Mama Drama: The New Baby
Dear Mama Drama:
I have a two-year-old daughter and am due with my second child very soon. My daughter and I are very close and spend lots of time together. I am concerned about how she will adjust to having a new sibling and having to share my attention.
What tips do you have that can help us through this transition?
~About to be a mom of two
A new baby is both exciting and stressful for all family members. Planning ahead for meeting your daughter’s changing needs is a great idea.
A meaningful step in the transition from only child to big sister can be the choosing of a gift for her new sibling. A book or stuffed animal is a good choice. This will help her to feel that she is a part of what is happening. A lovely idea to compliment that is to have a gift for her from the new baby. I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joose is a wonderful choice that helps children feel loved for who they are.
As you know you’ll be spending a good deal of time feeding and holding the baby. Using a secure sling or front carrier can help you bond with the baby and leave your hands free to engage with big sister. She can hold a book and turn pages while you read and feed/nurse or she can play next to you with quiet toys from a special box or basket that is only available at that time.
Two-year-olds love to be helpers. Enlist her in simple tasks such as getting a diaper or blanket, turning on soft music, or choosing a book to read to both of them.
Some children observe how much attention their new baby sibling is getting and all of the gadgets they use and want to have that themselves. They may want to drink from a bottle, use a pacifer, or want to be carried everywhere. It is okay to baby them a bit to help them through the transition. However, it is also important to encourage age appropriate behaviors by providing opportunities for them to engage in activities with same age peers in playgroups and classes.
It is not unusual for older siblings to be initially enamored with the new baby and then get tired of the crying and fussing and want the baby to go away. It will take time to adjust. A couple of books you can read with your daughter are Arthur’s Baby by Marc Brown and Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes. Their humorous yet understanding perspective on having a new sibling can be supportive and fun for older siblings.
Plan each day to spend some one on one time with your daughter without the baby. Perhaps trading off time with Dad, so that each child gets one to one time with both of you. Most of all remember to talk with her about the upcoming changes and continue to check in with her as the baby arrives and you all adjust to each new stage you encounter.
Congratulations and best wishes to your family!
Motherhood is an amazing journey that can have its share of Mama Drama. The Mama Drama column runs on Fridays with everyday mothering questions from readers and answers providing strategies to tackle these daily challenges. Send your questions and challenges to Lisa@milehighmamas.com, and your Mama Drama could be in next week’s column! All emails and identifying information will remain confidential.