You’ve got a baby on board – again. Smooth the way for a house full of brotherly (or sisterly) love with these tips and tricks.
And remember, transitions are hard for everyone, no matter your age.
- Introduce the baby in your belly only once you really start showing. As you well know, 40 weeks is a long time to wait. Now imagine you’re three.
- If the hospital allows sibling tours before the baby is born, bring your little to see the digs. If your doctor allows you to bring your kiddo to an appointment – and you think she’s old enough – take her with you to hear the heartbeat.
- Read. Read. Read. Some of our favorite books about new siblings include: I’m a Big Sister & I’m a Big Brother, One Special Day, Babies Don’t Eat Pizza, We Have a Baby, Julius, the Baby of the World, and our most favorite – Twigtale’s custom version really drives the message home.
- Point out all of the brothers and sisters in your life. Make play dates with friends who have babies.
- Be honest. Brothers and sisters are awesome – eventually. Explain that when babies are first born they cry, feed, and sleep a lot.
- Buy a baby doll. Let your little guy hold the doll, feed the doll, dress the doll. Kiddos learn through play.
- Don’t potty train, ditch the pacifier, or undertake any unnecessary transitions before baby’s arrival. A lot of big sibs will regress after the baby comes home – and you don’t want all of that hard work to be for naught.
- If you have to move kiddo #1 out of her bedroom or crib, make the move well in advance of the baby’s arrival – two to three months minimum. Let your big kid be involved with “designing” their new space by letting them pick colors, bedding, art, etc.
- Prepare your child – as much as you can – for what will happen to them when you go to the hospital. Hype up the extra special time she’ll get to spend with (insert awesome grandparent or caretaker). And try to keep disruptions to his day-to-day schedule to a minimum while you’re in the hospital.
- The first time your littles meet could be as emotionally charged for you as it is for your older child. Know yourself and your big sib – it’s okay to decide not to bring him to the hospital, where everything can feel overwhelming, especially just after giving birth.
- If you do bring the big sib to the hospital, make sure your baby is in the bassinet and not in your arms. Give your big sib the space to discover the baby.
- Before the birth, have your older child buy a gift for the baby to bring to their first meeting. In turn, have a gift waiting for the big sib from the baby. We promise, this exchange will become a thing of family folklore.
- If your big sibling is old enough to understand the concept of a birthday, let them throw a “birth”day party for the baby, complete with cake and balloons that only she can truly enjoy.
- Some pediatricians suggest unlimited access for the older child to the baby (within reason, of course) to ward off bad feelings. In other words, don’t treat the newborn like a precious untouchable.
- Give your big kid “responsibilities” connected to the baby. We had ours in charge of burp cloths – every time there was a dribble, they helped dab it away.
- It will be hard to do, but remember to schedule one-on-one “special time” with your older child. If possible, make a plan to do something out of the house (i.e. far away from the baby monitor).