Talking to your partner and discussing what both of your expectations are for when your baby comes home, will help to relieve some of the stress you may experience.
You may find that your partner has a different idea of his role than you do. He may see himself as the breadwinner and not responsible for anything around the house, although this is quite an old-fashioned view on fatherhood.
Most men today, relish the opportunity of helping to raise their children with a "hands-on" approach. Try to let your partner take on as much as they are willing, it will lighten your load, and there is definitely no need to be a martyr.
If you can both establish what your expectations are while you are still rational, and before you begin to suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation, this will lead to a far more harmonious relationship. It might be a sensible idea to put a few ideas down on paper. Good luck.
Preparing a sibling
- Bringing a new baby into the world of a toddler can be extremely unsettling for them. You are the best judge of your child, so go with your instincts and tell them what you think they will need to know. Here is a guide to what you could maybe do:
- Most women do not tell their children about a new baby until around the 13th week. This is usually past the "danger time" of pregnancy and it shortens the wait for your toddler. Remember, they have no real concept of time and they will want the baby to come out, or stay in, as soon as you have told them.
- Try to include them in your discussions about the new baby as much as possible. One thing to keep in mind is try not to offer them choices like "Do want a brother or a sister?" as they clearly have no choice in the matter, or "What shall we call the new baby?", unless they actually do have an input in to choosing the name.
- Try to set up situations where they can be involved in the decision, such as buying clothes, setting up the nursery and positioning of furniture. Let your toddler select a gift for his new brother or sister that he can take with him to visit you at the hospital.
- Most children respond well to honesty and they appreciate knowing what will happen to them while you are away in hospital. Will someone from the family be staying at your house or is your toddler going to stay with friends?
- Although you are feeling very tired as a result of being pregnant, try not to use this as a reason why you’re not able to do something for your toddler. They will pick up on this and it may create resentment towards your baby even before birth.
- Buying a gift for your toddler from your baby that you can give to him when he first visits you in hospital, is a great way to introduce your new baby.
- Bringing a new baby home can be very destabilising for your toddler, be prepared for some changes in their behaviour as they strive to find their place in this new extended family.