Tuesday, March 31, 2009

WFMW: Second Baby Advice

This week at We Are THAT Family, the Works-For-Me Wednesday tip carnival is a backwards edition - meaning I get to ASK for advice instead of volunteering it.

Obviously I've got babies on the brain right now, with David coming in less than 6 weeks. I'd love some advice from mothers of 2-or-more kids, especially if your first child was roughly 2 1/2 when your second was born.

How do I explain the changes to my daughter?

How do we help her to love her baby brother?

How can I make the transition easier for her?

How in the world am I going to take care of a 2 1/2 year old and a newborn while recovering from a C-section???

Thanks for your help. This is the stuff that keeps me awake at night.


Nichole said...

We didn't make much effort to explain things to Piper. She wasn't crazy about Graham at first, but I think that was because he didn't do very much. I'm guessing you won't have to do a thing to make sure Wendy loves her little brother.

As for the recovery, mine was much easier after the 2nd C-section. I was up and around in a couple of days. We did have Alex's parents at the house for a few days after I came home, and then my dad was there a few days after that. It was good to have people there who could focus on Pi. I think that helped with her transition.

Kristy said...

Our daughter was 25 months when her younger sister joined us. She loved her right away. I more had to be careful that she didn't love on her too much. Make sure you take extra time with her. When the baby naps, spend extra time doing what she loves to do.

Hopefully you'll have some extra help with a c-section. My mom was here for awhile and gave my oldest almost undivided attention. I always had quite a few stitches from a natural birth and still wasn't supposed to pick up my oldest--let her climb up to you and snuggle while you feed the baby.

It will all work out. At this age, there might be a few rough patches, but before long she won't even really remember life before the new baby.

Best wishes!

The Momma Bird said...

I also agree to make sure to carve out time for your 2-year-old. She might feel "replaced" so she'll need the EXTRA reassurance that she is still special and loved.

You could also tell your daughter that the new baby is HER baby...this helped with each of my kids when they went from being the youngest (or only) to having a new sibling. It gave them a sense of pride.

And don't worry...it will all work out!!

Amber @ Classic Housewife said...

My oldest was a month shy of 3 when my second was born and my second was 4 months shy of 3 when my 3rd was born.

My oldest was/is a more calm and laid back personality. A good helper, rarely temperamental. We read a couple of books that talked about new babies, getting a baby sister, etc. Once the baby was born I asked her to help me as much as I/she could. By having her bring me diapers, wipes, toys, binkies, she felt very involved and she got to utilize her first-born momma tendencies. ;) I have many pictures of her holding and cuddling her baby sister. The only issue we had was her playing with her TOO much, and not backing off when the baby got overstimulated. But younger sister got her pay back when she got old enough to crawl around and bug older sister. =P

When our son was born, I was more concerned about how younger sister would handle it. She's rowdy, loud, temperamental and at that point - smack in the middle of some SERIOUS terrible twos. To help with the transition,we read some books again, but we also bought two new baby dolls to give each of the girls when the baby was born. While mommy was taking care of the new baby, they could take care of their new baby. I caught them frequently sitting down to nurse or change their baby dolls. ;) (Monkey see, monkey do!) It was a good opportunity for me to model how to handle a baby and for them to practice it. Good thing, too, because the little boy wasn't even two weeks old when younger sister came walking into the kitchen (not even three remember!) cradling him, saying, "Momma, he was crying, he needs you." !! In the end, she ended up being a very loving sister and her picking him up w/o permission was the only problem we had -- at that point. Now he's older and that's a whole new set of issues. ;)

So, I guess all that to say, involve her as much as you can, read books together, let her practice with her dolls, and a new baby doll for the big day may not be a bad idea. =)

Charlotte said...

I've had three since '05! You can do it. I didn't have c- sections, but I imagine some help the first few days would be really good. I have breastfed, so when it was feeding time, I'd cuddle with the older child next to me, while feeding the baby. Didn't do much explaining.

We taught the first to kiss her brother on the forehead when she wanted to show affection. As a two year old, he still prefers to be kissed on the forehead!

Grateful for Grace said...

I've had all c/s (6 total) and all my kiddos have done GREAT with the new baby (and me too ;-)). My rec for this are very basic:
spend time with your daughter
encourage your daughter to be a helper (but not too much)
have her pick out a few things from her to the baby
let her hold him anytime she asks
talk to him about her where she can hear you ("David, you know how much your sister loves you. Yes, she does. She's such a good big sister." etc)
make sure your dh does the same things

We've never had any adjustment time for our kiddos. They've ranged from 20 mo old when baby arrives to 30 mo old.

I'm sure it will go just fine!

Erin said...

