Sometimes when we think our mothering years are behind us, we get an unexpected bundle of joy. When a mother becomes pregnant and already has a household of children in place, integrating this new arrival into a well-oiled family machine can be challenging. “Nanny to the stars” Marva Soogrim shows you how to smoothly handle the transition.
You have just been told by your doctor that you have a baby on board. If you weren’t planning a child, this may be an even bigger surprise to you and your spouse. Sometimes, women experience an unplanned pregnancy later in life. The arrival of any newborn not only changes the lives of the parents, but the existing siblings as well.
With a child or children already in your household, you just can’t ignore what this new development is going to bring. Suddenly, the world of pacifiers, 2 a.m. feedings and changing diapers become the focal point of you and your spouse’s lives once again. Even though you already have children and have been through this routine, the next nine months can still feel like something totally new as each pregnancy can bring a different set of circumstances to contend with. Here are seven ways to bring calm to the chaos to your household during the pregnancy and beyond.
Start spreading the news
You and your husband telling your children about the new baby on the way is one of the most important first steps. Gather your entire family in the living room (or the place where you all spend the most time and feel relaxed). Remind them how strong you all have grown as a family. Let them know how much you love them and that this addition will be an extension of that love.
If the room’s atmosphere changes with the announcement, have no fear — each person will process this information differently. Be prepared to give answers to the questions that arise. There will also be many more in the coming months.
Dollars and sense
Even though your family is expanding, your bank account might not be. These days, making financial adjustments to the household have come into play for most, especially when a newborn is on the way. From additional hospital costs to private doctor visits to the babies overall necessities, things can get costly quickly.
Now, you don’t need to completely change your lifestyle and get your kids nervous for the new addition. Make the transition smooth by cutting back on some miscellaneous items that can make a definite difference like magazines, movies, extra phone lines and takeout meals. This will help you to save money and avoid having a stressful pregnancy as you look forward to having a healthy baby.
Don’t “overdue” it
Don’t overdue it when you’re due. If you have children who are a bit older and bordering on becoming teenagers, they probably keep you very busy and active. Driving them to various sporting events, friends houses and the mall can take up a lot of time and energy. And you can’t exert the same energy as you did before you got pregnant.
I have seen women wind up on bed rest because of this. I suggest trying to keep the kids busy with indoor activities and have your husband available after work and on weekends as much as possible.
Preparation is key
Being prepared in life is key for everything, especially prior to giving birth. Getting things ready so the transition coming home is smooth is half the battle. Include the kids in on getting the house ready for their brother or sister. From painting the baby room to cleaning the entire house to buying a crib and other layette items, there are many jobs you can delegate to the family and work together in unison.
When everybody is introduced to the baby at the hospital, let the older siblings hold him or her. The same level of family participation should happen when you bring the baby home. One rule to remember is to make sure everyone washes their hands at all times before holding the infant.
Invite the kids to help with feedings. In my experience, some children will want to be involved and others rather not at the beginning. Let them all choose the way they want to bond with the baby without any pressure.
The dream team
Because your children may be older now, they can help with chores around the house. Working together as a team is what will ease this transition for everyone once the baby comes home.
Give your child or children individual duties that they can focus on. This will make everyone feel proud that they are an important part of bringing up their new brother or sister. Keep in mind that there will be challenging days ahead and be happy that you have the genuine support of your family.
Lots of love
After the baby has arrived, remember to offer as much attention to your other children as the new addition so they don’t feel left out. Your husband is in trenches with you every day, so show him you appreciate his efforts. Give him kisses and hugs on a regular basis to let him know he’s doing a great job. At night, try to have some alone time together.
And if you have pets, be sure they get some loving too. They are more sensitive than you think. Remember, the love that everyone gives you back will fuel your heart as well.
More about having a baby
Learn about the nanny to the stars
Marva Soogrim, world-renowned nanny to the stars, has more than two decades of experience with her unique whole family approach to caring for newborns and integrating this new experience into the family.
Born in Trinidad, Marva came to the U.S. at the age of 21. As a mother of four, she has continued to work hard to offer the best for her children as well as her clients. With medical assistant training and impeccable references, Marva began her calling as a baby nurse/nanny to some of New York’s most prestigious families.
News of her novel and calm approach to caring for babies spread and she quickly became the nanny of choice for celebrity A-listers including Reese Witherspoon, Julia Roberts, Courtney Cox, Sheryl Crow and Chris O’Donnell to name a few.