1. Getting Your Older Child Ready for a New Baby


    Congratulations on becoming a parent of an upcoming new baby and for inheriting the challenge of adjusting your older child or children to the news. Having a baby is a very exciting and emotional event in a person’s life that requires months of preparation especially when introducing the notion of a new baby to an older child. You may feel like you are doing a balancing act on an emotional tight rope with the joys and concerns of having a baby on the one side, and having the big brother or big sister accept the new baby in a non threatening manner on the other. Children like routine in all aspects of their lives and need time to adjust when changes do come about.



    Be the First to Break the News:

    Tell your child about your pregnancy especially before others mention it to him so that he can understand the changes that you will go through and will not feel left out. Instead this will strengthen the bond that he has with you.


     Visits to the Doctor:

    Take your child to your prenatal visits so that she can hear your baby’s heartbeat and see the baby during any ultrasounds. This helps your child realize that she has a new sibling on the way and also makes her feel like she is part of the family and all the new discoveries.


    Making Changes:

    Transition your child in to his new bed and/or room long before the baby arrives so that your child does not associate it with and blame the baby for the changes but accepts it as a part of growing up. Same is the case for weaning, potty training or having your child start preschool.


    Prep for Baby’s Arrival:

    Prepare your child with what is to come after baby’s arrival. Explain to her about going to the hospital and having to be there for a few days. Tell your little one that you will be exhausted and that this is all normal. Also have her understand what the baby will initially do such as cry, eat, sleep and need diaper changes, because children tend to believe that they are getting a playmate that will play, eat and sleep like them.


    Being a Big Brother or Sister:

    Read books about pregnancy, babies and being a big sister or brother. This helps your child understand what is to be expected and gives her the opportunity to ask questions and tell you how she feels about the situation.


    Seeing other Babies:

    Visit friends who have had babies recently, so that your child gets an idea of what new babies are like.


    When you were a Baby:

    Show your child pictures of when he was born and how you felt about him especially how thrilled you were. Also let him know how everyone wanted to see him and how those who visited wanted to hold him. This helps your child feel like he was already a part of the experience and gives him an idea of what to expect. It also makes him feel more excited towards the arrival of his younger sibling.


    How to Hold a Baby:

    Practice with your child on how to hold a baby using a teddy or a doll. This teaches him to be gentle with the baby.


    Assist in Making Decisions:

    Have your child help in making decisions on matters concerning the baby like choosing clothes for the baby, picking out crib sheets, and opinions on selecting the new baby’s name. This will make your older child feel very important.


    Hospital Visit:

    Have your child visit you in the hospital as soon as possible when the baby arrives and ideally when there are no other visitors as this is an intimate family event and makes your child fee like she is a significant part of it.


    Present from Baby:

    Give your child a gift when she comes to see her baby at the hospital for the first time and tell her it is from her new baby. This helps in making your older child feel special and more affectionate and excited towards the baby.


     Helping Out:

    Get your child involved with the new baby by helping you out with bringing diapers or a blanket, picking out baby’s outfit to wear that day etc. It makes your child feel responsible and grown up, as well as realize how worthy and special the title of being a BIG brother or sister really is.


    One-on-One Time:

    After the baby arrives, make sure you spend some alone time with your older child so that she does not feel neglected and have any resentment towards the new baby. Ideally try and get your child to have some one-on-one time with a parent everyday. A good time to do this is when the baby is sleeping.



    "Twice Blessed: Everything You Need To Know About Having A Second Child– Preparing Yourself, Your Marriage, And Your Firstborn For A New Family Of Four "; Joan Leonard; March 2000 


    Cover Image Resource:

    Credit: asione
    Copyright: sxc.hu/asione


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