Now that you’re pregnant, all the attention has shifted to you. Some people may feel left behind. Your husband is probably one of these people. He feels the weight of the responsibility, but lost the attention he once received.
What about the rest of your children? They hear all the excitement about this new baby, and are no longer the center of attention. This can be frightening when you are little, or big! Bringing home a new baby is a joyful experience, but it has its challenges, particularly for siblings and even your pets. Young children may feel replaced by the new baby. Pets don’t understand who this tiny creature is that is getting all the attention. Here are some tips on how to create a welcoming environment for the new baby, while helping everybody adjust.
Your Significant Other:
Words do help a great deal, yet actions speak louder than words. Take extra time to show the people around you, your true love for them. Praise your husband daily for something he has done. Write him a note and place it somewhere where he can find it when he is alone. Tell him how extraordinary he is, and how he will remain important in your life. Once the baby comes home, try to arrange a romantic date at least once every two weeks. A nice walk or a candle lit dinner can make a huge difference in your relationship. Learn more about your relationship by reading this article.
Write a note to your children and tell them how special they are to you. If they cannot read yet, draw a picture on a piece of paper with a phrase like “You are special to me” and put it somewhere they can find it. We are all sticklers for something in writing.
If you are birthing at the hospital, bring your children to visit mommy and baby as soon as possible. This will make your child feel included, and not left out or abandoned with a babysitter or a relative.
Include your child in all baby-care activities. Teach your child to help change diapers, and let them help you bathe the baby. This will help to establish a connection between the two siblings.
Make sure you schedule exclusive mommy-time with your older children, so they feel you still have time for them. This is perhaps the most important action you can take to restore self-confidence and self-importance to your children.
Remember to tell your little one that the baby is speaking a different language; it will sound like baby is crying, but explain that baby is really talking. Toddlers especially interpret crying as distress by default, and they’ll experience distress when the baby cries. It helps when baby comes home and begins crying to play a voice-over/subtitle pretend interpretation of what baby is saying. Something like “Wehh wheee,” baby says, but what he really means is “I am hungry over here—where is my milk?” Make it fun so that your toddler can become the official baby interpreter so that the tension is dissipated and the baby does not seem so strange and foreign.
Allow your pet to familiarize itself with the baby’s scent before you bring the baby home; it will be less curious about the new creature. If your dog or cat comes over to you while you are holding the baby, pet them so they know not to feel jealous of the new baby. Pets are supersensitive and can feel withdrawn and jealous if you ignore them.
Don’t forget about yourself either! Spend quality time alone, soaking in a hot bath, reading your favorite book, or chatting with a friend … while someone else takes care of everything!