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Preparing Young Children for New Baby
So, I'm in a bit of a pickle. I have two children, aged 4 and 2.5. I just found out I'm pregnant again, barely, just 6 weeks. All great, faboo, wonderful. We planned to tell the kids when I was like 4 or 5 months along, something like that. However, it seems like maybe the 4 year old overheard me saying something on the phone, or simply put two and two together, because now she's become a little anxious and keeps telling my husband and I that we're keeping a secret from her. I am kicking myself because I knew she was observant and smart and I was just too over the moon to be super careful. Now I'm worried that I should tell her sooner, but then what happens if I miscarry? And 40 weeks is sooooo long (for everyone, let's face it). Should we a) just reassure her when she asks about secrets that if there's anything she wants to know she can just ask and that there are lots of things that grown ups know that kids don't, and it's no big deal, or b) tell her about the baby? And if we tell her, what about the 2.5 year old? I'm inclined to the former strategy, and so is my husband, but we thought we'd throw it out to the community to get some ideas. You guys always help so much, you rock. Thanks!
Stoked, but vexed at myself
Again, I got pregnant, and told them when I found out at 6 weeks. My eldest child said, do you think this one will make it? I said I hope so, lets all have good thoughts! So far so good! My 7 yr old asked me why this baby is okay and the other one wasn't recently. It was a perfect time to talk (again) about chromosomes, DNA, sperm and egg etc. He loved the discussion and we even found some library books on conception.
Being pregnant, losing a pregnancy etc. are all part of the
natural process of life. Children are much more attracted to
the truth of that than you think. This opportunity(being
prenant) is a teaching moment for you children in so many ways.
okay to tell them
We have a 3 year-old and are about to have our second
child in June. Of course, we want to prepare our daughter
as much as possible for this huge change in our family, so
we are seeking advice for how to best do that. We would
like to hear any ideas/successful tricks that seemed to work
well for those of you who have gone through this before.
Our daughter loves reading, so any children's book titles you
could recommend on this topic are also welcome. Thanks
also tried to reinforce her ''expertise'' as much as possible (she knows how to make
the baby laugh, she is very good at figuring out what the baby wants, she can be
very helpful, she can do so many things that the baby can't even dream of doing yet,
the baby thinks she is amazing!) They have a great relationship (she is now almost 6
and the baby is 20 months). I am sure yours will too!
--mom of 2 loving sisters
I am looking for advice on how and when to begin talking to my 2 year-old about our second child, who will be born at the end of March. Most of the advice in the archive seems related to books, and I am more interested in hearing members' specific experiences - - what worked and what they would do differently. Thanks. Want to do it right
when my wife was pregnant with our second child, we just kept talking about it to our daughter. we kept it up for months, and also bought her books about becoming a big sister. we'd let her ask questions, and we'd ask her questions too. as mom started to show, we let her touch mom's belly and everything.
when we went to the hospital, we had my brother watch our daughter, and asked that he bring her over as soon as the baby was born, before anyone else. we made it a big point of introducing her to the new baby. I then spent the next 2 nights at home with my daughter while my wife and new baby were still in the hospital. each morning we'd get up together and I'd say 'time to go see mommy and your new brother'. and on the last day I made sure that she understood that now we were going to get them and bring them home with us.
it worked beautifully. now it's 1 year later, and the kids play together constantly. the girl can't even remember not having a brother. it's awesome. another dad of 2
I waited until January to address the topic so that the excitement of Christmas was over. It didn't really bother him that my tummy was big anyways.
We read a book called something like ''THere's a house in my Mommy's tummy'' from the library. When we finished the book, I asked if he thought it would be neat if there was a house in his Mommy's tummy with a baby in it. Luckily, he was pretty excited by the idea. After then, we read different books about the subject and talked about the baby in Mommy's tummy regularly. We would make a point of telling the baby ''Good morning'' each day. worked well for us
The most helpful thing to us was that because in my late pregnancy I had some problems and had to really slow down, our toddler ended up spending a lot of time with dad. he got used to dad taking him out to the park on weekends and putting him to bed at night and giving him dinner. Think of it as preparing BOTH your toddler and your husband! It worked out great because by the time the new baby was born, dad and toddler had a really strong bond, and dad had a high competency level. So when the new baby was born and I was inevitably nursing the baby at night, it was totally natural for my husband to put my toddler to bed.
With a young 2 year old, I really think the work starts after the baby is born. The most important thing you can do is make sure you still spend some time alone with your toddler after the baby is born...its more difficult than you think, so try to have someone come and watch the baby for even an hour and go outside and play with your toddler (its good for you too).
Another thing I think is important is to not hide your love for the baby. Instead of trying not to pay too much attention to the baby (I know some moms who actually hid when they were nursing so their older ones wouldn't see and be jealous...that is just a recipe for jealousy I think!) try to include your toddler in your attention to the baby. If the baby cries say, ''Oh no, the baby is crying! What should we do?'' My son would pull my hand, bringing me over to the baby saying, ''give him milk, give him milk.''
And remember, there are going to be bad days. Your toddler WILL be too rough with the baby...they can't help it. No matter how many ''prepare your child for the baby books'' you read, they just can't resist a quick eye poke here or there...maybe the occasional steam roll. This is normal. Just be vigilant...don't leave the baby alone in the room with the toddler.
so don't worry too much about preparation now (except transitioning bedtime to be dad's responsibility if its not already). If you talk about it too much I think it can make a child anxious...So don't worry, everything is going to be fine. congrats
After reading through the archives on all related topics, thought I would ask for advice...
I'm about 6 weeks pregnant with baby #2. I am wondering when I should start explaining my situation to my precocious 3 year- old daughter. I have not really shared the news with my entire family yet, as I thought I would wait until my first doctor's appt. and confirmation of heartbeat, etc. However, my daughter has heard me discussing the situation with my best friend, etc. Her favorite toys are babies and she has been saying for months that one of her dolls is a baby sister and another is a baby brother. Nearly all of her friends have baby siblings and she's also been around quite a few pregnant women the last few months and claims that there is a baby in her tummy, too. Since she has been doing all of this imaginary play, I'm not too worried about her blowing my secret because she's been talking like this for a while now and everyone just thinks it's cute or funny, not that it relates to me. My first doctor's appt. is scheduled for just a couple weeks from now. My husband and I are having trouble finding a sitter for her during that time. I'd like to bring her with us and let her share in the experience, however, I am apprehensive for two reasons:
1. If something goes wrong, I'd like to spend some time taking care of myself and not worrying that my emotions would scare her.
2. Even if everything is absolutely fine, is it too soon to involve a 3-yo in this process due to their inability to really understand time? It would be an awfully long wait for her sibling to arrive...
I'm planning on picking up the Meg Zwieback book on the topic of preparing for baby #2 recommended on the site, but wondered about other's experience with this scenario.
Recently, a mother asked for recommendations for preparing an older child for the birth of a sibling. Meg Zweiback has written a book "Keys to Preparing and Caring For Your Second Child."(1991 Barron's Educational Series). It is an excellent book which is filled with thought provoking discussions and strategies. Another of my favorite parenting books also discusses this issue at length: Helen Neville's "No Fault Parenting" (1984 Facts On File Publications) Both should be available at the local library.
Though many of you know about my first time mothers groups, I also offer Support Groups for Second/Third Time Mothers, an evening group for mothers with older children and individual sessions.
Warmly, Sherry Reinhardt
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