My 3.5-year-old has been kind of a hot mess and I'm not sure how to support him. I had looked into stuff about how help an older kid feel good about becoming a big sibling, but, my plan was based on a healthy term baby born at home.

Our new baby has been in the NICU for a month. He will likely be there for at least a week longer, potentially much longer. The NICU has a policy that kids under 4 only get a "one time pass" to meet their new baby - no other visiting. So, #1 met the new baby when he was 9 days old and has not been able to see him since.

I think it is hard for my big kid to see me spending so much time pumping and visiting (and less available for some kinds of playing, and constrained in my schedule) for a baby who doesn't seem "real". We've also got a mountain of baby stuff coming in the mail (some ordered, some gifts) and that has him feeling left out a lot too.

I have the feeling I've forgotten or messed up some of the regular new sibling guidance that would still apply to our situation. And there's probably stuff that's more on point for having a NICU baby.

Help me help my big kid!