Introducing to Sibling
I have a two-year-old daughter and another baby on the way. How did you introduce your toddler to your baby?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: My plan was to have my husband bring our son to the hospital to meet his baby sister. But some friends of ours were watching him, and he was having so much fun that we figured there was no sense hauling him in to the hospital for just a few minute. Plus I didn’t want him crawling around on the hospital floor!
When my baby and I came home from the hospital, I was excited to introduce my children to each other. It was wonderful timing because it was my son’s birthday, and we had lots of family and friends at our house. Most of the focus was on my son; the baby was just kind of passed around.
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: When my second baby was born, my oldest was 21 months old. I was very successful in helping my first child welcome the baby. She tells me today that she never remembers feeling left out or jealous.
Before my second baby was born, I read a book called Welcoming Your Second Baby by Vicki Lansky. I implemented a few pieces of her advice. The most important thing was that when my baby cried if I was occupied with her sister, I never rushed away from my older child to tend to the baby. When the baby cried, I’d tell my older daughter, “Listen to that! Can you hear the baby? Let’s finish this up, and we’ll go see what she needs.” Then we had closure on what we were doing, and together we went to see the baby.
Also I included my older daughter as often as possible when I was tending to her sister. For example, my older daughter loved to get the diapers out of the changing table. She’d put a diaper on the floor, smooth it out with her hands, and say, “Mommy, I’m making this nice and flat for you.” I welcomed any help that my daughter could give me.
When my son was born, it was a challenge to keep him safe from his very loving, very involved “other mothers.” I think my younger daughter would have hugged the very life out of him with her loving exuberance if I hadn’t been there to make sure she let go long enough for him to breathe. For his part, he took it like a champ.
—Lesley Burton-Iwinski, MD, a mom of 20- and 18-year-old daughters and a 14-year-old son, a retired family physician, and a parent and teacher educator with Growing Peaceful Families, in Lexington, KY
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: When I was pregnant with our younger daughter, we lived 2,000 miles away from our family. We had two friends on call though to watch our two-year-old daughter when I went into labor. But when I went into labor in the middle of the night, we couldn’t reach either friend! So we packed up our daughter and took her with us to the hospital.
Thankfully it was a quiet night in labor and delivery, and the nurses colored with our daughter and settled her into an empty bed to sleep. She missed the “scary” parts of her sister’s birth, and when our younger daughter was born and cried, our older daughter woke up and asked “Is that my baby?” We asked our older daughter if she’d like to tell her sister her name, and she said “It’s Olivia Kate.” It was very sweet.
—Cheri Wiggins, MD, a mom of four- and two-year-old daughters, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, and the cofounder of the Mommy Doctors Baker (makers of Milkin’ Cookies), in Twin Falls, ID