I am 15 weeks into life with my gorgeous girls. I was really nervous throughout my pregnancy about how Amelie would cope with a sibling and how it would change our relationship, so we did quite a lot of preparation and thinking before Evie came along to help her with the adjustment. Here are my top tips…
Telling your first about number two
I think this really does depend on the age gap between your two. Amelie and Evie are just over two years apart so Amelie did have a vague understanding of babies when we found out I was expecting our second. We told Amelie after I had my first scan so she could see the scan picture (which looked more baby like than my early scan did). I’m not overly convinced she understood at this point but we’d introduced the concept of a baby joining our family early on.
Soon after we started reading Amelie a book called ‘there is a house inside my mummy‘. It was a great way to show her through stories and pictures that there would be 4 of us. She really enjoyed the book and would talk about the ‘baby’ in my tummy.
Don’t make huge changes
We were told by lots of people not to make huge changes to Amelie’s routine before or soon after Evie arrived as it can really unsettle them. As such, Amelie is still in her cot, we haven’t started potty training yet and touch wood she’s still slept well throughout the change of Evie coming along. So if you can, wait a couple of months after baby arrives to make any big changes with your toddler.
Making your toddler feel involved
When we bought all of Evie’s furniture for her room and decorated it we let Amelie help us which made her feel part of the process. She was really excited to help get everything ready for her sister.
I took her shopping so she could choose a toy and little first baby clothes. She loved putting this in the cot and the hospital bag ready for her arrival.
When baby arrives
We made sure we had family on hand for the arrival of Evie. This was helped somewhat with the fact I was having a planned c section so we knew the day.
When the baby arrives something we found really helped was to have a ‘present’ from the new arrival to the older sibling. Evie gave Amelie a baby Annabelle which not only broke the ice but Amelie was really excited to play with her new toy so didn’t seem to mind so much that I was in bed and couldn’t pick her up etc.
We also made sure that when Amelie arrived at the hospital Evie was in her crib and not in my arms, this is apparently supposed to make sure that your first doesn’t think they’ve been replaced – they’ve had all the Mummy cuddles up until now.
Finally a great piece of advice from a midwife was to keep that first visit short. Amelie stayed for about half an hour and then went out for dinner with my mum and dad – they were upbeat about her new doll and kept her distracted as she left Nick and I.
When you come home try and have your partner or someone else bring the baby in and if possible ignore the baby for a while and have some quality time with your first. This was really important for us as I had been in hospital for two days. I made sure that I did Amelie’s bed routine that evening to try and get things back to normal as normal as they could be for her.
Any other tips I’ve missed? Would love to hear what other people did to prepare for life with two.