As all of you know, we have recently welcomed Arthur into our little family. One thing I was worried about when I was pregnant was upsetting our daughter Maisie, who is 7, or making her feel like we were trying to replace her in some way. I was also really worried that an age gap of 7 years was too much as it had just been James, Maisie and I for so long! I thought I would write this post and include some of the things we did to help with welcoming a baby into the family when you have other children.
Involve your other children in your pregnancy
I think this one goes without saying. I think it’s really important to involve any siblings in your pregnancy from the beginning. We told Maisie about Arthur as soon as we found out – although watch out with this one as it might not be a secret for long! There were lots of ways Maisie was able to be involved in the pregnancy, such as coming to scans and Midwife appointments, shopping to help choose things for the baby and helping to choose the name.
Don’t pressure them to touch your bump if they don’t want to, I let Maisie know she could feel the baby when she wanted and she came to me to ask when she felt ready. I was always available to talk to if she wanted to ask any questions and she took everything in her stride.
Make sure any siblings are the first to meet baby
We told Maisie from day 1 that she was the “Special Visitor” meaning she would be the first person to come and meet the baby. This was incredibly important for Maisie, I think it really made her feel more relaxed and excited about the whole thing and she was aware that she was a part of the special moment as well.
If you have younger children who are struggling to cope with thinking about a new baby arriving, try making a gift bag to give them in hospital when they visit which is from their new brother or sister. I know a few people who have tried this and it worked a treat. We got Maisie a big sister t-shirt and she was made up!
Don’t pressure them to get involved
Once home, there is an incredible amount of pressure to make sure you are involving other children, but in fact this need not be a worry. We quickly found that it was best to let Maisie do her own thing when it came to Arthur. Sometimes she wants to be really involved doing everything for him and helping and then others she just wants to go to her room for some alone time. Too much pressure to get involved may lead to them getting overwhelmed.
Try not to break any routines you already had with your children
This is a hard one! Having a newborn means that all routine is generally out of the window, but try to keep up with the routines you already had in place with your other children such as activities and bed times. Changing this could make them feel like the baby is more important and upset them. It will be hard at first – I was alone with both children the first weekend we had Arthur. Maisie had football commitments and to be honest getting them both ready to leave the house was a disaster! But I managed it and that’s all that matters!
Also on a side note, Maisie had mentioned that she would get to stay up later than Arthur as he was younger and couldn’t understand why he was downstairs later than her. If you get this, try to explain about how a baby works and that if he is staying up later it’s because he eats – sleeps – poops – repeats and that’s it!! She got it very quickly and is looking forward to staying up later than Arthur sometime in the future.
Alone time with your other children is still important
This is probably the most important of the tips! Spend time alone with your older children. It might sound simple enough but life can be pretty hectic with a newborn but you must make time. Even if you just pop up to their bedroom for 5 minutes whilst the baby is sleeping and take an interest in what they are up to in that moment.
Maisie spends time with her Dad at football and generally being silly around the house. Maisie and I go out shopping or watch a girly film! The three of us like to play board games or watch a film together on the weekend.
I’m super pleased that Maisie has transitioned into our new family life really well and I honestly believe these 5 things played a major part in that. She has not been moody or jealous and is really keen to help with Arthur. She often has her alone time, upstairs but that’s Maisie! What do you think of these tips? Did you do anything I haven’t mentioned here when you had a newborn? let me know in the comments!