A New Sibling

Alexandra talks Max through how to use his new baby gym.

Bringing a new sibling into the equation is always going to be tough. Whether you’re nine months or 19 years old, you’re going to be affected in some way if there’s suddenly a new tiny thing living in your house that demands attention 24/7 and gets loads of cuddles from not only your mom and dad but from all your visitors too.

But there are ways to minimise the green-eyed monster (although you’re always going to get one or two jealous moments!).

Alexandra was 18 months when her brother was born so her understanding of what was happening was fairly limited, although she obviously knew something was happening.

Before baby’s born:

– Keep them involved is my main advice. Alexandra came to some of my scans to see her brother on screen before his grand entrance. We showed her things we’d bought for baby, talked to her a lot about her brother and she spent a lot of time patting my tummy and talking to him through my belly button.
– Spend time with them. Sounds silly but it’s easy to get caught up in the pregnancy whirlwind and also to want to rest up as much as possible, especially in the third trimester. However I tried to use my pregnancy as a time for Alexandra and I to cement our bond and spend plenty of time playing, knowing my attention and time would be divided very soon.

Once baby arrives:

– Keep the status quo. Don’t switch up the older sibling’s routine to fit in with the baby, do the opposite if you can. For example we’ve incorporated Max into Alexandra’s existing bath and bedtime routine. We still eat meals at the same time, even if it means one of us has to cuddle or feed Max during dinner. We’ve been going out as much as we can and Alex has still been attending nursery even though I’m on maternity leave. So yes things are different now she’s got a brother, but we’ve tried not to turn her whole world upside down.
– Get them involved. Their age will dictate how involved they can be, but simple things like asking them to fetch a nappy and wipes for changing time, or helping them hold the bottle during feeding time, can help them feel like they’re doing a great job supporting you and bringing up their little sibling. Alex is chuffed whenever she gets praised for helping Max.
– Get visitors on board. Luckily our friends and family have been amazing about ensuring they give Alex plenty of fuss (does that phrase make her sound like a puppy?) when they come to our house, and many of them have brought a little something with them for her if they’ve been bringing a gift for Max which is incredibly sweet. Having people pay her plenty of attention means Alexandra doesn’t really get jealous when we have visitors.

I’m not painting the whole two under two, new baby, new sibling scenario out to be amazing and all rainbows and butterflies – but it is working out much better than I envisaged when we found out we were having a second baby. It helps that Alex is incredibly independent and has a good comprehension of lots of things we talk to her about – and that Max is a fairly chilled baby. But it also helps that we work as a team and ensure both of us spend time with both children. We’re getting the odd moment of jealousy but it’s so worth it to see the sweet moments where she holds his hand and kisses him, or the way she now hi fives him before bed as well as her dad and I.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Now My Sister Is Growing The Bump

Alex looks just like Aunty Henrietta as a baby!

Alex looks just like Aunty Henrietta as a baby!

I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that my little sister is having a baby! I am very excited about having a teeny tiny nephew in May (or June if he stays in there after his due date!). I asked her a few questions about her pregnancy for today’s blog post and shall keep you updated as things progress:

I guessed I was pregnant while I was on holiday at the start of October, really early on. It wasn’t confirmed until we got back.

My reaction at first was shock, even though we suspected it. Now I’m excited!

I’m due on May 30 but I think the baby will be late.
When we went for our 20 week scan I thought it would be a girl as I’d dreamed I was having a boy and everything I’d read said you’d have the opposite to what you’d dreamed about.
I’ve always wanted a boy and a girl so I would have been happy either way.
I was excited when we found out it was a boy and glad to finally know as I can’t understand how people don’t find out!
We’ve already bought the travel system, some clothes, steriliser and perfect prep machine. We bought some things early on after finding them on offer.
Next we’ll buy the cot and a co-sleeper crib as well as sorting the nursery out.
I think my boyfriend Ben will be a fun dad and he’ll want to take him to football all the time.
He’s already thinking about teaching the baby chat up lines and techniques to get all the girls!
Because I’m only 20 I think people treat you differently. Although I’m not that young to have a baby, certain people when you go to places and even midwives can be a bit patronising.
But I’ve moved out of home and have a stable relationship so I’m not reliant on anyone like my parents, which most people assume if they see me on my own without Ben.
The first thing people always ask me is ‘what did your mom say?’ Or ‘were you parents upset?’
It’s been helpful having Harriet only recently going through pregnancy, although hers was very different to mine.
I’m around a baby (Alexandra) a lot more often than I was before but I’ve always been confident with them so it wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t been.
My advice to anyone else would be don’t listen to the old wives’ tales and don’t get yourself worked up. I was getting really worried at first about everything but there was no need.
Harriet and Alexandra and Henrietta x