I was anxious how C will respond when the baby comes. We have been trying to spend as much time with her before the baby comes and we were just a tad worried that she might feel the lack of attention after the baby. So what did we do to prepare C for a younger sibling?
For the record, C is not unfamiliar with babies. We interact with babies and younger children in church. She knows how to be gentle (sayang) with them. I guess having a pet rabbit and the 21mo age gap helps too! Tapping on these, here are 5 other things the husband and I did to help C better understand the idea of being an older sister.
1. Borrow books on from the local library.
Books helped us to explain the idea of being an older sister and having a baby sibling. They also provided visuals to help C anticipate what is to come. Some titles we borrowed are:
My New Baby by Rachel Fuller
Best-Ever Big Sister by Karen Katz
I Am a Big Sister by Caroline Jayne Church (a personal favourite!)
I’m A Big Sister by Joanna Cole
I also came across another interesting book Snuggle the Baby by Sara Gillingham, while searching for recommended titles. It is a interactive board book which allows your little one to practise caring for the new born with all gentleness. Caring routines include tickling, feeding,, swaddling, and tucking in the baby. Quite a fun book to play with, especially if you prefer books to dolls (see 6.) It’s such a pity that our local library doesn’t have this in their inventory. Then again, it would probably make a poor library book as you would find torn pages and parts.
2. Hugs and kisses
Hugs and kisses aren’t new, just because we are having number 2. We constantly shower C with lots of hugs and kisses since she came into the world. We communicate to her that we love her and she communicates that back to us too, by kissing us on the lips. We tell her that she’ll have a younger brother and we all love each other too. It’s about being family.
3. Tell her that baby loves her.
Besides teaching to love the baby, it is important for her to know that baby loves her too!
4. Involve the older one(s) in the preparation process.
We bring her along to some of my checkups and introduce her to the baby bump. She knows the baby is in the bump and she speaks to the baby. She introduces herself and say I love you. As the bump gets bigger and it becomes difficult to carry or play with her, the husband and I make it a point to talk her through it. She is usually understands (I hope!) because daddy is the fun parent. Ha! We also planned to get C to help with arranging of baby clothes but we didn’t get to this stage as the baby couldn’t wait to meet all of us.
5. Take it when it comes
We don’t want to over prepare and scare ourselves. Go with the flow, pray and take it when it comes.
Besides these 5 pointers, there are 3 others that I read about but have/did not tried.
6. Get a baby doll for the older child to practice.
Make it a point to practice gentleness with the baby. No pushing, no pinching, no throwing etc and be consistent with it.
7. Let the older child sleep over with (whoever is helping to take care of the older child) before the baby comes.
You might need help with the older child during your hospital stay. Let your child have a few sleep over sessions with whoever is babysitting the older one, for him/her to get use to the idea that mama and papa might not be around. We didn’t practise this with C because she has no issues sleeping at grandparent’s. Phew!
8. Gifts for the older sibling on behalf of new born and vice versa
Some friends recommended this but after discussing with the husband we decided not to. We don’t exactly shower C with toys and other material items so she probably wouldn’t get the idea yet.