We are so excited about our latest addition (due soon-ish) but as a mom of two, the transition of bringing a new baby into the home comes with its own unique set of challenges. To help parents out, Rachel Cedar, Founder of You Plus 2 Parenting how parents can make this transition easier. As the author of the new book, When Mommy Has our Baby, I have loved recounting the process of how I will be going to the hospital and coming home with the latest addition to our family. This has allowed for a fantastic forum for my daughters to talk, ask questions and address any concerns they might have about life with a new baby. In this interview, Rachel also sheds light on the many dimensions of life with a new baby, and how everyone can better understand and adapt to this new and exciting family dynamic.
Momtrends: What is your business about?
Rachel Cedar: You Plus 2 Parenting is a parenting skills and support service for parents of toddlers, preschool-aged children and new or expectant second (or third! or fourth!) time parents. I specialize in helping parents navigate the often challenging and confusing early years of child rearing when children are experiencing numerous developmental milestones and transitions. One of the most significant changes in a toddler’s life is the addition of a new baby to the family. Through private coaching, group, and webinar support, I teach parents ways to help their child prepare for and adjust to his or her new sibling during a time when other age appropriate changes are also occurring.
Momtrends: How did the idea of the book come about?
Rachel Cedar: “When Mommy Has Our Baby” was a natural extension of my sibling preparation workshops and the support I provide through You Plus 2 Parenting. Parents would attend one of my events or meet with me privately and ask for a good Big Brother or Big Sister book to read to their child. I had yet to find one that captured everything I believe is important to talk about—so I wrote one myself! Through candid and honest illustrations, “When Mommy Has Our Baby” addresses and normalizes the big feelings that a child experiences with such a monumental family change. The story creates a dialog between the parent and the child and allows them to personalize the book to suit their family. In addition to being a sweet story, it’s also a useful teaching tool that gives your child a realistic portrayal of how life will be both before and after the new baby arrives.
Momtrends: Why can having a new baby in the family be difficult for children?
Rachel Cedar: Young children thrive on the predictability and security of a routine and the arrival of a new baby greatly disrupts that routine. When the familiar “groove” of the family changes, it makes the older child feel out of control and so he may react in any number of ways to re-establish some sense of power. You may see interruptions or regressions in eating, sleep or potty training, he may begin to act out behaviorally, or become overly emotional or clingy. The adjustment is also difficult for the sheer fact that mom’s attention is now split where it was once undivided. Getting used to a new sibling is the ultimate lesson in learning to share for a toddler and for some that concept is harder to accept than others.
Momtrends: What are some tips that you give to families when they are having a 2nd or 3rd child?
Rachel Cedar: Ask for help! As moms we become used to multi-tasking and filling numerous rolls at once, but we don’t always have to bear the burden of handling every little thing. Letting others help you in those early weeks of adjustment will be invaluable to regaining your strength after delivery, and will help you to re-establish a new routine much more easily. Another piece of advice is to put the baby down or let others help by taking care of the baby so that you can spend some quality time with your older child. The baby doesn’t know the difference, but your older child does. Being able to give her your undivided attention for short periods of time will help with her adjustment and keep a strong positive connection between the two of you. Finally, it’s important to go easy on yourself and let a few things go in those weeks after the baby is born. Skipping bath time, ordering take-out, or letting your child wear her pajamas all day out in public is totally fine if it makes things a bit easier on you. This is about more than choosing your battles mommas—it’s about saving your sanity too!
Momtrends: What are some common fears parents face when they have another child?
Rachel Cedar: Expectant parents tend to experience a variety of worries and fears about how the new baby will change the dynamic in the family. There seems to be universal worries about whether or not there will be enough love to go around or enough quality time to spend with each child. Parents worry about the logistics of taking care of two (or more!) at the same time, getting out the door on time, managing dinner, bath & bedtime solo. There are fears about whether you will ever sleep again, take a vacation again, or go to the bathroom alone again…! What I have come to see with most all these fears however, is that they are largely unfounded.
Parents don’t give themselves enough credit for how capable and competent they have become after having their first child. Sure things are overwhelming and challenging in the early weeks of adjustment, but all parents will eventually hit their stride and establish a new normal. After a few months, it’s hard to remember what life was like before the new baby arrived!
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were give samples for review.