Encourage Bonding Before Birth
It’s important to prepare your child to know the changes they can expect way before you progress in your pregnancy. Talk to them constantly and get their thoughts. You can then encourage them to accept the new baby in the case where they are not too receptive. Involve your older children in your pregnancy period. Allow them to bond with the baby by feeling your bump, sing and talk to the new baby. Discuss openly about the baby and mark every milestone with the older ones. What’s more, you can tag them along to your ultrasounds.
Let the Help in Arrival Arrangements
Getting your children involved in preparations for the arrival of their brother or sister is a great way to ease tensions during the actual arrival. If your children are old enough you can assign certain tasks from the shopping list to them, of course with your supervision. Tag them along when you’re making shopping trips and request their input concerning what is being bought.
It is important to plan the actual introduction. Considering that most hospitals in Kenya don’t allow children in wards, plan to do it on your arrival home. Consider dressing the baby well and cover the umbilical cord stump as your children may find this strange to see. Ensure that you are well rested and the baby, hopefully awake. Encourage any questions that they may have.
Your older child may start competing with the new baby for your attention. For many mothers, balancing between the two can prove challenging and sometimes downright frustrating. A great tip is to get your partner involved. Let them look after the new born baby while you focus your attention on your older child. This should make your older child feel that they’re still very important.
Don’t Make Any Drastic Changes
Keeping your older children’s routines as normal as possible will enforce the idea that a new sibling won’t ruin their lives. This may be challenging in the first few months but ensure that you at least stick to the basic day and night time routines.
Allow Bonding After Birth
Allow your children to hold the baby. If they aren’t old enough, you can place the baby on their laps and help them hold it. Remember that children are often heavy handed and may ruffle the baby. You can teach them to use the palm of their hand or keep their hand flat when handling their sibling.
It is important to remember not to set your heights too high when it comes to this introduction. Be flexible and patient. You’ll soon get there.
Please note that development differs from one child to another. Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed June 2019