When you are a parent already and you start preparing for a new baby's arrival you also have to take your other children into account as having a new baby in the family is a big adjustment, not only for the parents but also for any children you already have. Obviously, as I am already a mum of two I have had to prepare my oldest daughter for a new siblings arrival once before, I am so glad that I did as there was no jealousy or problems when Sophia was born and she just slotted into our family perfectly.
When I was pregnant with Sophia last year Chloe, my oldest daughter was ten years old and I was a bit unsure of how she would cope with a sibling after being an only child and having all of my attention for such a long time. However right from the start of the pregnancy, I started preparing her for the new baby's arrival. She was one of the first people we told about the pregnancy and we give her a copy of the ultrasound scan to keep in her room. We involved her in as much as we could, such as we made sure she liked the names we had chosen for baby, she picked her pram we let her go shopping and chose some outfits she liked for baby and we also let her come to the 20 week scan and she was over the moon to find out she was having a sister. She helped set up all Sophia's things at the end of my pregnancy and she helped pack the baby's hospital bag. I spent lots of time with her before Sophia was born.
When Sophia was born we rang Chloe and she was the first one to find out her sister had been born and she arrived at the hospital one hour after Sophia was born and was the first one to see her. We also made sure that Sophia was in the cot when Chloe came to visit, so she did not get jealous seeing her mum with another baby. We also got Chloe a present of her baby sister which we give her when she came to the hospital, and luckily some of our family brought little presents for Chloe when they came to visit Sophia so that she did not feel left out. And once we came home from the hospital we made sure that Chloe still got attention and one to one time with us, we kept her routine the same and made sure we still took her to all of her after school clubs etc.
And it really worked Chloe loves Sophia and has never been jealous, she adjusted to being a big sister no problem. The two girls love each other to bits and are so lovely together.
So when I found out I was pregnant again we have followed the same pattern in preparing Chloe for the new arrival. She was the first person we told after we had the scan, she came to the 20 and 28 weeks scan and found out baby's gender, we have let her pick some outfits for him and help sort the baby things out and we made sure she likes the baby's name.
Obviously being eleven years old means that Chloe understands what is going on, however my youngest daughter Sophia is only 14 month's old so preparing her for a new arrival has been totally different as she has not got a clue what is going on and I feel she will be confused when a new baby suddenly appears in the house. But we always mention baby's name around Sophia so she gets used to it and when we buy things we tell her this is for your baby brother. We ask her where the baby is and she normally just points to herself as her two-year-old cousin calls her baby. We have brought both the girls presents from the baby, Chloe has just asked for money and union J stuff. We have got Sophia her own little baby Annabel doll and a pram so that she can have her own baby to look after. We have also agreed that we will keep Sophia in her routine as much as possible so we do not unsettle her and the other half's mam is coming to watch the girls at our house when I go into hospital to have the baby.
I think Chloe will adjust to her new brother no problem but I am so unsure of how Sophia will react but I am hoping that the fact she is still so young means that she will get used to him quickly and that they grow up to be great friends and there is no long-term jealousy. As there is only a year and a half between me and my brother and as I was so young when he was born I cannot remember life before him and we are still close now we are 29 and 30. I loved having a playmate when I was younger, although I did use to try and dress him up as a girl.