Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling

Photo by: Amber Kline Photography
Photo by: Amber Kline Photography

As I approached the delivery of our second child, I couldn’t help but find myself feeling guilty. Guilty that our firstborn wasn’t going to get the love and attention we had been able to give him the past three and a half years. Guilty that he would be jealous of the time I would be spending caring for and nursing a new baby. Guilty that he wouldn’t feel as important or special. (It wasn’t until after our baby was born and I observed our daughter smiling as she gazed at him and our son smitten over her that I came to realize that he wasn’t loved less or lacking attention – he now had THREE people who adored him!)

In preparation for what I feared would be a big transition for him, I began to seek out some ways to help him – and my conscience – to cope.

One thing I started to do was to talk with him daily about what life with a baby would look like. We read some great books about becoming a big brother and what a home birth would look and sound like. We even watched a couple pre-screened YouTube videos of labor and delivery. In the car I would make the “silly sounds” he may hear when I was laboring, and we also would guess what noises the baby may make. We discussed regularly where the baby would sleep and what the baby would eat: milk and only milk.

To help get our son excited for the big day, around the eighth month of my pregnancy, we started to plan a birth-day party. We went to the mall and he got to pick out a gift that he wanted to give the baby on the day of her birth. My mom was going to be with him during my labor and delivery, so I had arranged with her to go to the store and get balloons and cake mix during that time, and then they came back and made and frosted cupcakes. I had also gone out and gotten him a gift “from the baby.” After some thought, I decided on a kids’ camera (which also had a couple game and art features on it) so that he could take pictures when guests came and feel like a part of the action. Our daughter was born on a Saturday afternoon. Early that evening we pulled out the cupcakes, put out the balloons, exchanged gifts, and sang “Happy Birthday” to the new baby. Ky opened his gift and gave his present to the baby.

Another helpful preparation I made was to create a stash of little gifts from the Dollar Store and the dollar section of Target. This included stickers, little books, small toys, etc. When visitors would come and bring a present for the baby and there was nothing for our son, he would get to choose something special from the stash.

The last thing we did was to make a nursing basket. I kept this on top of the fridge. Every time I nursed during those early weeks and there wasn’t someone else to keep him busy, we would pull the basket down. Our basket contained

    • some special snacks he only got while I nursed,
    • a favorite video with lots of little clips,
    • a fun sticker book,
    • a couple other books we could read together, and
    • some special cars and toys that he loved.

This way he was excited for when his baby sister needed fed, and it made that time a lot less stressful for all of us.

What have you done to prepare your child for a new sibling?


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