When Baby Arrives
No matter how young your child, have him meet the baby in the hospital. "Your being away for the birth might be your child's first long separation from you. Going to see you reduces the scariness," says Clauss-Ehlers. Don't expect too much bonding during the visit; your older child's emotions are sure to be overwhelming and mixed, so just follow his lead and give lots of hugs. Gifts from the baby to the big kid and vice versa will help smooth their first encounter.
Once you're all home, you'll inevitably be engrossed in caring for your newborn while trying to meet the needs of your older child -- and wondering how you can survive the whole thing on little sleep. But try to find time every day for just your older child. Leave the baby with Daddy or Grandma while you and your big kid slip out of the house for ice cream or a trip to the playground. Says Clauss-Ehlers: "Let her know that she is important -- and that she is not replaceable."