What's the best way to prepare a 3.5 yr old for being a big sister? (and for BFing the new baby)

Elizabeth - posted on 12/11/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I'm currently 35 weeks pregnant and looking for good ways to prepare my 3.5 yr old for the baby. I know how much of my time it took to BF my first, and I'm concerned that my daughter is going to have a rough go of it adjusting to me having to be mommy to 2 instead of just her. We of course have talked about the baby and about what it will be like when she's here, but I'm still not sure it's enough.



What have you all done to prepare an older sibling for a baby's arrival and BFing?

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Lori - posted on 12/11/2012

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Reading books about becoming a big sister was helpful for my daughter. Especially right after the new baby was born. And I was also quite worried about how much time I was going to be spending breastfeeding too, but it turns out multitasking worked out quite well for me. I could latch the baby on, and then read to my older one, or do a puzzle, or play a game. It wasn't till the baby got older and distractible when nursing that finding things for the older one to do during nursing sessions became a challenge. And I also did what Christine mentioned... talk to the older one about "her baby sister". It was always "your sister needs a fresh diaper now" or "your sister is hungry, she needs to eat". And letting the older one help as much as she can or wants to is really great. Set the rules early "we are very gentle with the baby", but then let the older one go get a fresh diaper out, or bring wipes to you, or get the baby a blanket, or a fresh burpy cloth. Any thing that they can do to help makes them feel important and involved. And then also, try to take some time each day for just you and your older child. It can be while the baby naps, or it can be when Dad is home and Daddy gets to play with the baby while you play with your 3 1/2 year old. Make a point of telling her this is our special time.

Amy - posted on 12/11/2012

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My son had just turned 4 when his sister was born. Leading up to her birth he went to every doctors appointment and my doctor made a point to let him help her. He also helped pick out the decor for the new babies room, and he is the one that ultimately chose the name. We included him before her birth and made sure to make a big deal out of being the big brother. When I breasfed I took the time to answer any questions he had and I made it time to snuggle with him, maybe reading a book, putting on his favorite show, or playing his favorite board game with him while the baby ate.

Christine - posted on 12/11/2012

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My lactation consultant told me to include the older sibling in nursing. For example if you have to nurse the new baby at a time when the older sibling would usually want your attention you can say "we have to feed the baby" instead of "I have to feed the baby". Sit next to each other on the couch and maybe have her hold a cup of water when you need a sip, feed you dry cheerios, help you burp the baby, or hold babys hand or pat their bottom while you are nursing - this way she feels just as involved and needed. It's also the two of you doing things together. My daughter is much younger so doesnt understand as much but I made a point to always call her little brother "your baby" and then "your little brother". I tried the whole helping out thing when it came to nursing the new baby but she seemed to interested in playing with her toys most of the time lol but at least I knew she wasn't wanting my attention and missing out on it at that moment. It is definitely HARD with two little one's, but also very cute to see their interactions.

Celeste - posted on 12/11/2012

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My daughter was 4 when her twin brothers were born. Before they were born,I did pretty much what you've been doing. We'd read books together, she went to the boys' sonogram appointments, we tried to involve her in as much as we could.



As much as we tried to prepare her, she still had a rough time (I'm sure because there were two of them). I don't think she understood the concept until they were here and she did need some time to adjust.



So, I'd keep on doing what you're doing. When your baby gets here, I'd try to involve her as much as you can but be aware that she might still have a rough time and it may take some time.

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