Age: General Baby/Infant

First “day” back at work after maternity!

Mum's 1st "day" back at work after maternity leave - what it was like, how I felt, what happened!

There is light

So today I was back at work. I’m only doing a certain number of days this month and re-entering slowly.

It was all going so well. I got the lovely crowded tube in the morning; it felt great to get back into the old swing of things despite the mass of people and heat on the tube. Stopped off for a coffee, stopped to look at the shops, the trees, the people, acknowledged the absence of small children, screams, whines, sounds, pushing of a buggy like it’s an extra appendage.
Braving the tube: Mum's 1st "day" back at work after maternity leave - what it was like, how I felt, what happened!

Busy tube, morning commute

Walked into the office. People rubbing their eyes in disbelief – “you’re back?!” – well, not quite like that, they were a bit surprised to see me though (despite various emails about when I was coming back). Chatting. Catching up. Enjoying the conversation.
Logging onto the computers – checking and deleting masses of emails that are now out of date and irrelevant. Setting up my diary. Doing all those fiddly things that don’t really seem that important but need to be done and will save you time later.
Planning and longing for my lunch – thinking about going somewhere with comfortable seats and eating a nice tasty lunch, without distraction, demands or uncertainty about whether a child will wake up from their nap, start to get tired and grumpy, etc.
Re-mapping my brain – reading – thinking – trying to connect back up the links, memories, knowledge in my mind where these had somewhat decayed or stagnated over the maternity leave.
How NOT to have a 1st day back at work after maternity leave - what it was like, how I felt, what happened!

Stickers from the hospital

Anyway, It so happened that I’d set up a doctor’s appointment for the toddler because he’d come down with a puffy and red eye. This had started the evening before but looked worse the next morning (my 1st day back). The childcare provider was going to take him to the appointment. I thought everything would be fine as he’s had some redness and problems with his eyes before and i’ve taken him to the doctors (and an eye test). But no, THIS TIME, this time is different. The GP talks to me on the phone. They say that the toddler needs to go to A&E (emergency room) to be checked by the paediatric specialist because she does not want to take any risks with his eye. She said it was more precautionary. So I pack up. Tell my colleagues this news. Feel like it looks like an excuse and maybe i’m not able to leave the kids or something. Rush back to the tube grabbing a sad egg mayonnaise sandwich on the way. Eat sandwich on tube.
Get home, take child out to the hospital (which takes ages to get to). Wait for nurse triage. Wait for doctor. Wait for antibiotic medication and eye drops. Make our way home.
My first day back at work! Wheeee..eee.eee
(psychotherapists might have a field day about this – the attachment – the separation – me rushing back to give pure physical care and some kind of teleological act of caregiving e.g. giving medication, eye drops, sigh)

 

Did the baby just sleep through the night?

Did the baby just sleep through the night?

Baby is 8 months 3 weeks. I think he “slept through the night” last night. From about 11:30pm until 6:30am. His older brother, “the toddler”, previously known as “little lovely” didn’t sleep through the night until he was 9 months old, and then only for about a week before he went through a teething episode and some sickness so the sleeping stopped. So, I was expecting to wait until at least 9 months until we all got to sleep again. Hoping this is it and it wasn’t just a one off, or I accidently slept through the usual 3am wails and cries on the baby monitor. Ahhhh. Potential quality of life (QOL) upgrade mayhaps?!

Baby Water Sensory Play Activity

If you want to try this at home be more careful than me!

Dirtand boogers.com water play idea. Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Dirtandboogers.com water play idea

What am I talking about? Well I tried to emulate this Baby Water Play idea (piccie to your right ) from a site called “Dirt and Boogers” (written by a “play therapist turned stay at home mom”; see whole article here with some nice pictures of baby playing with the water tray. There is also a range of play ideas from baby to preschool age on the site). This looked like a great way to introduce the Little Lovely (LL) to some sensory play of a different nature as we have never used water during play other than bath time I suppose, but I haven’t introduced any bath toys yet. I didn’t read the instructions properly and I think this activity is for babies who are not sitting yet, or at least is to be done in a non-sitting position.
Anyway, I set up a baking tray with some toys including linky loops, a sippy cup top and rattle (basically things that would glide about on the water), added water and put a plastic sheet under the tray so as not to spill water everywhere, as demonstrated in the picture below.

