Dealing with the toddler
If you're pregnant and already have a toddler, you're probably thinking about how your child will react to the new baby, as well as how to deal with yet another small creature to care for.
Try not to worry too much! Always remember that this time you are already an expert in terms of the baby's needs.
When should we tell our child that they will soon have a sibling?
Tell him in a few words and not too early - a period of seven or eight months is light years away for a toddler of about 20 months. On the other hand, toddlers are astonishingly astute - their growing belly circumference will not remain hidden from their watchful eye, and that would be the appropriate moment to tell it.
Explain to him that a new baby is growing up in your abdomen - have your child stroke your stomach and say hello to the baby if he so wishes. Maybe she wants to come to a check-up and hear the baby's heartbeat.
Often tell your child that your new baby is about to be born soon, but do not overdo it with too much detail. So far, your child has only a faint inkling of what's in store for him, because no small child can not imagine how a baby will change his life until the baby is actually there - and even then he slowly becomes aware of it.
Maybe your child also wants to know how the baby got into the stomach. Do not start with strange stories of bees and flowers, but explain the facts in child-friendly words. For siblings under the age of three, a statement such as "If a man and a woman love each other, sometimes they can get a baby." If your child wants to know more, it will ask.
Older children over the age of three can already understand more of what's going on in your stomach. You can borrow picture books that explain the origin of human life, for example "Who lives in Mama's stomach?" By Lars Daneskov (Klett Kinderbuch Verlag).
What else can we do to prepare for it?
One of the most important things you can do now is enjoy the time you only have your toddler. Because your two lives will change, especially in the first time after the birth of the second child, and therefore you should make the most of your togetherness.
For a toddler, it's hard to understand what a new baby means. A good way to prepare for the next is to take a look at his own baby photos and talk about how it was when it was born and when it was very small. Explain to him that this will be so similar to the new baby that it will grow bigger and then learn many things - just like your toddler herself.
Do not tell your child that the baby will be "his friend" because that will not happen in the first year. From a toddler's perspective, the newcomer is more of a rival than an ally. Read our article Sibling Rivalry.
Read children's books about "siblings" that address both the sun and the dark side (such as jealousy) of this great change - for example, "The baby is there. What now? "By Catherine Leblanc (Minedition) and" Ein Geschwisterchen für Pauli "by Brigitte Weninger (Nordsüd Verlag).
How should we behave during the term of the delivery?
If you are planning a home birth, let alone if you want to give birth in the hospital, then it makes sense to put together a list of family members and friends to take care of your toddler as you give birth to your baby. Make a list of their mobile phone numbers, which you always carry with you, so that you can inform them as soon as possible, if you need them.
Carefully teach each person how much they are allowed to tell their toddler about the birth and the new baby. Because if you or your partner want to be the first to tell your child about the sibling, then the grandma or grandpa should not push forward.
The first meeting is often overvalued in importance. Be sure to pay a lot of attention to your toddler when she sees the baby for the first time! Take your "big" kid in your arms and cuddle with him. Carefully hold the child in his arms if he wishes. Show your joy about having both children together.
Your toddler and you are certainly saddened about your separation from each other when you are in the hospital for a few days, e.g. at a cesarean section. It is certainly easier for you both to cope if your partner takes care of your toddler during this time. Many fathers report that they have built a close bond with their toddler just at this time.
How will the first weeks go?
It will get hard sometimes, but nothing is impossible! Here are our most important tips on how to get along.
- Prepare as much as possible in advance, especially if you have little or no help in the postpartum period. Pre-cook, freeze meals while you're still pregnant. Then you have a supply of nutritious meals for the first days after birth.
- Do not be too proud to accept offered help, and do not hesitate to ask friends to do important things!
- Remember: The first few weeks are called WeekBED! You should really rest a lot, allow only a little visit and appointments and as little stress as possible.
- Lower your expectations regarding the state of your home in the first few weeks. You have quite different things to do now, and it does not really matter if dust has been wiped or your clothes are ironed.
- At least try a small daily walk as soon as you feel like it. It's amazing what boost you get when you go out the door.
- From the beginning, make your toddler aware that the baby is interested, watching and loving the baby. Say things like "Look, it's watching you play" and "It wants to know what you're doing".
- Involve your toddler from the beginning in games with the baby and do not forget to mention how much you appreciate his help and support while bathing.