Preparing for a new arrival from the beginning of your pregnancy is the best way to familiarize your children with the lifestyle changes a new baby brings. Involving young children as your body grows and changes will build the anticipation of meeting the newborn.
How you involve your children will depend on their age. Here are some ideas to help your family prepare for a new baby:
Explain how babies are made and grow inside their mothers. There are several great books out that will help even little ones understand. Your toddler will wonder about things like where the baby is and if the baby can hear and see him. We think you'll like these picture books for new big brothers and sisters:
Mommy's Having A Baby by Camille Liscinsky
On The Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier
Being Born by Sheila Kitzinger
Show your child pictures of himself when he was a newborn. Take him with you on prenatal visits and to visit the hospital or birthing center. Explain what the ultrasound is and point out the baby and how he moves. Let him listen to the baby's heartbeats and then have him listen to his own.
Explain how small and delicate a newborn baby is. Many moms have found that giving a lifelike doll like the Chou Chou baby to their child helps them practice holding and caring for the new arrival. Our favorite Chou Chou is 19 inches with a weighted body - the size of a real baby and her eyes close when she's laid down to sleep.
Be ready to answer questions that are likely to be asked by new big sisters and brothers, like "Why does the baby cry so much", "Why do babies sleep all of the time", "When can we play together" and "Am I still your baby". Your child is looking for reassurance that that the new baby you've talked so much about will not take his place.
Have your child help prepare for the new baby. You'll be busy painting the nursery, picking out bedding or layette items and it's the perfect time to ask your little one to help. Whether it's folding clothes, selecting a paint color or arranging stuffed animals, little things like this will go far in making your child a part of the excitement.
Understand why your child may be jealous. Not only will the immediate family be captivated by the baby, but even casual friends and strangers will be fascinated and make a fuss. Listen to him when he feels sad or says he wants to be a baby again. It's his way of expressing to you how his world has changed and how it's making him feel.
About the Author
For more great information about expecting and parenting, visit MomRecommended.com, a site for moms by moms. Annie Valle is a freelance writer, web designer and a mom. You'll find product reviews, recipes, baby names, free projects and more, when you visit http://www.momrecommended.com.