We all know that with children, especially under 5, a few months can make a huge difference in their development. The difference between a 6 month old and 12 month old is huge! The same for an 18 month or a 23 month old. These 30 day monthly increments really matter.
My children are 22 months apart. So my daughter wasn't even 2 when my son was born. But, as they get older, they are simply '2 years apart'. They will be 2 years apart in school. They will be 10 and 12. But, at 0 and 22 months they might as well have been twins. Haha. But seriously, my daughter was still a baby herself when she became a big sister.
I have a few mamas in my life that recently, or are about to, have become a mama of two.
Here are my words of wisdom.... especially for those with less than 2 years between children, but many things can apply to a larger age difference.
1. Your first born is still little. I found it was helpful not to push the 'big girl' thing on my daughter. I had two babies! Baby girl and baby boy. If you have two of the same gender, it can be baby X and baby Y. My baby girl did some things, and my baby boy did other things. I literally wanted to choke people who would say to my daughter, 'oh, Mommy had a baby, now you are the big girl.' Um, no. No she's not. When she is ready, sure. But I didn't push that on her and I really disliked and discouraged people from saying that to her.
2. I never pushed my daughter to be my helper. If I needed a burp cloth, I got up and got one. If I needed a diaper, I got up and got one. Adults telling my daughter, 'Mommy had a baby, you need to be her helper!' made me cringe. MOMMY had the baby, not her. It is not up to her to all of a sudden help me in caring for a newborn. Did she want to help sometimes? Yes. And of course I let her be involved when she wanted, but I never expected her to be my live in nanny.
3. Someone gave me this advice, and I love to pass it on. If both children are crying, go to the older one first. The older one will 'remember' that you ignored them to tend to the baby. Comfort the older one first and let the little one cry a bit. It will be ok. Repeat that to yourself, it will be ok.
4. A big thing that was very important to me was that I didn't push my daughter to give up things. She was still happily sleeping (12+ hours) in her crib. Why take that away? We got a mini crib for my son, or you can get a bassinet, or a co-sleeper, or maybe even a second full size crib if you have the room. When she was ready for a toddler bed, we moved her into that and moved my son into the full size crib. It worked wonderfully for us that she never felt she was being pushed out - and in fact, felt like the 'big girl' that was giving her brother something vs. something being taken from her to be given to him.
5. Speaking of gear, do you remember how much gear a newborn can have? Swings. Bouncy seats. Vibrating seats. Pack n plays. Floor mats. It can be endless. I set all of these things up about a month before I was due, this way my daughter could get used to all of this 'stuff' all over the house, and, in our case, sit in it, play with it, enjoy it - before it had an occupant.
Keep in mind their home is about to change, so, introducing some things in advance can lessen the blow. As tricky as it can be, go easy on yourself. Did my daughter miss some park time while I was busy dealing with newborn 'stuff'? Sure. But, eventually we got our act together and we headed out everyday. My son happily slept in the stroller while my daughter ran around the playground. It worked. Regardless of a few blips in the road, her life slowly went to her new normal. Not the same as it was before, but, not drastically different. And when she was ready to declare herself a 'big girl' we all welcomed her into that phase of her life.
Post by Erica Young
Original post 12/14