The growing family: Preparing for your birth experience
If you’re expecting your second or later child you might wonder how you can help your new baby’s older siblings adjust to your growing family. The birthing experience can and often does involve the entire family not just the mother and father. At Reid Health’s Family Birthing Center our team is focused on the well-being and experience of not only mom and baby but dad and other siblings too.
Preparing your children for their new sibling
- Reassurance that you love them – Remind them that you have enough love for both of them.
- Let them discuss their feelings – Children may feel left out. Since babies can’t wait to have their needs met the older child may have to wait. Wallace suggested phrases like “I need attention” or “I feel left out” for your child to use. Tell them that you’ll provide extra attention to help them feel better when they say this.
- Get them involved – Help your child learn what the care of a baby involves and find ways to involve your older child. Can they hand you a diaper? Sit next to you and draw while the baby is eating?
Children and the birthing experience
Deciding whether your older child or children will attend your birth is a personal choice. Many people have strong feelings one way or the other about it.
Babycenter recommended that if your child will attend the birth they have an adult caregiver who’s dedicated to only caring for them. Prepare by watching videos of births together allowing them to attend prenatal appointments and talking together about what the birth might be like. If your birth center has a family room adjacent to where you’ll be laboring your child and their caregiver might hang there during labor.
Adjusting as a growing family after the birth
Once your new baby is here it’s important that your older child or children have plenty of your attention and time even though the demands of an infant are intense. Ask Dr. Sears advocated using a baby sling so your hands are free to play with your other child and when feeding baby sit on the floor so your toddler can see you’re available to them.
Encourage the older child to play with the baby as the baby gets a little older advised Dr. Sears. Giving them jobs to help like bringing the clothes or toys you need can help them feel important. Again it’s key to allow your child to express their feelings even the negative ones. Find a way to have special one-on-one time with your older child as much as possible.
With a little extra care and support adjusting to a new baby in a growing family can be a positive healthy experience for all of you. The Reid Health Family Birthing Center is right beside you to help.
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