Ready or not, there will be a new tiny human joining our family — and SOON! This pregnancy has gone by quickly, and it’s hard to believe that we’re well into the third trimester and that this baby boy’s arrival is right around the corner (he’s due on Valentine’s Day).
Although time is flying by, I’ve tried to be intentional about savoring this special time with Maggie. After all, these are the final weeks of her being our only child. The dynamic and routine we’re all very comfortable with is about to be disrupted in a big way.
We’ve been talking tons about what being a big sister will be like, and all the ways Maggie can be helpful once the baby arrives. We remind her that she’s going to be able to do SO much more than her baby brother for a while, which is pretty cool. She’s the BIG sister, after all! We read lots of books about the transition from only child to big sibling, and she asks great questions. (One of our favorites is a book called Babies Don’t Eat Pizza, which is impressively comprehensive and covers everything from what’s going on in utero to the basics of birth to how a baby might look when it’s born to what they can do once they come home — and more.)
We met with our doula (who’s also a mother of four) last night to chat about all things pregnancy and birth, and she had a fun suggestion to share: While we’re at the hospital during the baby’s birth, Maggie will be with my mother- and father-in-law, and our doula recommended they bake a cake or cupcakes with Maggie to help the baby celebrate his birthday. I know Maggie will love that idea!
I’ve also heard the suggestion that getting a gift from the baby to give to Maggie can be helpful with the transition, so we may give that a try as well.
More than anything, we’re trying to take all transitions slowly and are working to be thoughtful as we talk with Maggie about the many upcoming changes for her and for our family. We want to foster her excitement certainly, but also want to be realistic with her that some parts of having a baby in the house or being a big sibling aren’t always fun or easy. Maggie tends to do well when she’s given as much information as possible about an upcoming situation, so we’re leaning into that.
She’s typically a flexible kid, but with some things related to the baby she’s been unusually resistant to change. For example, we’ll be moving her into a new bedroom very soon and making her room the baby’s nursery (it’s closer to ours and makes more sense to use as the nursery), and she is NOT happy about the move. We’re trying to make it as enticing as possible, reminding her that she’ll get a big bed (we’re moving her into a queen), she’ll get to help choose new art for her walls, etc., but none of those things seem to help her feel more comfortable with the change.
And I get it. This is the first of many changes she’s going to experience very soon. As an older sibling myself, I know that transition can be a tricky one, and that we also expect lots of these little humans during the process.
If you’re the parent of more than one kiddo, I’d love to know any advice you have for this phase. What did you do in the weeks leading up to Baby #2’s birth that worked well for your older child? Is there anything you did right after the baby was born that helped with the transition? Any and all tips are very welcome!!!