I’m due to have my second (mystery gender) baby in a few days’ time. Although I am incredibly excited to be welcoming another tiny person into our household, I’m also nervous about how my little girl is going to react to the disruption.
In a couple of months before our first child Georgiana will be turning two. She tends to be a happy, easy-going little girl (so far) but there is always a worry in the back of my mind that she won’t take this particular event in her stride!
We have tried to do a few things to prepare her for the new baby, including plenty of talking with her about my ever expanding baby bump. She gives the bump lots of pats & cuddles, and will point to it if we ask her where the baby is. Although a few weeks ago we asked her if there was a baby in Mummy’s tummy and she responded with an enthusiastic “Nah!”
Since early in the pregnancy, we have tried to drop the word ‘baby’, when talking to Georgie about herself; she has become our ‘little girl’ instead of our ‘baby girl’, and even our ‘big girl’ on occasion! I want to try to make sure that she doesn’t associate the word ‘baby’ with herself anymore, if possible, so there will be no jealousy when we suddenly have a new baby in our home. I can only hope it works!
This particular plan came from my memory of watching a horrible scene in the postnatal ward after Georgie was born; a young girl threw a massive tantrum about the fact she was their baby, not the newborn boy in her Mum’s arms. From the way the parents spoke to her, it was clear that she was called ‘their baby girl’ much of the time, and I couldn’t help but think that they maybe should have dropped calling her the B word a little bit in preparation for her new sibling!
Georgie loves to read, so we’ve been reading a few books about babies and pregnancy with her too. I borrowed a great book from the library recently, called “There’s a House Inside My Mummy”, by Giles Andreae and Vanessa Cabban. It’s a really sweet board book with a poem all about a family of three becoming one of four, written in easy to understand “toddler speak.” It’s full of lovely ideas like the baby sleeping in a “giant bathtub” instead of a bed, Mummy being extra tired, and giving amusing explanations for common pregnancy symptoms like food cravings. We did raise our eyebrows a little though when Daddy was explaining to the little boy that he has to be patient waiting for the baby to come out of Mummy’s tummy, as “the door is rather tight”!
Another book we have been reading a lot with her is “My New Baby” by Rachel Fuller. It is full of simple pictures featuring a toddler and a new baby together; such as watching nappy changes, going for a walk with Mummy while the baby is in a sling, and bouncing with Daddy on the bed while the baby is having a feed. Many of the different scenes are ones I expect to be recreating while juggling a newborn baby and a toddler, so hopefully this book has helped her prepare for what’s to come!
Our last idea is one that many parents do with much success; presents! When in doubt, resort to bribery?! We have chosen a few special things for the baby to ‘give’ to Georgie when it arrives. We are hoping that this will help her from feeling jealous about all the new things we’ll be receiving for the baby, and make her feel special too. She is a little young to notice things like this really, but she does already get excited about parcels & presents, especially when she is allowed to open them herself. We’ve picked out a ‘big sister’ t-shirt, a fabulous wooden peg puzzle that we picked up in Kiddicare, and lastly an ‘In the Night Garden’ board book.
Have you got any other tips on preparing your first child for the arrival of a sibling? Despite everything we’ve tried to do to prepare our little Georgiana, I’m still fretting about her reaction! I guess we’ll just have to wait & see if we’ve done enough…
This post was written in March 2013. A few days’ later Zoe gave birth to a healthy and happy baby girl called Lydia.