It’s the question I probably get the most during this pregnancy – “how is your little one ready for the new arrival?”
To answer the question honestly – we found that we didn’t push it too much, but a few tricks have definitely helped:
A few good books
Some children books about ‘a new arrival’ in the house have been useful. While there are ones about pregnancy, we found the ones about what it is like to have a baby resonated better – Topsy & Tim as well as A New Baby were particular favourites in our house. We never forced their reading too often, but made sure they were in the evening rotation amongst all the Jim Fields, Kez Grays, Julia Donaldsons and Axel Schefflers. Definitely helped with understanding what kind of things could be happening with a new baby. She weirdly did get obsessed with the notion that babies poop but hey it is a feature of the new arrival!
Getting a doll
Our daughter isn’t a doll girl at all – she is much more interested in footballs and anything with wheels. So when a pal gave her a doll and a changing mat, I was far from convinced that this was going to work. So while the doll did get quite a few clunks from being dropped on the floor on her head, while being swung around by one of her legs, it has helped with our little one getting an understanding of minding a baby. She even got a name (Anna) and the odd kiss from time to time. Only the odd one, mind.
Having a bit of a chat from time to time
What really helped was a bit of pure chance – our daughter’s ‘best friend’ in crèche also got a little sister, a few months before our little one arrived. It gave us a great opportunity to chat about Jack’s little sister and how Jack was being a great sibling to his little sister like our little one was going to be.
We have some very fun memories of our little daughter grabbing my belly and shouting, “HELLO!!!!’ as loud as she could, of her patting my bump from time to time and making my husband and I well up when totally unprompted our little one announced while pointing at the bump, “my sister” with a mouthful of Weetabix when eating breakfast one morning.
The thing is – I don’t think there is anything that can really prepare her for what’s about to arrive. Just in the same way neither my husband or I can be fully prepped either. Guess we are all in this together.