How to Introduce a New Baby to Your Toddler

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How to Introduce a New Baby to Your Toddler

Podcast

Feb 7, 2022

 

Are you introducing a newborn baby to your toddler and concerned about the transition? In this blog post, I interview my executive assistant, Kate Morris, who is a mom to an infant and toddler. We can’t wait to share her experience introducing a new sibling to her toddler.

At the time of this interview, her baby was 4 months old, so she was just coming out of the newborn haze and excited to share some tips and strategies for managing two small little ones. I hope that you find some encouragement wherever you are in your journey.

Preparing your Toddler for a Newborn

Becca:

“So Kate, you have two little ones that are about two years apart. What are their names and ages?”

Kate:

“Ella is my daughter and she will be three at the end of February. We welcomed Wyatt in early July of 2021. He just turned four months old.”

Becca:

“What would you say has been the biggest difference between Ella and Wyatt in the newborn stages?”

Kate:

“I would say my confidence in their sleep. As a pediatric nurse, I still didn’t know how much sleep my children should be logging. They also have very different temperaments which has been a fun surprise to see how much they reflect me and my husband.”

Becca:

“So, Ella was aware when you were pregnant with Wyatt. How did you talk to her about having a new baby brother?”

Kate:

“As soon as we found out, she obviously understood our excitement and we found out pretty early that it was going to be a boy. I also believe finding out the baby’s gender early gives the baby an identity so she can imagine the baby as a boy. As we began to transition Ella’s playroom to a nursery, we discussed what each piece of furniture would be used for, the names on the wall, and what the picture frames would eventually hold. It gave her a slow enough progression to understand what was happening.

Becca:

“So because of the pandemic, I know that it was also a bit different for you guys. She wasn’t able to come to the hospital and visit, right?”

Kate:

“Correct, with COVID restrictions, no other visitors were allowed. So we put her to bed one night and then she woke up with her grandma and grandpa there in the morning to get her up. We definitely talked to her about what to expect when the baby would be arriving, but unfortunately, despite having a scheduled induction at a later date, we had to rush her to bed right before I went into labor.

You can have all the perfect plans, but then it’s a roll of the dice.

We were very blessed and very lucky with how easy that transition was.”

Becca:

“So, let’s fast forward beyond the hospital experience. How was the transition at home?”

Kate:

“Our transition from the hospital to home was really nice, but it absolutely blew my mind to come home to a toddler with a newborn. Ella was always my little girl, and her hands and feet were always little hands and feet. Her little facial features were also always, you know, baby facial features. And then you go to the hospital and come home with this teeny tiny baby. When you embrace your toddler, they feel so big. They’re huge!

I wished I would have taken the time to really embrace my little girl, my little baby, before actually having a baby.

When we arrived home, she was napping so we had time to set everything up in the nursery. When we woke her, we brought her into the nursery to meet Wyatt. It was just a beautiful moment, and she was so excited.

At the time, she was into The Lion King, so we purchased her a baby Simba sticker book and it was a gift to her at that time from Wyatt.  She loved that little icebreaker.”

How to help your child adjust to their new sibling

Becca:

“So after the honeymoon state, have there been any moments of jealousy frustration from Ella and Wyatt?”

Kate:

“Yes, of course. I mean she is a three-year-old toddler and is used to being the center of attention. During a feeding or diaper changing session, I can’t give her everything she is asking for at that moment. Now that we are several months out, she is a great little helper.

Before we all go upstairs to do our bedtime routine, she likes to hop on the counter and make his bedtime bottle. She picks out which bottle and color she wants to give him. During the dinner prep time, she will encourage him in his bouncy seat while he fusses and I can’t get to him. At bathtime, she will help wash his legs and toes.”

Becca: 

“What was the bedtime routine like with your toddler when your baby wasn’t going to bed at the same time?”

Kate:

“When we welcomed Wyatt in July, it was a busy time in our life. My husband’s job is really busy in August, so he was gone from sunup to sundown. Often, I would wear him in the baby carrier while I got Ella ready for bed. He would take a short nap in the carrier while I got her down and then begin his bedtime routine directly after.

