The faint pink line begins to appear on the pregnancy test stick or shouts the word PREGNANT! You stare back at the pregnancy test, or take a few more tests to be sure (as I did) you may feel the excitement and possible apprehension begin to creep in. Never fear, let’s look at some ideas to help you be as prepared as you can, when you introduce your toddler to your new baby.
There are things that you can prepare for, such as how to approach this season of expectation for your family.
Try to be as transparent as possible with your toddler throughout the pregnancy. This may include asking your toddler if they would like to participate in any prenatal scans or heartbeat checks. There arewonderful books to read with your toddler to help answer those big questions and to follow the lead on topics as they arise. Some families might even plan for a home birth and have the toddler in the home visiting mum when she is feeling able to be in that space of inclusion during the birth.
Keep Your Toddler Involved
Involve your toddler in the setup of the baby room, and I would highly suggest a ‘family space’ in the living area where your toddler can select some favorite activities of theirs to go alongside the new baby materials. Creating a shared low shelving unit can be helpful during mealtime prep, where you can closely observe and give your children the time and space to connect.
A great buy is a topponcino, also known as a “Montessori pillow” or “security pillow”. It provides comfort, support and consistency for the infant. This can help the toddler and baby during their first meeting, especially if your toddler insists on holding their new sister or brother. It is also wonderful for visitors or anyone unsure of holding an infant, and allows your baby to be in a familiar space and atmosphere.
As you know, feeding takes up a large amount of your day. This is a time to plan for. My children used a ‘feeding suitcase’, which really helped. Choose any bag or small suitcase that your toddler can independently open, remember we are taking into consideration their need for independence and fine motor development. That is why we chose a suitcase with a clip, as most toddlers are yet to master a zip, especially on a bag. Inside the suitcase place a few activities that the toddler can do on their own. These should be unknown games or toys that can be rotated and changed to suit your toddler’s interest. Explain to your toddler that the ‘feeding suitcase’ is very special and only comes out at feeding times. This may be introduced when one parent has gone back to work, and you need to keep your toddler busy.
Author: Cindy Bray