How to Introduce a New Baby to the Family...
I love hearing what questions you all want me to answer. This is a really popular question. "How do I prepare our kids for a new baby?" This is such an awesome question and one that many parents have when they are considering adding a new baby the bunch or when they get pregnant.
First things first, you might feel really guilty for adding another baby to the bunch. You might start to ask yourself, "will I be able to love both kids?", or "Will I love the 2nd baby as much as I love my first?". I remember thinking - "All Brooklynn knows is her and I. And now my attention won't be on her anymore, and will be on the baby! She didn't ask for this." But guess what, mamas. That is TOTALLY ok to feel that way and ask those questions. It's normal! (I hate saying normal, because there is no normal in motherhood). But its a very common feeling to have. And the answer is YES, you will be able to love the 2nd baby and you will be able to give all your kids attention. You might have to be more intentional about it the more you have, but you make it work. And your love does not divide, it multiplies. Which sounds so silly, but its true.
Next is how to prepare the siblings for the new addition. My biggest piece of advice, is to make it THEIR baby. Its not only YOUR baby, but its THEIRS. THEIR brother or sister, THEIR baby. Give them ways to prepare for the baby, let them unpack the diapers and put them away, and help you do their laundry and fold it up. Let them put the new furniture together or put a little paint on the wall. Have consistent conversations about how excited you all are to have a precious new baby in the house. I personally joke with the kids a lot too. Such as, "I am so glad you will be waking up with the baby so mommy can sleep, you are the best!" And my older ones would just laugh it off and say "No way, mom! That's your job!". Or I would say, "I think you will be the best poopy diaper changer ever!" And again, they laugh it off and deny it. If you make it a normal thing from the very beginning, the transition should be a lot easier.
When I go into labor, the kids know and we let them come up to the hospital RIGHT after the baby is born. We want the kids to be the first to meet the baby. We reserve the first few hours for just our family to get aquatinted. We let ALL the kids hold the new baby and we don't shush the older kids too much. Because after all, the baby will have to learn to sleep with all the noise anyway. Make the visit short and sweet and always have a gift from the baby to the older siblings. Try to write out a little card that says "I am so excited that you are my big sister. I cant wait to play with you!" You can do a little toy, a big sister/brother shirt, a book or this time we did shirts and a date night with just mommy, daddy and new baby sister.
If you have younger kids at home, you will need to have something special for them to do while you nurse, otherwise they will get in to trouble. Have a "Nursing Box" for the toddler (or older sibling) of special toys and books that they can only play with when you nurse. It gives them something to look forward to when you sit down to nurse the baby.
And the last question was, "how do you spend time with each child after you are home with the new baby". Remember that kids are simple. They don't need much to feel special. And they want your time and attention above all things. Quiet time with each child is important and it will depend on who the child is. You know them best. For example, my oldest LOVES to bake. So thats what we do. We try to bake something once a week. And thats our special time together. My son loves legos, puzzles or building stuff, so thats what we try to do while the other kids are asleep. And Mia is almost 2 and doesn't really know much, so we just play when we can.
As my older kids are getting bigger and more mature, we are realizing we need to be a lot more intentional with time AWAY with them. Its hard for us to get a sitter and we like to reserve the sitter for when we REALLY need it, but we are learning that its necessary for our marriage and for our older kids. My 9 year old needs it the most. She helps me so much during the week and she needs a break too!
I hope this was helpful for you guys and please email me wiht more quesitons that you have!