Before Lincoln was born Easton was an only child and he was totally fine with it. He got to spend all of his time with mom and dad, never had to share toys, and got his grandma all to himself (the most important thing- obviously).
When I got pregnant with Lincoln I made it a priority to talk to Easton as openly about the new baby as possible.
We told him that I was going to have a baby and that he’d be a big brother. We also tried to make it exciting as we showed him baby clothes in the store, talked about what he was like as a baby and showed him pictures of himself, let him carry around ultrasound pictures, and tried to get him involved.
He was happy about it but didn’t really understand what was going on- he was 2.
To be honest most of our conversations involved not jumping on my stomach and trying to convince him to be calm and play inside quietly so mom could rest (I was the ultimate sick, tired, achey pregnant lady).
As we got closer to my due date I really tried to make Easton excited for the baby. We got him a Christmas present and said that the baby had picked it out for him. I let him “test out” all the baby things. We even bought him some big brother books to read and I tried to read them every night before bed.
But none of these things actually could’ve prepared me for having a toddler and a baby at the same time.
7 things I wish I’d known about helping our toddler adjust to the new baby:
Toddler’s don’t understand babies:
I know that when you read this it makes sense, but when you’re bringing home a baby you somehow expect your toddler to be able to understand why the baby is crying, why we have to be gentle, why we need to change the baby’s diaper, why we need to feed the baby, etc.
Despite the hours I’ve put into the study of child development, I somehow managed to totally space that my two-almost-three year old was still a little tiny one- even though compared to our little 7lb 8oz babe Easton looked huge.
By making sure you explain to your toddler that the baby needs certain things to keep him happy and healthy, and that the baby does things like cry, your child may be able to adjust easier.
Your toddler might regress…but they may not
We had been working with Easton on potty training for months before Lincoln was born. He was doing well to the point that we could go for hours without accidents. We were so excited to hopefully have him out of diapers entirely soon, but everyone kept telling us that he’d probably regress and we’d be back in diapers full time.
Fortunately for us, Easton didn’t regress and instead we stopped using diapers entirely (other than at night) within the same month that Lincoln was born. Yay!
For some people this may not be the case. If you have a newly potty trained child, or a child in the process of being potty trained, they may struggle with the stress and change that comes with a major life change like a sibling. This may result in more accidents.
Potty regressions aren’t the only kind either. Sleep regressions are also a possibility (and something we’ve experienced) but I’ll get into that in a minute.
There may be more power struggles
Easton was a pretty easy two year old. He was almost always pleasant, and if not it was because he was either tired or hungry.
Once Lincoln was born tantrums became more common. Easton became more defiant and exercised his independence frequently. It’s still going on now, but we’re working on it. It doesn’t help that Easton’s in that threenager stage either (HA).
If you’ve got a toddler you may experience more power struggles than before your baby was born.
You may never sleep again
Okay this is an over-exaggeration, but there will be nights when it feels like you’re never going to sleep again.
Before bringing home baby Lincoln, Easton was a pretty good sleeper. We had been through some hard nights transitioning him from a crib to a bed (around 2) but we thought we were long past that. We could pretty much count on him to go to sleep without much fuss.
Once Lincoln came home that went to crap.
This is another area that we’re still working on. Easton’s gotten easier to put down for bed, but there are plenty of nights (like last night) when I just have to say fine I guess you can stay up late and play…just stay in your room.
You’ll have to loosen the reigns
The fine just stay up and play comment leads us right into the next topic of discussion: giving up a little control.
This comes with the age and the territory alike. When your toddler experiences a change they may do whatever they can to feel as in control and normal again as possible. This means they may do things you don’t particularly love (see above).
When these things happen you can only be so tough or strict. And frankly, you’re busier with two kids. So sometimes in some situations you may have to loosen the reigns a little bit.
You’re gonna want all the help you can get
I live for the mornings Easton goes to preschool and that is not an exaggeration.
When he’s at preschool I have time to accomplish the things I need to get done. That doesn’t mean I don’t have time during the day when he’s home, but those mornings when he’s at school are my go-time. I work really hard to do as much of the cleaning, pumping milk, blog work, etc that I need to do. Especially since Lincoln naps from about 9:30-11.
Aside from preschool, I rely on help from my parents, my extended family members, and of course I need my husband to parent alongside me (he’s not a helper, he’s a parent).
Your toddler can help you, too!
It’s a weird and sudden transition when you bring home a baby. All of the sudden your toddler has gone from your sweet little baby to a grown adult (or that’s how I felt). And while you may have higher expectations of him/her, you also need to realize that your toddler can help you!
For example, I make Easton throw away the diapers. I also make him bring Lincoln toys or blankets. This is not only helpful to me but it helps his brother and he can see that helping his brother is good.
I also make Easton help me with some of the housework. Now this doesn’t mean he’s scrubbing toilets or sweeping the floor, but he does have to help me pick up his toys, hold the dustpan, and put things away.
It’s a magical time.
In the end…
After about 7 months with Lincoln, things are really starting to get into motion again. Easton love his little brother and is adjusting slowly but surely (but is also a three year old so behavior is something we work on everyday)!
Having a baby is a change for everyone in a household, so don’t discount your little kids by assuming that it won’t affect them because they’re young. Even little ones can tell when something new is present in their environment, and may not like having to share mommy and daddy.