Hi there! Can you believe it’s almost June? Wow. Where did the time go?
Let’s dive straight into our topic for today. Being a mum and baby blog, we’ve obviously focussed on mums and well…erm…babies, but what about the soon-to-be older brother or sister? That’s right, today we are going to discuss how we told the older children about the new baby that’s on the way and/or how their first meeting went. Hopefully, this will give mums who are currently expecting some ideas. I’ll go first 😛
When I was pregnant with my daughter (second baby), I don’t remember specifically telling my 3yr old son – i think it just somehow came out one day that mummy has a baby in her tummy. So, nothing special. However, I do remember very clearly their ‘first meeting’ as if it was yesterday.
A couple of weeks before baby’s birth – I bought my son one of those toddler ‘magazines’ for lack of a better word. I think it was a Thomas the Tank Engine one and it came with a few of the trains including Thomas himself. At the time, I had no real idea on what I was going to do with it but I had this vague idea of giving it as a gift to ‘big brother’ once baby was here so that he wouldn’t feel too left out by all the attention on the baby. Fast-forward to 2 weeks later – hubby and I had gotten back home from the hospital; baby had been born overnight and my son had stayed with my parents and so they were bringing him back.
When they arrived, he was a bit reticent to enter the living room where we all were, he stood in the hallway and kinda just peeped in. Now, if you know my happy, boisterous, and full of energy son, he doesn’t do shy (at least he didn’t at the time; he kinda does now – lol). He had this look of uncertainty on his face, almost as if, ‘I’m not quite sure of this new person everyone’s fussing over’. I went over to him and handed him a bag with the Thomas magazine in it. He took it and said, ‘What is it?’, to which i replied that I didn’t know but that baby had asked me to give it to him. He opened it – and I remember this next bit so clearly – his face lit up but i could tell it wasn’t just the magazine but he had this wondrous look of, ‘wow, this baby got me something? she must like me!’ (lol). His shyness disappeared, he came into the room and started playing as normal. I believe giving him a gift really helped him to still feel involved; the fact that it was from ‘the baby’ was an added bonus.
I’m a big believer in not letting the older siblings feel left out which can be hard as naturally all the attention will be on the new baby (even mums get forgotten at times!). Little gestures like this can go a long way. My parents still talk about that day and how they feel that the ‘gift from the baby’ really helped my son to adjust to the latest arrival. The two of them are as close as can be and always have been. Here’s one of my favourite pictures of them together – what i’d like to know is, ‘what are they both laughing about so hard ?”. I absolutely love it 😀
I have a few suggestions for ideas on what to do, in case you are stuck for inspiration:
- Gifts – the first one is obvious and that is to give them a gift. You don’t have to do it the way I did it (i.e. ‘from the baby’) but giving them something that you know that they would enjoy can help them to feel included. Especially as there will probably be a lot of gifts being given to the baby and none for the siblings. It also doesn’t have to be something expensive, just something you know they’ll enjoy.
- Spend time – this is important and cannot even be replaced with gifts.Time may be at a premium in the early days/weeks but perhaps dad can take them out if mummy is with the baby or vice versa (it can just be for an hour if you are breastfeeding and can’t leave baby for too long). Or a family movie night together.
- Get them involved – if the siblings are much older, you can involve them in taking care of the baby. If they are interested you can let them help you with changing the baby, etc (just be careful that it doesn’t become a chore for them!). As young as he was, my son always wanted to carry his baby sister – which we allowed a couple of times but only with supervision (we’d support her head and sit next to him whilst he was carrying her. We were practically carrying the both of them sometimes!) but it allowed them to bond even at that early age.
So, do you have any stories (or suggestions) to share on how you ‘introduced’ your baby to their older sibling(s)? I’d love to hear from you 🙂