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Having a baby can be a stressful time, but having a baby with a child already at home can only add to those worries and stresses. As your due date gets closer, you might start to ask yourself, "what am I going to do!" Take a deep breath, you will survive, we promise. It is completely natural and normal as a mom to question if you are really ready for this. The birth of your unborn baby is not only going to change your life, but your child is going to have their world, the only one they have known, turned upside down. The key is to be prepared, and try and minimize the drastic change taking place.
Before the baby, make sure and talk with your child about having a new sibling and what that exactly means. Help them understand that there is going to be a baby coming and the baby is going to live at their house and be part of their family. Of course, depending on the age of your child will determine how much they can really understand. Having a stuffed animal or doll for them to play with is a great idea. By example they can see how you treat the doll, and with that, will start to imitate. Remember to include them in decisions, or planning for the baby, this will help them feel like they are important and not just pushed to the side. If you plan on moving your child out of a crib before the baby gets here, allow plenty of time for them to adjust to that change. Let them be a part of the setting up of their new bed, and the setting up of the crib for the baby. As your day gets closer you will be so excited to welcome your new little one to the family and your other little one will be sharing in your excitement to become a big brother/sister.
So now it's here, the day that you weren't sure you would survive or not-you are bringing baby home. We recommend having your older child already home when you get home. The transition will be much easier if they see you bring the baby home, rather than they come home to find you already there with a new little someone. Feeding may be the hardest time.
Trying to feed a newborn can be a lengthy process of which you don't need any interruptions. And your older child may feel that they need attention right at that moment also. To make this easier, prepare ahead of time some activities or T.V. time for your older child. Many moms said that a T.V. was definitely a friend those first few weeks. Having some little meals prepared for lunches will help you grab something quickly for your little one when they are hungry, sometimes we are so busy taking care of our newborn that we forget the other one eats too! One main challenge you may face is the emotions of dividing your time. Getting annoyed or frustrated with your older child when they act out is normal, even though you feel awful about it. Keep in mind that your older child is going to need a little extra attention. Let daddy have a special time where it is just the two of them and no interruptions. Of course, during this time you will be catching some much needed rest. You can take your turn too, and let daddy have some baby time.
As days go by and you have established a routine you can look back and say "wow, how did I do that?" Your new little one will fit perfectly into your family and soon your older child will be asking where his little sister or brother is, if they happen to not be in the same room. When you go out they will double check and make sure you are not leaving the baby behind. The bond you see growing between them will melt your heart, and maybe, just maybe, you'll think, I could probably do this again.
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