When expecting a new baby, telling anyone can be daunting, let alone the toddler you already have at home. The biggest struggle with talking to toddlers about a new baby is that your little one probably won’t understand what you’re talking about. Even if they do, they’ll probably have a range of mixed emotions about it:
Confusion – “What does being a big brother/sister mean?” Excitement – “Yay! Someone to play with!” Anger – “I am not sharing you!” Apprehension – “Will you love me the same?” Apathy – “Whatever. Now, what about a snack?”
This short guide should help you when it’s time to have that conversation.
Getting Toddlers Excited
Pretend baby. A good way of getting your toddler excited about the new baby is to have them practice what it might be like. For example, they can hold a bottle to a doll’s mouth or put them in a bassinet and show them pictures from a story.
Belly bonding. At around 16- to 18-weeks, you’ll probably be able to feel the baby starting to move. Encourage your toddler to lay their hand on your stomach so that they can feel too. At 24-weeks, your baby can hear sounds, so have your little one read or sing to them through your belly.
Discuss baby names. You don’t have to take the ideas from your toddler for a name for your new baby, but involving them in the discussion will make them feel important in the situation.
Breaking the News
Timing is key! When talking to toddlers about a new baby, wait until the second trimester if you can. That way, you’ll know that all is well with your baby, and you’ll be starting to show signs of pregnancy. There’s no point in worrying your toddler until then unless you have bad morning sickness or fatigue earlier in the pregnancy.
Explain that it’s tough. You need to make sure that your little one knows that you’re not sick, just that growing a baby is hard work.
Keep it simple. Don’t assume that your toddler wants lots of detail. In fact, adults often over-complicate things for little ones because of that, so just tell them what they need to know. Then, of course, you should answer their questions, but keep your answers short and sweet.
Have a reassuring but honest tone. Explain how a new baby won’t mean that you and Daddy/Mommy won’t love your toddler any less, but that the baby will take up a lot of time.
Use picture books. Pictures are clearer than words for toddlers; just make sure that you choose an age-appropriate book.
Find old photos. Photos of your toddler as a baby will help them conceptualize what it’ll be like to have a new brother or sister. Pictures of Mommy during her previous pregnancy will also help so that your little one can imagine how Mommy’s body will change.
Other visual aids.Comparing a baby’s size is often good, such as showing your toddler an orange at 15-weeks gestation or a mango at 19-weeks. Another idea is to use a doll to show the baby’s appearance; you can even have your toddler help change a diaper on the dolly!
Brielle Albert is a writer and digital marketing professional. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at New York University. Brielle has professional experience in social media marketing and copywriting.
Let’s be honest, when it’s your first pregnancy, you are showered with gifts and attention and the spotlight is always on you.
Your partner, your family and friends constantly check on you and ask you how you are feeling, if there is anything you need or want. You feel like royalty and I loved every second of it.
But by your second, or third/fourth/fifth pregnancy, you have found yourself lost in the background in the story of your ever growing family. Ironically, by this time you are so exhausted from looking after your current little humans, that the body growing your newest addition needs more love and attention than ever before!
With the holidays fast approaching, if you are stumped on what to get that pregnant not first time mom-to-be in your life, here are a few ideas.
A Prenatal Massage
Whether it’s the first or the fifth pregnancy, a mom-to-be is sore all over. Her back aches, her neck hurts, she always has some strange shooting pain in some part of her body. A prenatal massage specializes on a growing mama’s needs. Although there is a very good chance she’s gonna snooze on that massage table, because… motherhood.
By the middle of the second trimester, and for sure by the third, we can barely bend over to put on our shoes, never mind paint our toenails. Plus, for a NOT first time mom-to-be, there’s the added problem of having other children with their own busy schedules. So we can hardly remember the last time we did something just for ourselves. Sending a pregnant mom for a pedicure is one of the best gifts you can give her (and I love going just to sit in those massage chairs!)
A Back or Foot Massager
Speaking of those massage chairs at the nail salon, how about one that we can use in the comfort of our own homes? Being able to sneak in a massage while watching our other children play is multi-tasking done right! This is a gift that will definitely keep on giving because we’ll also be able to use it postpartum, including while breastfeeding or as part of our regular self care routine. In fact, the luxury of being able to enjoy a massage while binge watching Grey’s Anatomy after the kids going to bed sounds heavenly!
I had one when I was pregnant with my first baby. I lived in it postpartum, those middle of the night feedings and sitting in a rocking chair all night. But that was 6 years ago. It’s worn out and I’ll admit, a little on the small side now… (it MUST have shrunk in the dryer). But a brand new comfy robe would be the perfect gift for a NOT first time mom-to-be. Make sure that it has some good pockets because we carry ALL the things: washcloths, pacifiers, baby monitor, phone. Bonus points for some new house shoes to go with it!
A Subscription Box
A box full of goodies showing up her doorstep each month is enough to make a NOT first time mom-to-be tear up (not that it takes much). If you want her to feel special and remembered this is one of the nicest gift options. And where else would you go than Bump Boxes? They are specifically designed for the pregnant mama and contain high quality products that she’s probably never tried before but will be super excited to.
A 3D/4D Non-Diagnostic Ultrasound
There are several companies that offer non-diagnostic ultrasounds for expectant mothers nowadays. This is a great way for moms to get a look at their babies before they are born and have a keepsake of their pregnancies. It’s also a great gift for the entire family, including older siblings, and helps them feel more involved in the pregnancy. There are even mobile ultrasound companies that will perform the sessions in your own home! But they can be costly and are often neglected by moms in subsequent pregnancies. A gift certificate for one of these sessions would make an awesome gift.
Hair Salon Gift Certificates
We want to get our hair done. We want to get it colored and cut and styled. We really do. But sometimes our kids’ ballet lessons are more important, or the van needs an oil change. So the money that we want to spend on ourselves needs to go somewhere else. We say we’ll do it “one day” and we throw our hair into a mom bun and move on. A gift certificate to her hair salon is the the gift of guilt free beautiful hair. That postpartum hair loss is about to do a number on her, so she might even want to use it after the baby arrives to help give her the much needed cool mom pick me up!
This is not to use on her family when she doesn’t want to cook (although it could be!) No, these are for her to splurge on that order of chicken wings, mozzarella sticks and deep fried pickles after the kids are in bed and some strange craving hits her. One of the most thoughtful gifts I remember is our neighbors giving us a gift card for pizza place when our 2nd daughter came home. We were so grateful for such a small thing on those first few days of complete exhaustion.
A Self-Care Basket
Finally… give her all the self care products you can find! Face masks, moisturizers, lip balm, makeup, skin care, exfoliating scrubs, bath bombs, essential oils, deep conditioner, you name it! A NOT first time mom-to-be is even more guilty of neglecting self care throughout her pregnancy and afterwards so she needs as much encouragement as possible. Chances are, if she has the products in her home already, she’s more likely to make time to use them. This time of the year you can find self care products everywhere – or do your one stop shopping online at stores like Rocky Mountain Oils, Aveda or Well.ca.
Hopefully some of these ideas inspire you when it comes to treating that expecting mom in your life. You also don’t have to wait until Christmas morning, a just because gift can be the best ones! We get so used to taking care of other people that it is nice to be remembered. Happy Gifting!