Would he act out? Would he be jealous? How was I ever going to be a mom of two under two? These thoughts constantly swam about my head as I prepared the house for our newest little one. In the weeks leading up to her arrival I constantly talked to Luke about babies, how he would help mama with diaper changes, dressing her and just being a good big brother, but I was still worried he wasn’t going to understand what was happening. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to prepare him well enough.
I always dreamed that my babies would bond and have this amazing relationship but I just didn’t know how to accomplish that at first. Now that’s she is 7 months old I can happily say that they adore each other! For the time being at least, haha! But here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way about introducing a new baby to your toddler!
We talked about her long before she got there.
- Luke and I practiced being “gentle” and “careful”. This was tough for a very energetic toddler, but it came in handy when she arrived!
- I loved to read him books that would model how to be a big brother and the different changes that would be happening in our family. “I’m a Big Brother” By Joanna Cole and “My New Baby” by Rachel Fuller were a couple of my favorites.
- As I did things for him (like changing a diaper) we would talk about ways that he could be a big helper when baby sister came.
- Using a little doll to practice all of his baby “skills”. We had a little Curious George monkey that we would rock, change its diaper, feed and tuck in to bed. Luke had very little interest in it but it made me feel better!
Try to keep your toddler’s routine as normal as possible (or close to it)
- We tried our best to keep Luke’s nap, bed and food schedules the same and tried to interact with him as much as possible. We still encouraged independent play as well, like we did before she came!
- might be a bit controversial but- I knew jealousy, acting out, and pushing boundaries might be a problem, and while I wanted to make sure I had empathy because it is a huge change, I also wanted Luke to know that bad behavior and a sinful heart attitude wasn’t okay. We had planned to continue to discipline as we usually did, but thankfully Luke adjusted very well and we really didn’t experience that!
- Carve out some time with your oldest. Trust me, I know how hard that is to accomplish between trying to balance nursing, diaper changes, taking care yourself and the house. What worked for us was me taking five minutes to read the books and sing songs as a part of Luke’s bedtime routine. It was simple and sweet, there was no need to over think or over plan!
Let your toddler be as involved as possible!
- We let Luke help with Emma as much as possible and he was so proud of himself whenever he could get her a new diaper or bring her a blanket. He would also lay on the floor next to her when we did tummy time! It was precious. I think being part of Emma’s routine was huge in helping Luke to adjust.
- Don’t be afraid to let them have some organic interaction. It was a bit terrifying to let Luke hold tiny baby Emma at first because he looked massive in comparison. But God built newborns for some trauma, especially in the early days, so don’t be scared like I was; just let them be siblings!