One of the questions I am constantly asked since giving birth is “what’s it like transitioning from one to two children”.
I always wanted to have my children close in age as I loved the idea of my first born having a ready made best friend to experience life with and share memories. So when I fell pregnant with my second it was no surprise. I had it all planned out in my head and imagined exactly how it would be. However when I fell pregnant reality hit me like a ton of bricks and I began to consider things that didn’t even cross my mind before conceiving. My first emotion was “Mum Guilt” how could I do this to my first born, he will feel like I’m replacing him! That alone made me teary and over emotional in the first trimester of pregnancy. The second emotion was how could I possibly bond and love this child as much as I do my first born. What was supposed to be a happy and exciting time turned into a period of worry and apprehension.
The general consensus between both hubby and I was, “have we made the right decision”. However as time passed and I progressed through my pregnancy I began to overcome the reality that I would be a mother of two and responsible for two little humans (FOREVER).
One thing I remember vividly is kissing my first born son good bye knowing that the next time I saw him he would no longer be an only child and our world would change forever.
Because I was so conscious about the If, buts and maybes of having baby number two, I honestly did everything in my power to ensure that my first son was involved in the process to eliminate any sense of jealousy or isolation. I would love to share a list of tips that I used with my first born to help him with the transition into a big brother. And I can honestly say that these tips worked, my first born is an absolutely AMAZING big brother.
I took my son to every single ultrasound, the reason for this was that I spoke to him so much about the baby that was in my tummy, I wanted him to be able to see his unborn brother which prepared him that this was real. He loved the ultrasounds, he would help the sonogramer pick the out the different body parts. I think at this point he was aware that something was happening but he wasn’t exactly sure when it would happen. That being said he loved coming with me to the ultra sounds and kept all the pictures in his room.
Speak to your child’s school or nursery
I have a brilliant relationship with my sons nursery nurse. So when I found out I was pregnant I sat down with her and expressed my anxieties of having a newborn and how it may make him feel. She then put a plan together and did sessions with him to help him to prepare to be a big brother, this included drawing pictures, speaking about his role as a big brother, and giving him different activities and scenarios to help him prepare. I can not thank the nursery enough, as they were able to pick up where I left off, ensuring that there was consistency.
After a few months of talking to him about being a big brother, I ordered him a personalised book. The book was great as we were able to personalise names and ages. The personalised book was a child friendly guide to becoming a big brother. I really feel that it empowered him and gave him a sense of belonging. He loved the fact that it had his name in there. His reply to the book was “when my baby brother is born I’m going to teach him everything”.
Gift from his baby brother
As Christmas was approaching, I thought it would be a great idea to incorporate a gift from his baby brother. So on Christmas Eve I wrapped up the toy that was number one on his wish list with a label on it that read. “To the best big brother in the world, love from you baby bro”. Every single time he plays with the toy he remembers that he is the best big brother and that his baby brother brought it for him.
“Best Big bro” T-shirt
I bought my son a best big brother t-shirt, there are are so many cute ones to choose from, you can even have them personalised. I did this to make him feel special and to remind him that he had a big role to play as a big brother. He was so happy with his t-shirt and couldn’t wait to show all his friends at nursery.
My sons father and I would draw pictures with him but also include his brother in the pictures. The pictures we tended to focus on were ones where we were in the house together to prepare him that the baby would be living with us. Eventually my son started to draw pictures of them both lying on the bed together and playing together. It actually got to the point where he was drawing around 5 pictures a day. When we got to around the 50th picture I started throwing them away hoping that he didn’t ask for them all back one day LOL.
Talking and Role-play
Incorporating his brother into our family life. “When your big brother comes you can teach him this.” Using his baby brother as a character during imaginative play really helped him to visualise how the family dynamics would change when the new baby came.
I hope you’ve found this guide as helpful as we have.