Monday, March 10, 2014

Preparing the boys for their new baby brother

This post is brought to you by Green Cross Insect Repellent Lotion.

My blog sponsor Green Cross asked me to talk about preparing my kids for the new baby's arrival because they have an article on their Mommy PROs app over at their Facebook page ("When Baby #1 Becomes an Ate or Kuya") and they wanted me to expound on the topic, too. I should be an expert, right, since Vito took to Iñigo quite well, despite these photos saying otherwise:
Unhappy Vito when Iñigo was a newborn.
Naughty Vito happy to sit on his baby brother.

But I'm really no expert. Vito was only 22 months old when Iñigo was born but he processed the change in his life quickly and took to his role as big brother with relish. His ability to get over himself and welcome Iñigo with love is a testament to his own emotional maturity and empathy. Vince and I don't really have anything to do with it. We did follow some tips and tricks from other parents:
1. Tell everyone your baby is in contact with (yayas, grandparents, aunts and uncles, your friends) never ever to tease your child about the new baby. For example, "Mommy will have a new baby soon. Mommy won't love you anymore!" You shouldn't tease your kid either. Your child will feel threatened and will resent his new sibling. 
2. Make your child feel excited about the new arrival. This can get tricky because if you get him too excited ("You'll have a new playmate! You'll have a best friend forever!") and then the baby comes out and is basically a screaming, pooping, crying blob for the first six months, your firstborn might think you were lying to him haha. 
3. Give your eldest child a gift from the baby. Everyone gave this advice, so days before I was due to give birth, we bought a Lightning McQueen toy for Vito and packed it in the hospital bag. When Vito came to see his new baby brother, Iñigo had McQueen in his hand (well, kinda haha) and we told Vito that his brother had a gift for him. Vito was thrilled to bits, and that relationship was off to a great start!

Like I said, I'm not so worried about Vito. First, he's already gone through this. Second, he's almost 4 so he understands that he's got another sibling coming. Last, he's actually excited about the whole thing. He keeps patting my tummy and talking to Baby Chicken and saying, "I love Baby Chicken." Sometimes he yells to the little guy inside, "Come out, Baby Chicken! Come out now!" And I go, "Not yet, not yet. He's not big enough." And then he'll go yell again to my tummy, "Eat, Baby Chicken! get big now!" Silly Vito.

As for Iñigo, well, I'm worried about that bunny.

I mentioned before that he's my clingy son. He's so possessive, he's so jealous. Sigh! One of the biggest reasons I breastfed my kids is because studies say breastfed babies are loads more independent than formula-fed ones, so you can say I'm a bit disappointed that that study didn't apply to my second boy. Didn't apply to my first one either since Vito was mix-fed and he was fiercely independent from Day 1. I'm not against breastfeeding, okay? I still think it's one of the best things I ever gave my kids and myself. I just now think that a child's independence is not in the milk, it's in the kid's personality.

Iñigo was breastfed exclusively (not even bottle-fed with expressed milk!) till middle of last month (breastfed exclusively for 21 months!). But he clings soooo much, it drives everyone crazy in this house. For example, when he sees me and Vince sitting beside each other, he'll get really mad and burrow himself in between us. Every single time. It's a miracle Vince and I found a way to get pregnant again! It's just insane how Iñigo can't bear it for me to be with anyone. Even when I'm talking to other people, he hates it. I'm hoping he'll grow out of this insecurity because I can say with all confidence that neither Vince nor I have done anything to make Iñigo feel insecure. Aside from the exclusive breastfeeding, he also benefited from having no yayas, growing up with both parents taking care of him 24/7, and having a caring older brother.

Don't get me wrong—Iñigo is a sweet baby boy. Very affectionate and kissy and huggy. Unlike Vito. Vito can be affectionate but in a bro kinda way. And he's more verbal than showy. If he does hug and kiss, it's very brief and quick. When we hug and kiss him, you can tell he just tolerates the whole exercise. But Iñigo relishes hugs and kisses, and lavishes us with so much affection. He likes to touch, he likes sitting on our laps, he likes cuddles. He's a total darling.

So I'm worried about my second boy. We're already preparing him for the baby's arrival the way we did with Vito for Iñigo, but I have a niggling thought that whatever we do won't be enough. Do you have any more tips?

For more ideas, check out the suggestions on the Green Cross Mommy PROs Facebook app now.

P.S. For this post, I read a previous blog post about how Vito reacted to Iñigo's arrival ("My one mommy heartbreak"). It made me cry, remembering how it was for Vito, and yet it also made me super proud of how wonderful their relationship now is.

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  1. Frances, you just made me teary-eyed!! I want your problems. I will give up my blogging life (though I know I'm not as famous as you are hehe) and all of the material things that make me happy if that would mean I'd have a 2nd baby. Sigh. OK, I'm not helping you. Haha! Just want to let you know that I think your 2nd boy will be okay... eventually. You and Vince seem to be great parents, despite the unusual confession that you didn't want to have kids. Excited to see Baby Chicken on your social media. :)

    1. Yes, I don't want him to have middle-child syndrome =(

      And yes, I wish you to get pregnant ASAP! Pag-pray natin yan!

    2. Hay. It sucks to be in the middle (I am!) but thinking about it, kami yung madalas mahusay mag-adjust for the star of the family panganay and everybody's darling na bunso. And that makes us special --- that would make that cute bunny extra special. Naiimagine ko his eyes 'pag lumabas na si Baby Chicken and you will breastfeed him na. Gets kita. Huggggs. ♥

    3. I'm a middle child, too, but I never suffered. I relished it haha. I liked being in the background and being left alone with my books =)

  2. Hi Frances!

    Congrats on having another baby boy :)

    I do not have a need yet to prepare my 13-month old for a sibling because we aren't planning to have one in the very near future (yet). But, I would like to encourage you that nothing beats patience. Extend your patience in preparing and assuring Iñigo that he will always be loved even if a new baby is coming along. I suggest that you also start calling him Kuya Iñigo when talking to him about the baby. I am sure that he will get the hang of his new role :)

    I hope that I have helped you.

    May the Lord continue to bless your entire family :)

    1. Because of your tip, I started calling him Kuya Iñigo today and then pointed to my tummy and said he'll be like Kuya Vito to Baby Chicken. He seems to like it =) Thanks!

  3. I have 3 girls (well the 3rd wasn't really planned) and I was terrified with the "middle child syndrome". I was too worried for my second daughter that I even gave her a title to make her feel special. Yes, our Favorite Middle Child (of course we also have a favorite eldest child and a favorite youngest child, hehe!). But whenever I and the middle child have a chance to bond alone, I remind her how lucky and special she is since she's the only one who has both a big sister and a small sister. So whenever she feels like doing big girl stuff or if she has any problem and needs help she can be with the Big Ate and when she feels like she wants to play little girl stuff (or wants someone to boss around) then she can choose to be with her small sister. She's the only one who's got that choice, and she loves the idea. :)


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!