I’ve always known that I’ve wanted at least 3 kids, but after the birth of my first son Jace I wasn’t so sure. He was born prematurely at 35 weeks weighing 5 lbs and with a life threatening birth defect called Tracheosophageal Fistula/ Esophageal Atresia (esophagus not connected to his stomach). It was a very traumatic birth after almost losing him during the birth and then shortly after he was life flighted to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. He ended up having surgery and we stayed in the Ronald McDonald House for a little over a month. His first year was filled with a lot of doctor visits, specialists, some scares, and a repair surgery shortly before his 1st birthday.
It was one of the happiest and scariest times of my life being a first time mother, meeting my son, and not knowing if you were ever going to take him home.We are blessed to say that he is now a happy and healthy 2 year old but it was a long road to get there. After his 2nd surgery we decided to try for another child. Jace was healthy and I knew he would love another baby around for him to play with, although I was scared to get pregnant again it was so worth it! Giving your child a brother or sister is truly the greatest gift you can ever give them!
As you can see he has grown into such a great big brother, it absolutely melts my heart seeing these two together. I was nervous at how Jace would adjust at first after being the only child because he was a huge mamma’s boy but it was so much easier than I thought. I think every mother expecting another child is nervous at first because that child will no longer be your one and only, so spending that 9 months preparing your only child for his/her new sibling and spending some quality one on one time together is essential.
Tips For Introducing A New Baby
I’ve included some things that I felt helped our family transition into a family of 3!
1. Shop for the big brother/sister attire – When we first found out we were expecting I wanted to get Jace excited and announce it to him with a little gift. He still wears his Big Brother shirt with pride and has about 5 other ones now!
2. Family Trip/Vacation – I am so glad that we chose to go on a family vacation before Aria arrived. Even if you can’t make time for a vacation a little weekend trip would be perfect. Because once the baby is here it’s going to make traveling a little harder with a newborn and a toddler along.
3. Big sister/brother basket – This was a great idea for at the hospital when you first introduce the big brother/sister to their new sibling. Because the new baby will be getting all the attention, it will make the older sibling feel special and part of the celebration when you hand them their big sister/brother basket. Here’s a quick link on a tutorial for putting one together. We filled ours with books, new big brother shirt, crayons, and things to keep him busy while we spent time at the hospital. Another idea is a little disposable camera to help take pictures with the family!
4. Big brother/sister duties – The first week we brought Aria home I liked to have Jace help as much as possible and of course every time he did he was always so proud of himself. So he always had little ‘duties’ to help around the house with her. For instance if we were feeding sometimes he would hold the bottle, for diaper changes he was always standing next to me with a diaper, and when we do tummy time he always gets right on the floor next to her and helps with play time :]
5. Take a class – A lot of hospitals offer classes for families called sibling classes to help the soon to be big brother or sister with the new baby. The classes usually have videos,crafts, and tours of the nurseries. It’s a great way to show them how important they are to the growing family.
6. Nursery Craft – Have them create something new for the nursery like some kind of artwork. For Aria’s nursery we have Jace decorating a picture frame that will hold a picture of Aria and him together.
7. Sibling Celebration – And if you want to go all out another great idea is to throw your little one a party before the baby comes to celebrate their new promotion! I wish I would have seen this idea before I had Aria because I would have done it. You can find more information here. Project Nursery