How to Adjust to a New Baby Brother

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I’m a Proud Mama

Lately I’ve been admiring what an amazing big brother B is. Sure, we have frustrating moments, like when he needs me to find the race car with the blue stripes and the hood that lifts up right now, which is just as T has decided he needs to nurse right now. But by and large, he is one impressive brother! He is kind; if T is getting antsy on a car trip, B will sing him a song. He is generous; he has not complained, even once, about sharing a toy with T (we’ll see how long that lasts). He is protective; he checks the floor carefully before T plays to make sure there’s nothing dangerous he could put in his mouth. And best of all, he just likes to have his brother around; he begs for T to take a bath with him or lay in bed together while we read stories. I’d like to say this is all the result of some amazing parenting, but I’m proud, not arrogant, and I am just thankful that B has been blessed with such a lovely personality.

A Nudge in the Right Direction
I Used To Be the BabyThe one thing I can claim to have done to foster this big brother relationship is to prepare B for T’s arrival. We didn’t jump the gun – due to B’s age and lack of the concept of months, we didn’t even talk about the new baby until I was about 7 ½ months pregnant. Uncertain of how to make it comprehensible to him, I of course turned to books. We checked out about a half dozen library books about babies and pregnant mommies, and several were helpful, including Mama Outside, Mama Inside, I'm a Big Brother, and What Can Our New Baby Do? However, my favorite is one we came across by accident perusing the shelves: I Used To Be the Baby, by Robin Ballard. This book presents some of the possibly challenging sibling scenarios: sharing toys, car rides, feeding time, among others, and shows what a great big brother (or sister) can do to make things easier. For example, when baby is sad in the stroller, big brother holds his hand, and when baby tries to eat books, big brother gets out the baby books and reads to him! Love it! There are no shoulds here, just positive examples and great discussion starters.

Making your own Transitions

Books are excellent tools to ease transitions and help that social-emotional development along when children are facing a new experience or chapter in their lives. I Used to Be the Baby is a tool you can use with toddlers and preschoolers who are may be challenged to think about the needs of a baby, especially because developmentally, the world still revolves around them. The responses of the big brother in this book are not necessarily the only appropriate responses. I used this book to talk about options with B, and I asked him to come up with some of his own alternatives. One of his suggestions: instead of being quiet when baby is napping, we can play outside! No book will make a child a good big brother or sister – but the conversation generated by this one might help make the transition easier for everyone.

Appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.

What other transitions have you and your child been challenged by?

I’m linking up with Janna @ The Adventure of Motherhood for Feed Me Books Friday. Check out other great reads there!
I've also linked this post to "Meme's the Word!" on Saturdays at Lemon Drop Pie.


Ginny Marie May 14, 2010 at 4:47 AM  

I had a hard time finding a cute book like that when I was pregnant with my second baby! Most of the books I came across had the older sibling become jealous of the baby, and I didn't even want to present that option to my daughter! We did love The Baby Sister by Tomie DePaola, jealousy in that book!

What an adorable photo of your little guys!

Trench Mommy (Mandy) May 14, 2010 at 7:38 AM  

I second Ginny Marie...what an adorable picture of you boys! Great post! You can stop over and see my post...I'm giving away a copy of the book I'm featuring today.

Braley Mama May 14, 2010 at 8:21 AM  

I wish I had that one when my baby was born, it was a hard transition1 Thanks for sharing mama!!!

Janna May 16, 2010 at 8:36 PM  

Sorry it took me awhile to get here, but yes! I agree relating to a book to ease transition is something books do for us our whole lives long!

We read about birthdays before her 2nd so she would be excited and understand and not be scared when everyone sang to her and know about blowing out candles.

Anne@LittleSproutBooks May 17, 2010 at 12:25 PM  

@Ginny Marie - we're hoping we'll have a baby sister to introduce someday, so I'll tuck away that recommendation, thanks!
@Janna - the birthday books are a good idea - we didn't do that with B, but I'm going to try to remember with T.
Thanks everybody for the photo compliments!

LT May 17, 2010 at 9:22 PM  

I am dropping in from Lemon Drop Pie and I just love your story! This is something our family went through 4 years ago and that book could surely have made it easier for my daughter!!
What a great review, I really want to go read it even now!!

vanessa @ silly eagle books September 15, 2010 at 1:32 PM  

This one looks great! thanks for letting me know!

Shonda March 12, 2011 at 9:02 AM  

I'm going to start checking some books out for that very reason. I'm 7 mo pregnant and my son is almost 2.5. I think it will be a good avenue to prepare him somewhat.

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