How do you prepare for the arrival of a second child?
Before the arrival of your second child: activate preparation mode
Preparing your eldest for the arrival of a second child
In the same way that you anticipate the arrival of your new baby, give your eldest son or daughter a heads-up. Explain what's going to happen. You love him and you've decided to expand your love bubble, aka your family. Read our interview with coach Maëlys Le Levreur who explains it all. We don't apologize for bringing in a new baby, because that's our choice as parents. However, you can include your eldest in the preparations, like choosing a cuddly toy!
Making your birth trousseau
Sort through your first child's belongings. Clothes, furniture, bed, changing table, bassinet, stroller... Depending on the child's date of birth, the season and their condition, some items will be given a second life. Once you've sorted through them, you'll have a better idea of what you need now.
Arrange childcare on the day of your birth
To avoid stress, plan who will look after your eldest child on the day of delivery. Grandparents, trusted neighbors, friends, babysitters... Let them know that they are your emergency contacts and can be called at any time. Beforehand, also prepare your child's suitcase with him/her, the one he/she will take with him/her if he/she sleeps elsewhere, to create a joyful bonding moment for him/her.
The arrival of a new baby sometimes means a change of bed for your eldest child. Since he or she is about to become a big brother or sister, we're switching to a big bed (and incidentally because you need to get his or her cot back)!
If he's ready, then celebrate this passage as it should be. Make the most of your little one becoming big, and above all, do it well before you give birth. Not only will the transition be smoother, but you'll also avoid too many changes when you return from maternity.
Our advice on preparing for the arrival of a new baby
Planning a party for your new family
The idea is to welcome the baby, but also to celebrate your new family! Include your eldest child in the preparations. He or she could organize it with the co-parent or family while mom is at the maternity ward with the baby.
Relieve your guilt
If your time isn't always expandable, your love is. Your heart will grow several sizes, and so will the whole family's! So stop thinking that your eldest is unhappy because he no longer has your undivided attention. Instead, he's got a little brother (or sister) with whom he'll have lots of laughs and a relationship for the rest of his life.
On returning from maternity, your first child may go through various phases: jealousy, regression ("since we're only looking after the baby, I'm back to being a baby too")... This last phase is sometimes necessary to help you find your place. Your mantra should be: "every phase is temporary".
Finally, you can include your older child in the daily routine with your newborn. Ask for simple advice, such as "the baby's crying, do you think he's hungry?" The idea is not to make your child responsible, but to get him or her involved!
To find out more, listen to this episode of La Matrescence.
The Charlie Crane team