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April 17, 2007 / missknowitall

Preparing Child #1 For Baby #2

Dear Little Miss,

I have a 19 month old little girl and will be having another baby in about a month.  I have heard of classes and things to “prepare” your older child for a new baby.  I always thought that was silly, or at least that my little girl would never understand those things anyway.  But now I’m wondering if there is something that I can do to help prepare my little girl.  Its hard to know how much she understands since she is so young.  What do you suggest?
 

Dear Prepping For #2,

While “Mommy and Me” classes can be fun for you and your child, I don’t think that they are necessary.  You can run a simple test to see if you really even need to worry about 2nd baby jealousy issues.  Have a friend of yours, who has a new baby, come for a visit.  Hold their baby the entire time.  Does your little girl react adversely in anyway?  If she does then I would suggest you start inviting more babies into your home, with you holding them, to get her used to the upcoming situation.  Even if she doesn’t show any jealousy signs I would highly recommend that you do several things when baby #2 comes along. 

1.  Get your little girl a baby doll with a bottle and a diaper so that she can play mommy and so that you can practice with her the ways to treat a baby.  Teach her to sing to the doll, to be gentle with the doll, and to feed the doll.

2.  When baby comes, involve your daughter in the baby care.  Let her help you hold the bottle, let her kiss the baby’s feet, put her in charge of the binkies and diaper tossing.  This way she will feel like she is needed and valued and not like she is “just in the way”. 

3.  At least once a week make sure you get some one on one time with your first child so that she won’t feel “forgotten” in the excitement and newness of the baby.

4.  When visitors come over to coo and goggle over the new baby, publicly praise your first child for being a big sister so that she will feel just as important as the new baby.

And don’t sweat it if your first child pokes, slaps, stands on, or throws something at her new sibling because it is pretty much inevitable for her to “test” out this new baby.  Just catch the action, tell her that baby is very fragile and “we need to be soft with baby”, show her how to softly pet the baby.  If she continues to harm the baby in anyway, just keep the baby out of her reach unless you are supervising.  For the most part, though, children only do this when they are trying to get attention that they are lacking. 

Congratulations on your coming baby.  May you sleep well and stay sane.

Miss Knowitall

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