Water Sensory Play idea with baby | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

I sat LL down in front of it (aged 6.5 months) and IMMEDIATELY… WOOSH… the first thing he did was grab the bottom of the tray and tipped it up. The water all spilled out right across the plastic and on to the rug. Oh well, it’s only water.
So this might have been a good sensory experience activity but maybe do as Dirt and Boogers and put baby on their tummy (baby in the original article is 6 months – so similar to LL). Although, I’m not sure if LL wouldn’t have tipped the tray up anyway even if he was on his front.
Maybe I’ll repeat this at some point and see what LL does next time. And maybe I’ll add some balls. I’ve found another water sensory play idea here from Learn with Play at Home (written by a teacher and mother of 2) and they suggest using a high chair tray, which actually might have been a better idea for LL so he couldn’t tip it up, or maybe I could find a heavier or larger water receptacle that he couldn’t tip over. Anyway, try it at home, add some interesting toys/objects to the water that baby can push around and experience the feel and sound of the water. Oh, and at least LL had fun playing with the metal tray, tipping it up and bashing on it with some of his other sensory play objects after his water emptying handiwork was done. He was able experiment with making some nice sounds with the tray – so we got some sensory play after all, just of a different nature to what was planned! Here’s some pictures of him having fun (below).
Safety first! As always, always supervise activities and be careful with with water around your baby. Never leave baby unattended.

 

woosh Water Sensory Play idea with baby | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Woosh went the water! As he tipped up the tray

let's make stuff from baby-brain.co.uk - baby water sensory play idea - | Baby-Brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective & blog on motherhood

Playing with the now emptied of water tray

 

See more stuff the Little Lovely and I made and did together: ⇒back to Let’s Make Stuff!

 

Thank you for reading: Baby Water Sensory Play: baby-brain.co.uk, psychology resource, perspective & blog

Tummy Time for baby – and why it’s important

Tummy Time for baby - Why it's important! Tips & information, from baby-brain.co.uk

Tummy Time (TT) is important in that long road toward crawling and eventually walking. It involves baby working their muscles, coordination skills and learning to push up, sit up, roll over and other gross motor skills. It’s therefore important to give babies time on their tummy.

Since the Back To Sleep campaign (babies to sleep on their backs), babies were apparently getting less “tummy time” during the day, leading to some delays in reaching important developmental milestones such as crawling (according to this article from the BBC on the importance of Tummy Time for babies and their development). These children did catch up, however.
Some babies can really dislike tummy time, however. I found some tips on this site from a paediatric occupational therapist
– 7 tips for making tummy time a little less miserable, if TT needs some encouragement.
  • It writes about 7 steps to independent TT, starting each step a few times a day for a few minutes while progressing up the steps. It’s also a good idea not to do TT too soon after a meal otherwise there might be a bit of spit up.
  • The Little Lovely (LL) didn’t really mind TT, although in the first few months he could only tolerate a short amount of time on his tummy before making frustrated sounds. I think this was because he was working quite hard in trying to do mini push ups and so it was probably quite tiring for him.
There is a wealth of information out there on how to make tummy time fun and interesting for you both, how to assist baby with tummy time and what to do if baby does not like being on this tummy.
When I first started with LL we tried some assisted TT by rolling up a towel or blanket and putting this under his chest so that he could experience his chest being raised and pushed up from the floor, but without so much of the strain for him.
Tummy Time for baby - tips and information, from baby-brain.co.uk

