Preparing for a new baby: Caregivers and Parents
There is a lot to be done in preparation for a new baby. This post, followed by one more will discuss the preparations focused around older siblings and how to prepare them as well as their caregivers (for when parents are in the hospital or caring for the new baby) for the arrival of a new baby in the family.
The first step in preparation, with regards to older siblings is to make a plan for who is going to watch them when you go into labor. It may be a family member who lives close by, or maybe a good friend. Ideally, it should be someone that your child trusts and is close with as well as someone that is very close by.
In the weeks leading up to your due date, schedule small visits or periods of time where this caregiver can come and be responsible for your child in order to maximize your child’s level of comfort and to assist the caregiver in your daily routines. It would be great if you could schedule weekly visits, possibly corresponding with your weekly OB visits.
Because so much is unknown with regards to how long your hospital stay will be, it is a good idea to have lists and/or written instructions for daily routines printed out so that there can be as much consistency in your home as possible while you are gone.
Here are some lists/instructions that you may consider writing up for your caregiver:
- nap time and bed time routines – be specific in order to maintain as much consistency for this potentially difficult time for your child depending on their age
- meal and snack suggestions as well as any specific instructions regarding allergies and food dislikes/preferences
- activities to entertain your child, places to visit, friends they like to play with etc.
- a list of simple house rules, for consistency and to maintain normalcy as much as possible
The second topic to address is what you as parents can do in order to help your child ease into this transition of having a new baby in the house. It might be helpful to purchase a gift on your baby’s behalf to give to the older sibling. This gift can be either waiting for them at the hospital for the first visit or it can be given when you arrive back home. Either way, your older child may feel like a bigger part of the celebration this way, as the new baby will be receiving many gifts over the first few weeks.
Your house is going to soon become baby central with playpens, high chairs, infant swings, bouncy chairs etc. Your older child may feel like their current territory is being taken over, which will cause them to feel out of place in their own home.
Try introducing a new item into the mix on a regular basis in order to get used to these new necessities long before the baby arrives. One example would be to install the infant car seat early and place a doll inside to have the child “practice” being a big brother or sister while riding in the car.
Stay tuned for Part Two where I discuss what activities you can involve your child in to help them feel a part of the whole process.