How Will My Children Handle My New Pregnancy?

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daughter with pregnant motherA new pregnancy is often a very happy time for the parents-to-be; however, the current children in the house may not feel the same way. The news of a new baby coming into the family can create anxiety, regression, and resentment among the smaller members of your household. You may be wondering how to handle the concerns, what to expect of your current children, and how to make the transition as easy as possible. Below are a few things you may need to consider and some tips on how to get through the transition as smoothly as possible.

Breaking the News

One of the first things you need to think about with a new pregnancy is breaking the news to your children. It is important that your children are among the first to know of your new pregnancy. While the news may be hard for them to hear, learning of a new pregnancy from someone other than their parents can cause some resentment. Dr. Margret Nickels, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Children and Families at the Erikson Institute, recommends you be available and ready to answer all of your child’s questions. She says, “You want to be sure that you’re available to support the child in their questions, in their excitement.” She also recommends that you wait to tell your child until you are prepared for the news to leak to other people, such as grandparents or friends. It may be hard for your child to keep that big of a secret.

The Aftermath

After you break the news to your children, you may experience different reactions from each child. While a preschooler may not seem too concerned about a new baby, an older child may express anger or even resentment. All of these reactions are normal and you may just need to allow each child time to adjust in their own way. There are some studies showing that a child’s personality has the most affect on how they react to a new baby, as well as a child who is close to her mother – she may have a harder time accepting a new baby than a child who is closer to the father.

How to Handle the Emotions

There are several different tactics you can employ to help your child deal with the imminent arrival of the new baby. One of the most important things Dr. Margret Nickels suggests is to not make any major changes just before or just after the arrival of a new baby. Change rooms, beds, daycares, and other routines well before, or well after, the arrival of the new baby so that your child doesn’t blame the baby for the changes.

You can also read books about new siblings for the baby, such as Aren’t You Lucky!, by Catherine and Laurence Anholt; A Baby for Max, by Kathryn Lasky and Maxwell Knight; The New Baby, by Fred Rogers; and How A Baby Grows, by Nola Buck.

Involving your children in picking out new items for the baby and taking your child along to your ultrasound or prenatal appointments can also help your children develop a bond before the new baby arrives.

It is important to be open and honest with your children about the new baby. If they are having trouble adjusting, talk with them about their feelings and help them develop a plan on how to deal with their concerns.

What do you think? How Will My Children Handle My New Pregnancy?

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23 comments

  1. Avatar of LIZ says:

    i hope its gonna be a happy notice for them

  2. I had to re-read this article because I just found out that I am pregnant! I hope all goes well!

  3. Avatar of Heatherly Heatherly says:

    I believe that if you have a good relationship with your children, when you tell them that you’re going to have another, that they would be excited. It seems if they have what the article says resentment, etc., you shouldn’t play it up and get them going. Let them participate in things….buying an outfit for the baby that they’ve picked out on their own.

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  6. Good to know when I have another bundle of joy.

  7. My son is extremely happy about my pregnancy and is ready to take on the big brother role… we are all excited.

  8. Avatar of KEIYONDA KEIYONDA says:

    THEY ARE HAPPY NOW…WAIT TIL I NEED A BABYSITTER…LOL

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  10. Avatar of Summertime94 Summertime94 says:

    this is my first child

  11. Avatar of MamaCat MamaCat says:

    My husband didn’t want a brother or sister either…he wanted a truck :) That’s what he told the nurse!

  12. Avatar of MamaCat MamaCat says:

    My daughter is three and is thrilled to be having a baby sister. I really hope that doesn’t change too much when the baby arrives. I know she’ll have some trouble adjusting because she is a Mama’s girl big time but think as long as I can keep her involved and she can help me it will be ok. She already loves to help Mama around the house so that is a good start!

  13. Avatar of Lulu Lulu says:

    This is all really useful info. Definitely stuff to keep in mind for the future.

  14. Avatar of MiaFuller MiaFuller says:

    I have a step son who is gonna be 10 and another son thats gonna be 5 Iam kinda worried partly due to the fact that before me and my son came into the picture it was just my stepson and dad my step son had alot issues with my 4 year old coming into the picture and now I worry even more with yet another baby on the way but I find that talking to them both about how their will be time spent with each of them seems to be doing good

  15. Avatar of alisha alisha says:

    My 4 year old is really excited and sweet when it comes to the unborn baby. Ive kept her involved and even ask her to sing or read to baby brother. She loves to kiss my belly or blow on it lol. She also wants to look at the baby stuff in the stores now and says "baby brother needs that, stuff she would like herself. Very sweet cant wait to see her reaction when hes here.

  16. Avatar of Kevryn Kevryn says:

    I kept my first son very involved. He was young buy I took him to my dr appts and watched a lot of baby shows with him.I would ask him where his baby brother was and he would stick his finger in my belly button. It was the sweetest thing. I was really lucky that he didnt get very jealous. When he met him at the hospital the first time he pat his tummy and gave him his binky

  17. Avatar of Justyn Justyn says:

    I have told my 10 yr old how her new baby sis is going to look up to her and how she will be able to teach her stuff and she couldnt be more excited. Im 32 weeks now and my 10 yr old has been saying for a while now (almost every day @this point) that she is ready for the baby to be here. Its gonna be great, i feel so blessed!

  18. Avatar of Julie Julie says:

    I was 5 years old when my sister was born. I loved her for a little while, but then I got jealous of all the time our mom was having to spend taking care of her instead of playing with me and I sprayed the entire bathroom down with dad’s shaving cream and rubbed vasoline all over everything.

  19. Avatar of susan susan says:

    Don’t forget to tell the dogs too, they know things are different when you bring home new stuff and won;t let them play with the new stuff
    If they are ready, they love the baby and are as good or better than a baby room monitor

  20. Avatar of lhunter lhunter says:

    my 2 year old doesnt want a baby she says shes the baby

  21. my son has already promised to let us know when the baby cries lol and he wants to help feed him and carry him, once the baby is born

  22. Avatar of Rosie2day Rosie2day says:

    with my first I made a book with pictures from her first year and we looked through it almost ever night for the last trimester. It made her feel better to know that every thing we would have to do with the new baby had been done with her. After her brother was born she would say I have a picture of me doing that, let’s get one of him!

  23. i am letting my son hold babys and feed them while i am pregnant so maybe he will want to help me more than get jellous but i dont know what will happen between now and delivery

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