As the positive result appeared on the test I’d taken to rule out being pregnant after a few days of feeling hideous, my emotional state ran the gamut from joy to surprise (it was a happy, unplanned accident after going through IVF) to panic, before finally settling on one I hadn’t expected: guilt.
My thoughts immediately went to my (then 18-month-old) son. I panicked about how a new baby would turn his life upside down, deprive him of our attention or make him feel second best. Thankfully, as my pregnancy progressed, the guilt subsided and I began to get excited about becoming a family of four. Now, two days away from my due date, I’ve found the anxiety about how it’s going to affect him creeping back in, and I’m thinking about how I can soften the blow.
The answer, wise friends who’ve done this before tell me, is a present from the new baby to their sibling. But what to buy? Obviously, it depends on the age – and current obsessions – of said sibling, but the general consensus (after canvassing aforementioned friends) is something that will keep them occupied – and alleviate the guilt when you’re stuck on the sofa cluster feeding – will last them a long time and make them feel involved in the newborn bubble. So, straight from parents who’ve been there, done that, and got the (milk-stained) t-shirt, here are seven new brother or sister presents to make that first meeting a little more harmonious…
This one came up again and again. Appointing big bro or sis the official family photographer is a great way to make them feel involved. The V-Tech Kidizoom is a firm favourite and comes in blue or pink, but mums also said a Polaroid is a great option too – the kids will love watching the image pop straight out. Once the pictures are printed, you can spend time creating a scrapbook with your older child.
Matching Cuddly Toys
My toddler was given the gorgeous Jellycat Bashful Bunny when he was born, so we’ve bought little sister the mini version. He calls it “bebe’s rabbit” and has been putting it in her moses basket, which is possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.
What better way to help an older sibling adapt to a new baby in the house than to buy them one of their own? We’re big fans of the Miniland dolls, but this Baby Born option comes with eleven accessories including a potty, feeding bowl and spoon, milk bottle, dummy and nappy so they can copy everything mum and dad do for the actual baby.
A lot of people told me to read books to my toddler ahead of the baby’s arrival. He’s really loved “There’s a House Inside My Mummy” and “You’re The Biggest” is very cute, but was perhaps a bit too grown-up for my two-year-old. “You Were the First” was another favourite, but I’ve been warned you need tissues to hand while reading! Writing for Tiny, whose books address worries, changes and milestones, is a great personalised option, and new books from a series they love are guaranteed to go down well too. We also love the Bookabees subscription. Fill in a form about your child’s age and likes and one, three or five (depending on how much you pay) books will arrive through your letterbox each month in a personalised box full of puzzles and stickers. You can either keep the books forever (for 50 per cent less than the RRP) or send them back.
This will obviously depend on what time of year your baby is due, but with summer approaching (and a house already full of toys) I’m keen for us all to get out in the garden and hoping this Chad Valley Sand and Water Table and trampoline will keep the toddler occupied. Many parents also raved about a mud kitchen – Wilko, B&M and Studio have some brilliant affordable options – or a balance bike or scooter if your older child doesn’t already have one.
Whatever They Love Right Now
Whether it’s Star Wars, Paw Patrol, Bing, Batman, Hey Duggee or Peppa, you can’t go wrong with some merch featuring their current favourite character. Attention-holding toys like Lego, Playmobil, Stickle Bricks and dress-up outfits also came highly recommended.
Big Brother and Sister Clothes
Ok so not technically a toy, but an outfit declaring their “big sibling” status is guaranteed to make them feel proud. From high street favourites to indie boutique brands, there’s no shortage of “sibling” styles out there, and it’s even cuter if you can get a matching one for the baby too. We love Bob and Blossom’s sweatshirts, My First Year’s dressing gown duo and Love Tree Design’s matching outfits options. Etsy even has a whole section dedicated to matching sibling styles.
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