People ask me how we prepared Macy before Lily arrived. Expectant moms ask me if it’s enough letting their eldest child talk to their sibling inside them. So I thought of just writing about the simple ways to prepare your child for a new baby.
When we found out we were about to have Lily, I was so overjoyed. To be honest, I missed the smell of baby’s breath and pretty tiny clothes. But at the same time, I also felt scared. I had thoughts of my Macy feeling unloved when the new baby arrives. I sought for advice from mommies who have two or more kids and I felt reassurance that it’s possible to prepare your child for the baby. True enough when Lily came into our lives, our hearts expanded and our love became stronger and deeper for our kids and so did Macy’s heart for Lily. Here are some simple ways I prepared Macy for her baby sister.
- Let your child talk to the baby. Toddlers grow curiosity when their mommies’ tummies are getting bigger. When you tell them, there’s a baby inside, they’re ecstatic. Macy used to talk to Lily when she was in my womb as if she was already there. Together, Macy and I would tell her stories, pray for her and sing to her. This made Macy feel that the one growing in my womb is not a stranger but her sister.
- Get her a book about becoming a big sister/brother. I got the book I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole. There are tons of Big Sister/ Big Brother books that can show your child that other kids go through the same curiosities and same excitement. Excellent books like this would include what she/he can expect when the little one comes – like sleeplessness of Mom and Dad, breastfeeding/ bottle feeding, and more.
- Let her prepare a gift for the baby’s arrival. This was an advice I got from Ate Rachelle Romero, who has three kids. Before I gave birth to Lily, Macy and I prepared a gift for her arrival. It was a simple princess doll that I ordered. Little did Macy know that her little sis also had the same gift for her. We gift wrapped it and when they finally saw each other, they gave each other the same gift. Macy was surprised to know that she also has a gift from her little sister.
- Don’t let people talk negatively about the baby or your child. In the Philippines, we are so used to comparing siblings to each other. Some are well-meaning. The others just have nothing to say and would use it as small talk. But there are remarks that I don’t let Macy hear because they might plant lies in her mind. But if she does hear them, I make it a point to speak positive words to her. Don’t let people plant lies in the mind of your child, like she won’t be loved as much or the baby will be cuter than her. When this happens, I set Macy aside and speak life to her. What you say about who she is would matter a lot. Make your child understand that your heart is big enough to love them both with the same amount of love. The love she felt when she was the only child will not decrease.
- Tell your child her own story. When both my children were born, Nono and I were filled with excitement and joy. I would tell her how excited we were when we first saw her in the ultrasound, how big my tummy got when she was inside, what happened when I was already in the hospital, and so on. This made Macy feel that she is as loved and we were as excited when it was her who was in my womb. When Lily came out, we did the same thing. We told her how sleepless we were when she was a newborn, how she latched for the first time, how much diapers she used. Macy was always excited to hear how little she once was and how we cared for her. This made her feel that once we physically cared for her that way.
Overall, I would say that your outlook in your pregnancy would affect your child’s outlook. If you are filled with worry, your child would feel it. If you are filled with joy, you child will also be.
A baby is a blessing. Not just to the parents, but also to her siblings. Fill your heart with gratitude and your child will follow suit.