Seeking Advice

OK wise mommies of the blogosphere. I need some advice. 

We are gearing up for the arrival of baby #2 in just a few weeks, a boy. Our other child, also a boy, is 2.5 years old and is quite a pistol. A charmer, and sometimes tender, but still a pistol. Described by others as “3 little boys rolled into one.” We are thrilled to be adding another one to our little home–I always wanted 2 boys. 
Here’s where the advice comes in: How do I make the transition from only child, alpha male to big brother as positive and sweet as possible? I expect some roadbumps–the big brother in question is 2, after all. Recommendations for before the baby arrives? For after? Does he need a baby of his own? I have no idea!
Tell me everything you know! 

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Kimberly day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.


  1. Leslie Mingo :

    So glad you asked. I am a mother of a 5 year old BOY 3 year old BOY and baby girl. My boys are 22 months apart. I has so nervous to bring a second boy home. My first was still so little and used to ALL the attention.

    Here are some things I did to get him ready. I bought him a boy baby doll and let him love it and sleep with it and I talked to him about having another baby brother in our house hold. I also bought a present for the older brother for when he first came to the hospital to meet his baby brother. When the big brother came to see me at the hospital, I spent time with him on my lap before I introduced him to his new sibling. Then I told him that his little brother had brought him a gift.

    Another thing you might try is telling people who come to the house to say HI to the older son first. Make him feel like he has a special role in the family now as a big brother and helper. Don’t make him feel pushed aside when visitors come.

    It was a hard transition at first for everyone but now I LOVE having them so close in age. They are great with each other.

  2. bekka :

    We also go our little boy a baby to play with in anticipation of his sisters arrival. Stressing that we are soft with the baby, I would ask him if the baby need a diaper change etc.
    We also got him a present to give her and a present for her to give him, matching elephants that he picked out, for when they first met.
    We’ve tried to include him on everything and talk about what we are doing with her and why. He’s 2 she’s 4 months and he has been sweeter and gentler than I ever could have imagined *knock on wood*
    good luck!

  3. jen :

    my oldest was 3 when her lil’ sis was born. but i have a suggestion (or two) …
    — remember that your oldest CAN help. little things like … getting mommy a diaper for the baby, throwing something away, find the baby a pacifier … they love to be little helpers at that age.
    — have a special basket of toys that get brought out during nursing/feeding sessions. keeps big kid occupied with something new(er).
    — we made our daughters matching “hospital” bracelets to wear. because the new baby belonged as much to her as us, we felt.
    the hardest part for us was her leaving me in the hospital. i think more than anything, she was worried and scared about me being there overnight. i thought grandma and grandpa and auntie would remedy it … but she was overwhelmingly worried. i wish i would have prepared ourselves more for that. maybe extra fun activities to do with caregivers, jobs to do (bake mommy some cookies), etc. i ended up giving her my drivers license to take home with her, telling her that i needed her to take good care of it.
    good luck!

  4. Jenny :

    When my second was born and my (older) baby came to see us for the first time at the hospital I was not holding the new baby and we chatted and caught up and snuggled before introducing the new baby and that made my child happier about the whole ‘mommy is in the hospital and we have a new baby’ thing.

    I never figured out how to get the oldest child used to accustomed to all the crying. I wish I had been better at that. The kids nursing basket was also such a lifesaver.

  5. kim :

    my boys (6,4,2) are all 2yrs apart and i would always take adavntage of talking up the big brother(s) to the baby ie “isnt he so cool? dont you love how he dressed himself? you want him to teach you to do it when you’re older? he can teach you to use the big boy potty too right ‘big brother’?” and also take advantage of the baby being a baby and dote on the big boy unlike when big boy was a baby and you only doted on him.

    in my experience the transition is way better than expected. it’s when the baby turns 1-2yo that my older one(s) have regressed or acted out for attention the most. or maybe it’s just 4yo boys in general? but i think bc 18-24 months is an age where they can ‘compete’ better with the 4yo that older brother notices it most.

    1on1 time is always important and something we more than 1 moms often forget.

  6. Jeanne :

    I have two girls and my oldest we all thought was very much a very strong personality (“alpha”) and we were worried about adding the second almost exactly 2 1/2 years after our first. What we have discovered over the past year and a half is that our second is even more “alpha” than our first. She refuses to take a back seat to her older sister and very much considers herself an “equal” to her older sister. She is even more strong willed than her older sister which was a huge surpise to us. My advice is to see what kind of personality your second child has and see how it works out from there. I regularly try and schedule time one-on-one with each of my children where they get to spend time with me (and my husband) without the their sibling around. I find that goes a long way and that they seem to appreciate having that alone time with their parent or parents. I think that the time that I get to focus on just them helps so much. Good luck!

