We’ve made it to 34 weeks! Now it’s time to soak up these last few weeks as a family of three and focus on getting things ready for baby boy. Since my daughter is only 14 months, we have most of the baby things already out and ready, so physically I feel like we’re prepared. However, mentally we are reading and learning about how to navigate introducing a young toddler to a new sibling. When baby boy is born, my daughter will only be 15 months, and we’re already seeing her emotions and tantrum toddler personality starting to shine. Here are five tips that’ve I've learned so far about introducing a new baby to their toddler sibling:
- Acknowledge her feelings: Instead of scolding, letting her know that her feelings are heard and part of normal emotion. Although when I do this, I feel like I’m usually met with continued crying and frustration, I am starting to see her breakthrough at times and realize that I’m trying to understand her better.
- Spend alone time together: As a mom to a newborn, I’m sure this one will be tough, especially with a constant three hour breastfeeding schedule, but prioritizing 15-30 minutes each day of alone time with her will help her realize that I’m still here.
- Reward patience: This one is already big in our house, but giving her praise (and treats!) when she’s practicing self control and patience will go a long way when having her screaming baby brother around.
- Get her involved: Although sometimes I feel like she’s still such a baby herself, she teaches me everyday that she knows more than I think she does. By giving her a simple routine to follow that will go along with the baby’s schedule, I know that she’ll feel included and be able to feel like she’s contributing to her new environment.
- Expect a regression: I’m expecting a regression as the norm, not the exception. Luckily, my daughter has always been a great sleeper, so I’m thinking that this will come as more of an attitude regression, but I’m expecting a few steps back in some arena. However, I know that this is okay and temporary, as it’s part of her adjustment and coping mechanism.
Does anyone have experience in introducing a new baby to a toddler sibling? And advice or memories to share? Please comment below!
Dr. Shweta Desai