baby

How I Prepared My Toddler For A New Baby

Bringing home a new baby from the hospital can be hard on a toddler. They might be cute and cuddly with the new baby for the first day or so home (because Mom and Dad love this tiny human so much), but a few days later, they realize that baby’s not going back to the hospital and is here to stay; and all of a sudden, your little angel turns into a full-blown gremlin.

Why does this happen? Let me try to explain. Another mom once told me to imagine my husband bringing home a new woman and starts talking about how beautiful and perfect she is, and gives her a surplus of “attention”. You can bet your bottom dollar I’d also start gremlin-ing (I think I just invented a new word)!

Big sister with new baby

Your poor toddler isn’t old enough to understand that a new baby is a precious and fragile gift who needs lots of attention and will become a new playmate and best friend in years to come. Your toddler feels like they’ve been replaced, and they act out as a way to get attention. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you can’t possibly imagine the thought of your toddler feeling left out, then allow me to share some of my personal experience with you, which has helped my family avoid most of the monstrosity (haha, get it?) associated with bringing home our second bundle of joy.

family with new baby and big brother

1) Prepare Your Toddler

My son, Tristan, was 3 years old when his sister Scarlet was born. While I was pregnant, I equipped him well by saying things like, “You’re going to be a big brother soon. Baby Scarlet is excited to meet you!” and “Mommy and Daddy and Tristan are going to share the baby.” By allowing him to feel like he was involved in the pregnancy itself, I feel like it really helped to prepare him for the new baby’s arrival.

We also took Tristan to a “Sibling Prep 101” class a few weeks before Scarlet was born, it was offered at the hospital we delivered at. This was a 2-hour class that gave children a tour of the hospital, showed them where mothers would deliver their babies, how to hold infants properly, and taught basic safety techniques. It was a wonderful class that gave him stickers and a certificate of completion afterward, and I highly recommend it. Check with your local hospital to see if there are any sibling preparation classes available.

2) Give Your Toddler “Special Jobs”

After Scarlet came home with us, Tristan was very excited to play with her. After finding that he couldn’t exactly give her a ball to throw or chase after him, he was a little disappointed. We gave him “big brother jobs” like taking her diapers to the trash, holding her bottle, finding her binkie when it was lost, and even 8 months later, he’s the “baby protector”; making sure the blanket doesn’t cover the baby’s face, all of his small toys are put away, and he knows to call us when she has something small in her mouth. He knows and understands that Mommy’s job is to hold and feed the baby when she cries, Daddy’s job is to change her diapers and rock her to sleep, and now Tristan has his own set of jobs to help care for baby Scarlet. He felt a great sense of responsibility as her big brother, having specific jobs to do, and he has matured a lot in the process.

 

3) Use your Toddler’s Name When Comforting Baby

One thing I learned “on the job” while my husband was at work and it was just me and Tristan at home, was that whenever Scarlet was crying, I didn’t want to be the sole comforter for her. I wanted Tristan to feel like he was helping also. So instead of saying, “Mommy’s here,” or “Mommy’s coming,” I said things like “Mommy and Tristan are here,” and “Don’t worry, Tristan and Mommy are coming to get you.” Tristan automatically would rush in to help comfort his baby sister and sing cute little songs to cheer her up. It was the cutest thing to see my toddler helping with his heart of gold, and the attention he got from helping out gave him a sense of pride and purpose.

4) Give Your Toddler Special Attention

We’re not perfect – there were a few days in the beginning that Tristan did act out, but it was never directed at his sister. It was always toward me or my husband. Because he was aware of his responsibilities as a big brother, he was kind to his sister. His sleep schedule was thrown off a bit when we first came home, because of the baby’s constant cries at night, so it affected his mood. I realized that I needed to have some “Tristan Time,” where I’d spend 30 minutes to an hour with him specifically, whether that be playing together with his toys his way, going on a Mommy and Tristan date, or handing the baby to my husband and giving Tristan extra cuddles, or “deep deep snuggles”, as he calls them.

