Becoming a Sibling

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I can’t remember life without my sister Caroline. As a toddler, I would reach my arm protectively across her and say “my”. Only 21 months apart, we did everything together growing up. We shared a room, wore matching dresses, begged for spare change to take to the corner candy shop. But there must have been some sort of transition. Some sort of adjustment period. And that’s where our 2 year old Ingrid will be in the next couple of weeks when her brother, Lars, is born.

All our friends and family seem to be asking how we think Ingrid will take to her new sibling. And we tell them how we think she’ll be a wonderful big sister — how she loves to play with baby dolls, hold her younger cousins, and hug and kiss my belly because she knows “Baby Wahz” is in there. But the truth is, having an actual baby brother — one who takes almost all of her mama’s attention for the first few months — will be quite a change in the little lady’s life. She’s used to being the center of her parents’ universe, and now she will have to share that spot.

I know that it’s only natural and that the benefits of having a sibling (camaraderie, learning to share, etc…) outweigh the downsides. (At least in our opinion, which is why we are having another.) But I should still take some steps to make the transition easier, don’t you think? We’ve been talking about and to Baby Lars for months now, and she seems to have a good opinion of him. What else should we do, though?

I’d love to hear any tips or insight you have to share! Thanks – Eva

Photos: Ingrid is a little bit obsessed with drawing and painting these days, & I couldn’t be happier about it! 

 

8 Comments

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  1. Ashley says:

    First off, Congratulations! It has been wonderful watching your beautiful family grow.

    With three little ones of my own, the transition from one to two, then two to three went fairly smooth. If I could give any insights, it would be to have Ingrid help out where she can — grab a diaper for baby Lars when needed, softly help Mommy pat baby Lars back when he needs to be burped, tell him stories, draw him a picture, etc. She will learn by example. With that said, I also think it is very important to still spend some special one-on-one time with Ingrid, and keep to her normal schedule.

    I am sure the transition will go smoothly. I wish you the very best with your delivery. How exciting!

  2. Robyn T says:

    Oh my goodness–that Ingrid is such a cutie! It sounds like you’ve done a great job of trying to prepare her for her baby brother. Each child is so different–she may love him or want nothing to do with him; I’ve had it both ways! We started out by giving the older sibling a special gift from the new baby when we got home from the hospital. Then we tried to have the older sibling help in any way he/she could with the baby and involve them as much as possible: pat the baby’s back when burping, sit next to mommy and read a story while nursing, etc. But it’s okay to say that you are busy with the baby and will play with her when you’re done. It might be helpful to make sure Ingrid knows what things are hers that she doesn’t have to share/give up to the baby. Often the sibling likes the baby at first, but then when she realizes the baby isn’t going away, it gets tougher. I’m sure Ingrid will do great. Good luck with the transition! I’m so excited to meet baby Lars!

  3. Jenn says:

    Hi Eva. I need to call you :) . But one little thing we did was bring a gift home to Sam when we brought Lucy home from the hospital and told him it was a gift from the baby. He was pretty into that. I think it was a bubble gun. I don’t know if there are ways to do this when they’re so small, but one thing that has helped as they’ve grown is make them feel complicit in something, just the two of them. Or help the older (or younger, later) feel that they are contributing in some positive way to caring for the other. So excited to meet Baby Wahz!

  4. Amorette says:

    Congrats again on the upcoming addition! My suggestions are very similar to the responses above. We had Simone and Inés exchange gifts when they met each other. It was a very sweet moment. We also try to go on special dates with Simone without the baby.

    Also, I had been concerned that most of my attention would be shifted to the new baby and that Sim would really struggle with that, but there actually wasn’t a big shift. Sim still gets most of the attention because a newborn just sleeps so much, is nursing, being held or being entertained by the older child. That will obviously change when the baby becomes more active, but it was a relief that there wasn’t an initial huge adjustment in terms of attention.

    • Eva says:

      Hi Amorette – Sorry, I just barely saw your comment. Thanks so much! Lars actually does take way more of my attention, though, because he’s colicky and doesn’t sleep much. Luckily though, Ingrid is in love with Lars and has been a real trooper about it all. Hope you are doing well! (And I htink I’ve told you this before, but I love the names you’ve picked out for your kids. :)

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