13 answers

20 Month Old and New Baby...

My husband and I are expecting our second daughter in just shy of two months. At the time of her birth, our oldest will be 20 months old. Throughout this entire pregnancy there have been many changes in our lives, we relocated across the country (away from our families), new school for my daughter, I'm currently not working, new job/hours/responsibilities for my husband. The list seems endless. I've had a lot of anxiety about this pregnancy, which I've been told is quite normal, yet I'm still having a hard time coping with the inevitable changes that are just around the corner. I am a planner by nature and have found it difficult to plan for what's to come.

I'm looking for some reading material on introducing our daughter to her new sister. Most of what I've found focuses on preschool aged children. I need some direction on how to incorporate my toddler into this new dynamic. She LOVES babies, both dolls and humans :0). I have a young niece whom she adores. She's a big helper already, a great listener, she genuinely WANTS to be a help, and is quite independent. I don't want her to get lost in the shuffle. She's already in her own bedroom, in a twin bed, and has been for months. (trying to avoid feeling replaced!) She is currently showing an interest in potty training, but I'm afraid to embark on this milestone now for fear that she'll regress once the baby is born. Like I said, she's very independent and has always let us know when she's ready for the next step (as in the bed) and I don't want to discourage this.

I suppose this is just fear of the unknown. I hope. Any recommendations for materials for my daughter (she loves books) or for me would be greatly appreciated. Or if you have any recommendations that worked for you in the past, I'm all ears. I'm not afraid to ask for help when I need it...and right now, I need it!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi D.-
I have not read any of the other responses, sorry. I was super nervous/anxious when I had my 2nd baby. My 1st daughter was 26months when her baby sister was born. I had a gift waiting at the hospital from the baby to my older daughter (it was a big minnie mouse doll, who was her favorite at the time)...and then included her in everything. We also gave her some space too. We also kept her schedule as "normal" as possible, and also had mommy older daughter dates (and daddy older daughter dates) to give her some "alone" time with mommy and/or daddy.
Everything was great!
Good Luck to you!!!!

More Answers

Hi, my two exactly 20 months to the day apart. The whole pregnancy I told my son there was a baby in my belly and it was gonna be his new baby sister or brother. He would kiss my belly and love it the entire time. It was so cute. We actually had to do nothing special he just adapted great with his new sister. I mean there were hiccups along the way. Like he could be a bit rough and it was hard to explain to a toddler why he couldn't ram into the baby or mush her tightly. He was the best new big brother. Just trust in your first born she'll make you proud. And just remind her how much you love her every day. Good luck it is awesome to have them close together. My two are best friends at 1 1/2 and 3 years old.

1 mom found this helpful

Look at the library in the parenting section. You'll find books for you and for your toddler about this situation.

My daughter was 24 months when my baby was born. We talked about the baby coming, she helped me fold and put away the baby clothes. What worked best was we watched birthing videos on YouTube (which she LOVED to watch), and we'd look for the moment where the "baby comes out". She would get very excited and it seemed to really help her understand that the baby in mommy was going to come out and be an actual baby. Then, we had her at the birth - she was a little scared when I was pushing so my mom took her out of the room and brought her back in as soon as the baby was born. We were in a tub and she immediately peeled off her clothes and climbed in the tub with us. Her first words were "baby came out of mommy!". She was totally excited and now baby is six months and she has, from day one, realized that this was a permanent and wonderful change to our family. Biologically, families are designed to have multiple children and thus we're hard-wired, even as small children, to be accepting of this change. It's a transition and there may be some difficult moments, but overall it works out beautifully. Good luck!

Hi D.,
I'm also expecting our second baby in July and my boy will be 23 months...a little older than your girl but I too have the same fears as you! Two of my friends just had their 2nd babies and everything is going great for them -- they often reassure me that everything is easier than they though it would be. For instance, you've been through the whole newborn stage so you know what to expect and you'll be more cool and collected this time around. No doubt there will be some transition time for your toddler but I think if you try and keep them on their own schedule without introducing anything brand new (potty training) -- I think she will adjust better than you think!
I'm also in Naperville so if you need a friend send me a message!! As I said, I'm in the same boat as you and I'm hoping adding baby 2 to our lives is easier than I think it will be!
Take care!!

