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  • A Couple Meticulously Prepared Their Firstborn For A New Sibling. Did It Work?

    A couple shares their step-by-step guide how they prepared their daughter for what was to come.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
A Couple Meticulously Prepared Their Firstborn For A New Sibling. Did It Work?
PHOTO BY courtesy of Dale and Kassie Fernandez
  • When Kassie Fernandez and hubby Dale found out they were expecting another child, they did not waste time preparing their eldest, Izzy, on the new baby’s arrival. Starting as early as the first month of their second pregnancy, Kassie and Dale took careful and well-thought-out steps to ease the entry of baby Chewy into Izzy’s life.

    “Izzy was 1.5 years old when I got pregnant. There were a lot of stories from our friends of their eldest slapping, hitting, or sitting on the baby out of jealousy,” says 32-year-old full-time mom, Kassie. “We were worried about how Izzy would take not being the center of our world, but we introduced the idea with much excitement. She did like having a baby in my tummy like it was going to be a toy or a teddy bear,” she jests.

    It was a swing of emotions for both her and Izzy throughout the pregnancy, reveals Kassie. “I could tell she would get sad at times when she wanted me to carry her or play rough with her, and I couldn’t. I felt sad, too, like I was missing memories with her even though I was with her anyway. I’m very hands-on, so this was a big change for me, too.”

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    Preparing for a new sibling

    "The most important value we want to teach our kids is kindness. We always tell Izzy that her brother loves her so much so she has to be gentle with him and so he won’t get hurt."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Dale and Kassie Fernandez
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    Around the third trimester, Kassie and Dale tried to prepare Izzy further by introducing the idea of sharing her toys and taking care of her soon-to-be baby brother once he arrives. “We also made gifts ‘from Chewy to Izzy’ like a gift of her favorite chocolates, so her first memories of him would be positive,” says Kassie.

    A month before the baby arrived, they weaned Izzy from sleeping with them. She slept with her yaya for half of the week and then with them. The setup was to let her know she was not being pushed aside because of the new baby.

    Izzy was also being prepared for the days when the new baby would demand almost 100% of mommy’s time. “I think big deal yung we always do things ahead of time, like transitioning her to a yaya or getting her used to walking and hindi na masyado binubuhat. When Chewy came, it wasn’t one big BOOM of changes. The changes already happened months in advance,” says Dale.

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    Did the preparations for a new sibling work?

    For every hug Izzy gives her little brother, her parents give her hugs "ten times fold!"
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Dale and Kassie Fernandez

    While the early preparations helped, it was a different story once baby Chewy finally arrived. “The early months were hard. [Izzy] wanted a cuddle every time the baby was breastfeeding, and she would push Chewy aside. She couldn’t understand yet why Chewy needed to be with me, why he was fragile. I needed to push her aside a bit to Dada or Yaya because we were breastfeeding on-demand,” shares Kassie. 

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    Kassie adds another challenge of having a second baby: her eldest wanted to become a baby again. “She would want to try breastfeeding again or wanted us to change her diapers even if she was potty trained already. She pretty much acts like a baby again, but as months went by, she got the rhythm of taking care of babies.”

    Izzy's behavior would swing from clingy daughter to loving Ate to mommy in-charge, observes Kassie. Throughout this process, Kassie and Dale made sure to patiently guide their eldest through each behavior and pause to find the humor in it as well. “I think in general she was happy to have ‘a new toy’ just like having a new pet at home but there were bouts of needing more time with me,” says Kassie.

    She adds, “It wasn’t long before she understood that the baby needed to be taken care of so she would instruct us to change diapers, bathe, or feed the baby. We always said we’re not sure how ready she is to be an older sister, but we definitely know she’s ready to be a mom!”

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