Since the start of my pregnancy we have tried to include Ted on the journey as much as we can, in hope that he has some kind of understanding about what is happening. At only 18 months old it is hard to tell how much he is able to take in and process, but we have given it our best shot. He will understand soon enough when there is a small, noisy human attached to his mummy a lot of the time but I really hope it isn’t too traumatic for him when the time comes.
We decided for Ted’s birthday to buy him a doll to try to teach him to be gentle and wanted to make this toy ‘special’ compared to others that often get thrown or dropped during play. This was more difficult that we had thought, as one day to our horror we found baby face down behind the fire guard…. Ted was too young to comprehend but needless to say we will not be leaving him unattended with the baby at any point!
I also wanted him to get used to me holding a baby, so sometimes I would just sit on the sofa cradling the dolly. (You know, like a mad woman…) Often he would be intrigued and come and sit with me too. As he has got older he will say “ahhhh” and stroke the doll on the head. It is pretty sweet.
We also have been reading a booked called Waiting for Baby which has some lovely illustrations of a pregnant Mummy preparing for a new baby. Ted quite enjoys this story which is a series of questions – definitely aimed at an older child to help them start imagining life with a baby in the house.
We have lots of baby things set up around the house and we talk to Ted about what it is and who it is for. We have the newborn car seat already in the car and tell him it is for his baby Brother. We also have the crib set up in our bedroom and talk about how his new baby Brother will be sleeping in there when he comes. Again, who knows what he is taking in from these little exchanges, but I hope that by seeing the seat and the crib it is giving him some sense that something will be happening soon, something different.
He has come to most of my midwife appointments with me and seen that there is a reason for somebody to want to look at my belly. On the way there I explain we are going to see how his baby Brother is going. My favourite thing to do is just chat with him when we are cuddled up with my big bump in between us. I ask him “what’s in mummy’s tummy?” and he says “baby” or “brother” and gives it a rub.
How did you prepare your toddler or child for a new baby joining the family? I’d love to hear in the comments below! Xx