I am going to be so open and honest here, our second daughter came when I was least expecting it.
We literally had moved, boxes were everywhere, 2 days settled and I found out I was pregnant. So, I was not expecting to get pregnant this fast and guilt took over me because as I’m showing excitement, a sweet 2 year old is looking up at me unsure of what is about to happen. Moms, have you ever felt this way? Guilt of wanting another baby. The heartache of being with your first child, loving them unconditionally, not knowing if you could love another child just as much? Then, I felt guilty for putting down pregnancy because I think of my mother who would have given anything to be able to have had more children. It was in these moments I would call friends and the best thing anyone said to me was this, “You are creating their best friend. The person they are going to grow up with. Imagining with. You are doing the right thing. You will see.”
Let me say, they were absolutely correct. My guilt has turned to happiness as I watch them play, laugh, hold hands, and of course fight like siblings. I felt the need to write this today, because somewhere out there is a mamma who felt what I did. I want to share with you how we helped our new big sibling welcome home a new friend.
- Little Sibling Kit– About 3 weeks before the baby came, I took my daughter to any store she wanted. Being my kid, naturally, she picked Target. While there I made a checklist of things she was able to pick out for her sister: a new outfit, toy, socks, a book, and a blanket. She was so excited, because not only did we do this together, but she couldn’t wait to give this gift to her sister that she picked out all by herself.
- Big Sibling Party– This was by far my favorite thing we did and I can still see the smile on my baby girl #1’s face. We had a princess crown cake made and celebrated her becoming a big sibling in the hospital. The nurses when they stopped by to do rounds would comment, give high fives and it was just wondrous. As you can see in the photo above, she really wanted that cake by the look on her sweet face.
- Take One Last Trip Together– This doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be a destination an hour away or make it a weekend getaway to The Great Wolf Lodge, but do something together. For my family, we took a trip to Arizona (we love Arizona) to watch the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl (but that’s a story for another time) and I am so happy I have those memories.
- Make Sure You Have Them Help– This one was top on my list to remember to do, because as mothers we get so focused to get our task done and get our house in working order. I wanted to make sure my daughter felt like she was helping, that she had a role. Her job was to bring me the wipes and diaper during a change (to this day she still loves doing this). Once a week she picks out her little sisters outfit, and loved holding her bottle during a feeding. She took ownership that this was her little sister.
- Buy Them A Baby– This is great for girls and yes boys. You can use the baby to teach them how to hold them gently, how to feed them a bottle, how to change a diaper, how to wash them, how to rock them.
- It’s Your Day– We picked one day a week where for two hours that was a special time between us and the other parent would watch the baby. When it was my turn, we would make a snack and jump in my bed (her choice) to watch a movie. With my husband, she enjoyed going to the store and eating at her favorite BBQ joint.
- FaceTime– We encouraged our parents to also help us, which didn’t take much. Grandparents are the best aren’t they! They had FaceTime sessions where the attention was just on her and what she had done that week.
- Take Pictures Of Them– This one I had to learn the hard way and want to pass on. You are going to be so focused on newborn photos, monthly photos, milestone pictures that you might forget to snap that perfect face that used to be your only focus. Schedule a session with just her before the baby. During newborn pictures, take some of just her (our photographer actually had this idea!), include her in the monthly pictures and have her help you.