When I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, I was both overjoyed and extremely nervous. We had been trying for a few months to get pregnant and expected it to be a hard journey since I have PCOS. As soon as I found out we were actually going to have another baby, I immediately felt guilty for having to share myself with another tiny person instead of being able to focus completely on our son.
In order to make myself feel better, I decided to make all of the time I had with my toddler count until baby #2 arrived. One of the biggest things that ended up really easing my anxiety about having another baby was finding ways to include my son in my pregnancy.
The biggest way we did this was to have him interact with the baby while I was still pregnant. Our second son “Dumplin’” was born when “Nugget was just 17 months old, so obviously our first son wasn’t able to understand much of what was happening. We tried to make it as exciting as possible without expecting him to understand that a baby was on the way.
Cocoa Butter Belly Massages
During my first pregnancy, I had my husband rub cocoa butter on my belly. This time, our Nugget was way too jealous to let his dad spend that much time with me. He’d flip out and throw my husband’s hands off of me. Instead, he took over the cocoa butter application position.
This turned into a nightly ritual (a pretty messy one) and I loved it! I told him he was doing such a good job taking care of mommy and his new baby!
It usually turned into using half a tub of cocoa butter and rubbing it all over me, my husband, and his own stomach, but it definitely made him feel special at the time! Tip: Lay down an extra sheet. I can’t tell you how many grease stains were on our comforter from not learning this tip early enough.
Refer to the Baby as “Their” Baby
Nugget knew his new baby brother or sister as “his baby” “his Dumplin’” “our new baby.” Giving him some ownership over this new tiny person should help to take away some jealousy. Since he’s so young, I can’t say for sure that this is what worked, but I can say that he hasn’t shown any jealousy at all in the first 2 months we’ve had a new baby in our home.
Help Them Interact with Their Baby
Our son used to interact with my belly all the time as my pregnancy progressed. We’d tell him to give his baby a kiss and he’d kiss my belly. This was something we did every morning and every night.
If we were on our way to a doctor appointment, I’d explain to Nugget that the baby had an appointment today and that the doctor was going to check on his little brother or sister.
Nowadays, when we take the baby to doctor’s appointments, Nugget fusses and makes me hold him while he watches everything the doctor does. He is very protective of his little brother and doesn’t let me take him out of his sight.
Honestly, I’m just enjoying this stage because I know they’ll be at each other’s throats soon enough.
Take them to Ultrasounds
Our son got to see his new sibling on the ultrasound monitor and looked at us and smiled and giggled. It’s like he knew that this was a very big deal!
I told him “that is your biggest dream come true and your worst nightmare all in one.” I know that will be true for him one day when he’s forced to share all of his toys with this other little person, but for now, he just knows that he’s a big brother and that’s a big responsibility.
Have Your Little One Help You Shop for the New Baby
The best purchase we made for the baby was a present that our toddler got to pick out to give to the new baby when he got here. I gave him options while we were at the store, then I reminded him that he bought the baby a present when I packed it in our “go bag”. He was able to give the baby his present when we got home.
He was so proud to give his brother a little present!
Have Your Toddler Help You “Grow the Baby”
When I was pregnant, I was taking gummy prenatal vitamins every day. I bought my son gummy vitamins for little ones his age and had him take them with me at the same time. Every day I’d say “help mommy grow the baby…” and I’d hand him his gummy. He’d run over, grab his gummy, and happily eat it with a big smile on his face.
Have Them Help Pick Out the Coming-Home Outfit
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The best way to help a toddler make a decision is to offer them two acceptable choices and let them make the ultimate decision. This isn’t only great when you’re preparing a toddler for a new sibling, but it has far reaching affects into their adulthood.
This is really beneficial so you can help your children avoid the “what do you want for dinner? I don’t care, what do you want for dinner?” conversation someday that so many of us are stuck in. Teach them to make decisions early! Okay, end rant.
Explain to Them How Great It’s Going to be to Have a New Baby Around!
When I was late in my 3rd trimester, I started telling Nugget how exciting this new baby was going to be. Nugget was going to get to show the baby how to build blocks and how to play in his ball pit, how to slide down the slide. He would get to introduce him to his little friends, it was going to be great!
I would encourage my son that he was going to be mommy’s “big helper” when the baby got here, but that he was always going to be my little baby too. This one was just as much for me as it was for him. My anxiety about having another baby started to really go away when I realized it was definitely possible for me to have more than one baby. My son needed to hear it, and so did I.
Ultimately, we made it through the pregnancy together, he met his little brother the day after he was born, and we went home as a happy little family of four. So far, we’ve had no jealousy issues and it’s been incredible to watch our Nugget blossom into an incredible big brother.
He has even become my big helper in throwing away diapers.
If you are currently pregnant with your second (or third!) little one, don’t miss the opportunity to include your kids in your pregnancy. This is just how we made it work for our family with one young toddler, but you can absolutely adapt these ideas to work with older kids as well.
What tips do you have for other moms who want to include their young children in their pregnancies? Let me know in the comments!
If you liked these tips you might also like:
8 Ways to Include Your Husband in Your Pregnancy
8 Ways Your Second Pregnancy Will be Different Than Your First
How to Overcome Guilt About Getting Pregnant With Baby #2