I also reached out to family, friends, and neighbors who had kids his age who had offered to help, and they were willing to take him to the park, have him spend the night at their houses, or come to our house and play with him so he could get some extra attention.

Bringing home a new baby can and should be a beautiful experience for your entire family. It certainly helps to have a prepared family, and protective super siblings who feel a sense of responsibility to care for their new baby. What are some things you’ve done to prepare your toddler for a new baby? Please share your comments below!

young siblings sitting together

About the Author:

Lemon Labor Inducing Cake

While I didn’t think it was possible, this cake from Lemon-sugar literally did put me into labor. There I was, at 38 weeks pregnant, feeling miserable and uncomfortable, hoping that our baby would be born before New Years since our insurance deductible and out-of-pocket max was 100% met and our little girl would be a nice tax break for us (let’s be real, I’m sure any mom would do the same). I started Googling non-tantalizing ways to induce labor, when I came across this labor-inducing lemon cupcake recipe! I was surprised that it seemed so easy (and tasty!), it didn’t involve consuming 7 pineapple cores, drinking a nasty tea or downing a shot of castor oil (which could result in explosive diarrhea during labor), so how could self-inducing labor seem so sweet?

I’ll tell you. The secret may have been the labor process and not the actual consuming of the lemon cake. This recipe took me about 3 hours to make. It involved standing for long periods of time, inhaling citrusy deliciousness, and LOTS of zesting, juicing, and slicing of lemons!!! My intention was to make this as a cake, eat a few slices, and hopefully go into labor within a few days, but not even 5 minutes after I finished frosting the cake, I felt a GUSH and realized my water had broken. I didn’t even get to try the cake! This was Saturday at about 3:30pm.

It was all a blur from there. My husband, being the trooper that he is, scrambled through the house packing up his suitcase and arranging for our toddler to be watched while I sat on the toilet, anxiously wondering if the baby was going to come out right then and there. I’ve watched too many Youtube labor videos haha.

We finally arrived at the hospital about half an hour later, and the nurse confirmed that my water had broken, and I was induced from there (Pitocin is of the devil, seriously) and our little girl was born on Sunday morning just before 7am!

So here’s the recipe that started it all. It was originally designed to make 6-12 cupcakes, but I halved the recipe and made this small cake with it instead, which is the recipe shared below. For safety purposes, I do not recommend making this recipe prior to 38 weeks gestationally. Best of luck and let me know how it goes!

Lemon Labor Inducing Cake

3 hours

20 minutes

3 hours, 20 minutes

Category: Dessert

Yield: one 8 inch round cake, serves 6

Lemon Labor Inducing Cake

Ingredients

  • Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup white/granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup grated lemon zest (2-4 lemons, depending on size)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Lemon Syrup Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white/granulated sugar
  • Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1 2/3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Buttercream Ingredients:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Cake Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8 inch round cake pan by lightly spraying it with a cooking spray of your choice.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, and lemon zest.
  5. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla.
  7. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
  8. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  10. While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon syrup. This will add moisture to the cake.
  11. Syrup Directions:
  12. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottom pan over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
  13. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, spoon the syrup over the tops of the cake.
  14. Then allow cake to cool completely before glazing and frosting.
  15. Glaze Directions:
  16. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.
  17. Using the back of a large spoon, smooth some glaze over the top of the cake.
  18. Buttercream Directions:
  19. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds.
  20. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and lemon juice and beat 5-6 minutes until frosting is fluffy.
  21. If desired, add some yellow (gel or icing) food coloring.
  22. Add to piping bag and frost as desired.
  23. Sprinkle with yellow sugar pearls, sugar, or a thin lemon slice for decoration.

Notes

*Prep time includes zesting and juicing the lemons while being super tired, trying to entertain a toddler with a tantrum, sitting down every 20 minutes from the joint pains, and being heavily burdened with BELLY.

*You can also make 6-12 cupcakes with this recipe.

https://femiology.com/lemon-labor-inducing-cake/