I got pregnant with my second, Nephi, when Sammy was just a year old. We wanted to have the first two close together because my husband and I both grew up with a close sibling and loved it! Ben and I wanted that for our kids too.
From the very first when we found out we were expecting numero dos, we started prepping Sam for it. Even though he was only one and had speech and language impairment (although we didn't know this at the time because he was only one) we made sure to talk to him everyday about the baby in mommy's tummy. We included him in all the pictures, let him feel the baby kick all the time and told him that was going to be his new friend forever! We took him to doctor's appointments and made a huge deal about the ultra sound, and that was very exciting for Sam, too. I even let him pick out some of the clothes.
My mother-in-law took Sammy for a couple days while we were in the hospital, and I will never forget what happened the day they brought him in to met his baby brother for the first time. All I can say is that it was love at first sight! He was so thrilled to come in and see a little baby in the hospital-made crib thing, that he was literally shaking with excitement! He even tried to get in with the baby so he could love him!
You can see me holding him back in these pictures....
Then Sammy cried when my mother-in-law took him home. He wanted so badly to stay with the baby, not necessary us, but his new baby brother. If anyone was replaced by Nephi's arrival it was the parents!
We were a little nervous taking Nephi home. We thought that even though Sam seemed to love him at the hospital, we wondered if he would feel the same way when the baby came into the home.
We need not have worried, because to say Sam was thrilled was an understatement...
He just couldn't help himself! Sam wanted to love little Nephi so bad!! He even stayed by his side when we had to put him under the light for jaundice.
He wanted to help with everything too:
And when the baby was out, he wouldn't let him out of his sight. Such a big brother, protecting his baby!
My best advice I can give, is just to teach your little one from the beginning about the new baby. Don't keep it from them to "spare feelings" because you never know how they will react and they may even surprise you! We bought Sam a little doll so he could have a baby too, but he didn't care for it... he wanted the real thing!
Include your older child in everything you can. Feedings, diaper changes, bath time, and let them help. I don't know how much of my words Sammy understood, but my actions he did. He knew that I needed his big boy help to care for baby brother, and he took this role VERY seriously!
Oh, and about sleep? What's that? Just kidding! We didn't have problems with bed time. Sam had always been on a schedule and Nephi started sleeping through the night at 2 or 3 weeks. I was tired a lot, but I had to get over it the best I could. I had two little guys that depended on me, and I had to be strong for them. However, Sam was still little enough to have nap times too, so I got their schedule down in the afternoon in sync and then I took a nap too. Sleep when the babies sleep!
Sammy couldn't wait for Nephi to play with him, and now as much as they fight, they are still best friends! Nephi and Sam hug almost everyday when Sam gets off the school bus. I NEVER EVER regret having them so close together. Even if everyone thinks they are twins...
And now with number three on the way, we will just make room for one more! The boys are THRILLED and talk about the baby in mommy's tummy at least 20 times a day. In fact, the other day, Nephi asked me how the baby got in my tummy. Sam piped up before I could say anything and said, "Baby go in mommy's mouth, slides down and goes into mommy's tummy!" Hmmmm... I don't know how I feel about being thought of as a baby eater... but whatever works!
Now it's your turn! What is your best advice on preparing for baby number two... or three even?