How can you prepare your firstborn for her sibling’s arrival? Huda decided to give her daughter a baby doll…

MUM SAYS Preparing for a newborn sister

We had read so many articles on sibling jealousy and definitely didn't want that to happen between Hana and our new baby — we were wary of Hana’s feelings.

So we set out to get her some storybooks on welcoming a new member of the family, we got her a doll for her to look after as her own baby. We were a little alarmed to see her dragging the doll by its legs across the room or how she would repeatedly hit the doll's head! We did lots of [coached] pretend play, we talked about the baby together, she would touch my tummy and talk to baby, we bought them matching outfits…

You name it, we covered them all! We were so prepared. Then, along came Sara.

The first two weeks were pretty trying for us as Hana was being a little more challenging than usual, demanding our attention at all times. [My husband Hamzah and I] were struggling to divide our attention between the two girls and frankly, the tips that we read weren’t…working out. So we ended up tossing away all the “perfect parenting” tips and got it down OUR way!

We got Hana involved with handling Sara, asking her to get the diaper for Sara when we changed her, singing for Sara, “reading” to her and even asking Hana “Can you please help to watch over Sara while I go get X?” When we came back with the X, it was so heart-warming to see Hana either lying almost on Sara as she cooed “Baby so cuuuute” or lying beside Sara, smiling and tickling her!

These days, we see fewer challenging behaviours stemming from jealousy in Hana. She has finally accepted Sara's presence and her little sister is the first thing she asks for when she wakes up in the morning. And she loves cuddling her!

I think parenting is a constant-learning journey as you learn to understand your child/children better through their antics. It also helps to reflect and share constantly with your spouse, on what went well and what we see as challenges from each other’s perspectives and how to overcome them.

Huda, mum to Hana, 3, and Sara, 4 months.