  7. The Bee Hive :

    I love boys! Have two myself (almost three and almost one). I agree, the transition is much easier than expected, the only hard part was breastfeeding. What I did was made a trip to the dollar store (and Target’s dollar section), got a bunch of books, toys, etc. and wrapped them all individually. I hid them in places throughout the house that he would never get into initially. When breastfeeding, if he got anxious or annoyed, I would simply make a game out of it and he would have to find it (all while I was sitting on the couch nursing the babe)… it was so successful! He would spend the rest of the feeding playing with his new toy/ reading the new book. It worked wonders! That only lasted about a week before he realized that nursing was just a part of reality (then he proceeded to start nursing his baby, lol).

    Don’t worry too much, he’ll do fine!

  8. noreen :

    my girls are the same difference in age, my oldest was about 2 1/2 when we had our baby. Best advice is to have the baby wait sometimes and help your older one first, when possible. If the baby is just starting to fuss and your older son asks you for something ‘tell’ the baby ‘you have to wait a minute while I help your big brother’ that way when you have to get to the baby first you can remind the older son that the baby had to wait earlier. It worked great for me and now at 3 1/2 and almost 6 they are best friends.
    I hope that made sense.
    Also we had a stuffed animal for the baby (a gift from my sister) and my oldest loved it so much we told her the baby would want her to have it and got a new one for the baby (they both still love those stuffed bears)
    Lastly sometimes my oldest wanted to be a baby so I let her, I would pick her up and rock her like a baby, sing to her, and talk to like she was a baby (we still play this on occassion)

  9. the emily :

    I wish I knew more, but I only have one tip. What worked for us when we added our second baby (second boy too!) was giving our older boy a job. He was also 2 1/2 at the time. His job was to get the diaper for us when we changed baby 2’s diaper. He felt so big to be able to do a job for us. And that way, the baby was HIS baby too, not just mom’s or dad’s. WE talked about it for weeks before the baby was born: “When brother comes, your job is going to be to get us a diaper. Can you show me how you’ll get a diaper for baby?” and when he finally got to do it, he LOVED it. After a few days the novelty wore off but it really did the trick.

  10. Mindy :

    I am a Mother of an 8 year old and a 6 year old, but they are actually only 16 months apart…

    I did get my first little guy a doll all his own, before my youngest was born. We played with the doll together, changing diapers, feeding it and giving it baths. My oldest was very tender with his doll and I remember telling people how sweet he was, always so careful… then one day I walked into his room and he was holding it by it’s legs wacking it against his dresser. Boys will be boys! LOL

    Also, just so ya know, “if” your oldest were to grab your brand new two week old baby by the foot and drag him off the couch, all will be well! Two week old babies bounce ;)
    (I am “not” admitting that his happened to my two week old baby…. horror of all horrors!)

    Also baby brothers are REALLY fun to color blue with markers, and they lay so still when you cover their faces with stickers… Again, I am not admitting anything here….

  11. Petit Elefant :

    I’m loving all this great advice! Where were all of you when I was bringing home baby #2?

  12. KJ :

    fabulous words of wisdom, mommies. thanks. so many things I hadn’t thought of. speak up more often!

  13. Wendy :

    We have 3 boys. The first time we added a new baby our son was 3.5yrs old. We bought him a present from the baby. Let me tell you, that was a smashing success! When we added the youngest boy the middle child was 3 months short of 2, I don’t think he caught the full impact of “present from the newcomer” but, hey what child doesn’t like presents?

  14. cara :

    My boys are 23 months apart and my oldest turns 3 in June, so I have some [recent] experience with this. I would say one overall piece of advice is that no matter how much you “prepare” your oldest for #2’s arrival, it’s not going to really sink in until the new one is at home. And even then, it will take some time for your oldest to realize that he is there to stay! So, I wouldn’t worry as much about preparing your oldest as I would having some strategies/tactics in mind for when #2 is actually at home and you’re in the day-to-day with both kids. A few tips: 1) When son #1 comes to the hospital, be sure that you’re not holding the baby when he comes into the room. Also, if possible, get up out of the bed and greet him standing up or sitting in a chair. My son really freaked out when he saw mommy lying down in some strange bed. 2) Encourage #1 to help in any way possible by grabbing a burp cloth, throwing a dipe away, etc. Make sure he knows that he’s just as loved and useful. 3) Make it a point (yes, even in the early days of #2’s arrival) to spend one-on-one time with #1. Whether you go to the park for 30 minutes or read books together, spend time with just him. 4) Talk about #2 in 3rd person. “Little Mikey really likes his older brother. He thinks you’re really funny. Can you play peekaboo with him again?” Stuff like that seems to help my older son connect with the littler one.

    Hope these things help! Good luck, and if I can give you one piece of “been-there-done-that” advice it would be to not overthink it. But that’s easier said than done!

  15. Amy :

    I did the present thing also and that worked great. More importantly, when my son would hold his baby sister on his lap, I would say to him.. “look at how she looks at you… She loves you so much” I did this often and he was so good to her over the years and they are now 14 and 11. Still very good to each other.