When my third was a newborn, my two older ones , 4 and 1 1/2, were gathered around her. The older one wanted the baby to look at the middle one, so she took her head and started to tuuuurn it.......I yelled NOOOOOO in time and it was fine. But don't let the older one crank her head to try to lift her up by the head :)

You've been through a lot, but siblings are one of nature's constants. It will be fine. Just keep loving your older one and include her, she'll do great. She's not having the same trepidations and fear of non planning you are, she's just along minute by minute for the ride. She'll like any book at that age! Just pick books you and she will enjoy. It's being together that counts.

I was in almost the same boat as you except we didn't relocate across country - but we did move, change jobs, different schedules, care givers etc....and it all worked out great! My daughter was also very independant, and she adjusted marvelously - she loves to help, even now, and I don't think that she has ever felt slighted. Before the baby was born, we would play with dolls, and I would talk to her about "gentle" with the dolls, and we would "love the baby" and gently hug and rub the back of the doll. She did GREAT when we brought the baby home - I htink the hardest part was when I was in the hospital and the hospital didn't allow kids except betweent he hours of 4 - 6 - so I hardly got to see her while I was in the hospital. Now the two of them play together, and my older daughter is always doing funny little things to make the baby laugh. My sitter told me that when I took the baby to the Dr. the other day that my older baby was looking all over the house for her and calling her name! LOL - I also didn't ever make her be quiet when the baby was sleeping etc. I wanted her to still feel like things were "normal" - I didn't change her schedule, I worked the babies schedule around so that she wouldn't be negatively affected by the baby coming. You will figure it out and make it work! I was worried too, I think it is normal to be worried - you sound like a wonderful mother, so relax, all will work itself out!!

My two boys are about 20.5 mths apart. The only thing I did to prepare my son for his new brother coming was set out all the baby stuff about 2-3 months prior to my son arriving. The bassinet, swing, car seat, bouncer etc. I tried reading him books, but he more interested in his trains & cars and didn't really care about the baby books. I think this helped tremendously in him not wanting to be all up in the baby's stuff when he finally arrived. He also went through some regression prior to the baby being there, which was a lot easier to deal with just him, as opposed to with the baby home too! He wanted to sleep in the bassinet ( I let him to an extent), he pushed his baby in the swing all that good stuff. And then once his brother came it was no biggy!

As for books, we did find those that are geared towards being a "big brother/big sister" were more appeasing to him. There is also a series "Daddy's are for..Mommy's are for...Brothers are for etc". I can't remember the author but he really liked those books:)

Like your daughter my oldest LOVES LOVES LOVES babies. Even to this day he can't keep his hands off of them. I find it funny that whenever we are out at a park or whatever he's running up to the babies & those kids his brother's age, but has no concept that his brother is the exact same thing--a baby.

He had absolutely no resentment when his brother came home. In fact, I have the opposite problem, he wanted to hold cuddle, feed , just always wanting to be in his brothers face. I had such a hard time with this because I didn't want to punish him for showing affection and being genuinely loving to his brother....Unfortunately, his brother HATES it.

To this day this is my number one battle between the two of them. Oldest wants to give kisses, youngest wants him off. Everyone else says its so sweet and encourages it while I'm trying to work on 'personal' space.

Although its hard in those first 6 months I found myself to be at such an advantage having them this close together in age. I found the sibling jealousy/rivalry with bringing someone new home to be non existent. I sure hope you also find that to be true!

Congratulations!

Hi D.-
I have not read any of the other responses, sorry. I was super nervous/anxious when I had my 2nd baby. My 1st daughter was 26months when her baby sister was born. I had a gift waiting at the hospital from the baby to my older daughter (it was a big minnie mouse doll, who was her favorite at the time)...and then included her in everything. We also gave her some space too. We also kept her schedule as "normal" as possible, and also had mommy older daughter dates (and daddy older daughter dates) to give her some "alone" time with mommy and/or daddy.
Everything was great!
Good Luck to you!!!!

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