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Preparing AP-raised toddler for upcoming birth/new baby

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, All! I am 32 mos pregnant and have been thinking about how I prepare my 3yo dd for my upcoming birth and, in general, the new baby. My most immediate concerns are: 1) preparing her for my laboring pains (I'll stay home as long as I can for a "natural" birth in the hospital) and 2) coping for the few days I'll be in the hospital.

DD still nurses to sleep or at least during the night once or twice. She now sleeps in her own bed but only falls asleep with me or DH there and will look for me & mama's milk mid-night (usually 1, 2 or 3 hours after she fell asleep). She cries and fully wakes up if mama/nursing is not there. We've tried putting her to bed with DH and she'll do it but I haven't yet tried not being there with nursing. I have tried not letting her nurse and it's only been very sporadically successful. I've been trying to wean her from nursing entirely but it's been a slow process and I'm not sure if it'll happen within the next 8 weeks.

I don't want her to have a horrible experience associated with the new baby. I assume I'll have her come to the hospital with DH as late as possible in the evening before they go home and she sleeps with DH. Beyond that, DH and I have discussed giving her gifts and treats at this time.... not sure what specifically yet.

Any thoughts, ideas? Thanks!
post #2 of 10
With our daughter, we talked and talked and talked and then talked some more. Just chatting while on a walk, or while she helped me with dinner, or when we were playing with her toys. It was always playful, but just talking for months about how life was going to change and how much I loved her seemed to make the transition easier, since she could reference "Oh, right, we talked about how the baby needs all the nighttime nursies" instead of it being new and scary.

ps - I am certain you meant 32weeks, not months, though lord it does feel like that sometimes, doesn't it?
post #3 of 10
My DD6 is OBSESSED with all things human anatomy... She LOVES to read "body books" so I when I got pregnant I started paying close attention to the reproductive organs and where a baby grows and how it comes out when it is born. She also loves to watch "baby shows" on TV, so I have let her get a good dose of watching women in labor pain. She knows it hurts, but it's not a dangerous pain. Of course I always focus on the most joyous part, which is the healthy baby that is the result of the labor.

Now she reminds me often when she can tell I am uncomfortable, "Mom, it hurts but it will be sooooo worth it when my brother is here!"

Maybe your DD is too young to understand the difference? But either way, maybe letting her see some footage of laboring women would be helpful in the event that she might have any questions you could answer before your own birth?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivymae View Post
With our daughter, we talked and talked and talked and then talked some more. Just chatting while on a walk, or while she helped me with dinner, or when we were playing with her toys. It was always playful, but just talking for months about how life was going to change and how much I loved her seemed to make the transition easier, since she could reference "Oh, right, we talked about how the baby needs all the nighttime nursies" instead of it being new and scary.

ps - I am certain you meant 32weeks, not months, though lord it does feel like that sometimes, doesn't it?
I've been doing some talking about how things will be with the new baby but not as much as I could.... I am worried about creating anxiety over the coming new addition but really I don't think she quite gets what the changes mean to her. I think though that having certain changes be something we talked about, rather than something suddenly new, is probably a good thing. I think I will ramp up the talks. Thanks for sharing your experience!!!

And yes, 32 weeks not months!! Yikes!!!!
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyZoeJane View Post
My DD6 is OBSESSED with all things human anatomy... She LOVES to read "body books" so I when I got pregnant I started paying close attention to the reproductive organs and where a baby grows and how it comes out when it is born. She also loves to watch "baby shows" on TV, so I have let her get a good dose of watching women in labor pain. She knows it hurts, but it's not a dangerous pain. Of course I always focus on the most joyous part, which is the healthy baby that is the result of the labor.

Now she reminds me often when she can tell I am uncomfortable, "Mom, it hurts but it will be sooooo worth it when my brother is here!"

Maybe your DD is too young to understand the difference? But either way, maybe letting her see some footage of laboring women would be helpful in the event that she might have any questions you could answer before your own birth?

Yes, I'd been considering whether or not to show her what labor looks like.... I've been kind of leaning towards not. I've told her in the past about stories of her birth.... I just say that when she was ready to meet the world, I pushed her out (no specifics) and there she was. Dd decided that baby comes out of the belly button. It's really cute! I think I will start talking to her about the "good" pain that she may see me experience and what that means... a healthy baby brother or sister coming shortly. Thanks for these ideas!!