Tummy Time

  • Make it a bonding experience – there are different games you can play while practising TT and baby doesn’t have to be on their own, tummy down on the floor. Try placing baby on your tummy, tummy to tummy so that you can both see each other when they lift their head. Or, lie on your back and put baby on his tummy on your legs.Lift up your legs, while holding baby securely, and pretend to be an aeroplane. If baby is tummy down on the floor, use toys to encourage them to reach, move, and lift their head. Or, talk or sing to your baby to encourage this. Always supervise TT with baby.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on TT, because i’m not, but here’s a website totally devoted to it – Tummy Time Tips (from paediatric occupational therapist that you can check out for more information. It includes information on the importance of TT, what it is, how to do it (tummy time tips), and a helpful video
Some further links regarding Tummy Time that I have found on my travels:

 

Tummy Time is important in that long road toward crawling and eventually walking. It involves baby working their muscles and coordination and learning to push up, sit up, roll over and other gross motor skills. It's therefore important to give babies time on their tummy.

Have a Tummy Fun Time

First days of weaning the baby (we are 6 months old)

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why

So, we are 6 months old!

I tried to go away for the weekend. The baby did not like it. He wanted to be fed and wanted me there. I had to come back slightly early. Then I realised (slight second baby syndrome related delay about this) that hey he’s 6 months now and so I should think about weaning (also known as “complementary feeding”, CF).

 

When is baby ready for solids?

The NHS writes that:

Every baby is an individual, but there are three clear signs that, together, show your baby is ready for solid foods… It’s very rare for these signs to appear together before your baby is six months old.

1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.

2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.

3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

(http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/solid-foods-weaning.aspx)

 

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

What you feedin’ me?

Where to start?

Question: How do you get your child to eat vegetables?

Answer: …feed them vegetables!

Some research suggests introducing vegetables in the first few weeks of weaning. Infants may be more willing to try and like new vegetables if vegetables are offered in the first few weeks of weaning – a variety of vegetables, both bitter and sweet, and trying each one a few times because baby may initially dislike or refuse to taste it (as discussed in this article here by Nicola Slawson, 2015). One study (3) reported that

Early exposure to a rotation of vegetable flavours first added to milk then to cereal increased intake and liking of these vegetables during CF [complementary feeding]

Why start with vegetables? – The first few years of life are important in terms of developing healthy eating habits (1) and new foods are more readily accepted in those early years (2). Once a food habit is established they tend to be quite stable (3). So introducing vegetables at the start of weaning/CF might make it more likely for the child to like and accept vegetables as they grow older

Several studies have now shown that CF with vegetables facilitates liking and intake of vegetables compared to CF with fruit (a, b, cited in Hetherington et al. 2015)

What helps a kid to like vegetables? Hetherington and colleages (3) report on different methods such as “stealth” to disguise vegetables in food, or adding other flavours that the child already likes. However, the most successful strategy in promoting vegetable eating is

Mere or repeated exposure…

 

…Early and repeated experience with vegetables serves to increase acceptance

So basically, giving them the vegetables, again and again, to promote “familiarity” (4) and “learned safety” (5). Vegetable presentation needs to be rotated with daily variety, in addition to the exposure (6). Hetherington et al (3) also report that adding vegetables to familiar and liked foods such as milk and cereal facilitated intake and liking of the vegetable. Adding milk to the vegetable can reduce any bitter or sour tastes due to the sweetness in the milk (both breast and formula milk) and dilution effect of adding it (3).

 

Our first foods

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

Banana in a mesh self feeder

We started with baby rice mixed with his usual milk. In the first week we then moved on to a few spoonfuls of:

  • Cauliflower purée (mixed with his usual milk)

  • Avocado (in a mesh self feeder, see picture)

  • Banana (yeah I know this isn’t a vegetable but it was easy to put in the mesh self feeder)

  • Parsnip purée

 

Future planned foods for week 2:

  • Broccoli

  • Carrots

  • Potato

  • Butternut squash

Cauliflower Puree. The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

Cauliflower Purée

 

The weaning plan (read more on this useful sheet here):
  • Offer one vegetable at a time
  • Offer a variety of vegetables (because of issues as discussed above)
  • Repeated exposure, to vegetables! Keep trying and offer the food a good few times even if baby doesn’t seem to like it at first (increases chance that baby will eventually accept the food (7) )

 

 

 

 

References:

References 1-6 cited in Hetherington et al., 2015:

