It’s always going to be a shock when a new baby arrives and starts taking up your love and attention, but the process will be easier on you and your first born if you’ve prepared
Your toddler might be unfazed by your growing tummy, but by the time it turns into an attention-grabbing baby, you may find it’ll be a different story.
But he’ll find the transition easier if you’ve prepared him for what’s going to happen, so try the following during your second pregnancy.
Try to call the baby “our baby” so that your toddler feels involved.
‘Talk about how your toddler can help you with special jobs caring for ‘our’ baby, such as fetching nappies and telling you when the baby cries,’ says Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of ‘ToddlerCalm: A Guide for Calmer Toddlers and Happier Parents (Piatkus; £13.99).
Involve your toddler
Obviously he can’t be there for every check-up, but if you can arrange for one midwife appointment when he can hear the sound of the baby’s heartbeat and listen to the midwife, it will help him understand what’s going on.
Avoid major changes
Considering potty training, changing nurseries or moving your toddler to a big bed?
Keep the first six months as normal and predictable as possible
Don’t do it immediately before or just after your baby’s arrival – it will add to the sense that his world has been turned upside down. ‘Aim to keep the first six months after the arrival of the new baby as normal and predictable as possible’ says Sarah.
Read books together
There are some great picture books that can help your toddler understand what’s happening, such as There’s A House Inside My Mummy by Giles Andreae (Orchard Books; £5.99) and Hello Baby! by Jenni Overend (Frances Lincoln; £6.99).
Put aside feeding toys
Make a special selection of toys that only come out when you’re feeding the baby. This should help your toddler deal with the endless feeds that take place with a newborn.
Take a shopping trip
Plan a special shopping day when your toddler can choose a new gift for his sibling, meanwhile you can buy something for your toddler, which can be a special present for becoming an older brother.
Make time for your toddler
Once your baby arrives, make sure you spend 15 minutes, baby-free, with your toddler every day.
‘Your toddler should decide what you should do,’ says Sarah. ‘It could be cuddling, talking or playing, but by let them direct this special time.’