Are you wondering how to survive a toddler and newborn. Getting overwhelmed by the prospect of coping with a toddler and newborn. Life with toddler and newborn can be demanding and hard, but the way those two will look at each other later on, makes it all worth it. Helping 2 year old adjust to new baby and creating a 2 year old and newborn routine, is important for you to get through this.
Including your toddler in the new baby’s life is something that you will have to work on! Bringing a baby into the family is a gift. But it can be a source of frustration for siblings as well, especially toddlers. Having four kids in our home we have some experience in bringing a new baby into our family.
We believe there are somethings you can do to make it easier for your older children to welcome a new baby into the family. However we also accept that some of this is luck.
The things we have done since our oldest became a big brother the first time includes:
- A gift from the baby to the older sibling
- Including the toddler in small tasks
- Have toddler toys around when feeding the baby
- Recognizing their feelings about it all
- Doing special “big kid” things’
- Interaction between them on the toddlers terms
We are incredibly lucky that our oldest is a fantastic big brother, and he has loved his siblings from the second they have entered this world. This has made our jobs so much easier. You might also want to keep some of these general tips in mind for when you have a new baby, especially nr 1 will help you out!
Now lets go into detail about how you can help your toddler cope with a baby.
Prepare your toddler for the baby
To help your toddler a just to the baby, you might want to start even before the baby is there. While it helps just talking about it it can also help to read books about what that means.
Prepare them for the babysitting situation, who will take care of your toddler while you have the baby, and that sort of thing. You can even pack a special bag, with things for a big brother/sister.
Introduce them to each other
The first time your toddler meets the new baby, you want to make sure that they can say hi to each other. Maybe your toddler is excited about this meeting, maybe not – try to not include your emotions into this meeting. This is their time – and its brand now to both of them.
Give them time and accept the way that your toddler wants to meet the baby.
Try not to be holding the baby when the older kids comes to visit.
If you are still in the hospital the first time you introduce your kids to the baby, try to not have the new baby in your arms. I know its not always posible, but if you can, place the baby in a crib, so that your arms are free to hug your older kids.
You are introducing the to a massive change in their life, and a hug from mom might be just what they need to be reassured that everything is okay.
Giving your toddler a gift from the newborn baby
Often a new baby receives plenty of presents. We make sure that there is a gift from baby to the older siblings. Sort of a, thank you for being my bigbrother/bigsister kind of thing.
This doesn’t have to be a big thing, but just something to play with, now that mum and dad are a bit busy.
Let your toddler hold the baby.
While some kids might not be interested, many older siblings would love to hold the new baby. Trust that they can! We solve this by using a nursing pillow. Place the other child on a sofa or somewhere comfortable, with they backs right up against the back, and place pillows on either side. Place the nursing pillow on top and then place the baby on top of that. Be sure to be close by as this can be hard on young children, and especially toddlers have a short attention span and might leave all of a sudden.
One of the things that I really had to come to terms with, is that everyone interacts with the baby differently. Even if its being together and holding hands while your toddler watches his favorite cartoon – that is quality time to me.
Encourage helpfulness, never expect it. There is a difference. Ask for help to find things and take part in caring for the baby. But always remember that this is not their task. If they dont want to help out today, that is fine, maybe they want to be included tomorrow. I’ve asked for help to find pacifiers, burb clothes, nursing pillow – you name it. It is always a gentle moment when they realize that they have helped and really made a difference in the babys life – and its awesome to see them grow with that realization.
Read or play while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is tough work, and a time that you spend away from older siblings. But once you have established it, and you are comfortable, it doesn’t have to be. While I try to keep it a calm time where the baby can concentrate, I also like to include siblings and spend time with them. I do this by doing a puzzle, or play small games while breastfeeding.
What have you done to include a toddler, or older siblings, when you have had a new baby??
Until next time