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Bringing your Baby Home ... When You Have a Toddler

Bringing your baby home when you have a toddler... Depending on their age and understanding, these steps will help your toddler to adjust to having a sibling/s.

Prepare your child by:

-Bringing them to doctor's appointments to listen to the

babies heart beat when you are close to your due date.

-Get them a baby doll of their own to diaper, dress, soothe and put to sleep when you are doing this with the real baby.

-Let them help you to pack your hospital bag and diaper bag for the baby, as because they are a toddler, they will then unpack it and repack it:) Have them use their play toys if they have a bag, diapers, bottle, stroller, etc.

-Talk to them about the new baby name/s and when setting up the Nursery, use the baby name, if chosen, when you are in that room.

-Expect that your toddler may not take to the baby immediately or may want the baby to "go back" once they realize that the baby is staying. This is all due to the attention that the baby is getting. Try to spend time alone with your toddler when the baby is asleep. If your spouse, partner, relative or friend can spend some one on one time with the toddler to give them some attention as well, that is also helpful in creating a new normal for the toddler to experience "big brother or sister" time since they are now a big brother or sister.

-It is also normal for your toddler to show negative reactions even if they have never done this prior. Any attention that they can get from you is what they are after. A calm and stern response that "we do not act that way or talk like that" is best and move on. Too much attention or emotion towards their display will actually give them what they are looking for.

-Although you want to have your toddler help and participate in holding and or feeding the baby, it is not advisable to have them kissing or touching the babies face or hands. Toddlers touch everything and, therefore, are in contact with many germs that can be very harmful to a newborn. Always wash hands often and especially before anyone, even adults, handles the baby. A newborn's lungs are extremely sensitive to viruses and colds. Breast feeding does add immunity but will not ward off everything so it is better to be careful than to end up back in the hospital with a respiratory virus. On that note, it is also not advisable to bring a newborn baby to public areas for any long outings (especially during cold and flu season) until they are completely immunized, typically at 3-4 months of age. Ask your Pediatrician for more details on your immunization schedule.

-With that said, try to include your toddler whenever possible...This can take some planning, so be prepared to have toys, books, a video, etc ready when you need it. Keeping the noise to a normal level during daytime feedings is best for everyone involved, quieter and calmer is always best. If you are nursing and can read to him or her, or talk while they play near you while you nurse or feed the baby, then they will not feel left out and will most likely have a better disposition towards their new sibling.