After waiting for nine long months, the latest addition to our family is finally here. I know I keep saying this in my blogs, but our little family is so happy to have Kai with us.
In the past few months, we’ve done quite a bit to prepare our lives for Kai. Any pair of expecting parents will know what this entails: baby clothes, baby furniture, baby bottles, schedule adjustments, and more. It means a lot of new changes. For Chard and I, this baby is our second, so we pretty much know the basics of what to expect in the first few months of Kai’s life. But it’s a whole different story with Zion.
Zion was our only child for four years. Even if he has a lot of playmates and cousins, he always had 100% of mom and dad’s time, love, and attention. Now, he’s not going to be the only one anymore. While I’m thankful that he’s very excited at the thought of having a little brother, many moms would know that it’s not always easy for a firstborn to accept having a sibling.
Sometimes, your firstborn can be so excited in the beginning but can be very jealous in the first few weeks when your attention is focused on the newborn. They alternate between excitement and jealousy depending on the situation. It’s all completely normal. However, there are some things that you can do so that your first child is somewhat prepared for his sibling. Here are some tips on how to prepare your firstborn for a sibling.
Spend time with him before the baby comes.
Yes, you’re going to be really busy making preparations for caring for an infant again. But this may cause your firstborn to feel a little neglected. This is why I made it a point to have some alone time with Zion. In fact, we took a short trip to Hong Kong a couple of months ago that was a lot of fun. We made good memories while we were there. Make sure that dad also spends a good amount of time with him as well! Once the baby arrives and you are incredibly busy caring for a newborn, it would be good if your firstborn knows he can get some attention from dad if mom has her hands full.
Manage your time once the new baby is home.
This is why it’s really important for your firstborn to get used to spending time with dad, as well. I’ve been quite sleepless breastfeeding and tending to Kai these past few weeks, so Richard has been spending more time with Zion. They mostly do errands together so that Zion feels included. But, I still do my best to spend time with him by reading books to Zion when Kai is asleep, or give him his nightly showers. It’s hard to split time between a precocious toddler and a newborn, but having a partner who helps out makes it a lot easier.
Let other family members know to give him attention.
In the first few weeks after giving birth, relatives and friends will be coming over to visit the baby. This can be overwhelming and cause your firstborn to be jealous. Ask your friends and relatives early on to also give attention to your firstborn. Try to avoid them asking things like “how is it being a big brother?” because depending on the day, it can get really old really fast. Instead, have them spend time playing or telling stories. In fact, if your friends and relatives come over with gifts for the baby, maybe including a small toy or token for your firstborn would keep him in good spirits. It helps a lot that Chard’s parents and my parents come over almost every day to keep Zion entertained.
Allow some time for your firstborn to adjust to new routines.
Having a new baby means a lot of change! Try to space changes at home or in your routines so that your firstborn has time to adjust. Moving him from a toddler bed to a big boy bed should be done so that he doesn’t think he’s being forcibly removed just to make room for the baby. If there are certain things that you can’t do with him anymore because you are physically unable to, for example reading bedtime stories or waking him up in the mornings, then think of an alternate solution and introduce it as early as possible. Kids need time to get used to things, but they will get there. Don’t worry!
It’s a whole different experience helping Zion adjust even more since Kai is here! But in making all these early preparations, the goal of it all is to help him realize that mom and dad may be having another baby, but our love for him is still very much the same. Really, it’s the little things that count so that Zion does not feel left out.
I’m sure many of us had experienced adjusting to a sibling when we were growing up. How did your parents help you deal with it? If you have more than one child, do you have any tips on how to prepare your firstborn for a sibling? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I hope I will have more to share as we’re a legit family of four!