Preparing Toddler for Baby
Our life is going to change a lot in the next couple weeks! We’re adding a baby into our mix. Our family is growing from three to four. We’ll have a little boy and a little girl whom we have the privilege to parent and raise. Nathan won’t get all my attention anymore and I need to figure out how to take care of two children at once. I’m excited, of course, but there is a bit of natural nervousness that comes with anything new. Planner that I am, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (and reading) about how best to prepare a toddler for the arrival of a new baby.
These two children of ours will be almost exactly two years apart. It’s been interesting to prepare a toddler for a new baby. Nathan is very verbal so that has made things easier because we can talk about a lot of things that pertain to babies. Still, I’ve been trying to figure out how to best to prepare my toddler for a new baby, even as my husband and I get ready for the new baby, too.
We’ve been talking about the new baby since we first found out. Nathan was the first one we told (because he couldn’t quite tell anyone yet) and we’ve been talking about baby sister almost daily since then. I believe this is one of the most important ways we raise our children to understand the sanctity of human life. God created this baby and we want Nathan to always know that. It’s one of the reasons we include her in our nightly prayers with Nathan, too.
Aside from that, we’ve been doing other little things to prepare Nathan for the arrival of his little sister. We got out the baby things a couple weeks ago so Nathan could start getting used to seeing them around the house. He’s been rocking his Amish doll and teddy bar in the swing and bouncy seat. He tried to sit in the baby car seat and realized quickly he was too big. We’ve been looking at baby clothes for his baby sister and talking about all the ways he gets to be a big helper. We’ve watched “Big Brother Daniel” (affiliate link) countless times and read lots of different books (like this one and this one – affiliate links) about being a big brother. Nathan loves patting my tummy and talking about “baby sister”. He’s very excited to be a big brother!
I feel like we’re pretty well prepared for the adjustment process that is ahead of us but I’m ready for some more help! What did you experienced moms do when transitioning from one child to two? Or what do you wish you had done? I read a lot online and stumbled onto some great insights.
Rachel at Can Do Kiddo had a great list of How to Prepare a Young Toddler for Baby.
Rachel is an occupational therapy so I found her ideas very developmentally appropriate (very important to me as an early childhood educator). My favorite tips include finding a baby wearing wrap that works for you. (I like our Baby K’tan for when the baby is young and we have an Ergo for later.) We’ve already been using the “First…then” technique. That’s the natural teacher in me!
Chelsea at My Life with Littles shared 17 Things to Do Before Your Second Baby is Born.
This list was really down to earth and overlapped with quite a few of my own practical 17 Ways to Get Ready for Baby. And honestly, I didn’t read Chelsea’s list until weeks after I wrote my own! One of the things that she mentioned and I forgot was cleaning out the diaper bag. Nathan’s gotten old enough that we’re able to leave the house without much in the diaper bag. Now, it’s back to restocking the diaper bag – and with things for two!
Rachel at Frugal Mom Eh had 6 Tips for Helping Your Toddler Adjust to a New Baby.
I appreciated that these tips reminded me to focus on Nathan. He will have a lot to adjust to as well! We need to stick to our routines and I need to remember to give him the attention he craves. I’m planning that our book reading time will soon happen when we nurse but I will be happy to multi-task like that.
Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas shared her 10 Ways to Prepare Your Toddler for a New Baby.
What I liked about this post was Haley’s desire to build a friendship – from day one – between siblings. We’ve been intentional about choosing our words carefully and sharing our excitement with Nathan. We’re going to talk more about what to expect and how Nathan can be a big helper with his baby.
Jessica at Fantabulously shared her tips for Preparing Toddler for a New Baby.
One of the great ideas I took away from this list was to put baby’s car seat into the car early. Why? Every time when we’re driving around, we can be talking about the baby. It’s something little but one more thing for Nathan to adjust to. I’m also going to have Nathan start practicing climbing into his seat with as little assistance from me as possible.
But again, here’s where I want and need your help and advice! What else can I do? What should I remember as I prepare our (almost 2 year old) toddler for the arrival of the new baby? What do you, Moms, wish you would have known when going from one child to two?
Please share your advice in the comments below! I’d love to learn from all of you – and I know lots of other new moms will appreciate the advice as well!
Just go with the flow. It will be a big adjustment for all, but you will quickly figure out what works and what doesn’t for you. Just love your babies and everything else will fall into place. Soon you won’t even remember what life was like before baby girl! Oh, and the adorable sibling moments, they will absolutely melt your heart!
Thanks, Lisa! It’s true. Your baby isn’t a baby any longer! I know it will go quickly and I am giving myself lots of permission to go with the flow, knowing that every day will be different, for awhile. We’ll settle into those new routines soon enough…and I can’t wait to see Nathan with his little sister! 🙂
So sweet! We’ve been doing a lot of similar things! Layla is in LOVE with babies right now so that is helping us get ready. She also loves helping and even tonight she “helped” me get some baby things out for her brother’s new room. We are going to have her bring a gift for the baby and have the baby give a gift to her at the hospital. I’ve also heard (if possible) for mama to have her hands free for the toddler when being reunited at the hospital for the first time. I’m excited to see how the transition goes!
Nathan too. What a blessing to have toddlers who love babies! I am praying that helps with a smooth transition. I’ve heard the same about mom having hands free at the hospital and think that’s a good idea. I just packed a gift to Nathan from the baby in my hospital bag, so we are ready on that account too. Now, we just have to wait for the baby to arrive so we can make this transition! 🙂
Awww! Thank you so much for linking to my post on preparing your toddler for a new baby!
Congratulations, and I hope the transition is well for all of you! 🙂
Thank you, Jessica! You had some great tips that I really appreciated! And thanks for the encouragement. We’re excited about this new adventure!
Thanks for sharing my post! And good luck with your second! Having two is crazy, but so worth it!
Certainly! You had some great points, Chelsea. And thanks. We’re looking forward to the changes and the adventure of having two!
Our children are 23 months apart. The oldest just kept trying to love her brother to death…wanted to get in the crib with him, etc. I do remember that I got our neighbor’s daughter to come over and play with them sometime just so I could get a shower! And pretty much all I got done in a day for a while there was care for children and the very, very basics on everything else! Taking them out somewhere by yourself might be a challenge, but you’ll find ways to make it work! Pretty soon it’ll be old hat. 🙂
Yes, indeed. I’m gearing up for that very basic stage of life again. I think Nathan might be the same as your oldest – ready to “help” with the baby at all times! And you’re right, Addy. It will take a bit of time, but we’ll find our new routines.
We were in about the same situation when we had our second. That was over 4.5 years ago. I can tell you that it’s always going to be an adjustment no matter how hard you prepare, but really our son was so easygoing at the time that he pretty much rolled with it. Actually now that they’re older it’s more difficult as they are both big enough to fight for the same thing that they want. Lol. So, be prepared that it’s not just a one-time transition! 🙂
Excellent point! Every age and stage brings a different adjustment. Thanks for the reminder to just take it as it comes! 🙂