It’s hard to believe that the gremlin is going to have a little sibling soon; a very fidgity sister if the amount of wriggling is to go by at the moment. But how do you prepare a child for a baby sibling?
I have heard so many stories from others about how the first borns reacted to their siblings; positive, negative, really helpful, indifferent, attention seeking, naughty; the list does go on.
Hubby and I have obviously talked a lot about how we think the gremlin may react. Personally, I think she will be very gentle and attentive to her sister until the novelty wears off. She is not aggressive and generally very kind. However, she can be very giddy, giggly and just show off, so we think we will be in for a ride with the attention-seeking behaviour! However, we will see.
We have tried to prepare her for her sister’s arrival with no serious clear plan as such but I thought it may be worth sharing for any Mums having their second.
So what have we done to prepare our child for a baby sibling?
- Told her about the baby coming from a very early stage. In fact she came to the 8 week private scan. I felt she needed to understand and get the idea in her head from the word go.
- Shown her my bump and let her watch the baby move. Initially she would hug and kiss the bump but if I lifted my top up to feel movement when I was playing with the gremlin, she would protest and move my top back down. It was as she did not want the baby interrupting her games or distracting me. This has got better and she has been quite excited to touch a foot and tell people there is a baby in my belly.
- Told her about what happens when the baby is born. We haven’t been graphic of course but she understands Mummy will get tummy ache when the baby comes. She knows it comes out of a baby hole or sometimes a doctor cuts the baby out. If I go into labour at home she understands I will need to go to hospital for a midwife to help me. She has started some role play acting all of the above out so I know some of it has gone in.
- Taken her to all my midwife appointments. She is usually as good as gold and helps to do my blood pressure and presses the button on the doppler. She has heard the heart beat and watched me get examined. The midwives are all great with her and I feel this has helped her understand.
- Talked a lot about what her sister may be like at first. She understands breastfeeding and bottle feeding; as we bath together she has seen colostrum leakage (!) and gets this will hopefully feed her sister. I have explained her sister will not eat like her or steal her toys (yes she asked this) or really do a lot when she is born. If we have seen loving sisters playing together when out and about, I have been really encouraging and explained this would be her in the future. Family and friends have also done the same.
- Let her pretend to be a baby. This has really vamped up and she loves playing babies where she or I is the baby. She wants to have a dummy and use a bottle during the game and we have humoured her. She also has played a lot with her dolls recently. We have seen no signs of actual regression as such as we are happy for her to pretend, as long as we get back the props after each game!!!
- Involved her in getting all the baby bits out of the garage. She had a blast. She was sitting in the pram and Moses. She went through all the baby toys and has played in the cot numerous times. I have had to remove toys and the lullaby machine from her room several times but she knows her sister will use her old bits. She also likes looking at the baby clothes when we are out shopping together.
It’s small things and I hope she is feeling as ready as we are. I think until a little baby is brought back to the house, the reality of this will sink in and we will see her reaction. I’m hoping she will be my little helper and be kind and loving.
We are no experts and have no idea if the preparation will help. I just know my gremlin reacts to situations and change better when she has been prepared and had things talked through.
Will it help? Let’s see and wish us luck!