When Baby Makes 4: Welcoming Siblings To The Family
By Natalie Fitzgerald
Expecting your second baby? Or maybe number 3? For the blessed (and brave!) – 4th or 5th child?!
Adding a sibling to the mix will change your family dynamic, without a doubt. While the thought of siblings can be exciting, it can also feel overwhelming and leave expecting mamas wondering how the newest family member will be received by his/her older sibling(s). As a mom of three, I remember feeling anxious about the arrival of my second and third babies, and thinking about how everyone would adjust. So here are some ideas to help with the transition when welcoming siblings to the family.
Lower Your Expectations
It’s ok if all the dishes aren’t done, cleaned, dried, and put away. Or all laundry washed, folded, and color- coded in your closet. I get it - I love a clean, tidy, organized house. The reality with little kids is this: there will ALWAYS be more to-dos. Dishes, laundry, bottles, meal prep, lunches, bills, thank you notes, work! Take your time. Let some of it go, and lower expectations for yourself. Do what you can. The to-dos of a mother never end, so stop trying to make them.
Strategize Upcoming Transitions
Is your older child at a potty training age, or maybe transitioning from a crib to toddler bed? Trying to ditch the paci, or starting school? Whatever the transition might be for your little one, don’t rush it if you’re bringing home a new baby. Give them time to adjust first, then work on the next phase with them, after you’ve found a rhythm with your new babe.
Get Your Older Child Involved
Have older siblings help with getting burp cloths, diapers, or helping with clean up or kitchen prep. Toddlers are actually capable of much more than we give them credit for!
Ask For And Accept Help!
It takes a village! Get help. Accept food, rides, breaks, a helping hand. For some moms it can be really hard to accept help. When you have more than one kid, you need it. Take a nap or leave the house for a few hours – alone. It will change your life!
Natalie Fitzgerald is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Postpartum Doula. Natalie’s approach to sleep training is tailored to each family she works with, meeting them exactly where they are and developing a customized plan to help them reach their sleep goals, based on their unique baby’s needs and their parenting style. Natalie walks alongside families during the time they need the most support, encouraging parents and helping them find a rhythm that works best with their baby and lifestyle. Natalie is also a member of the Postpartum Health Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders. She lives in San Diego with her family, including her three little ones: Connor (6yrs), Kate (3.5yrs), and Makenna (1yr).