I have a toddler and a baby on the way. How do I get them started on the right foot to a good relationship?
Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I have two kids, ages three and one. Introducing my newborn last year to my first-born was a challenge. He initially wanted her to live in the ocean.
The tactic my husband and I used was to make him feel like the big brother who was going to help take care of and teach our new baby girl. Our son seemed to take to this very well, and he recognized his “authority.”
We bought several board books to reinforce the notion of a new baby coming. When we read the books to our son, instead of saying the names in the book, we’d say our children’s names. After we had read the book ten times, our son started to point to the pictures and say “that’s me!”
Also, when I first came home from the hospital with our daughter, my husband took a brief paternity leave so he could spend more time with our son. They went off on their own adventures—guy things such as to the zoo or to the Ferrari dealership—leaving me alone with our baby to get adjusted. (The jump from one children to two is exponential!)
But our son had a challenge adjusting, no matter how much preparation we had done. I think the worst part for him is sharing my attention with his sister.
—Silvana Ribaudo, MD, a mom of two and an assistant clinical professor at the Columbia University Medical Center, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and at ColumbiaDoctors Eastside, both in New York City