  1. Cashdan, E. (1994). 1994. A sensitive period for learning about food. Human Nature, 5 (3), pp. 279–291
  2. Lange, M. Visalli, S. Jacob, C. Chabanet, P. Schlich, S. Nicklaus. (2013). Maternal feeding practices during the first year and their impact on infants’ acceptance of complementary food. Food Quality and Preference, 29 (2), pp. 89–98.
  3. Hetherington, M. M., Schwartz, C., Madrelle, J., Croden, F., Nekitsing, C., Vereijken, C.M.J.L. & Weenen, H. (2015). A step-by-step introduction to vegetables at the beginning of complementary feeding: The effects of early and repeated exposureAppetite, 84, pp. 280–290
  4. Zajonc, R.B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Monograph Supplement 9 (2 Pt. 2), pp. 1–27.
  5. Kalat,J. W. & Rozin, P. (1973). Learned safety” as a mechanism in long-delay taste-aversion learning in rats. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 83 (2) (1973), pp. 198–207.
  6. Nicklaus, S. (2011). Children’s acceptance of new foods at weaning. Role of practices of weaning and of food sensory properties. Appetite, 57 (3), pp. 812–815
  7. Maier, A. et al. (2007). Effects of Repeated Exposure on Acceptance of Initially Disliked Vegetables in 7-month Old Infants. Food Quality and Preference 18(8): 1023-1032.

a) Barends, J. de Vries, J. Mojet, C. de Graaf. (2013). Effects of repeated exposure to either vegetables or fruits on infant’s vegetable and fruit acceptance at the beginning of weaning. Food Quality and Preference, 29 (2), pp. 157–165

b) Remy, S. Issanchou, C. Chabanet, S. Nicklaus. (2013.) Repeated exposure of infants at complementary feeding to a vegetable puree increases acceptance as effectively as flavor-flavor learning and more effectively than flavor-nutrient learning. The Journal of Nutrition, pp. 1194–1200

Mission: Find a double buggy for baby and toddler – the shopping continues

The quest continues: Mission double buggy for newborn baby and toddler. Reviews of tandems and side by sides. Mission Double Buggy – the quest continues
Had an epic journey to one of those mega-out-of-town-style-baby-stores. Involved two buses, a newborn(ish) and a toddler. Toddler was rather unhappy on the way home because he’d only had 1/2 hour nap. Parents were rather unhappy on account of lack of food and the whole experience. Anyway, looked at some double buggies. Here’s what I found…

 

  • Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler: some buggies have weight limit of 15kg per child!

    Beware: For the lighter child only!

    Lot’s of them don’t take children heavier than 15kg (apparent average weight of a 3 year old) and as mentioned before my 22.5 month old is approaching 14.5kg so this rules out many buggy options. I was really disappointed that the Baby Jogger City Mini Twin Pushchair (pictured) has the 15kg limit because it was recommended to me plus I see it everywhere so it must be a popular choice.
  • I wasn’t the only crazy parent to take a tape measure out buggy shopping with me. I was measuring the width of a buggy and some bloke who was also looking at the buggy whipped his tape measure out and did it for me.
  • Shop staff don’t really know how to fold/unfold all the models and umm and arred a bit so not sure I have 100% confidence in what they said

 

From the buggies that accommodated the heavier child:

The iCandy - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The iCandy

The iCandy:
Pros: The size attracted me. It manoeuvred well; it was smooth and easy to turn with my giant toddler perched on the top seat. It wasn’t too long (which can happen when you have two tandem seats) or wide.
Cons: BUT, when I tried to tip the pram as though I was going over a kerb or getting onto a bus it was quite an effort because the toddler was weighing down the front of the pram. Lowering the handle bar only made this more difficult. Puts me off a bit.
 It folds nice and small but unfortunately you have to take BOTH seats off to fold the frame. So is this a one handed easy fold? – basically, no. I’m not sure I can take two seats off whilst grappling two small children. Other disadvantage is it’s pricey. You not only have to BUY THE SECOND SEAT, but have to buy the adaptor to fit it on AND a carry cot for a newborn because the main seat does not lie flat enough. A bit cheeky.

