After a ton of research when we were considering another child, we put in place a few rules to prepare him:
1. Wolf must feel and know that Kitten belongs to us. We are a family.
2. We must make him feel she is worthy of all our love and that she takes away none of our love from him.
3. Sharing is emphasized. Sharing is what a family does.
4. Having a sister must be a positive and happy thing to him.
5. Family time is important. We must spend time together (before bedtime, for us) every day. All 4 of us.
6.To remember that it is our job as parents to ensure 1-5 happens and parry all negative sentiments from others.
So with that in mind, here is what we did:
1. Before Kitten was conceived, we asked Wolf if he wanted a sibling. He said yes.
2. When I was pregnant, we told him we were making the baby for him, and more importantly, that she belonged to him and us, and is also part of this family.
3. When I was tired, I told him making a baby in my tummy was hard work and gave him lots of hugs, kisses, and attention and cuddles while I lay down to rest. We did resty things like reading and playing cars on the bed.
4. I nursed, as painful as it became with my nipples becoming extra sore. I distracted myself with my iPod Touch as I could no longer fall asleep nursing him because of the pain and discomfort.
5. We took care to associate her arrival with wonderful and positive experiences. Like receiving special presents from each parent, and one special one (he has always wanted) from Kitten given when he first meets her. And he got to choose a present for her. It worked beautifully.
6. I tandem nursed as often as I could (too tired to argue anyway). Day time anyway. Night time was tougher as he was nursed to sleep. Someone had to either carry her till he slept or entertain him while she nursed and then dozed off, on her own (of this I am grateful).
7. We do things together. I keep them both close – none of this someone takes him away from me while I am looking after her. Whether changing diapers or nursing or playing. Both kids sit on my lap during story time.
8. I don’t refuse him as much as I can if he wants to nurse. He wants to know I still love him so I show him in that way that I do. Lately he has been asking me if I love him and I take it as a sign that he needs my attention. I always stop what I am doing and look him in the eye and say tenderly, of course I love you… so much.
9. I take time to spend individually with each child. Daddy takes him out to the playground so I have one-on-time with Kitten (even though when he is engrossed in his games I sneak a conversation with her). When she is asleep in our Ergo (which I use all the time with her), I play and read to him.
10. It is tiring and I am often exhausted and screaming for me-time. Accept all the help you can get to rest. But don’t allow anyone to undermine your relationship with your kids. When they say well-meaning things that do hurt him, I reassure him and correct them gently.
Take your time and enjoy each day. Your greatest gift to your children are to help them build a strong and loving bond between them so that years on even after you are gone, they will always still have each other.