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Way back in 2013, I (along with respected colleagues) contributed to an article that outlined ways to prepare yourself for the birth of your baby. If you missed that excellent post, you can it find here.
Some of you might be thinking about or preparing for baby number 2 (or 3 on up), and what an exciting time it is for you as your family grows and the love multiplies! Expanding families brings on new challenges, and while all the tips from the first article still apply, here are a few more tips to prepare yourself for your newest addition.
Tips to Prepare Yourself for Baby #2 (or 3 on up)
Tip #1: Gather More Parenting Tools—Take a Parenting Class!
In the first article, I recommended taking a parenting class—even before the birth of your first baby. This is also true for baby #2! If you have never taken a parenting course before, now is definitely the time. There will be new dynamics within the family, and a parenting class will make you more confident to handle them.
If you have already taken a parenting course with your first baby, congratulations! Here’s the best part about parenting classes: They grow with your child and with your family. I have had so many graduates of my parenting courses come back again (and again) because each time they’re gaining a new set of parenting skills, even if it's the exact same class. Go ahead and re-take a class, or you might want to take a new one. You'll be surprised what new nuggets of wisdom you'll take home the second time around.
It's true, taking a parenting course is definitely a commitment of your time and resources, but trust me, it is MORE than worth the investment! You will feel much more prepared and confident when the newest edition arrives!
Tip #2: Fill Up the Emotional Bank Accounts of Your Older Children, and Keep Them Full!
When a new child is introduced, this sometimes makes the older children feel insecure and question where they fit into this newly reconfigured family. This is called “dethronement.” (Dethronement can also occur when new children are adopted into the family, when two families are blended, or when anyone new is introduced into the family.) The dethroned child(ren) might act out with misbehaving or withdrawing.
Remember to remain empathetic to the older children during this process. Not knowing where you fit into your homelife would make even grown-ups uneasy. Let the older kids know what’s happening so they know what to expect, let them know they have an important role in the family, and always remind them by word, touch, and action how much they are loved!
These tips are taken from my Joy of Parenting Course, and they can help ease the transition to having to share mommy and daddy with another little person.
Solutions to Dethronement
- Find a new way for the First Born to belong.
- When First Born sees mom for first time with the new child, be sure mom is not holding the child so that she can be held by mom.
- Have First Born help you with the new child without labeling her ‘good helper.’
- Spend one-on-one time with First Born.
- Give First Born more hugs and kisses on the head throughout the day with no words.
- Show First Born empathy and acknowledge how it must feel for him.
- When needed, separate First Born from the new child firmly and kindly and with no words and no emotions attached to it.
Tip #3: Keep Yourself a Priority
Of all the parenting tips you could ever read, this may very well be the hardest to follow through on. Here’s the thing: It is a myth that a good parent never thinks of himself or herself first. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself, so you can provide the best care possible to your children.
Kids may not listen to everything you say, but they can see and can mimic everything you do. Model self-care and self-love to your children even when they’re little.
Take time every day to do something that makes you feel cared for. For some people that's a daily shower, for others it's exercise or quiet reading time. If you need to rely on your partner or your "village" for help, that's perfectly fine! Don't be timid to ask for help. That's what they're there for, and they'd be happy to help. They say it takes a village to raise a child!
About Susie Walton
Susie Walton has been a parent educator since 1991, teaching live parenting courses and leading seminars, hands-on workshops, instructor trainings, teacher in-services and one-on-one coaching sessions. Walton has helped over 10,000 families create more peaceful relationships and stronger connections. In 2005, she opened Indigo Village, a unique and dynamic virtual community that provides educational and experiential-based programs in parenting and child development. Walton is also the author of the book, “Key to Personal Freedom: How Myths Affect Our Family Lives”, published in 2009, and is now teaching her own parenting curriculum, "The Joy of Parenting" to families live and online.