The arrival of the second child can be a delicate moment in the life of a family.
Soon enough, parents will have to care for not one but two children. The second child often comes when the oldest child already sleeps through the night and has finally been potty-trained.
A new baby arrives, and sleepless nights and intense care have to start all over again.
On top of that, parents have to help their firstborn, who is used to being the only child in the house and getting all the attention.
Let’s face it. It’ll be a significant change for your big baby! And it’s perfectly understandable for her or him to feel a little or a lot jealous.
Prepare yourself for changes in your child’s behavior.
If they used to be a calm child, they could become more irritated, throwing tantrums and crying. They might do anything to get your attention. It’s not rare for older children to ask for a pacifier, start wetting their bed again, or even go back to talking like a baby.
This is nothing more than them showing their insecurity. It’ll take a lot of patience and love for the child to understand they will never lose their place in the house and in the parents’ hearts.
When to tell them they’ll no longer be only children?
Ideally, you should do this sooner rather than later, so the child can share the happiness with the family. Mainly because the child will see you feeling nauseous or throwing up and might become worried. So, don’t wait too long. You don’t want your kid to learn the news by accident. Just remember to wait until you’re okay with more people hearing about your big news – kids arent always the best secret keepers.
How to announce a little brother/sister is coming.
Be brief. There is no need for big expectations or tension. Tell your kid you have good news and that they’ll soon be getting a little brother or sister who they’ll be able to play with.
Explain the baby is still in mommy’s belly and will only get out around a specific time of year (such as around Christmas, during summer, after their birthday, etc.)
If the child doesn’t ask any questions, don’t insist on pushing the subject. It might not be the right time yet.
In case your firstborn seems bothered by the news, allow him or her to express worries and feelings. Reassure your kid they will never lose their parents’ love. Try offering an optimistic perspective: that they’ll be the oldest sibling and will be able to teach whatever they want to their younger siblings.
What to do and what to avoid during your pregnancy
- Lifting heavy things isn’t advisable during pregnancy. But, suddenly telling your child, you cannot hold them can worsen their insecurity. Try doing it a different way, such as holding and cuddling them while sitting or lying down.
- If your child is still breastfeeding, this is not the time to stop it. Keep in mind you can breastfeed both children. Just make sure the newborn gets priority (this practice has a name: tandem breastfeeding). Tandem breastfeeding will give your big kid time to disassociate the news of a new sibling with the end of breastfeeding.
- Don’t wait until the baby is born to transition your child out of the crib or switch rooms. Do this at least two months before the new baby arrives or wait three to four months after giving birth.
- If you’re the one on bath and feeding duty, ask your partner to take the lead on those activities at least two months before your due date.
- Don’t expect your firstborn to turn into a small adult all of a sudden. Don’t make them feel “responsible” for caring for their sibling or having the obligation of being an example for the little one. No one should be expected to grow up overnight.
- Whenever possible, include them in preparing for the newborn’s arrival: have them pick out outfits, toys, or nursery decoration.
Will I be able to love both children the same way?
Mammas already love their first child unconditionally and cannot fathom the possibility of loving anyone else the same way.
Yes, love is something you build upon, and it was like that with your first child – a feeling that developed over time.
But, in short, the answer is yes, you will love your second (or third, fourth…) child with the same intensity, but not necessarily in the same way.
Right now, it seems complicated. However, in practice, you’ll understand how that’s perfectly possible.
What you should be focused on is that, during your first pregnancy, you had a baby shower, counted down the days, took weeks planning the nursery’s decoration, bought the layette months in advance, and now, well, your second child is about to be born, and you still haven’t done half of what you needed to! We know with another child to care for, time flies.
It’s possible that you already have most of the things you need from your first pregnancy, which is why you’re not super worried. And this time around, you know what to expect, which makes you less anxious. However, this sense of calm isn’t any indication that you’re not excited or that you don’t love the little one growing inside you.
Wait a while and give it some time: you’ll be surprised with how much love you can fit inside your heart.
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