There was a soft knock on the hospital door. The mom I was talking with hardly had time to say, "come in" and then her 3-year-old, Joey, confidently entered the room with a huge smile. He proudly placed daffodils in her hands and asked, "where's the new baby, mommy?" This is one of my favorite moments of my workday, when an older sibling meets their new brother or sister for the first time. It is magical and memorable for families.

The next day, when I went back to talk alone with the mom, she earnestly revealed she was worried about how Joey would adjust. I validated that her concern is one of the most common issues parents bring up when we meet with our families on the Mother-Baby unit at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

Here are some suggestions to help an older child with the transition of gaining a new sibling:

1. Keep the older siblings routine the same as much as possible. Try to avoid changes such as toilet training or switching beds or rooms.

2. Give a gift from the newborn to the older sibling, and the older sibling can color a picture as a gift for their newborn sibling.

3. Set aside one-on-one time every day with the older sibling, even if it's just ten minutes. I suggest turning off your phone, putting it in a drawer out of sight, and turning off all electronics. Put your older sibling on your lap and cuddle while you read a book together. It is helpful if you can do this every day at a certain time, for instance immediately after dinner. That way, the older sibling will feel adored every day with consistency.

4. Check out books from your local library. Here are some of my favorites:
    -A New Baby is Coming! by Emily Menendez-Aponte
    -I Used To Be The Baby, by Robin Ballard
    -Spots Baby Sister, by Eric Hill
    -Beyond Sibling Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Become Cooperative, Caring, and Compassionate, by Peter Goldenthal

5. Tour the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Family Birth Center for parents with children: www.stjoeshealth.org/classes. As a parent, facilitating the bond between your children is one of the best gifts you'll ever give them! Please call our office 734.434.3000 if you would like more information.

 

The first few days your body will make colostrum- a thick yellow/orange colored liquid that is VERY important for your baby to eat. It is nutritious and will help protect your baby from sickness. There may only be a tiny amount and that is OK and normal.

Between days 2-5 your milk will come in and will start to change to a creamy yellow to milky white color and there will be much more. The most wonderful thing is that your body will make milk according to your baby’s needs both in quantity and in nutrition!

To make sure you have enough milk, feed your baby when they ask to be fed or “on demand” feeding. There is no need to wait a certain amount of time before feeding and it could be less than an hour before your baby wants to feed again. It is normal for a newborn not to have a pattern for when they would like to eat and it is important for you to feed them often for both their health and to make sure you have enough milk for them.

Look for signs your baby is ready to eat such as:

  • Making soft sounds, whimpering- don’t wait for a full-blown cry to try!
  • Mouth movements- licking lips, sticking tongue out
  • Trying to put hands/fingers in mouth
  • Turning head toward breast or chest (this is called rooting)
  • They are awake and looking alert

The most important thing is to feed your baby when they ask to be fed and to make sure they are feeding every 2-3 hours for the first 2-3 weeks.

Don’t let your baby sleep through the night at first, if needed wake your baby at least every 3 hours. This will ensure that your baby is getting enough to eat and that your body makes enough milk.

This will be at least 8-12 feedings in a day and it may be more that is OK and normal.

Once your baby is older and stronger, they may not eat as many times each day and will be able to sleep for more hours at night.

How do I know if the feeding is good?
  • You can hear your baby swallowing and may see milk in their mouth when they are off the breast.
  • You feel your breasts are softer after feeding
  • You feel strong, deep pulling as your baby eats
  • Your baby nurses for about 15-20 minutes each side or 20-30 minutes on 1 side.
How do I know if they are full?
  • Your baby may become drowsy or sleepy after feeding
  • They look relaxed (hands and shoulders are relaxed)
  • Their mouth falls off your breast because they are so relaxed
How do I know if they are getting enough?
  • Your baby should have at least 6-8 wet/poopy diapers per day
  • We will check your baby’s weight when you come in for appointments to make sure they are gaining weight.
Call our office, IHA Pediatric Healthcare - Arbor Park, if you have any concerns, we are here to support you! (734) 434-3000

 

With the kids going back to school soon, now is a great time to get their annual checkup by their physician or health care provider. This visit is also the best time to make sure their immunizations are up-to-date with the current recommendations and school requirements.