So news is out that you're having another baby. Now the fun begins as you start to prepare for the arrival of your next precious little one.
It also spells a time of great change for your family and while your children may be excited by the idea of having a baby brother or sister, it can also make them a little worried or uncertain.
It's important to be aware of these feelings in order to make this time of adjustment easier for them.
How you approach this depends on the age of your older child, but here are some general ideas to help get you started:
- Read books to your children about the arrival of their baby brother or sister. It's important to select books with a positive message as you don't want to raise or create an issue, particularly if your children haven't displayed this yet. There are plenty of great options out there to help prepare them for the many changes that lie ahead. A few books I found useful included "There's a House Inside My Mummy" by Giles Andreae to help explain mummy's growing belly as well as "I'm a Big Sister" by Joanna Cole and "Too Busy Sleeping" by Zanni Louise following the arrival of baby.
- Get them involved in all preparations for the baby, including selecting decor for the nursery, clothes and other baby items. I have the cutest photos of my eldest daughter helping her dad paint the feature wall of her baby sister's room - a priceless memory.
- Take them along to ultrasound appointments so they can share in the joy of seeing their little baby brother or sister on the TV screen and hear their heartbeat, or if this isn't possible then sit down and show them a recording at home afterwards.
- Let them select a present to give to the baby when he or she arrives to welcome him or her to the family.
- Buy a present from the baby for their big brother or sister. We created a cute personalised "I'm a big sister" T-shirt for my eldest daughter which she absolutely loved to wear.
- Make sure your children are the first members of the family to meet your baby after birth.
- Speak with close family and friends about the importance of making sure they acknowledge and congratulate any older siblings when visiting, some may even want to give the new big brother or sister a present.
- Make any changes within the family sooner rather than later. For instance, if your child needs to move into another room make sure this is done as soon as possible so they don't associate this with the baby. The same goes for any changes to the scheduling of after school or weekend activities if these need to be made.
- Show your children photos of themselves when they were a baby so they can relate to their new little brother or sister.
- Let them feel mummy's tummy for any movement, kicks and hiccups.
- Spend time with friends who may have a newborn so your children can see that baby's are not instant playmates and spend a lot of the early days sleeping and feeding.
Most importantly, always remember to reassure your children of your love for them and their important role as big brother or sister.
All the best for the impending arrival of your little one and the exciting times that lie ahead for you and your family!