By Hillary Copsey, for BabyFit
"Hi, Momma!" The Boy said, coming into the hospital room. "What you got?"
What I "got" was his little brother, The Lad, who had been born the previous night while The Boy stayed with friends. The husband and I had talked to The Boy throughout my pregnancy about his new sibling and, as planned, brought him to the hospital to meet his brother as soon as we could. Our plan for a smooth transition from one child to two seemed to be working perfectly when The Boy kissed The Lad's head and voluntarily shared his beloved blanky.
Other strategies failed in the weeks after The Lad came home, and we had to find solutions on the fly as unforeseen problems developed. Our oldest still is a bit jealous of my and my husband's time; however, he's affectionate with his little brother and helpful. Here's how we got there:
Introducing the belly.
From the beginning, we treated my belly as if it were a baby. Because my eldest wasn't quite 2, we didn't go into long explanations about how the baby got there or how it would get out. But we encouraged him to pat, kiss and hug the belly. Once we found out the sex, we called the belly by name.
When the baby actually arrived, The Boy was used to the idea of his little brother.
Introducing the big brother(s) or sister(s).
Whenever we talked about the baby, we also talked about the awesomeness of becoming a big brother. With help from books like "I'm A Big Brother" by Joanna Cole and "New Baby" by Mercer Mayer, we played up the idea of being a big boy who can do many more things than a tiny baby and who can show the baby all about the world.
For our very independent kiddo, this worked like a charm. That first day in the hospital, The Boy held The Lad, said, "I'm your big brudder," and then proceeded to show off his toy cars.
Arranging a delivery sleepover
Everyone knows existing little ones need a place to stay while the newest baby arrives. What we didn't realize is that our kid might associate that place with being left and Momma being "sick."
The Boy really enjoyed his stay with our good friends who have a little one just his age. But we were a little shocked--and had to take a few minutes to calm him down--when The Boy started wailing the first time we
visited those friends post-partum.
Click here for more tips!
7 Things to Do Before the Baby Arrives
Answers to the Top 50 Most-Asked Pregnancy Questions
Advice from Four New Dads