Toddlers: 24 Months+

Getting toddler ready for baby number 2

I am 33 weeks pregnant with our second daughter.  Our daughter is 2 1/2 and very clingy with mommy.  She understands there is a baby in mommies tummy and that it's her baby sister.  My question is, since she is so clingy with me, how do I prepare her for the fact that mommy will have to spend a lot of time with her baby sister.  A side note, I don't have anyone I can rely on to watch her for me.  My husband works 12 hr days, 6-7 days a week.  I have a 16 year old step daughter, but we want her to focus on school.  Thanks for the advice in advance.

Re: Getting toddler ready for baby number 2

  • My son is the same and I'm about 15 weeks along with #2.  DS is clingy to me when he doesn't have something to do, I am his boredom fix I suppose. DS loves to help me out, so I plan to get him to help me with the baby and just in general with doing things around the house that he is able to do, like tidy up, feed the dogs, pick up laundry and put it in the baskets.  I think this will also help build his independence. 
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  • I showed my DD#1 lots of pictures of when she was a baby. Pointing out how all she did was sleep, eat and be held by mommy.  

    Now I find including her in taking care of our baby keeps her jealousy at bay. 
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  • As a mother of 5, I've had to prepare my kids for their new sibling many times. I've found that the a great way is to talk to the child about how mommy and daddy won't love you less and how exciting it will to be a big brother or sister. Then, buy small presents for all the kids but don't give them to them until the new baby comes home from the hospital then give the gift to the child and tell them it is from their new baby sister/brother. Works every time!
  • Take this advice for what it is since I am in the thick of this with a 27 month old and a 1 month old. Have some special activities that you can do with DD while you nurse the baby (we have sticker books that we do together). I rely on my Moby wrap a lot so that I can play with DS1 since DS2 refuses to be put down. Be prepared for some regression from your DD. we've definitely seen it. Try to involve DD in helping you...I have him help pick out clothes for the baby and other tasks. I also try to emphasize all the fun things he can do that baby can't.

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  • We read books, particularly ones that had mommy BFing.  We watched home movies of when DD was a baby (I picked the earlier ones because I wanted her to realize baby doesn't do much in the beginning).

    When we were in the hospital my mother took DD to Build a Bear so she could make a bear for her brother, so when we got home she had something to give him and we also had a gift for her from DS.  

    Before DS came I started making sure I read books to her without her being in my lap, rather she always sat next to me.  That way when DS was born I could nurse him while she sat next to me.  We would read, do puzzles, color or play with Play-doh all while I fed DS.  I also had stashed away mess-free paints so if we were really having a bad day I could pull those out as like a special treat.

    I tried to follow her lead, there were times she was proud to be the big kid and during those times I encouraged her to be my helper, pick out a diaper, sing to DS, pick out his clothes, help with the bath, etc.  There were other times when she wanted to be the baby and that was fine too, I would gush over her, rock her, dangle little toys over her and call her my baby.

    She also had her own baby doll that she liked to feed and change her diaper.

    We talked a lot about taking turns.  Just because baby demands so much of mama's time that doesn't mean their needs always come first.  There were times when DD needed help with something and DS would be crying.  I would always say out loud so DD hear me, "We all have to take turns waiting, it's your turn to wait DS."  The flip side to this is, when you can't get away you say it's DD's turn to wait.

    I know your SO works a lot so this might be harder for you, but I used to do something special with DD once a week, we might go for a walk, go to the coffee shop and she could pick out a treat, bake muffins together, etc.  That seemed to help immensely!  Plus no matter what I always spend one-on-one time with DD before her nap.  DS would go into the swing and we would read a book before her nap.  I wanted to make sure she could always count on having me to herself if only for 10 minutes or so.

    When times got tough I always reminded myself that I was giving DD the best gift we could give her.   You will do great mama!  
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