You may be wondering…
“How DO you prepare your first baby for the arrival of it’s baby brother or sister?”
I honestly wasn’t so sure at first either because I thought my son in the beginning of my pregnancy was to young to understand the concept. Of course, now that we are near the end of my pregnancy, my son has grown and caught on to a lot of what we’ve been trying to explain to him. Although, I’m still not sure that he fully understands the difference between his belly and my baby belly yet (it’s pretty cute when he lifts up his shirt, smacks on his belly and says “baby” with a big smile).
As soon as we found out we were pregnant, Nick and I started pointing to my belly and rubbing it, explaining that there’s a baby in mommy’s belly. We’d also just say “baby” when referring to my belly. My son would continuously try and sit in my lap which was fine up until a few weeks ago. He’d also try and jump up and down on my tummy when we’d be messing around, and we’d have to stop and explain to him that he has to be gentle and careful of baby. Another small thing we do, is if we are out, and there is a newborn baby, or a baby smaller than him, we point to it and tell him that that is a baby.
I’ll ask him, “Do you see baby?”
Then I’ll point the baby out to him and he usually repeats me and says, “Baby!”
Our son has gone with us to every appointment regarding the baby. When we took him to our 20 week ultrasound he actually said “baby” while pointing to the screen. Nick was trying to tell him that that baby he was seeing on the TV screen was actually in mommy’s belly. He was in awe, but I think also trying to figure it out. At one point he kept repeating ,”Moo,” as if he was looking at a cow on the screen. Maybe the black and white threw him off? It was pretty funny.
At the ultrasound we had right before our trip to Sweden, our son understood what was happening right away and still does every time we go in now. Just this past time we went in, and the doctor put the doppler up to my stomach as usual to listen for baby’ s heart rate, when I noticed our son had the biggest smile on his face. I couldn’t help but have the biggest smile on my face too. He then pointed to my belly and said, “baby” with such enthusiasm. I was so thrilled to know that he knew that that was baby making that “noise.” I think I got a little emotional too. I’m definitely going to lose it when they meet for the first time.
I’ve tried to include him in feeling and touching my tummy. I ask my son if he wants to rub lotion on baby and he always responds with, “ya!” He also kisses baby and says goodnight to baby. We’ve also had our share of hitting/kicking my stomach like it’s a toy or out of aggression that we’ve addressed immediately after it happens. He has his moments of acting out towards baby (more so me), but far less than the love he has for baby.
Besides interacting with my stomach, I recently acquired a book from another mom about becoming an older sibling that I’ve been reading to him every night, and will continue to until baby is born (Waiting For Baby). A friend of mine also shared with me just yesterday a bunch of videos from Little Baby Bum that I had no idea existed before! (We love Little Baby Bum in this household.) If you haven’t heard of Little Baby Bum, it’s an English show that you can find on Netflix and YouTube. It includes lullaby’s and kids songs, but these particular set of episodes teach kids about becoming an older brother or sister!
Something we’ll be doing once baby arrives is giving some sort of present from baby to our son for when we bring baby home. We’ve been brainstorming lots of ideas as to what to get him, and I think we’ve narrowed it down to a scooter and helmet. I also might get him a doctors kit from my parents or Nick, and have them explain to him how he’s going to help check out baby from the hospital when it’s time for us to go home. Maybe he’ll get to do it with a nurse or doctor too to make it even more cool of an experience for him.
I had thought of getting him a doll to pretend play baby with, but then I thought that he could just do that with his Elmo or other stuffed animal. He has used his Elmo like a doll before. I’ll catch him feeding Elmo, putting Elmo down for a nap (the cutest thing I’ve ever seen), and he even wanted me to put Elmo in a diaper once! If I had a daughter that I was preparing for a new baby though, I’d probably get her a doll, because I know she’d probably use it longer than my son would (well I’m assuming she would).
The time I found Elmo on my son’s bedroom floor with snacks in it’s mouth! This is a moment I’ll never forget.
I just wanted to share with you a few things that we are doing and resources we are using to prepare our first born for the big day. Hopefully I’ve helped you get some ideas flowing and you’ll be on the fast track to success with your first. I’m sure I haven’t included some other great tips and ideas that other’s have done or recommend, but below I’ve linked a great article about what to do even after baby has arrived to make sure your little one doesn’t feel the effects of less attention, etc.
In this article it talks a little bit about how Dad should find some time to start making habits of things him and the first child can do together so it’s like their “thing.” I was also told by another mom that it’s important that when Dad gets the toddler in the morning or comes home from work at night, to give your toddler all the attention right away. The baby and him can spend time together separately after your first child is in bed, or taken care of. I thought that was some great advice.