How To Prepare A Toddler For A New Baby
Miles will be 21 months when baby number two comes along. This means he kind of has a grasp on things, but also kind of doesn’t. I want to make the transition as smooth as possible, so I figured I would reach out to all my lovely mamas on Instagram to ask what they did when their second baby came along.
I got a lot of great suggestions, so I thought I would write them up for you guys here to use as a place of reference. Also feel free to share or pin this if you need to come back to it. If I’ve missed anything that worked well for you, please leave it in the comments!
Talk a lot about the coming baby
Your toddler may or may not grasp what exactly is happening while you’re pregnant, but it never hurts to talk about an upcoming baby. Suggestions were to talk very positively and excitedly about the baby and the new role that your older child will take on. Let them look at/play with your stomach as it grows and answer any questions that they may have.
Get a baby doll
MANY people suggested getting a lifelike baby doll to mimic what will happen when the baby comes home. You can start this as early as you want so that your toddler can get comfortable with the new arrival. With a doll, you can practice bath time, changing, feeding, etc. and let your little one be a part of the process. It’s also a good way to help teach them how to be gentle with a newborn. I got one for Miles the other day and he immediately started calling it “baby” and trying to put his fingers in her mouth. HAHA.
I know times aren’t exactly conducive to this at the moment, but if you know someone with a real baby, have your toddler watch you hold them and just be around a newborn.
There are a lot of books about adding a new baby and the role of your toddler as a big brother or sister. I did some research and ordered this one and this one to start. I’ll be adding more if we need to, but they are coming in the mail today and I’m excited to add them to his nighttime routine.
Involve your first born as much as possible
Before the baby comes, involve your toddler in all things baby prep, such as decorating the nursery and setting things up. If they’re old enough to talk, ask their opinion on things and make them feel like they are part of the process.
When you actually bring baby home, continue to involve your first born as much as possible. There are varying degrees of ability depending on how old your toddler is, but ask them to help with changing, feeding, or getting something you need for the baby. Make sure you give them lots of praise for all their help.
One on one time
A lot of people said to make sure that even after baby, you carve out time to spend one on one with your first born. Newborns don’t do much except lie around and sleep most of the time, so setting up a carrier nearby to allow the baby to sleep can allow for you to concentrate more on your older child so they don’t feel left out or jealous.
Get a present for the baby
Letting your older child pick out a present to give the baby when you bring them home was another big suggestion. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something that your toddler has picked out and is able to give to the baby themselves when they meet for the first time.