When I was pregnant with Baby #2, my son was so excited he was going to be a big brother! We talked a lot about the “baby in mommy’s belly”, but he had no idea how much his little world was about to change. I am a worrier. A huge worrier. So I worried a lot about preparing him for the arrival of his younger sibling.
We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, so we started reading general books about mommies and babies. We started with mommy and baby animals. Then we moved onto classic books like, “The New Baby”, “Are you my Mother”, and “Big Brother”. He started asking a lot of questions. “When will the baby come out to play with me? What will the baby eat? Can the baby sleep in my room?” It was all very cute coming from a just turned 2 year old. Next, we started focusing on being gentle and how he could help take care of “his baby”.
We brought out my old cabbage patch doll, Baby Ace, for some practice. He carried him around and cradled him and
used his head as a hammer kissed the top of his head. And then we decided to focus on the meaning of the word “gentle”. I came across the best book while searching for a “gentle” book, and it turned out to be our favorite bedtime story for months and months.
It’s called One Special Day: A Story for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and I love it. It focuses on the big sibling, a little boy named Spencer. “He’s as strong as a bear, as funny as a monkey, and as wild as a tiger. But on one special day, everything changes. Now Spencer is strong, funny, wild, brave, free… and gentle, too.”
The story is a very sweet look at Spencer and his family as they change to welcome their new baby. The words are minimal and pointed, and the pictures lead to a lot of great conversation. My son loved acting out the animals and looking at the picture of Spencer with his baby at the end of the story. We were even able to practice “gentle” because he really loved to pretend he was strong, funny, wild, and then gentle with baby.
We did a few other things to help him get prepared too. We called the baby his baby, bought him a gift from his new sibling and had him pick out a gift for the baby, talked about what babies do and why they need momma, talked about what he did when he was a baby and what he can do now that he’s a big boy, tried to keep his schedule as normal as possible after his sister arrived, gave him lots of special time with mommy, daddy, and grandparents when they were in town, and gave him some special tasks to help. His favorite was taking the diapers to the pail with his dump truck!
I will never forget the moment we introduced him to his new baby sister. He looked around like he wasn’t quite sure what was going on and then kissed the top of her head. He named and pointed to her eyes, nose, mouth, and ears and kissed the top of her head again. A very sweet moment. I wish we would have gotten it on video!
I have a lot of friends who are pregnant with their second babies right now. Comment below if you have any tips and tricks for preparing baby #1 for baby #2!