Introducing a Newborn to a Toddler 

As many of you know, Kandra, the owner of Rocky Mountain Sleeping Baby is also the proud mother of two beautiful children. When she was pregnant with her second child, Kandra often worried about how to introduce the newborn to her toddler, and what the reception would be. As a guest writer for this blog, I sat down with Kandra to ask her to share her experience as a mother of one, who was quickly going to be a mother of two and to capture her thoughts on how she feltthe transition went. 

Hi Kandra! I am sure it feels a little odd being interviewed as you are usually the one behind the blogs. Thanks for allowing us to capture your thoughts and feelings and providing guidance to other parents who will be adding to their families.  Let’s begin!

Question: Kandra, what are the names and ages of your children? 

Owen is 5 and Cody is 2.

QuestionThinking back to when both of your kids were newborns, what do you think the biggest differences were between each of them?

Easy! Cody, my second was a natural sleeper. He came out ready to sleep. Even if I knew nothing about pediatric sleep he would have been fine. Even at 2.5 he still routinely asks to take his nap at the same time each day and is ready for bed by 7!

Owen, my first fought sleep like it was a full-time job from the moment he was born. Hence my career choice!

QuestionWhen you were pregnant with Cody, how did you first begin to introduce the idea of a sibling to him, and what did you say to him to prepare for this addition? 

I know this goes against what most experts recommend but I actually told Owen right after getting a positive pregnancy test. This wasn’t on purpose. It took over a year to conceive Cody. Month after month of negative pregnancy tests was heartbreaking. The morning I found out I was pregnant with Cody was right before I got Owen up for the day. I jokingly asked if he saw the 2nd line and he immediately said “mama baby” and pointed to my tummy.

I know this sounds made up but it was a very memorable moment. It was as if he already knew, and he was thrilled I was finally finding out! Owen has been incredible ever since. We often joke that he went to big brother school at night because he is so great. 

QuestionAs your belly grew, did Owen have more questions, or did you share more details about the baby? 

Owen had lots of questions! He was also constantly trying to get Cody to kick his hand. Many of his questions revolved around when he was growing in my belly and if it was the same process. 

QuestionDid you and your husband introduce your newborn to Owen at the hospital or at home? What do you think what has made a difference in the initial meeting? 

Cody was born 5 months prior to Covid. We are so grateful Owen was able to come to the hospital to meet him. Owen was naturally nervous. A friend had told me to have a gift ready for Owen from “the baby.” I honestly thought this was a bit ridiculous but had one on hand just in case. I am so glad I did!

Owen was obsessed with super hero’s. I had a new costume wrapped and ready to go. When my husband gave it to him and said it was from Cody he lit up. His mood immediately shifted and he has been in love with his superhero costume-giving brother ever since. 

QuestionOnce you arrived back home, how would you say the adjustment for Owen realizing Cody was now here to stay, and that he had to share your and your husband’s attention with his new little brother? 

I know I keep saying this but Owen has been incredible. He was truly just so excited for a sibling. I don’t know how we got so lucky but there hasn’t been any jealously. I truly believe a factor in this was Cody’s napping. I would get Cody down in his crib for at least a nap or two a day. This allowed for 1 on 1 time with Owen from the beginning. When Cody got up, Owen missed him and was ready to see him.

QuestionWhat was the biggest adjustment for you or your husband as you navigated life with a family of four? 

Honestly, everything. So many friends talked about how “easy” the transition from 1 to 2 was. This wasn’t the case for me. Even with such a smooth transition, my postpartum with Cody was very tough. Nothing like I had experienced with Owen. It wasn’t until Cody was about a year old that I felt like I finally had a hang of this 2 kiddo gig.

QuestionDid your boys share a room, or did Cody start out room-sharing with you and your husband? Did that affect Owen’s sleep schedule at all? 

Cody was in our room for the first few weeks. He has never shared a room with Owen. Owen’s sleep was never affected. I truly do practice what I preach. My husband and I remained incredibly consistent with Owen’s sleep when Cody was born. He never wavered! 

QuestionWhat is the hardest part about two different sleep schedules? Newborns and toddlers need a lot of sleep, though often at very different times, correct? 

Correct! Owen dropped his nap at 2.5 years old. Before Cody was born. Despite my desperation for him not to. Owen has always required the least amount of sleep suggested for his age. Owen did and still does quiet time while Cody is napping. Our situation is a bit different though, Cody was a young baby with Covid hit. We really weren’t going anywhere. Staying home for nap schedules wasn’t too difficult to navigate. 

QuestionAs Cody grew, what changes did you make to his sleep schedule, and at what age did you start introducing sleep training to him? 

Cody was falling asleep independently at bedtime at 2 weeks old. This is where my knowledge really came in handy. Because of this skill we never really had to formally sleep train him. At 6 months old I did pull his final night feed which took a few nights to adjust but it wasn’t too bad since he already had full independent sleeping skills at that point. 

QuestionWhat was some of the best advice you received from other moms when introducing Owen and Cody for the first time? 

That hospital gift. I can’t recommend it enough!! 

QuestionDo you think your boys are a lot alike or do they have very different personalities? Do you think they take after you or your husband more? 

The boys are very opposite in personality. They also look quite opposite as well. It is funny though, just because they have opposite personalities doesn’t mean they don’t do things the same. So many milestones that pass for Cody my husband and I often say “Owen used to do the same exact thing!”

QuestionWhat is something you love about having more than one child? 

At 5 and 2 they are FINALLY playing with each other. I feel like it took so long to get to this stage but being able to cook dinner while watching them play together in the backyard feels like a real parenting milestone!

QuestionDo you have any last advice you would like to share? 

Be patient with the transition. Every child takes to it so differently. Give yourself grace. There will be extra screen time, junk food, survival mode really. One day you will get your head above the water again. Until then, be kind to yourself!

Thanks for your time today, and letting our readers get to know you a little more personally, and for providing us a little more in-depth look into your life. 

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