A new sibling often arrives during the Adventurer stage (the running, jumping and leaping stage). While this is a great blessing for your adventurer, he may find it quite stressful initially. Sharing his parents’ time, energy and attention as well as his space can be challenging for him.
To help him adjust you can try preparing him for his brother or sister’s arrival. Talking to him about what will happen, making a countdown calendar, allowing him to choose a gift for his sibling and reading books about siblings will be fun ways to help him get ready.
He may enjoy going with you to your doctor’s/midwife’s visits, which may spark additional questions and facilitate further conversations. Some of which you may need to brace yourself for!!!
When chatting about his new sibling it will be helpful to create realistic expectations (e.g. his new sister will sleep a lot, cry sometimes, drink milk, won’t be able to play, walk or talk, etc.) This will help your adventurer when his new brother or sister arrives.
Plan what your adventurer will do when you are feeding and caring for your new sleeper (from birth to bobbing heads). You could have books to read, craft or other activities, music CD’s, story CD’s or tell him stories about when he was a baby. Your little adventurer may appreciate having extra nappies and/or baby clothes for his teddy or dolly so that he can be busy with the chores of caring for a new baby alongside you.
Have a “goodie bag” of small, inexpensive toys or gadgets that he can pick from when he is being a particularly patient big brother. This will help you reinforce positive behaviour instead of nagging about negative behaviour.
Try to find a 20 minute gap in the day that is just “big brother and Mom” time to do something fun together (make sure it isn’t interrupted by baby, phones, internet, etc). Planning some outings for your adventurer (if you’re not feeling up to it, ask Dad, Granny or a friend to take him) will help him feel special.
If he is willing, your adventurer can help with his new sibling (e.g. bathing, fetching a blanket, fastening a nappy, etc.) to make him feel like the important big brother that he is.
Try to keep your adventurer’s routine the same wherever possible to help him to adjust to the other changes during this exciting time.
Have fun getting to know your new baba and for finding your sync as a new family of 4!