Paging Dr. Jen Canter, Pediatrician: Preparing Siblings for a New Arrival
As we are preparing for the arrival of our new baby girl, I thought it was a great time to discuss with Dr. Jen Canter how she managed the big transition of a new sibling with her kids. She was able to provide some great bits of advice for parents who are adding to their family.
For those of you that don’t yet know Dr. Jen she is one of my MomPrep Experts, a mom to two sets of twins & a pediatrician with a specialty in child safety. You can visit Dr. Jen at her site PlayThisWay.com; you can send her questions/comments on this blog. – xRosie
Guest Blog by Dr. Jen – Preparing Siblings for a New Arrival
As Rosie & Daron get ready to experience the joys of a little girl, and a third child, I thought I’d share some sage “wisdom” on the sibling transition.
Our older set of twins (girls) turned 9 this weekend, and our younger set, boys, are 5. My husband, kids & I were watching a home movie recently documenting that infamous week. In the course of five days we went from pregnant to the gills at a ballet recital to an unexpected early labor to having four kids.
The advice on getting enough sleep, being organized, getting all the help you can, and giving yourself a break is the same no matter how many kids you have. The most helpful advice I received was to focus on the older ones just as much as the new arrival.
Here are my tips for the big sibling transition:
- It’s not just about buying the “I’m a big brother” shirt. It’s about including the big ones in various aspects of the transition – and continuing the inclusion through the first year.
- Explain what’s happening in relatable terms. “Mommy is having a baby” isn’t quite going to be enough for a preschooler. Talk about it regularly, from the time you are comfortable that the pregnancy is healthy and you’re visibly showing.
- If you have a friend or family member with a little one, visit!
- Go to the zoo! Visit baby animals – it’s a great way for a child to understand the life cycle.
- Include your child in preparing the baby room, choosing the first outfit and even creating the birth announcement.
- If your hospital allows, have the older child visit. Our girls were – well – stunned (as the picture above shows) when they actually saw the boys.
- Have your child draw pictures & bake a cake with grandma or dad for mom and new baby’s arrival home.
- Walk in the door first! The #1 tip we got. Our girls decorated our driveway with chalk with grandma, and we left the boys safely in the car when I arrived home. I gave them a flamboyant greeting and had them help bring the boys inside.
- Include your child in feeding moments, bedtime routines, bathing & all elements of baby care. Create safe & fun ways for him or her to help and be involved.
- Keep up the inclusion – focusing on how wonderful of a job big sibling is doing when the visitors come piling in.
Remember to follow appropriate elements of the above if you are adopting or using a surrogate.
xoxo Dr. Jen