to, or right after, bringing home the new baby. These changes include moving to sleep in his/her own room by himself/herself, moving to a big kid bed, changing a new childcare provider.
Doensure that introduction of the siblings to each other is a positive and pleasant experience. Allow your older child to touch the new baby and do things for the new baby as far as possible. Some books even suggest that you buy a gift ‘from’ the new baby to the new big sister/brother.
I often asked my (then) 18-month old son to ‘look after’ his (then) new-born sister for a few minutes here and there, even when I was in the same room. Eventually, he understood what the task meant and started to come inform me every time his sister cried. My daughter in turn, also grew up learning that if mummy or daddy is not around, but big brother is, he will go get them if I cry.
My two children have a very special and interesting relationship. They simply love the sight of each other and often just sit there smiling and laughing at one another. My (now) 2 year old son has taken to the role of the older sibling very well and would pick toys up for his sister and even attempt to feed her. My (now) 8-month old daughter simply adores her brother and is always so much happier when he is around. I hope that this relationship will carry on for years to come.