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Preparing your child for a new sibling

Are you expecting your 2nd, 3rd or maybe 4th child?

Congratulations!! This is such an exciting time in your life, but it can also be very nerve-wracking, busy and hard for your other children to understand the new change that is about to happen, especially if they are younger themselves. You may feel all sorts of emotions when planning for your new little bundle to arrive, and I am here to tell you that these feelings are all SO normal. Allow yourself to feel these emotions, but also remind yourself that these feelings are temporary, and change is a wonderful thing.

What to Expect from your child:

  • You may notice some temporary sleep disturbances/regressions happen once your child realizes the new baby is here to stay.

  • Frustrations and emotions are very common - it is important to give them reassurance, and let them know it is ok to feel this way.

  • Changes in behaviour will occur, and you may see more noticeable and often occurring behaviour issues that you have not seen before.

  • Your child may want to start sleeping with mommy & daddy because their new sibling is.

How to prepare for these changes:

  • Talk about the new baby frequently before they arrive. Discuss and explain all that's going on with the new baby when they do arrive.

  • Have them be apart of the baby process - help them pick things out for the new baby, and get them.used to the new baby items they may see around the house a few months in advance if you can.

  • Spend extra one on one time with your child especially in their own room.

  • Constantly praise your child, and don't get into a habit of constant discipline.

  • Create a "fun box" that only comes out when you are nursing/feeding your newborn. This will help entertain your child during this time with something fun, new and exciting.

  • This is a great opportunity for dad to spend LOTS of one on one time, and help even more with your toddler.

  • Help to make them feel important. Allow them to hold the new baby with assistance, and assign tasks they can do independently to help ("go get your sibling their soother, or can you grab me their bottle or burp cloth")

  • Continue to be consistent with your normal routine - this is so important!

Additional Tips:

  • If your child will be switching rooms prior to the newborns arrival - do it as far in advance as you can. This will give them lots of time to settle into their new space by the time the baby comes.

  • If your child is of age to transfer from a crib to toddler bed, do this well in advance, or wait a while until your little one is more comfortable with the new changes. ( I recommend keeping your toddler in their crib until 3 or even older if they are comfortable, content, and not trying to escape it) There is no rush for this transition!

  • Get your child a doll and teach them gentle practise. Pretending to feed, bath, and snuggle the doll will help with the transition to come.

  • Set up the nursery in advance so your toddler gets used to the new space for the new baby. The earlier you do this, the more "old news" this space will be when baby arrives.

I hope you find these tips helpful while preparing for your new journey as a family. If you are finding this season to be extremely hard, and feel like you could use a little more guidance with toddler sleep prior-to or after the arrival of your little one The Slumber Nest offers express programs, and calls where we can work together to design a program to get your child back on track for daytime and nighttime sleep. You are amazing parents, and are going to be so surprised how your children warm up to their new little sister or brother.

Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant - The Slumber Nest

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