Explaining Birth To Children & Preparing For A Sibling

When it came to the time of telling Alfie I was pregnant I was so nervous! Although he said he wanted a sibling, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in someway replacing him, of course this wasn’t the case at all! I remember my whole body shaking when I was preparing to tell him with Rob, but as much to our delight he was so happy! And I felt such relief after keeping it secret for such a long time, his reaction was priceless. 

As you can imagine, after a while the questions started rolling in.. “How are babies made?” “Where does the baby come out?”, at the time I didn’t have a clue how to respond to these, so I had to improvise. Of course I didn’t want to lie, but with something as pretty gruesome as childbirth I wanted to make it as ‘child friendly’ as possible. 

“Me and Rob went to the hospital and asked for a seed, mummy swallows the seed and the baby grows” 
“How big is the seed?”
“It’s only a little one”

Go mumma! Had that one right in the bag. Then I had to explain how the baby comes out – I used my gall bladder scar.

“Well, you see this scar above my belly button? That’s where the doctor had to cut my tummy and get you out, that’s where baby will come out of” 
“Does it hurt?”
“Umm.. nope” 

Technically I didn’t lie, birth is either vaginally or surgically, I just wasn’t prepared to tell him the gory details of a vaginal birth! So after him bombarding me with those sort of questions – I then had to start preparing him for his sisters arrival. I’m a great believer in children’s emotional health and think it’s so important to support them within this time, it’s not only a big change for you, but it’s a huge change for them. 

Firstly, I had to give him the scoop of what a baby is like.. Boring, cry all day, sometimes sleep and feed. Not only that, I had to explain how little she will be & that she won’t be able to play Ninja Turtles like he’d hoped. I was also preparing him for when the baby arrives, the amount of time we would have together on our own would be limited – but instead of making it into a negative, it was a positive thing – we get to share our time with ‘special baby sissy!’

The most special moment in my pregnancy and for Alfie had to be my 20 week scan appointment. Alfie was able to see the baby on screen, although he wasn’t entirely pleased she was a girl, he soon come to terms with that within a week and couldn’t wait to meet her. Every week I would check my emails and show him the updates in my pregnancy, he was so fascinated by the growth size – “Oh my god Mum, she’s the size of a water melon!” ..Yeah, and I bloody knew it too! 

Even when it came to washing & drying clothes – Alfie would ‘aww’ over her little socks and baby grows. I’d involve him by having him choose certain outfits which he thought she would look cute in. His favourite was a pink frilly one which was one of the first baby grows I bought her. He wanted to feel my tummy, a lot. Each time she kicked his face gleamed, I’d say how much she loves him already and this made him so happy, it’s as if I was helping him build a relationship with her before she was born. I was worried he would struggle to bond, after all, he was sharing his mummy to a screaming, annoying baby GIRL. 

A few tips which I’d give to parents who are expecting another child & perhaps worried about the child/children’s adjustment to change – 

  • Explain what exactly a newborn baby is like. They’re boring, sleep all day, cry and feed. Be honest, so at least they won’t be getting their hopes up and expecting the baby to play XBOX a week after being born.

  • Make time for them. The first week or two is understandable – sleep when baby sleeps and focus on you. After a few weeks when you’re feeling back to normal, plan a fun family day out, something which focuses a lot on the older children so they don’t feel left out and overpowered by the new baby.

  • Include them in things, even if it’s helping wash clothes or put nappies away into drawers. It makes them feel a part of it so they don’t feel left out.

  • Look through old baby pictures of them and tell them stories of when they were babies, how happy you were and what funny things they used to do. Explain how excited you were and how much you loved them when you first saw them, this will help them understand why the baby will be getting lots of attention when they arrive. 

Alfie is such an amazing brother, as well as Robs two boys. He has adjusted so well to such a huge change and he’s grown up so much in such a short amount of time. He’s loving the role of big brother and he’ll definitely make the most incredible dad some day. 

How did your child/children react to a new sibling? 

L xx

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