I'm still most concerned over the days I'm at the hospital and DD associating this experience (if negative) with the new baby..... Perhaps I should just be talking about this (what to expect) too, in addition to the special gifts/treats for her during that time. Hmmm......
post #6 of 10
I actually second the birthing videos. My dd is just over three and we have been watching birthing videos since before she was three. She was fascinated. It actually happened by accident - she was just there when I showed one to a pregnant friend (dd's reaction was "oooh" and my friend looked like she was going to faint ). So after that she wanted to watch them. And she would say that the lady is crying and that it hurts and I would just explain that it hurts but then there is a beautiful baby.

Oh, and we night weaned a few months ago. It was much, much easier than I thought. Dd is a hardcore nurser - still many, many times a day. Instead of nursing to sleep I also started to hold her while she nurses and then put her down. I never would have thought that this would work, but it did! For one or two nights she would cry for milk and I just said that I can hold her or rub her back, but milk is night-night. And it was two minutes at the most. She sounded just like your dd - waking herself up completely if I am not there and she still wants me, but is learning to be happy with daddy. After nursing at night wasn't an option, she went from waking at least three times a night to not at all... on a good day - she has allergies and when she has reactions she is awake all the time. But then she doesn't want milk, she just want to be held.
post #7 of 10
I'm interested in this topic as well. DS will have just turned 4 when this next one arrives. We are having a homebirth, so he'll be around as much as he wants to be. Right now he's concerned about the pain I will be in. I think birth videos will be great... any recommendations of ones we can watch on You Tube, or something? I'm sure our midwife has some to borrow, too.

Also, which books have you found to be helpful for your kids?

DS weaned about a year ago, and has also transitioned to his own room about 3 months ago. He still comes and gets me, and I end up sleeping there from about 5am on... that is something he'll have to get used to DH doing instead of me...
post #8 of 10
I'm also 32 WEEKS but am planning a homebirth. My 28 mo DD may or may not be present. We did night wean in my first trimester as I needed the sleep (no chance to nap, I WOH). I also am "lucky" as I travel for work so my DD goes to sleep for my DH. My mom will come over if I go into labor at night and sleep with her if needed...though chances are, she'd stay asleep most of the night without me since we night weaned.

For prep, we've watched Orgasmic Birth several times. We talk about what the mamas and daddys are doing and the sounds they make. We practice making those sounds and talk about how hard the mamas are working. We cheer and clap when the babies are born and gush over how CUTE they are!!! She routinely looks at her vagina to see if a baby will come out.

Our favorite book is "Hello Baby" by Jenni Overend. There is more than one Hello Baby...you need to make sure you get the right author. It's published under two titles. The author is Australian, and the book depicts a homebirth and the family is by a fire, etc...sort of rustic. But the book shows the baby coming out and talks about the placenta, etc. My DD loves it.

As an AP parent, I think it's important that my DD be attached to the new baby, just as we are, as parents. To that end, we talk about who is in our family and how excited we are to have a baby coming and what we will do when the baby comes. We talk about DD being a big sister and how cool that is. I let her pretend to be a tiny baby in my arms as I show her what we will do and then she does it with her babies. Sometimes she wants to be the big sister, sometimes, the baby. Either way, it's good preparation.

Hope some of what we are doing sparks a thought that will work for your family.

Kristine
post #9 of 10
I have an almost 2 yr old and I'm due in 3 weeks. We're birthing at home and he may or may not be there for the birth. He's been watching lots of birth videos with me (you can find great ones on youtube) and he really seems to enjoy them. He says "mama do hard work and baby come out". We've read some books too, but mostly talked about how the baby will nurse all the time (he nurses for his nap and before bed) and mom needs to hold the baby and the baby will sleep in mommy's bed.
We did night wean, when I was about 30 weeks and it was so much easier than I thought it would be. We nurse in the rocking chair for part of our bedtime routine, while we pray a decade of the rosary so its a set amount of time and then either I or dh rocks him to sleep. The first few nights he asked to nurse and I would tell him he could have his sippy cup and mommy would rock him. It probably took about a week, but we've all been sleeping a lot better and it wasn't traumatic at all.
I've just started talking with him about how much mommy and the baby will need to rest the first few days and how daddy and grandma will play toys with him and help him with things. I have to admit I'm still pretty nervous about how it will all go, but I figure we're prepared as much as we can be and now I just have to trust.
post #10 of 10
My dd was 3 when her little brother was born. Starting about a week before he was born my parents came to stay with us. It was a fun grandma grandpa visit for her. My night at the hospital was the first night away from her but she had her grandparents there and it was ok (still having a fun grandparent visit). Not sure if you have parents or relatives or friends who could come stay with her and have a "special" visit with lots of fun one-on-one time with her, but it's an idea anyway.
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