‘Twas the night before the new baby
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse
The hospital bags were hung by the garage door with care
Knowing a new baby
Soon would be there
Our daughter was nestled
All snug in her bed
While visions of a baby brother or sister
Danced in her head
We just welcomed our second child this past week, and what an emotional roller coaster it has been! I counsel people often on this, but going through it myself has been a very different experience. You always hear that parents have the fear of not being able to “share the love” or care about the second one the same way, and I was having a lot of those fears myself, even through I knew they were irrational. But once I saw my daughter hold our newborn baby girl with all the love in the world in her eyes, those fears melted away.
Another irrational, strong feeling I had in the weeks leading up to the birth of our second child was a deep sadness for our first child — sadness for her loss of being the center of attention, having to share our (and our families) time and affection, and for the immense change our family was about to undergo, even though I knew giving her a sibling was the best gift we could give her for so many reasons. Darn pregnancy hormones!
Once the baby was here, I thought there would be fits and acting out and moodiness. And at a week out, NONE of this has happened. Our oldest has taken this change in amazing stride, absolutely adores her baby sister, and has been fiercely protective of her. We are only a week into this, so I know there will be moments where there is jealousy, but so far so good! I think her age (almost 4 years old) has a lot to do with this, as every child does transition to having a sibling differently.
I received a lot of good advice on how to help transition our oldest when the new baby arrived, and it has all been really helpful. We made sure that her baby sister brought her a “gift” to the hospital (just a few little toys wrapped for her) and gave her her own baby doll to dress, feed, and take care of. Someone also gave us a “big sister basket,” which was such a cute idea — it had snacks for the hospital, a big sister shirt and book to read the baby, and a few activities for her to work on while we were in the hospital as well.
Another thing that had been recommended was a special basket of toys for our older child to play with while I am breastfeeding the new one, so that she had her own fun, different things to work on particularly while I have been more occupied feeding the baby.
There is no “right” was to transition your family with a new baby, and of course everyone will have different experiences — just wanted to share some of mine to help guide the journey!