Nesting at 37 Weeks: Preparing a Toddler for a New BabyEmily McClements
I’m 37 weeks pregnant, and we are ready for this baby to make her arrival at any time! As much as I don’t want to dwell too much on her impending arrival, because I know it could still be several more weeks, it’s pretty hard to think of much else when you’re belly is bulging, your back is aching, your stomach is cramping and contracting (even though nothing is really happening), and your brain is in ‘preparing for baby’ overdrive.
This is our third baby, and I’ve realized that I don’t really nest the way some women do. I don’t get these overwhelming urges to clean my house (although I kinda wish I did). But I do get the strong urge to get everything ready, and prepared, for when the baby arrives.
I’ve been sorting through baby clothes, washing them and getting them ready for her. I’ve been building up my newborn cloth diaper stash, and nagging my hubs about getting the bassinet and car seat out of the basement so they can be cleaned and ready for her.
I’ve been ‘window’ shopping for baby clothes and gear around the internet like a crazy woman, even though we don’t really need anything new at this point, at all! And I’ve been making lists. Oh, how I love my lists!
One of the main things I’ve been working on before the baby comes, is getting my toddler ready for a new baby to join the family.
And I don’t mean talking to him about how mommy is going to be busy giving lots of attention to the baby, how I’ll have to be sitting and nursing, and not up and playing (not that I do that all that much anyway, especially when I’m nine months pregnant).
What I’ve been working on is trying to break some bad habits, and establish some good ones in their place, that will make life easier on us, and for my son, once this new baby arrives.
Picking up Toys
I’ve really been working with both of my kids on picking up what they are playing with before they move onto the next thing. And also on picking up as we transition between things during our day, like before lunch, before quiet time, and before bed time.
Part of this has to do with the fact that I physically can’t bend over and pick up all their stuff off the floor, but also because I want to develop this habit for them, so when I’m stuck in a chair nursing the baby, the house isn’t getting totally trashed.
This one is going okay for us. Some days are better than others. My daughter is pretty good about it and is really grasping the idea. She tries to get her brother to help, but usually she’s just being mean and bossing him around. And he may pick up a few things, but still gets super easily distracted. It’s definitely a work in progress.
Nap Time/Quiet Time
I shared last month about how we were implementing a new quiet time routine. It has made nap time much easier, and my kids had been doing pretty well with doing their quiet activity and then falling asleep on their own. But, in the last week or so, my son has been having a harder time settling down and actually falling asleep. His actual nap time keeps getting later and later, which pushes bedtime back, so we’re kind of creating a new bad habit with that.
To try to help him fall asleep sooner, and because I’ve been so tired in the afternoons this past week, I’ve been laying down with him to help him settle down and fall asleep, and taking a little nap myself. Which is another bad habit because I won’t necessarily be able to do that once the baby is born – although I’m sure I’ll still be up for taking afternoon naps after being up with the babe during the night!
We’ve also changed our bed time routine to help our kids learn to fall asleep in their beds on their own. We had been continuing to rock them to sleep because it worked, but as my belly got bigger, I couldn’t sit comfortably in the rocking chair with them anymore. So now we sit on their bed and read a few books and then they lay in their own beds. We sing a few songs and give hugs and kisses and then leave the room.
Sometimes they fall asleep quickly, sometimes they come out a few times to tell us they need a drink, or for one more hug and kiss, and sometimes they talk to each other and are silly for a while, and then eventually fall asleep. But no matter what, they’ve been doing a good job of falling asleep by themselves and sleeping through the night. Which will continue to be helpful once we have a baby we are up with in the night.
Getting Dressed by Himself
I’ve also been working on helping my son be able to pick out his clothes and get dressed by himself. He’s doing a pretty good job, when he doesn’t get too distracted. He sometimes picks out crazy outfits, and does needs help with some of his clothes (but this is one reason I love elastic waist pants!), but overall he does well with getting dressed, which will be helpful when I have a little one that can’t do anything on her own!
And one thing on my list that hasn’t gone according to plan:
I was really hopeful that my son would be potty trained before this baby arrived. We were doing well when he announced that he was all done with diapers. But since then he’s regressed, whether is was when I was away for a few days, or just that he’s still pretty young for a boy to potty train, or that lots of kids start potty training and then go back to diapers for a while.
At this point, I’m not going to try push this one too much, because I realize he’d probably regress once the baby arrives anyway if he’s not totally trained, which probably wouldn’t happen in just three weeks.
So those are the things I’m working on with my son to help him, and us, prepare for the addition of a new baby to our family. Hopefully they will pay off, and give us a little smoother transition from two to three little ones, because I’m kinda freaking out about how I’m going to handle the whole three kid thing – after all, I only have two hands!
Did you work on changing any habits with your toddler before you welcomed a new baby into your family?
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