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Melissa Ben-Ishay

How Baked By Melissa's Founder Is Preparing Her Daughter To Be A Big Sister

"We couldn’t believe that a barely-2-year old could grasp the concept of pregnancy."

Melissa Ben-Ishay is the President and Chief Product Officer of the New York City-based dessert company Baked by Melissa. When Ben-Ishay was fired from her job in advertising in 2008, she decided to do what she loved—to offer consumers the ultimate bite-sized dessert experience. Ben-Ishay is expecting her second child, due this summer.

Pregnancy is arguably easier the second time around; you know what to expect and the thought of pushing a human out of my body isn’t as frightening. However, as I get ready to welcome my second daughter in July, there's a new uncertainty: How will my 2-year-old respond to having another child around?

My husband and I are aware of how big this change will be, and are doing everything we possibly can to get Scottie ready for her baby sister. From 12 weeks on we started talking about the baby in mommy’s belly. We would point to my belly and explain that there is a baby inside, and that Scottie will be a big sister—the best big sister. It’s funny; we didn’t think Scottie understood all of this, until one day when my husband picked her up from day care. The teacher told him that Scottie announced to her class “Mommy! Baby! Belly!” while holding up her shirt and pointing to her belly. Kids are crazy! We couldn’t believe that a barely-2-year old could grasp the concept of pregnancy.

After we realized she understands there’s a baby coming, we started to talk about it more. We’ve been encouraging Scottie to push her toy baby (her name is, you guessed it, “Baby”) in her little toy stroller. She puts Baby down for a nap and covers her with a blanket. We encourage her to care for her doll the way she’ll care for her new little sister, and we’re hopeful that it will help. We’re also enjoying our special time as a family of three for the next few weeks because we know things are about to change. And change is great.

We’re doing other little things to prepare Scottie, like using the stroller less. Scottie loves her new scooter and helmet and has become so good at it. At this point, I’m hopeful that we won’t need a double stroller at all.

We’ve discussed how great it would be for Scottie to be potty trained when the baby comes (one less set of diapers to change) and talked about moving her into a big girl bed. Those are the big goals, and we know that when she is ready, they will happen. For now, all we can do is encourage her and help her to understand what's coming.

Every night before bed, Scottie kisses the baby in my belly good night. When we are relaxing on the couch together I have her put her hand on my belly so she can feel the baby moving. I talk to her about the baby when she is paying attention to my belly, but I try not to let it take over. There will be plenty of time for that!

Baked by Melissa's Mother's Day Gift boxes will be available in 25-packs ($35) and 50-packs ($66) for nationwide shipping at bakedbymelissa.com and in all 14 Baked by Melissa store locations from April 23 through May 13.