Here are a few things I loved from this book, ideas to help your older one transition to being a big sibling.
Before baby arrives:
- When you tell your child about the baby coming, don't share it as your news "We're having a baby," instead share it as their news, "You're going to be a big sister!" (page 220)
- Keep answers to questions simple.
- Refer to it as "our baby" so it's your child's too.
- Encourage your child to talk or sing to the baby, wonder aloud what the baby is feeling, etc. to start talking about it... but don't talk about it nonstop.
- Buy your child a doll he can pretend with.
- Tell her stories about when she was a baby. (page 223)
- Do any big changes like room change, etc. well in advance.
A big thing I always tell people to do ahead of time before the baby arrives is to make sure BOTH parents are taking care of the first child. If Mom always has done bath and bed time routine or red bed time stories, etc. then when the baby #2 arrives the child is going to have a very difficult time adjusting, not just because of the baby change, but because now Dad or other partner is in charge and it's not the same. Make sure you and your partner are balancing who does what with the big child well ahead of time before baby comes and changes things. Dad needs to help toddler go potty or change diapers. Dad can get them dressed in the morning. Dad can help them out of car seat. Mom needs a break anyway while pregnant, so start by decreasing what you do ahead of time to further prep your toddler. Think of this as a positive thing, your child deserves this wonderful special time with Dad anyway.
When the baby arrives:
- Have your child visit the baby when others aren't there, and sooner than other people. (page 241)
- If you get home to greet your child after the hospital stay, have someone else carry the baby so you are ready to greet your first child. (page 241)
- Allow your toddler to hold and snuggle the baby. "Dr. Lawrence Aber, a bonding expert, says that babies' heads give off pheromones, and when we inhale them, we fall in love, and begin to feel protective. The more your older child snuggles his new sib, the more protective he'll fell toward her." (page 241)
- Have your children give each other a gift.
- Keep your older one's routine and schedule as normal as you can.
- If he tries to sit in the baby's stroller or seat, just act silly and happy, "Oh look at this big baby who can talk! Wow!" (page 255)
- Help him when he's asking, don't just say "you can do it, you're a big kid."
This is something I did all the time with my son when his baby sister was born and it really worked... when the baby would be fussing but I was with my older one getting a drink of milk or something, I would say to the baby, "Just a minute, baby, I'm helping your brother right now," along with the number of times I'd said it to my toddler. It helped him feel important.
What to do when feeding the baby:
- Spend a few moments connecting with your older child.... play, on their level, read a book, etc. Roughhouse a bit to get him laughing. (page 248)
- Suggest she feed her baby at the same time.
- Read to her.
- Pull out an activity box that is specially designed for her to use when you're feeding.
Awesome chapters about what to do when baby and toddler need naps and bed time routines, as well as a chapter on what to do when baby starts crawling. TONS of information in this book! I really think this would make an excellent baby shower gift for someone who is about to have #2.