8 tips for helping your children adjust to a new baby

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s February 2018 issue.

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There's nothing more exciting than finding out that you are expecting; again. Along with the excitement may also come worries of, "How will I possibly love this baby like I love my first," or "How will my child adjust to having a new baby in the house? Will he still know that I love him just the same?"

Having another baby, whether it's your second, third, or fourth, can be an exciting and overwhelming time. There are lots of things to consider, including how everyone's life is going to change once your due date has arrived.

Here are eight useful tips on how to make a smooth transition from one baby to two, or more.

1.      Belly Banter

Prepare your son for the upcoming arrival of his baby sister. Let him touch and kiss your belly while you are still pregnant. Having a hands-on experience will help him make the connection that there is something special inside of your tummy and you want him to be a part of it.

2.      Gift Giving –

Pick out a gift from your unborn baby to ‘give’ to your older child after she is born. If you are allowing your older child to visit you at the hospital, give the gift to him and tell him it’s from his baby sister. This will make him feel extra special during a time that may be a little scary for him.

3.      Hold on Tight

Help your daughter hold your newborn son. Let her sit on an adult's lap (or yours if you feel up to it) and have her hold the baby with help. Once she sees that this baby is a living, breathing person – she will start to take on the role of big sister.

4.      Nursing/Bottle Basket

Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding, fill a basket, bin, or bucket with special toys that your older children have never seen before (think dollar store toys). Bring out the basket when you are feeding the new baby. Your older children can play with their new toys and still feel like a part of what you're doing.

5.      Date Day/Night

Have your husband watch the baby while you and your son go on a date. Take him to his favorite restaurant or stop by the park to push him on the swings. It's important that you continue to take time just for you and him so that he gets that one-on-one attention with you.

6.      Tummy Time

Have your daughter help you with baby's tummy time by letting her pick out which toys to put in front of him. This small act of helping out will make her feel like she is taking an active role in baby's life. Bonus: you'll all get a laugh out of watching the baby try and reach for his toys.

7.      Special Play Time

Newborns tend to sleep for most of the day. When you're not catching up on your naps, make it a point to have special play time with your son. Whether it's rolling out play dough or baking brownies, this one-on-one time will make both of you appreciate the special bond that you have had from the beginning.

8.      Spread the Love

Be sure to hug and kiss your husband in front of the kids. When they see mom and dad are happy, they too will feel content. This public affection will reassure your other children that they are secure and loved by two happy parents.

about the author...Meagan Ruffing is a parenting journalist and stay-at-home mom to her three children. Check out www.meaganruffing.com and her new book, “I See You: Helping Moms Go from Overwhelmed to In Control” for more parenting tips.