 

The Mountain Buggy Duet

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5

I’d had my eye on this from doing a thorough search online. It seemed great on the whole. The seat looked a little snug perhaps for the toddler but I measured it and it was a similar width to other seat units so I don’t know why. It folded very simply but is fairly large compared to the tandems when folded. I’d read reviews that it can pull to the side of the heavier child but I didn’t find this too much (although I could definitely feel where the heavier child was) and it was possible to turn and push with one hand (wouldn’t say it was 100% smooth and easy to do this though; my single buggy is definitely better at one handed turning). All in all, fairly liking this option.
It’s slim! – I lined my current single buggy up and the mountain buggy wasn’t that much wider (pictured).
The Mountain Buggy Duet 2.5 - folded and width - Mission to find a double buggy for newborn and toddler review

Mountain buggy duet folded and look how slim it is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil & Teds 

Phil and Teds "Vibe" - Baby and Toddler seating positions - Mission to find a double buggy/stroller/psuchair review. Baby-Brain.co.uk

Seating positions on the Phil & Teds

I think this was the “Vibe”. They also had the navigator at the store.
Pros: it folded down easily and small. It’s slim for a double buggy (65cm wide) compared to side by sides, but the mountain buggy duet is only 63cm wide so this kinds of contradicts my “slimness” point, I suppose. It pushed well, until I put the weights in it (you can get a 12kg and 9kg weight to put in the seats to mimic the weight of a child) and then it took a bit of effort to move.
Cons: As above, didn’t move as well as i’d liked once the weights were in (my toddler was off somewhere else at this point and he’d had enough of buggy shopping). You have to remove the seat to fold it.
I’m not sure I like the seating configuration (pictured) where the newborn appears to go into this “pouch” under the toddler’s seat. His head would be right by my legs. I’d have to be careful not to walk into it. The toddler seat in this configuration also only takes a maximum 15kgs. I’d therefore have to hope he stays around 15kgs until the baby is old enough to move into a toddler seat at the bottom of the pram al-a traditional Phil & Teds style (you can zip the pouch up and it zips up and away under the top seat). Then the toddler seat on the top takes up to 20kgs, the bottom seat 15kgs.
Despite all this – I’m keeping my mind open about Phil & Teds

 

In conclusion:
  • All the double buggies I saw have their pros and cons
  • It’s difficult to weigh up which pros and cons are better/worse and it depends on the combination for each buggy. Looks like I can’t have everything I want
  • Buggy shopping is a pain – I thought I sorted this already with my first buggy!
  • I want to look at the Phil & Teds “Dot”  because this is apparently smaller and lighter than the other models
  • I want to look at the Mountain Buggy +one, which is a tandem style configuration also suitable for newborn + toddler, and later converts for 2 toddlers. I have seen one in a grocery store when I stopped some poor bloke in the aisle to ask him loads of questions about it.

 

The quest continues…

 

 

Mission: Find a double buggy for the newborn baby and toddler!

My quest to find a double buggy has begun…

 

Quest to find a double buggy for a newborn baby and toddler!

Mission, impossible?

 

I have spent hours, no possibly days online looking for double buggy options for a newborn and heavy toddler. I have learnt quite a lot as well; there are “tandems” (one seat behind the other), there are side by sides, and something called a “sit and stand”. Unfortunately, my toddler at 22.5 months is extremely heavy at over 14 kilos and I have discovered that a lot buggy brands have a maximum weight limit per seat of 15 kilos. This seems to rule out many of the the cheaper, slimmer and more dinky looking options. I am therefore left with a few options, and some don’t seem suitable for newborns. Also, some of them are massive monstrosities that I can’t possibly imagine getting around on the bus and train/tube with. I need to test them out properly in-store with the right weight limits, i.e. my toddler and baby sitting in them. Slightly concerned the toddler would make the pram pull to his side given the massive weight difference between him and his brother, or topple it over?!

