February 27, 2008,
C.T. asks from Richmond, VA on February 14, 2007
Bringing Home Baby to a Toddler
My 2nd baby is due April 1 and my sister has offered to take my 2-year old that first week home so that we can get situated. I totally appreciate the gesture and sacrifice (as she is taking a week's vacation to do it) but I just wonder if I should separate my toddler from the family that first week. Certainly, I welcome the break as 1 kid is exhausting enough but I don't want to alienate her. I know it's important to make her feel a part and to let her know that she's not being replaced. We've been prepping her about the baby and for now, she seems very excited. She's even requested a "baby brudder". What did you guys do?
So What Happened?™
Wow. Lots of great advice. I think I'll ask my sister to come over every day to help out instead of sending Zoe away. You guys helped confirm my reservations about that. But having someone around to help with bedtime, play and meals will be just heaven! Thanks so much to everyone for your thoughtful words of wisdom. Much appreciated. Have a great Valentines Day!
B.R. answers from Fayetteville on February 15, 2007
I had the same offer from my family, but chose not to accept it because I didnt want my 2 yr old to deal with the normal seperation anxiety from going away, then come home to a new person in the house. I let my mom take her for the birth, but She came home the day after I came home from the hospital, so she was only gone about 48 hrs. It just seemed a bit much for her to go away for a week, and I esp didnt want her to go after the baby was born, I didnt want her to ever think she had been replaced or given away because of the new baby.
T.R. answers from Raleigh on February 15, 2007
Absolutely not.....I would never suggest doing that - she needs to help you settle in with the new baby - not walk in to a house that has 'changed' in SOOOOO many ways after a week - that is not fair to her!
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S.T. answers from Greensboro on February 15, 2007
Hi C. we are in mirrored lives right now! Same everything except our daughter will be 2.5 and we are due in June. I have been reading everything possible to help our daughter be prepared and comfortable about the new addition. Everything I have read rec. NOT sending the toddler away for the homecoming. A stressful time for everyone, but also soooo exciting and wonderful. I think your daughter will feel more confident about her role if she is able to help when the baby arrives home. I have received some great suggestions from others that I'll share with you, 1.Let Zoe pick out a gift for the baby form her and you and your hus. pick out something from the baby for zoe 2.Let her give the baby a tour of her new home and tell her all about things in your home toys, pets etc... 3. Have special jobs "just for her" 4. Have a special time each day just for her. 5. Let her help get the nursery ready, paint a picture and frame it for the room. 6. This is really cool: buy a pack of onsies and fabric paint and let zoe decorate them for the baby. she'll get excited everytime she wears them! I am excited and anxious too! good luck
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T.B. answers from Norfolk on February 14, 2007
I had the same fears when my son was born. I was afraid that my daughter would hurt him or do something drastic because she thought he was taking her place. We did stay with my parents for the first week after he was born, but my daughter was amazingly good with him.
What we did when I was going to the hospital, my daughter went to stay with my inlaws for the first night. After which they brought her to the hospital where she not only had a baby brother to meet, but also a new doll of her own to care for. This worked great for her. She immitated everything she saw us doing with the baby. I think that is why they have gotten along so well up until this point (but now she is going through puberty and we all know how hard that can be for a girl!)
It is great that your sister has offered to help but I personally think you should keep your daughter at home with you. I would maybe ask your sister if she wanted to come and stay with you and your new arrival. That way she would be there to help with your daughter and your daughter would be able to spend the time getting to know the baby.
I hope this helps! Congratulations and good luck!
L.M. answers from Charleston on February 14, 2007
That is SO gracious of your sister!!! In one aspect I would be tempted to follow the advice of everything I have read that says - accept any help from anyone that offers. I also see the point in what you have said and I think it is very important for your first child to be in the house during this important time. Does your sister live close? If so I would see if maybe she can take your first little one in the mornings or in the afternoons so you can nap extra. Possibly she could even spend the day with you so that she can watch both when you want to nap.
A.F. answers from Columbia on February 14, 2007
Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! Maybe since your sister is taking the week off of work to keep your daughter for you, she can just stay at your house or come daily to help out. You definitely don't want your daughter to feel left out because you brought a new baby home and that is probably how she would feel if you sent her away for a week. I have four children and when I brought the babies home we just had people take turns coming over to help out. Whatever you decide to do, there will be an adjustment period for everyone. Good luck!