Now that we are out of those newborn days, it’s really nice because he wakes up from his catnap at 7. And that time she’s done with dinner. At that point, we would have some playtime as a family and then head into bedtime. Now that he’s 4-months-old, our schedule is shifting.”

How to handle bedtime with two children

Becca: 

“Now that you have a four-month old, what is his schedule like?”

Kate:

“Unlike Ella, Wyatt is super consistent! He’s up about 8:30 am every morning and has 90-minute awake windows across the board. His first nap, after his first awake period, is about 90 minutes. And, after that a 90 awake window, followed by another 90-minute nap. His last two naps of the day are about 45 minutes apiece.

We start the bedtime routine at 7:45, and then we get him down at 8:30. At this point, Jake is taking Ella to bed while I work on Wyatt’s bedtime routine. When I am feeding Wyatt, Jake and Ella play, followed by reading a few books together. I will then put her down.

Once Ella drops her nap, she will obviously be going to bed earlier, so I’ll have to change the routine again.”

Becca:

“So, how is Wyatt doing throughout the night? Is he having any nighttime feeds?”

Kate:

“He is not. Both of my kids dropped the nighttime feed very early. Thankfully, they are squishy babies and have no problem with gaining weight. Both have dropped their nighttime feedings around the three and half month mark.”

Becca:

“That’s great! What do you think is one of the most pivotal things to help him get to that point?”

Kate:

“Keeping him awake and alert from all feedings has made all the difference. Also, if he woke early from a nap or in the early morning, I wouldn’t go get him right away. This allowed him to decide if he was just uncomfortable and needs to shift positions or if he is really hungry.

If he wasn’t crying, I would just give him that space to figure it out for five to 10 minutes. During this time, it helped him find his fingers and hands to help him self-soothe back to sleep.”

How to handle children with different personalities

Becca:

“If you are a mom listening, it’s not a plug-and-play formula. Every kid is different and some kids will have a night feed for a longer period of time, and that is ok! If you start implementing the strategies we recommend at Little Z from day one, it can make all the difference!

Final thoughts— if you are a mom to a newborn and a child who is under three years old, give yourself grace! Many days, my goal was just to make it to the end of the day. Every day is not going to be perfect, but just love your babies and take good care of yourself.

Once your partner is home, take some time for quiet and don’t feel guilty about it.”

Kate:

“There were times where I thought I would never get to this moment that where both my husband and I were sleeping through the night ourselves. I promise there is another side of the mountain!”

Becca:

“Now, you also work from home. How are you making this work? When do you find the most optimal times for you to get work done?”

Kate:

“So for me personally, I love my work with Little Zs. I love our team. I love the communication with all of our team members every day.

It’s been really nice for me to have that adult conversation throughout the day. The other thing that’s also important to me is exercise. I get up between 5:15-5:30 every day to work out and get a little bit of work done. During their naps, I call that my power pocket where I get a lot of work done.

I will also use some other points in the day while Wyatt is napping and Ella is independently playing to check a few more things off my list.”

Becca:

“You are amazing and we are so thankful for you. Kate manages and organizes our team to keep everybody straight! Any final words of wisdom?”

Kate:

“Well, honestly, I would say if you are starting from scratch and you don’t know where to begin, check out our Baby Sleep E-Coaching courses! I used it with Ella and that is where I learned all of those foundations for sleep.

It truly honestly changed my entire world as a mom because I felt like I got a piece of myself back. I was a better mom. I was a better wife. I was better to myself. So if you’re starting from scratch and you just need a plan, this baby program is what changed our entire world as a family.”

I hope that if you are listening to this, you now feel a little bit more equipped to step into your day. Thank you so much for joining us, Kate!

If you are interested in learning more about our online courses, check out littlezsleep.com/courses.

Sweet dreams. See you next time.

Becca

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How to introduce your newborn to your toddler | Little Z Sleep

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