What an exciting time for you! Someone told me once that two kids is not twice the work of 1, more like 1 and a half and I totally agree, it's so helpful to have a sibling around to help entertain the baby! We spent most of my pregnancy talking with miss 2 about how exciting it was going to be to have a baby to bathe, take for walks, play with etc and her anticipation was so high I was worried he was going to be a disappointment! as Momma Bird said she had a real sense of pride when he was born, it was HER little brother. I didnt make too much effort to spend special time with her, newborns sleep so much anyway it wasn't hard to find time and when he was up she was involved with all his care. Either that or she fed her 'baby' at the same time. Which happened to be a 4 pack of toilet paper... called Eddyup...

Anonymous said...

My oldest had just turned 2 when her little sister was born -- it was great! (although I'm worried abou the little sister -- who will be 20 months -- when Baby #3 arrives!)

Someone gave us a book called "I'm a Big Sister" by Maxie Chambliss and illustrated by Joanna Cole (unless it was the other way around). My oldest LOVED that book, and I think it really helped her get an idea of having a new baby around. We read it for a few months prior, and it was great! She could recite the whole thing.

Good luck!

Darius and Kelly Miknaitis said...

Congrats! I'm expeciting my 2nd in 37 days (but who's counting right?) and my first born will be 21 months when our daughter arrives. I don't have any great advice since I haven't been there, done that yet, but I appreciate the advice of your other commenters! My little one doesn't have any idea what is coming! Good luck to you and your family!

Andrea said...

I didn't read all your comments, so hopefully I won't be redundant.
I have 3 children and am expecting my fourth right now. The first two are 18 months apart, the next are 21, and this time we will have a full 2 years.
You have a daughter and I think that, in general, girls have a more maternal instinct and naturally adore little babies. I have never had a problem with my little girls when I have had babies except that they want to love on them so much!

I had a c-section with my first and know first hand that that recovery is brutal. Can you get some help from family or friends for a while? Some meals or help with laundry really makes a difference.
I know it's a sensitive topic, but I have had 2 successful VBACs since my c-section and the recovery is SO much easier. Maybe something to consider if you haven't already. :-)

Erin @ Closing Time said...

My two girls are exactly 2 years apart, so it was a similar situation for us.

We used the "I'm a Big Sister" book that was mentioned above. It is excellent...definitely the best book on the subject that I have seen.

When your daughter comes to meet the new baby, try to have some other adult holding the baby when she walks into the room. That was recommended to us, and I think it helped. That way she does not walk in and see you holding the baby and feel like the baby has taken her place. It is important for her to know that you are still her mommy too.

We also got her a gift for when we came home from the hospital. In her case, it was a baby doll carrier (like the infant car seats), which she thought was really fun. That way she could take care of her baby doll just like mommy was taking care of the new baby.

Hope all goes well!

Sandi said...

The loving him will come -- just make sure Wendy gets some of her own attention and that you include her, like by having her bring you diapers or burp cloths, etc. Also, I don't know if you're planning to breastfeed, but either way, that took up so much of my time in the beginning that I would try to find ways to do stuff with Caden while I was nursing Chase, like read him books (he had to turn the pages) or do a little puppet show or just set some toys by my feet so that he was still nearby.

And don't be afraid to ask for help -- don't feel like you have to do it all alone. You have a daddy that works from home and family nearby that will be glad to help out in any way they can -- let them! Let them take Wendy out for a little bit or sit with David while you take her out for a quick date.

Not too much longer!

Kristi E said...

I think the thing I learned when Peyton came was, get yourself a good sling or carrier. If it's good, it helps you avoid neck and back strain for longer, and you have your hands free for Wendy. Plus the little guy will sleep a lot at first, allowing you to wade into the new dynamic. You'll feel overwhelmed for maybe two or three weeks, and then it will feel very normal. Congratulations! Can't wait for pictures!

Amy said...

I don't have any suggestions for you - I am in the same boat! My second baby is due in 9 weeks, my oldest will be almost 3. And I am also having a c-section. So I'll be checking back to see how you handle it and get some tips for myself, lol. Good luck!

Tiffany said...

Like Nichole, my second c-section was worlds better! Just stay on top of your pain meds.

Melissa D at DropTheBabyWeight.com said...

Sorry I"m so late to this (still working through WFMW posts!). I have 2 little girls 27 mos apart (now 3 & 14mos), with another baby due in September. The "I'm a Big Sister" book was a huge help -- if you can, see if you can find more books about the topic. We had 2 girls, so the book "Sisters" by David McPhail was also very fun to read.

All the advice above is great (especially making sure to spend some one-on-one time with your daughter), and one more thing we did was when people came to visit the new baby, we'd ask them to please say hi to our older daughter first and make a fuss over her, and then come over see the new baby or ask her to show them the new baby. Otherwise you have a situation where a kid used to have all the attention now has zero, and it's so sad! So we'd let our older daughter speak up to answer questions like "what's her name?", etc.... But the initial greeting of her made a huge difference. I think we even put up a sign outside our door for visitors!

My 2nd C-section was much easier to recover from. I took the whole 4-5 days allowed in the hospital, though! :-) I highly recommend it since once you're home you won't get that kind of rest. And if possible, have friends bring you meals!