J.G. answers from Hickory on February 15, 2008
i DON'T THINK THAT YOU SHOULD SEPERATE YOUR 2 YEAR OLD FOR A WEEK WITH A NEW BABY, THAT SENDS HUGE MIXED SIGNALS TO YOUR 2 YEAR OLD. I KNOW THE THOUGHT OF HAVING ONLY THE BABY TO ADJUST TO FOR A WEEK SOUNDS NICE. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT MAYBE YOUR SISTER COME AND STAY WITH YOU OF A DAY OR TAKE YOUR TODDLER OUT DURING THE DAY FOR FUN THINGS TO DO, TO GIVE YOU TIME TO REST. I WAS WORRIED ALSO WITH A TODDLER AND A NEW BABY, BUT I DIDN'T WANT MY TODDLER TO FEEL LIKE HE WAS BEING REPLACED. IT WAS ACTUALLY A LOT EASIER THAN IT SOUNDS. JUST MAKE YOUR TODDLER FEEL LIKE SHE IS THE BIG HELPER, AND REMEMBER TO GIVE YOUR TWO YEAR A BREAK HERE IN THERE IF THEY DON;T UNDERSTAND WHY SHE IS NOT GETTING THE ATTENTION. REMEMBER SHE IS STILL A BABY ALSO. JUST REMEMBER TO PUT THE BABY DOWN AT TIMES AND GIVE FULL ATTENTION TO YOUR TODDLER. EVERYTHING WILL WORK OUT.
A.G. answers from Myrtle Beach on February 15, 2007
My friend who is an OB and had her hubby bring their 20 mo. daughter to the hospital to meet the baby where upon the new baby "gave her sister a gift" which was a pair of sunglasses (wouldn't be my choice for a gift- I think a doll would be better ). I haven't read it, but supposedly that's helpful.
Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't want my toddler excluded for the first week entirely. I would want to acquaint and bond the toddler and the baby from the very beginning. You may want to consider having your sister come and stay with you the first week and help with the baby in addition to your daughter. I don't know about you but I was exhausted and struggled for rest with a newborn. Maybe your sister can lift the load in a bigger way by helping make meals, doing laundry, tidying up, and looking after your toddler and the baby while you simply rest. That in my book would be ideal. You would owe her big time but that would be the cat's meow. You are very fortunate to have a sister like her.
Congratulations and all the best with the arrival of your baby!
J.M. answers from Charlotte on February 16, 2007
If I could say one thing it would be take sister up on her offer. DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! I have had 5 kids, so we've been through this many times. You could pump up your daughter by telling her this is gonna be her fun week coming up. See if your sister can plan some fun things to do w/your daughter, so she'll look forward to it. Maybe still plan to bring her over to see you all for an hour or two at a time throughout the week, and then "off to do something fun". Doesn't have to be anything big - a game, or craft, or kids meal and playground. Just tell her you all are gettin baby situated, so that you can spend equal time w/them in the long run and make things easier for all of you. Maybe have a surprise, ex. a toy, waiting for her when she comes home after the week w/your sister. She won't remember not being there w/you all when you come home from the hospital. Nor do i see it as alienating her. What you're doing is a huge adjustment the first couple weeks, and having her w/your sister will help you in making that adjustment. You and your husband will be "wiped out" when you get home, and it makes life so much easier knowing that your 2 yr. old is getting everything she needs w/your sister. You could even send your daughter some special "mail" at your sisters for her to know she is still really special to you all, and you are glad she's having fun, and can't wait to see her soon, and maybe (if you choose), you'll have a surprise waiting for her when she comes home. A specially wrapped "big sister" present.
My best wishes and prayers are w/you and your family through delivery and coming home. If you think about it or have the time, I would love to know how it turns out and/or what you decide. Take care!
E.L. answers from Raleigh on February 15, 2007
No way, I dont think you should send your 2 yr old away. That is her bonding time too! I just had my 2nd in Oct and also have 2 yr old (was 21 months when the baby was born). We had her visit us at the hospital and come home with us with the new baby! Its important for her to relize that the new baby is not replacing her. She will act alittle weird the 1st couple of days and maybe be kind of clingy. But esp at age 2, she needs to get use mom looking after someone else in the house sooner than later!! Just my advice!