 

What I need:
  • Something suitable for newborn that lies flat or takes carry cot attachment – but converts into toddler seat later
  • A toddler seat that takes over 15kg with room for him to grow for at least another year
  • Not too wide or long so that we’d fit through regular doorways, shop aisles, onto a bus, train, other transport
  • Easy and quick fold (some doubles you have to remove the 2nd seat before you fold it, which will be difficult with a baby and toddler to keep an eye on, plus ain’t nobody got time for that either)
  • Good steering and manoeuvrability so I can get around shops, on and off public transport, have a free hand for holding umbrella, shopping basket, toddler’s hand for when he wants to get out and walk

 

In my quest I’ve gone as far as taking discreet photos of double buggies whilst out in the playground (as in the main picture above) and running after random people in the supermarket to ask them questions about their buggies! I was in the store the other day and saw a bloke go past pushing a certain double buggy i’ve had my eye on online. I said to my toddler – “is that a mountain buggy +one I just saw go past?!” in an unnecessarily over-excited tone… why yes it was, so I cornered the poor bloke and started to ask him loads of questions about his buggy. Embarrassingly, whilst talking to him, a woman who i’d already queried over her double buggy about 20 minutes previously on the walk to the store also walked past us during this conversation and could see I was still at it.
The quest continues…

 

 

Preparing the toddler for a new baby

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Here’s looking at you, kid

How can you prepare a toddler or older child for a major change to their environment, family, view of the world and their place within all of this?

 

So the new baby arrived about 4 weeks ago. My first born (21 months at time of arrival) appears to have taken this well. He has been quite interested in the baby and wants to give him lots of kisses. He has occasionally been a bit possessive over things such as the bouncy chair that we set up for the baby. The toddler did not want baby to sit in it at all and got quite upset. Well, I suppose the chair did actually belong to the toddler in the first instance! Anyway, this made me think about how we prepared the toddler for this massive change to his life – i.e. that he was not the only child and mummy and daddy would be giving time and attention to someone else.

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

Before the new arrival:

We started talking about the baby long before he was due

  • We talked about “the baby” and what was in mummy’s tummy. Toddler often pointed to my tummy and referred to it as the baby. Maybe this change in narrative has set up something around there being something new coming.
  • During pregnancy I started to talk about being “careful” and “gentle” because the toddler was accustomed to climbing over me, being picked up, sitting on me etc. Initially I was feeding toddler (more of a baby earlier on in the pregnancy) and had to adopt different positions as the weight was too much across my stomach and also had to watch out for kicks or pushes to my stomach, so we have both been aware of the “carefulness”.
  • We’ve continued the gentle and carefulness now the new baby has arrived, but as discussed this has been set up now for some time so it’s part of our awareness and behaviour around “the baby”.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - Useful books we read - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

Books we read to prepare toddler for the new arrival

We read books about becoming a big brother and new babies

  • Continuing with the narrative change idea we bought several books written especially for toddlers and young children about welcoming another child into the family. We read books every evening as part of the bedtime routine with the toddler and so it was normal for him to explore books. I’m not sure how much he took in or if he can relate the books to the situation he is now experiencing but i’m hoping:
    • 1) They started to introduce the idea of another child coming, that this is something that happens in families, normalizing the experience and,
    • 2) Gave examples/modelled what other children experienced during this time of change

 

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

Once the baby was here:

Keeping the toddler’s routine and schedule the same as usual (or as close to)

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - keep things consistent - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

What happens next?

  • Consistency and predictability are important. Keeping things stable and “as normal” were important things for us to do with our toddler once the baby arrived. This meant keeping the same nap routine/times, bedtime and routine, meal times, etc so that the toddler could feel secure and stable in his usual day-to-day activities and that he didn’t experience everything as being “thrown upside down”.
  • If you can’t do practical/physical things as you would usually, social and emotional aspects are also important e.g. the conversations and interactions you have.

