Being a first-time mama is hard.
It’s hard learning to navigate the new world that is motherhood and it is hard re-navigating the old world that was your life before. However, being a mom for the second time is even harder. Going through the new baby phase with another little person needing you is almost torture. Time is split into a million different categories and no one seems to get enough attention. Your partner, your baby, your other little one, and even your pets.
It is very important you recognize that motherhood for the second time is difficult. However, it is even more important that you make a plan about how you will tackle your little one feeling abandoned and left out beforehand.
Here are a few tips you can start utilizing before your new baby comes so that your little one will not only not feel left out but will feel included in the process.
- Have the conversation
It is surprising how many parents barely get a chance to discuss the arrival of the new member of the family. Even if your child is too young to really understand what is happening, taker her or him on your lap and say that mommy is having another baby. Explain to your child what that will mean and how mommy will be in the hospital for a few days and when she comes home she’ll have a new baby. Show your child how babies look (not just a doll but pictures of real babies) and discuss how mommy will be very tired for a couple of weeks. Make sure your child understands what is happening and what the basic timeline looks like. If it helps, make a colorful calendar with the final day being baby day. This can lend excitement and make your little one feel happy about the new addition to the family.
- Find a together hobby
It is important that mom finds something to do with her little one before the baby and continues to do it together after the baby is born. Consistency is key and will make your child feel loved and cared for even as the family unit is changing and expanding. Coloring or playing barbies can be good examples of activities Mom can do while still in bed or nursing baby as well. Emphasize to your child that you love spending time with him or her and that it will never go away even with the new baby.
- Assign a baby chore
Older children thrive when involved in family change. Assigning a task as simple as saying hi to the baby after school or reading to baby every night before bed can do wonders for your little one. Being involved and being trusted when it comes to a new baby makes your child feel involved, valued, and appreciated. However, it is important to note, do not give your child a chore that would harm baby if not done right. It is not okay to assign that level of magnitude of responsibility upon your child. The task should be one in which baby could benefit and your child could enjoy.
- Ask advice
As an add on to number 3, ask your child if he or she thinks baby looks happy. Ask your child what they think of baby’s new clothes. Ask your child about everything. Get your little one’s opinions and understand his/her views. Your child will be grateful their voice is being heard and will voice it more often leading to more familial involvement.
This is one of the most important tips. Cuddling with your child is one of the most simple and effective ways you can show them your love. Cuddling for an hour a night, even if it is in your bed after nursing or on the couch during a movie, is extremely important for your child’s emotional and psychological development. Feeling loved and cared for on a consistent basis will be an intrinsic part of your little one’s psyche in the future.