“I’m expecting my second child in May and my first will be about 20 months when the baby is born. I’m looking for creative ideas to celebrate him being a big brother to minimize the jealousy he will feel over the new baby. Thank you, I’m really looking forward to the feedback since my son is so used to getting all my attention since we are together 24/7, and also my husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan so he won’t have daddy to keep him busy when the new baby comes. It’s going to be interesting getting him to adjust.”
I received this thoughtful email from Michelle M. Although her situation is more challenging than many of us experienced with the birth of our second child , her concerns are universal.
Welcoming our First Born into Sibling-hood. Please join in and share your experiences and helpful suggestions.
I think you have taken the first important step, which is realizing that the excitement we as parents and grandparents feel over the birth of a second child is not exactly the same emotions that the big brother might experience. This kind of sensitivity , in the midst of all that you are carrying (literally) is a profound realization that will lead you to support your little boy in so many wonderful ways. So Congratulations !
As a mother of three I got to celebrate “big brother and big sister” twice. Here are some of the ideas that helped me (not in any specific order). There were four years between my first and second child, so there were some things that I could do with a four year old that isn’t possible with a 20 month old — so I don’t include those.
1) Grandparents can be a great help here. Mine were very careful to embrace the big brother and give him lots of attention instead of just running to gush over our newborn little girl.
2) We made a special little baby shower for the big brother / big sister . Kind of like the baby shower Mom would get only much simpler, with a few special games and of course a few presents for the them (don’t go overboard on the presents).
3) After baby was born, we made sure there was a simple activity that he could do for the baby. It could be handing you a diaper or holding baby’s hand , etc.
4) Try to make going to bed for the big brother a little more special. If you don’t already sing them a song or recite some favorite nursery rhymes or say a prayer together, then you can add one or all of these to your nightly routine.
5) If there are any changes you need to make , such as where the big brother will be sleeping, do it before the baby is born. But if possible, keep changes to a minimum.
And of course, Patience and Understanding go a long way to helping big brother adjust to the big changes.
Good luck and let me know how it goes for you.