 

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

A new toy for the toddler

We bought a present to the toddler, “from” the new baby

We bought the toddler a present and we said it was from the baby. This had two benefits (or maybe more I haven’t thought about). First, it kept him busy and interested in something immediately after we got home with the baby and were slightly distracted by all things new baby related. Second, hopefully it meant that the toddler was being thought about, kept in mind, cared about and valued. Although, that said, I’m not sure what stage the 21 month old is at developmentally in terms of being aware of himself in other peoples’ minds, theory of mind, etc – but hopefully it meant something to him to receive a present.

 

I’ve spent one-to-one time with the toddler

Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

One-to-one time together: out for chips

Whilst Daddy looks after the newborn for a few hours I’ve taken the toddler out to the playground, the shops, and other activities that we would normally do together (see above about keeping things familiar and consistent). I’ve also done this in the house by just going to play with him by myself while the newborn has a (long) nap and is watched over by Daddy.

 

We’ve shared some activities (toddler + baby)

  • Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

    Toddler involving the baby in his play

    We’ve shared the same play space and toddler has helped show interesting toys to the baby.
  • There’s not that much stuff the newborn can do, but tummy time is one of them. The toddler was very interested in the baby’s tummy time and wanted to practice “rolling over” too (not that the baby can do much of that at this stage!). So I put a blanket down on the floor for the toddler so he could practice rolling, along with the baby (while I made sure the toddler didn’t roll into the baby!).
Tips on how to prepare toddler for a new baby sibling - a psychologist's perspective. baby-brain.co.uk

“Rolling over” together

Some thoughts a few months post baby:

Here’s some other things we did that I found useful when the “new” baby was a few months old:

 

Giving the toddler a role that involved him: this let me get stuff done around the house and hopefully gave the toddler a sense of importance, responsibility and attention:
  • e.g. helping with chores, fetching items (can you get me that nappy from the box), can you put this in the bin for me please? And thanking toddler for his help.
Actively and explicitly displaying to the toddler that sometimes they come first and attending to their needs:
  • e.g. saying things like “Ok baby, i’m going to change toddler’s nappy now and when i’ve finished then I can come to you”

 

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Future ideas:

Things I’m planning to do

  • Buy a double buggy or some system where I can take both of them out. The toddler and I go to different classes and meet with other parents and babies, so I feel it’s important to keep going with that and book us into a few things (we were doing football previously). BUT – I need to be able to get out of the house so double buggy shopping is on the agenda!
  • I have a baby carrier/sling but want a structured “clip and go” variety for ease. I’m feeling I’m going to be slinging the baby a lot, but I need to read reviews and see which one is good in terms of usability, ease and importantly keeping baby in a healthy position!

 

 

 

Thinking about getting ready for the new baby

I haven’t done anything yet. I need to plan and sort stuff out for the new arrival.

 

How I haven't prepared at all for the new arrival! Baby-Brain.co.uk

How I haven’t prepared at all

  • I need to buy some stuff
  • I need to pack a hospital bag. I need to find a bag in the first place and put stuff in it. Actually, I probably need to buy stuff to put in the bag too, like nappies, something to wear, umm, other stuff I’ve forgotten about
  • I need to dig out all the old baby clothes and wash them
  • I need to make a definite list and back up list of people that can come take care of the first child for when I have to go to hospital (added element to this pregnancy!)
  • I need to write a birth plan – or just use the same one as last time, or at least find the last one and actually read it
  • I need to get my whooping cough jab
  • I need to make a dentist appointment (it’s free for pregnant women and 1 year postnatal in the UK)
  • I need to refresh my memory on newborn issues and check out activity ideas again!

 

Stuff I need to (probably) buy.

A new changing mat. I’ve been using the last one for 19 months and it’s actually falling apart. A new baby monitor. A double buggy or maybe a baby sling to begin with. I have a sling but it’s the wrapping type and although this was nice, it is a bit fiddly and I found that if you tie it up too loose or “wrong” then there’s no saving it and you have to take it all off and wrap it on again. I’m not sure I have the ability to do that whilst attempting to calm one child and having a toddler screaming/running off/needing food/etc at the same time. Clip and go would be better. I probably need more baby bedding as current toddler is using all of the child sized blankets. I should probably buy the current toddler a gift and various things to please him as well.
So, a lot to do!

 

 

 

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