We weren’t really sure how to do an introduction. Arden is very observant and we didn’t want to cause a bunch of anxiety or jealousy with bringing home a new baby. I don’t think she’s old enough to understand the concept of a baby brother, but I could be wrong. So, we’re introducing her slowly to her lil sibling. At first, she was very curious and _____________ (surprised? shocked? curious?). She wanted to touch him. It also seems like she wants to be held more and we want to giver her that love just as we always have. More and more, we have Garrett in the same space as Arden and she seems to be ok with it. She fought her naps the day after we brought G home from the hospital…. skipped them all. That was new. So maybe she feels the difference? Arden is my OG, my Bug. I’d feel terrible if she felt any less or even threatened with a new baby that requires more attention.
Tips that I received from friends, teachers, moms of multiples:
- Make her feel like she’s helping with caring for lil brother. This will distract any anxiety and confusion.
- Arden. Don’t worry. In no time you will be trying to “help” your baby brother! Replacing dropped bottles and pacifiers, returning rattles, sharing your food (shhhh, don’t tell anyone I kept handing noodles to my nanny’s grandbaby).
- Early on before Evie, I taught Sam to be by himself and play, etc. when I had both at home by myself, Sam knew I was taking care of Evie so we read together and played as soon as she napped. Big thing is getting Bug involved, simple things, grab a rag, grab a wipe, make a big deal of it. Sam loved being the helper. Thankfully Evie was super chill her first 3-4 months, eat poop sleep…that was her routine. She even slept 6+ hours a night from the minute we brought her home. Even Debbie got to sleep.
- We did a few things to prepare Jacob. We told him that he was going to have a new friend come and play with him. when we brought Dos home, we had gifts ready for Jacob that we said were from Dos. We also tried to get Jacob involved – like why do you think Dos is crying? Do you think he’s hungry? Do you want to help me change his diaper? etc. And thank and acknowledge when they are helping out. Also, make time for someone with Arden – it’s so hard in the beginning when you’re tired/nursing frequently but hand G to grandma or dad and cuddle/nap/walk with Arden. You got this, mama!!!
- When people came to visit or Facetime, have them greet/chat with Arden first about her. And keep it about Arden instead of asking “how’s it feel to be a big sister” or “how do you like your baby brother”. I felt like Jacob was too young to understand what big bro/lil bro meant but he did know about someone new being in my lap. It’s a work in progress still, but Arden and you guys are doing great!!
- Mana is 18 months older than her “Tita”. we modeled gentle touching and interactions, and said: “This is your Tita” to help her understand it’s her tiny baby sister. Ownership of that special relationship helped, I think. But I can relate to feeling so sad and guilty that I had a little less to give the OG girl. It turns out just fine.
- Love on Arden – let everyone else love on Garret – he just needs someone to hold him doesn’t matter who!!!
- Don’t worry, kids adjust very fast. They are at a very young age. Just shower both with love and they will love each other.
Arden as slowly adjusted. She was a bit more sensitive at school and was challenging with her naps while there as well. At night, it would take around 30 minutes to calm her to get her to go to sleep. We have slowly incorporated G into daily life. He’s around when we do dinner. Now, when Arden gets home, I take her and play with her and hold her and papa takes care of G. For some reason, Arden is clingy to me even though Bear/papa takes her to school and picks her up and does most of her diaper changes. Even during the last month of my pregnancy, Arden would be picked up and held by her papa more and more bc she was just getting too heavy for me to lift and hold. Over this week, she has slowly adjusted and has gotten better about going down for “night night” at night. The last 3 nights, she has gone to sleep easily without a fight. We lay her in her crib and she rolls over onto her stomach and goes to sleep.
New changes we’ve incorporated:
- Mama greets and holds Arden when she gets home from school
- Wash her hands (tons of germs from school)
- Mama holds and plays just with Arden before dinner
- Dinner time, mama/papa/G are present (usually I wear G or breastfeed him at same time
- After dinner, we clean up and Papa plays and reads with Arden
- Getting ready for bed, we do a nighttime diaper change… get her into her sleep sack… have milk. G is present for this depending upon how Arden is doing. If she’s super frustrated, then I will take him separately and either feed him or put him down. We both will be with Arden for her last nightly milk feed, teethbrushing, hugs/kisses/cuddles before papa puts her down in her crib.