I think I'll have to write another post on this in the future because we are still adjusting to Jack's arrival, and transitioning from 1 to 2 kids, but I wanted to do a post about it now as well...while we're in the thick of things!
Piper and Jack are 18 months apart, so she is still quite dependent on us for pretty much everything. This has made it a little challenging because obviously newborns are very needy too. I have felt a LOT of mum guilt as I've navigated this transition. I feel guilty for not being able to give Piper 100% of my attention like she's used to (even though I know having a sibling and learning to be more independent is good for her). On the other side, I feel guilty for not being able to just snuggle Jack 24/7 like I did with Piper. He still gets LOTS of cuddles, and I'm soaking up this newborn stage, but I wish I could give them both all of me, all the time. Apparently that's not possible though haha. I'm figuring it out as I go though and trying my very hardest to be the best mum to them both.
Piper LOVED Jack from the get-go, and hasn't tried hurting him or anything like that (yet). She smothers him with kisses and hugs every day, and asks for him when she wakes up. When Jack isn't in the room with us, she races around the house until she finds him. She has done really, really with that, which I'm grateful for. She HAS had a lot more tantrums though and has been more clingy than normal. Jack is now 6 weeks old, and I will say these past couple of weeks have been much better. The first few weeks were ROUGH haha. She's recently started laying on the floor and *fake* crying like a baby when she doesn't get her way...so that's fun.
I know this transition is difficult in different ways depending on the age gap, but from our situation, here's what I'm finding helps:
While I was pregnant, I always pointed out babies to Piper, and acted really excited about them (well, I didn't really act because I am actually obsessed with babies). We would say hi to them, or wave to them, and she still to this day loves seeing babies and saying hello. I bought her a baby boy doll (I just got this cheap one off Amazon) and I constantly showed her how to give him kisses, and be "so soft" and gentle. Because she is still quite young, I couldn't explain to her that a new baby was coming, and how she gets to be an older sister, and make her excited for that. I could only teach her about babies and how to be kind to them.
When we started getting all the baby stuff out for Jack, I would show her everything and say it was for "baby" (we still call Jack "baby" about 80% of the time haha). She would run over to his stuff throughout the day and say "baby", and did the same thing right when we brought him home from the hospital. I think it helped her connect the two together and also not feel like her things were being taken away from her.
KEEP THINGS AS "NORMAL" AS POSSIBLE
I think this has been the most important thing during this transition. Someone told me that the baby won't remember being placed down during the day, but the toddler will remember feeling like they come second. This has been a HUGE change for Pipes because she didn't know a baby was coming, she didn't know what that would mean, and she wasn't able to understand why things suddenly changed. Every day I try to keep somewhat of the same routine for her to give her a sense of stability. She still drinks her milk and cuddles in bed with me in the morning. We still go on walks outside every day. We still play together in her room during the afternoon. Her bedtime routine is still the same, etc. Obviously I can't stop everything from changing, and our schedule has had to adapt, but I feel like keeping specific things we used to do every day the same has really helped her.
Another thing I've made sure to do is have one-on-one time every day. I think this is the most important one. When Jack is taking a nap, I will put him down in the next room (where I can still see and hear him), and do something with just Piper and I. Whether it's just colouring together, playing with her toys, or making cookies together - those things make a difference, no matter how small. Since she's too young to EXPLAIN that I still love her even if there is another little one, I can SHOW her that she's still loved and important. Sometimes we do bigger things together, and other times it's simply just dancing to music and running around without Jack.
We also try to have alone time during her bedtime routine or, if possible, BOTH of us alone with her. As she winds down and we do bath time, sing songs and read bedtime books, we try to keep distractions minimal and let her know how special she still is to us.