Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Point Not Usually Talked About When Bringing Home Baby

I've had to do the whole "bringing home the baby" thing 4 times, 3 of those times to other siblings at home.

We want our children to make the transition as easily and smoothly as possible. We love them and don't want them to feel neglected or replaced.

I did some things right, and some things just went haywire.

I think a lot has to do with the siblings personality and coping ability. And their age, because usually age is somewhat related to emotional maturity.

And the point we don't usually talk about is that the biggest factor in how it all goes down is: YOU!

There are TONS AND TONS of resources out there on how to make the transition as smooth as possible. Loads of tips on how to help your child, what to say, what not to say, how to include them in the integration of the baby.

This info is all FABULOUS. Dr. Laura's book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings, has a whole, super helpful chapter on these tips.

But please, take it from me...YOU, the parent, are the key factor in how it will go.

How do you feel?

How are you feeling after the birth and how it went?

Are you happy? Are you stressed? Did you eat? Are you {somewhat} rested? Do you have help? Do you need to talk to someone?

Because the truth is that if you are tired, not nourishing yourself, feeling stressed and overwhelmed, etc, etc (you get the picture)....You are NOT going to be able to implement and follow through with all the amazing tips and advice you read and want to do.

So, here is my additional advice when it comes to adding a new baby to your family:

1. Prepare and become informed about birth. The more you are prepared and the more you know, the better able you will be to navigate decisions you may need to make. There will always be some decision or many decisions you will need to make during your baby's birth. You need to do your best to make informed decisions you will feel good about so you enjoy your baby's first days and weeks without feeling lost, regret, or angry about the birth experience. Birth is the first foundation block to the relationship you build with your baby...and consequently with any other kiddos you have at home. If you feel good after your birth, you'll likely feel good at home and have the emotional ability to cope with whatever parenthood throws at you!

2. Take care of YOU! It's not selfish to want to maintain some aspect of your most valuable and core personality, passions, hobbies, etc. The way you get to do them may change and you WILL have to learn to adapt. But it doesn't mean you have to give everything up altogether. Explore how to include your kids in the activities you enjoy. And it's also perfectly OK to want to do things on your own too. That's where it's great to share the parenting responsibilities with your partner, or someone else you trust to look after your kids while you take a break. Even if it's just a short but relaxing yoga practice in your bedroom while the baby is being held by someone else or sleeping. You will find a way to make it work, you just need the motivation to be willing to start. Also, something VERY important: Eat and drink!!! As in stay hydrated, not the other kind of drinking...wink...wink. If you're depleted and not eating wholesome, nourishing meals there is NO WAY you are going to be an optimal parent. And don't forget to get fresh air. Get out of the house at least once daily, even if it's in the driveway while your toddler picks up every flower or leaf or saves bugs and the baby's in a carrier or stroller. Fresh air and being outside are so energizing and can turn a bad day into a better day.

3. This is gonna sound cliche, but don't be afraid, ashamed or proud to ask for help. You don't get a medal for trying to do it all. You just get burnout and possibly adrenal fatigue. So yeah, just don't. Look at your life and your chores, responsibilities and keep the ones that are super important to you and delegate the rest. If you've got too much on your plate you're gonna feel overwhelmed and obliged to do it all, and your kiddos are the ones that get the brunt of that stress...oh yeah and don't forget about your adrenals.

4. I'm really bad for this one STILL. But make sure you get some regular exercise. When I do this, it changes my whole perspective. And when I don't I wonder why I feel so rundown, so not myself and pessimistic. So then I say, "Oh yeah! I need to exercise!" Sheesh, you'd think I would have learned by now.

When you are a parent who looks after YOU, you will be so, so much more able to run a smooth household. Your kiddos will feel that, feel the low stress environment and you will be able to implement the helpful ideas to help begin and nurture a strong bond between siblings.

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