With Royal Baby number 2 on its way for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, leading parenting experts share their top tips for the Royal couple and you if you are about to become a family of 4.
Keep introductions short
Jo Tantum, baby sleep expert and author of Baby Secrets, says: “Both parents will be getting very excited about the new royal baby, but also anxious about how their new little one will impact on their family, especially on 21 month old toddler, Prince George. The new arrival can be unsettling for him and at 21 months he will be inquisitive and very curious about the noises and movements the new baby will make. Most toddlers find all the attention is on baby and not them, so this in itself can cause regression and tantrums.
“Give lots of praise to big brother and ask him to be gentle”
“My advice would be to keep introductions to the new baby short and sweet. Give lots of praise to big brother and ask him to be gentle. Then distract him with something else, otherwise you might find yourself being negative all the time as he tries to poke the new baby’s eyes and face when being inquisitive which is totally normal.
“When you have visitors ask them to speak to George first rather than go straight over to the baby.”
Geraldine Miskin, breastfeeding expert, says: “Usually breastfeeding is much easier the second time round as your body has been through it all before, so not only will you feel more comfortable handling your teeny bundle but you’ll also have more milk which is usually available sooner than with your first.
“Remember that breastfeeding for the second time needs to be efficient. Unless you have a very patient toddler, you’ll probably only have 30 minutes per feed during the day. Use breast massage or compression to keep your milk flowing and baby swallowing throughout the feed. The more your baby swallows, the shorter your feeds will be.
“You may find that you need to introduce expressing and bottle-feeding earlier with your second baby than you did with your first child. You may even decide to introduce formula to keep up with both of them. This is just the nature of being a mum of two.”
Create one-to-one time with the older sibling
Jo Tantum says: “It’s important to make an effort to still have one-to-one time with the older sibling without the baby. So, when the new baby is having a nap, dedicate play time to George; that way he won’t feel the need to start attention seeking behaviour which can turn into a temper tantrum.”
Zainab Jagot Ahmed, weaning expert and author of Easy Indian SuperMeals for Babies, Toddlers and the Family, says: “Get organised – cooking meals in advance and freezing them prior to birth will help ease the pressure of cooking meals in the first few weeks after baby is born.
“Try to maintain your toddler’s feeding routine. There have been major changes in the family dynamic, so trying to keep some familiarity in your toddler’s routine will be comforting.
“Try to ease your toddler’s feelings of insecurity by offering one-on-one time with him as often as possible”
“Your toddler may regress slightly and insist that mummy feed him after seeing his new sibling being fed by mummy – even if he was happily feeding himself before. Be prepared to cope with extra demands, and try to ease your toddler’s feelings of insecurity by offering one-on-one time with him as often as possible. You can also cook his favourite meals and give him lots of hugs and kisses as often as you can.”
Include your toddler as much as possible
Geraldine Miskin says: “The more secure your toddler feels, the less rivalry you can expect as your toddler won’t see the new baby as a threat. Giving your first child a sense of responsibility and ownership of his little brother or sister will quickly get him on board and creates the opportunity for you to make a fuss over him every time he helps.
“For example, ask him to fetch a nappy, wipes, find a dummy, find a soft toy for baby, sing baby a song or stroke baby’s feet.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Sarah Beeson MBE, baby expert and author of The New Arrival and Happy Baby, Happy Family, says: “Having two babies at different development stages is exhausting. It’s probably triple the work so preparation is key. Your physical and mental health is going to be stretched so it’s time to be honest and practical about the support you’re going to need, not just to meet your children’s needs but your own as well. Getting additional help either from friends or family or paying for a mother’s help or cleaner can take the pressure off and make a lot of sense.”
Tips courtesy of The Baby Show with Made for Mums, the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event, which will be returning to Birmingham NEC from 15th-17th May 2015.