I thought I was prepared the second time around. My body knew the changes of pregnancy. I knew the pain of birth. And, I had experience taking care of a newborn. I did everything I could to prepare our 3.5-year-old, first born. He was thrilled to have a baby in the family, but I wasn’t sure he really understood what this change would bring. We practiced taking care of his dolls, and he made requests for me to swaddle them in what he called a “bun” (confusing “wrap” with “bun”). We talked about how babies sleep, eat, and dirty a lot of diapers. I explained that babies can’t really play because they are so busy growing. We read all the book about new siblings that I could find at the library. And l asked for his input on the baby’s name. He was so excited, and I was anxious to see how he would adjust.
Baby#2 came, and the first few weeks following baby’s birth were filled with diapers and nursing. I felt like I was missing out on so much of my first born’s life. I tried so hard to spend quality time with him, but his requests to play were much too often followed with “not right now, I need to help the baby.” One day, my first born sat by me while I was breastfeeding and said matter-of-factly, “Babies need a lot of mom’s attention.”
It broke my heart to see how much his world was changing. It broke my heart to see him grow up so much in such a short time. All of a sudden he wasn’t my baby anymore. I didn’t know how to wrap my mind around this. I was realizing that my relationship with my first born would never be the same. Before baby came, it was ME & HIM. He was a complete Momma’s boy, and I was his world.
Now, I had TWO boys, and my first born had a new special relationship with his brother. It was no longer mom and son time; it was mom and SONS time. This new baby was more than just a new person to love, he created an entirely different family dynamic. People warned me about the change in my marriage that came with baby #1, but no one told me about these relationship changes that came with baby #2.
Then a couple of weeks after we became a family of four, my first born pointed to my pouchy and soft belly and asked, “mom, is there another baby in there?” I tried to laugh off my his obvious notice to my post baby bulge and explained to him that there was not another baby and that I was still healing. My first born then replied, “You should put another baby is there right away!” What? No. Definitely not! Then it hit me. He wants another sibling. That means that he isn’t just okay with this change in our family-he LOVES it.
While I was grieving over the changed relationship between myself and my first born, he was focusing on this new love he felt for his brother. He was adjusting and EMBRACING these changes with no complaint or second thought.
My first born showed me that the new baby doesn’t really mean less for him or for us. This baby means so much more-more cuddles, more playtime, and more love! He still tells me on a regular basis that he wants us to have more babies-5 to be exact.
How did you and your family adjust to baby #2?