Area Partner Fort Jackson, Shaw AFB, and McEntire Joint National Guard Base, SC
Bringing home a new baby is a very exciting time for any family. Introducing a new baby when there is a sibling or siblings can elevate the positive feelings but also the stressful feelings during this time. Being prepared and having a game plan can help alleviate some of the feelings of nervousness, stress, or anxiety during this transition.
As a parent of 5 kiddos ages 15, 10, 9, 7, and 4, I have had lots of different experiences when it comes to bringing a new baby home! The experience that you may encounter when adding a new addition can be impacted by a lot of different factors such as:
- Ages of the child(ren) at home already
- Special needs or health conditions of the new addition or family members at home
- Number of kiddos coming home or already at home
- Amount of support and resources available
Here are some tips about some of the ways we can ease the transition for the kiddo(s) already at home:
- Prepare them!
- Read age-appropriate books to help them understand what to expect.
- Watch age-appropriate movies and TV shows.
- Set aside times to have discussions and answer any questions they may have.
- Have a special gift or toy planned to give them when the baby comes to make it a special time for them (a new toy can also help keep them occupied! I may or may not have bought a trampoline for my kids after baby #5).
- Include them once the baby is home!
- Make an age-appropriate list of tasks they can do if they want to help. For little kids this may be simple things like getting a burp cloth or getting a snack for you and them to share. For older kids this may be helping out with extra chores like dishes and feeding/walking animals.
- Have time set aside to spend alone with each child daily. This can be as little as 5 minutes while you brush their hair or tuck them into bed.
- If you are doing any bottle feeding you can teach them paced bottle feeding and let them help feed the baby.
**Pro Tip- Did you know cuddling or hugging with your kiddos (no matter the age) can increase your levels of oxytocin (aka the love hormone)? This hormone also can help with breastmilk production!!
Here are some other tips for bringing home a new addition when siblings are involved:
- Hire a postpartum doula to help out either around the house or with the baby while you spend time with other kid(s), get tasks done, or even so you can shower!
- Make a list of tasks that need to be completed in case any visitors or support people want to help. This way they can just start checking stuff off the list. This list can be a running list that you add to any time you think of something before you forget (gotta love new parent brain)
- Have a breast pump and supplies on hand in case you decide you want to pump or end up needing to pump (check with your insurance, they usually cover these!)
Now do you want to know the #1 Tip? GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACE!!!
The house doesn’t have to be pristine or anywhere close to it. You don’t have to look like a runway model. Your to do list doesn’t have to be done…. I promise it will all be okay. You may hit some hard patches, but I promise that phrase “This too shall pass” is spot on! Focus on the good times and try to move past the rough ones. You’ve got this!!