Preparing for Baby #2: How to Introduce a New Sibling into the Family
Preparing for a new baby is exciting for every parent, but it may not be so exciting for an older child who is used to having mommy and daddy all to themselves. Understandably, a new baby is a big change and transition for children. And it's one that can be difficult. Lisa Furuland, the founder of DockATot, is here with some advice for preparing a big brother or big sister to a new sibling in the most painless way possible. Preparing your little one for a new baby can set the tone for the next phase in their development, as well as set the tone for their relationship with their new sibling. While jealousy and sibling rivalry are totally normal emotions (and some should be expected even under the best of circumstances) there are ways parents can help alleviate some of those negative feelings.
Here, some top tips on paving the way for baby number two (Or three! Or four!) and building a strong, happy, and nurturing family unit for the entire brood.
Prepare Your Child for a New Sibling During Pregnancy
The best time to start preparing your older child for a new sibling is during your pregnancy. By making your older child feel included throughout your pregnancy, you're making them a part of the process. So, when do you spill the beans that new baby is on the way? Experts suggest waiting until the second trimester. That way your belly is starting to show and your child can actually see there is indeed a baby in there. Also, by the second trimester, the highest risk of miscarriage has passed. And there is also less than nine months to wait!
How to Announce a New Baby is Coming
If your child is old enough, get creative in how you want to share the news. Gifting your child with an ‘Older Brother' or ‘Older Sister' t-shirt is a fun way to get them excited. Or bake a pre-birthday cake for the baby-to-be (possibly in pink or blue if you know the gender) because … cake! However you decide to break the news, make sure your older one feels included and knows that the new baby will be a big part of their life, too.
How to Include Older Sister or Brother Before Baby is Born
Additional ways to make sure your kids feel included in the process are:
- Bring them to your doctor's appointments so they can hear the baby's heartbeat.
- Read them age-appropriate books about childbirth and new siblings.
- Ask them to help you think of potential baby names.
- Visit friends who have babies.
- Ask them to help you pack your hospital bag.
- Ask them ways in which they would like to help care for the baby and then practice. Tasks such as getting diapers or using a washcloth to help bathe the baby are simple enough for even very little ones to try.
Family Matters: Bringing Baby Home
After mom and the new baby are back home from the hospital, you can ask your older one to “help” mommy out. Have the newly minted big sibling entertain the baby by talking to them, tickling their feet, or making funny faces. Ask your big guy or gal to accompany you on stroller walks with the baby. This can give the two of you time to talk while their sibling is in the buggy. You can also set up a place for an older child to safely sleep by their new sibling in a Grand DockATot so they can be nearby while the baby sleeps. Or it can give your older one a comfy place to nap or play nearby while you tend to the baby. Or you can place your new baby nearby somewhere safe while you spend some special time with your older one.
Do you have any tips for how to introduce a new sibling into the family? Share in the comments!