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Caring for a New Baby and an Older Child at the Same Time

Adoptive Siblings When you have an older child at home already, it can seem impossible to make sure everyone’s bathed, fed, and had their diapers changed and fit enough quality family time when you introduce another sibling. Any changes in your family can also cause some behavior changes in your child. Children may react emotionally when their daily routine changes or when they lose your constant attention. The relationship between your older child and a newborn is very important. Preparing your older child prior to the adoption finalization will help him or her adjust when the baby arrives home. That’s why it’s important to start preparing for changes beforehand.

Talk openly about the adoption.

Before you bring your new baby home, you need to talk to your older child about the adoption. Consider you child’s age in that conversation as it’s important to present the adoption topic in a way they can understand. Toddlers, for example, will understand things easier if you tell them a story. There are so many wonderful picture books about adoption you can read to your child to describe the true meaning of adoption. After you’ve done your part, encourage your child to ask some questions.

Prepare your child for the arrival of a new baby.

Before you bring your newborn home, you should talk with your older child generally about newborn care. Discuss why they cry and why they need to be held much of the time. You can use your older child’s baby pictures to help your child get a sense of what to expect. Also, you should include your older child when you start the preparations for your new baby. Maybe your older child can choose some new toys and outfits for the baby or you can decorate the nursery together.

What to do when you baby arrives home.

It can take some time to adjust to having a new baby at home, so it is typically a good idea to prepare yourself organizationally at home. You might even consider getting some help with housework to provide a little bit more time to bond with the baby once they get home. Your older child can help you with taking care of a newborn. Ask him or her to bring you a diaper, hold the baby bottle, or other small tasks. Talk to the baby in a positive way about his or her big brother or sister. If both children need you at the same time, try to prioritize the needs of both children equally. You can even ask your older child to help you with the baby first and point out how he or she is wonderful for helping you out. You should have a planned activity outside of a home with your older child. Spending some alone time with your older child to talk about their feelings regarding the arrival of the new baby is very good practice so that they don’t feel in any way left out or not considered.