When we found out I was expecting, my biggest worry was that my toddler is still a baby herself and still needed attention from both mommy and daddy. Having one child is a handful on its own and knowing another one is coming was going to be very interesting.
One thing we had to make sure of, is that we need to prepare the big sister for her new sibling early, this included her bonding with baby before he was born, taking her off the bottle, involving her with the baby when he arrived and not neglecting her.
It has only been two weeks since the new sibling arrived and here are three things that have helped us with big sister adapting to having another baby in the house.
Introducing her to the baby bump
When my bump started showing, we told our daughter that there is a baby inside. At first, we knew she did not understand but as time went on, she started bonding with ‘nana’ (that’s how she referred to my tummy), whenever I would complain or show that I am in pain.
She would ask if nana is sick and from then on, nana would get kisses, hugs and she would be scared when we showed her baby movements. This was our first step to introduce her to the new baby and not knowing how she would react when she saw the actual baby.
Involving big sister with baby
When we got discharged from the hospital, Daddy came in to fetch us and big sis and gogo were waiting in the car. I could not wait to see her reaction. She was a little grumpy when we got in the car, and we introduced her to her little brother. Whenever I am changing baby or need help with anything I would call her to fetch a diaper or baby wipes, so she could feel that she is part of the baby process.
Lately, big sis is the first person to rush to his cot when he cries telling me that baby needs feeding in a very harsh tone.
Do not neglect the older baby
As much as it is hard to juggle between the two, she is still a baby herself and needs attention. Luckily, I still have help with the newborn so whenever I get time I ensure that I make time with her. Whether we are drawing together, cuddling with her in bed or watching cartoons, and reminding her how much we love her.
I must say since the new baby arrived her level of getting up to mischief has tripled and I scream at her half the time but always make sure that I make her understand that she needs to behave. Minutes later we are back at shouting – that is my life lately.
Even though there is jealousy here and there, I am proud of how the toddler has adapted to having a new baby boy in the house. She has proven to have accepted her new big sister role and we understand that some days she will be a cry baby and not want anything to do with baby, on other days she will feel like an adult and thinks she can carry baby from one room to the other.
That is why we are always watching her moves. It is still early days, but I have so much respect for newborn moms with toddlers. From late nights, busy toddlers, breastfeeding, to postnatal recovering, we soldier on.
Pamela Mkhize is an experienced social media manager and journalist holding a BA Media and Communication Studies degree from The University of KwaZulu Natal and a Project Manager Certificate from Varsity College – Business School. Above all else, I am a wife and a mother to a beautiful baby girl (expecting our second born soon) and a digital communications professional. I enjoy sharing my motherhood journey which has taught me so much about myself through writing.