- Don't second guess the age gap I'm pretty sure no perfect age gap exists, and well there's no going back now. :-)
- Giving your child a sibling is a gift (remember that) and what a gift it will be to watch their relationship unfold (most of the time).
- If your toddler is approaching a transition, try to make it before the baby arrives, leaving time to adjust.
- Talk a lot about the sibling's arrival more and more as you approach your due date. They might (probably) won't fully comprehend what's happening, but better to give them as much preparation as possible.
- Consider taking a sibling class at your local hospital or birth center. If you're in Maine, Maine Medical Center offers a great one - check it out
- Don’t over-do the first meeting of siblings. Family and friends tend to want to film it and make a really big deal about it, but the fan-fare just doesn’t work (or didn't for us). Have the other parent, or someone that the older sibling is comfortable with, bring them in and have them talk a lot about it beforehand and show them a picture of their new sibling. Try hard not to be holding the new baby when you older child comes in so you have free arms to give them the hugs they need. Just give them time to get comfortable with the environment and situation...
- I’m not a big present person, but a little something could be a good idea… a “big brother” shirt or their own baby doll and carrier etc..
- If your toddler has a routine try to keep him/her on it as much as possible including classes/school etc..
- I'm not going to lie, at times it will be hard and emotionally stressful, trying to balance the needs of your new baby and your active toddler can leave you feeling guilty and frustrated. Good news is that you will probably feel this much more deeply than either of your kids :-) Don't be hard on yourself, and cut yourself a lot of slack!
- Your toddler may go through a period of not liking you or preferring other people (mine did). It feels a little bit heartbreaking in the moment, but like most everything else is just a quick phase (for us it lasted 2 weeks).
- Try to do special outings with your toddler without the baby...even if its just a quick trip to the playground or picking them up at school solo, try to make it
- If others want to help with your toddler, let them!
- Find ways that your toddler can help out with their sibling and give him/her special jobs if he/she is old enough....
- Get a swing that locks in place (for obvious reasons)
- Find a baby carrier that you like and can use easily. Having your hands free for your toddler is priceless!
- Set low expectations for a while and don't put pressure on yourself
- BUT, at the same time, don't underestimate yourself, you will be amazed at what you can do and what will become old-hat :-)
- Weather/health permitting, try to get out of the house! Its amazing what fresh air will do!
- If you can swing it, get a double stroller!!! It was a huge lifesaver for me. We
did A LOT of walking! See my roundup on strollers for some ideas
- Remember in the beginning when it may be really hard, its just a transition period and it will pass.
- DON’T beat yourself up if you have to let your older child watch a show! To each their own, but Daniel Tiger has saved me many times when I was feeding the baby, in need of a shower, or needing to cook dinner etc...
- Keep a good sense of humor. There will be many situations that will test your patience...but laughing and finding the humor will be a huge asset. The window of mayhem doesn't last forever, and before you know these little munchkins will be off to school:-) Enjoy every stinky, tiring, crazy, life-changing minute of it!
Keep in mind every toddler, baby, and situation is different...and this is in no way expert advice... these are just tips to keep in mind from one parent to another.. This is all based on my own personal experience. What worked, what didn't and lessons learned. Good news is that we all survived! Our house is still wild and crazy (and probably will be for a long time) but its also kind of amazing. To see my boys starting to play together and be little buddies (some of the time) melts my heart.
This is my list, and I'm sure everyone's is a little different. What were the best tips you received, and what would you pass along?
Thanks as always for stopping by!