I am a proud partner in the #PlaytexMoms campaign by Playtex Baby™ who is graciously sponsoring this post.
Before becoming a mother, I had so much more (perceived) control over things. I could control how much time it took me to get ready and leave the house in the morning. I could control how our house was kept and I could control how I accomplished what I needed to each day.
I think with each baby I have had to let go of more control. And also with each baby, I pray continuously to gain more patience.
Bringing Rush home, baby number three, was a big transition for us. Sylvie was no longer the baby but wanted her mom + independence at the same time. (She’s totally two.) Maven wanted to immediately help with everything, thinking she was far more capable than her three-year-old self actually was. And me, fresh from the hospital after delivering a baby, just wanted to quietly take care of our little one and get some peaceful moments together.
After going through some adjustment in the first few days (read about our transition from 2 to 3 kids – reflections from mom and dad! here), I was able to get my mama compass straightened out. These sweet girls of mine wanted to help. They were loving on their little brother and though sometimes they fought over who got to do what, they had the best of intentions.
I had to remind myself that we are on no timeframe, have no where we have to be and that it is my responsibility to teach them how to be his big sisters. This transition period was our time for everyone to adjust to their new roles in the family, not just mom and dad.
So, the big sisters helped. And they helped and they helped and they helped.
I let them help with diaper changes.
They often sandwich me in with two stools, one on either side. They hand me wipes and new diapers. They know to watch out for spraying liquid 😉 They get me new outfits and socks and help button up onesies. And they drop the diapers where they belong.
I never knew how entertaining a Playtex® Diaper Genie® Complete would be, but the girls LOVE putting diapers in it for me. Their little feet on the foot petal to open the top just make me smile, and as they drop it down, we all make sure it reaches the past the double air-tight clamps to seal in the odor. You better believe this is the favorite part for my diaper changing assistants. And the Playtex® Diaper Genie® Complete is kind of my favorite part of the nursery right now too, because we never have smelly diapers that make it unpleasant to spend time in the room.
I let them hold their brother.
Of course, they want to do this at the exact same time, so sometimes holding is one sister gets Rush’s top half and the other gets his bottom half, while other times they do take turns for a whole body hold. ☺️ Maven holds Rush and I encourage her to talk to him, look in his eyes and keep him cozy. Sylvie holds Rush and points out all of his expressions or announces when he has the hiccups or if he gently touches her with his tiny little fingers. Each sister has her own way with their little brother and it’s so fun to watch. I’m always on standby when they quickly announce they are all done with him, but really, sometimes Maven holding him is actually a big help. So, I continue to let them help in this area.
I let them lead play time.
Maven picked out a handmade quilt from her preschool to bring home for Rush as a gift right after he was born. This has become our play mat, so when the sisters know it’s play time, they bring out the mat and decide for themselves if he should get tummy time first or lay on his back to play. Rather than instruct what they should give him or get out of our baby toy drawer, I let them help by leading. They each pick out toys for him and basically pile everything around where he lays. They turn on the musical toys and put things slightly out of eyesight so he can raise his head while he’s on his tummy. It’s quite amazing how quickly they have learned how to encourage him + what he is capable of.
I let them help feed Rush.
We had a long talk before Rush was born about breastfeeding because Maven so desperately wanted to be able to help feed the baby. At first, both girls would sit SO close by while I was nursing, sometimes even on my lap + put their hands anywhere and everywhere to “help” that breastfeeding process. Something I had to harness a lot of extra patience for! But now that I’ve had a few times away from the house without bringing Rush along, they both have been able to help with the bottle. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud Maven is when she gets to do this. She beams when she tells me she had the opportunity to feed Rush. Sylvie helps too, but has a shortened attention span, for sure.
The Playtex™ Ventaire® Bottles are key for us right now because if you follow along on Instagram, you know that we’ve been working through very fussy periods and a bad case of infant reflux. The design of these bottles features a vent for air-free feeding and angled for a semi-upright feed. Ultimately, the bottle has both anti-reflux and anti-colic benefits… we’ll take as much benefit as we can in those areas right now!
They helped and helped and helped some more.
All of these things I let the girls help with, they’re actually learning opportunities for them. They learn how to listen, follow directions, gently take care of a baby, read his cues and develop their own personalities in the process too. They learn new words, new skills, new everything, all from being big sisters.
And this is all a learning opportunity for me as a mama, too. I learn to teach in ways they can understand, learn to provide age-appropriate guidance and learn to harness more patience. I’ve also learned that by wanting control and to just do it myself, we have so many more tears and outbursts as a result. Surely there are times this is necessary, but by letting them help every day, they can better understand when it’s a time that just mom (or dad) is needed.
I absolutely love and am proud of the big sisters my girls have become. Their hearts are so genuine and full of love and seriously, these girls of mine are SUCH little mamas. I love to watch them nurture their baby brother and I love to watch their care + concern for him. Adding a third baby has brought out new qualities within each of them and I have to say, it’s so incredibly wonderful that I don’t just let them help anymore… I want them to.
Photos by: Talia Laird Photography