Transitioning from being a family of 3 to 4 has been something that is heavy on my mind lately. I mostly worry about how Bella (our first and currently only child) will adjust to sharing everything with a new sibling; her parents, toys, home, and attention. My hope is that the addition of a baby brother only excites her and gives her a feeling of pride in her new role as big sister. I have made an effort to involve Bella in the preparation for baby, in a few ways. Keep reading to find out how!
Letting Her Pick Out Baby Items
It seems all I have been doing lately is buying things for our little September baby; from nursery items, to clothes, and baby gear, there is always something on the 'to buy' list these days. When Bella is with me, I like to ask her opinion on what we are buying. I usually narrow it down to two choices myself, and then let her have the final say (this also helps with my perpetual indecisiveness). I find this makes her feel important (because she is)! Then when we return home with our purchases, she is always proud to show her daddy (or grandparents or friends) our new purchases that she helped select! She selected the llama by Queenwest from Homesense. Additionally, I try to buy her small things every now and then, so baby boy isn't the only one being showered with gifts. This might just be stickers, snacks, or a book, but it seems to do the trick!
Reading Books About Being a Big Sister
Reading books about having a new baby in the home is one of my favourite ways to stimulate conversation on the topic. We have got several different books from the library which we both enjoyed. We also purchased these two books; I am a Big Sister by Caroline Jayne Church and Snuggle the Baby by Sara Gillingham. Sometimes I joke that these books are meant to 'brainwash' kids because they say things like 'I am helpful' 'I help mommy and daddy with the baby.' But that doesn't mean I don't support that ;) We especially like Snuggle the Baby, as it is interactive and has pop out features like feeding the baby with a bottle, and swaddling the baby. It would also be a cute gift!
Buying a Gift From Baby
This is a pretty common tradition I have seen my fellow mamas take part in- Purchasing a gift for the new baby to give to the older sibling, when they come to meet them in the hospital. I see it as a bit of a peace offering, or an attempt to get the relationship off on the right foot. Bella is obsessed with Disney Princesses lately, and her current favourite is Belle from Beauty and the Beast (even though she's never actually seen more than a few minutes of the movie). So when she recently spotted this doll at Costco and asked for it, my husband went back and bought it without her knowing. We will wrap it up and have it ready to give to Bella in the hospital.
Matching with Mommy
Bella loves role playing with her dolls already and I know this will only continue once we have a real baby in the house. When a friend or family member brings a baby around, Bella has to get right in there like a little mama and try to help with feeding or changing the baby. I anticipate wearing the baby in carriers often and I know Bella will want to do the same, so I recently ordered these matching Beluga Baby Wraps. This Canadian company makes full size and doll size carriers- how cute! I can't wait for them to arrive! We ordered The Rachel- Light Grey Heather in regular and mini sizes. We also have a doll carriage, and may need to add a few accessories like a doll crib and highchair.
Aside from these things, we also have daily conversations about the baby. We be sure to focus on Bella's important role as a big sister and that the baby will love her so much. Although she is only two, she definitely understands that there is a baby growing in mommy's tummy and he will soon be here! She hugs and kisses my tummy several times a day. My favourite is when she greets him every morning with "Good Morning Baby Brother."
What did you do to prepare your child(ren) for a new sibling?