7 Steps for Introducing the New Baby

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear SimplyCintia.com readers, I am taking a short Maternity Leave so I invited a few friends to write as guests. Please enjoy this Guest Post by Rachelle Wooten of RachelleWooten.com. Take care, Cintia.
7 Steps for Introducing the New Baby
As a mother of five, I have introduced a new baby to our family four times! I would like to think that I have learned lots about assimilating a new baby to the family but each time it has been interesting to see how the family dynamics change.  My son, the oldest, seemed to be okay when his first little sister arrived.  He enjoyed all the time he spent with his Grammy while Mom and Dad were at the hospital.  Still, he has faced disappointment each time he found out the new baby would be another sister.   During those times, we took every opportunity to remind him how things like that were out of our control and that God knows what’s best for us and He knows what we need.  I could tell it was something his young mind struggled to grasp.  On the other hand, his sisters responded quite differently when there was another younger sister.  It’s like they felt the need to protect their space and territory.  It was during these times when I knew there were things I could do as a mother to help make this welcoming party more pleasant and peaceful for all the older siblings.  This is my 7-step process for introducing a new baby to the siblings.
S – Show them they are important. When a new baby is in the house and all of mommy and daddy’s attention is on serving the needs of the baby, a big brother or sister can easily begin to feel slighted and not as important.  However, there are ways I helped to make them feel important.  Each of our kids have their own original song and when there is a new baby I made sure that I made them feel important by continuing to sing their songs to them and we would also dance to it and make sound effects.  They love this and we still sing each of their songs from time to time. 
I - Invite them to be “mommy’s big helper”.  If they are able, one way to help them not feel slighted or neglected is if they can still help mommy out around the house or with just getting mommy a diaper to change.  When we say thank you and let them know how much we appreciate their help we recognize them in a positive way.
B – Be patient with them.  Having a new sibling can be challenging, and in some ways we have to just let time do it’s perfect work while they adjust.  Instead of  becoming  frustrated or irritated with their behavior, be patient with them while they adapt to their new sibling.
L – Listen to them. Sometimes they may be a little bothered by this new little person in the house.  Rather than critique them or expect them to just deal with it, it’s best to hear them out.  I don’t mean you have to agree with all of what they may share but there is great affirmation in knowing someone is listening.
I – Include them in “baby time”.  Maybe when it’s time to sing patty-cake you do it as a group of three.  Maybe they help you sing some of the songs to help the baby go to sleep.    In my family we have a song for everything from brushing our teeth, getting out of the bathtub, and going to bed.  So since they all know the songs we would just sing them together with the new baby.  That’s another way to pass on family traditions.
N- Notice their new stages. Can you imagine how many times they have to hear, “The baby can_____ now!  Each time the baby smiles, gurgles, and rolls over it gets applause and lots of attention.  We must continue to notice their new stages in development- even if it is learning to touch their nose with their tongue.  (Sometimes, I think I’ve seen it all!)
G – Give them individual time. They will see all the time you spend with the new baby and may get jealous.  This can be avoided just by spending some quality time with them individually.  Maybe you all read a book together, play outside together, dance together, or prepare dinner together.  While the new baby is resting, you can spend time with the other siblings.
When the new baby rests, of course you too will need to rest.  And, when you are refreshed, these steps can be some great suggestions to help you, big brother or big sister, and new baby bond together and discover your new “normal”.
How do you introduce a new baby to his or her siblings in your family?  What are some ways you make time for each of your children individually?
Anonymous said...

These are fantastic suggestions! I think they're useful reminders for all moms - even if you don't have an infant.

Rachelle Wooten said...

That's a great way of looking at it Lauren: a way to make all siblings feel uniquely loved and valued- infant or not. With my five it's not always easy but it always seems like we give it when they need it most. ;)