How To Prepare Your Child For A New Sibling: 9 Hands-On Tips
When Is The Baby Coming?
”Is my baby coming soon?”
“When will my baby come, mama?”
I can’t even tell you how many times I heard these questions from my toddler when I was pregnant with his little sister. We told our son that we were pregnant after the ultrasound in week 12. So he had 6 months of preparing mentally for the baby’s arrival. He was so excited and talked all the time of how he was going to take care of his baby.
Sometimes he used the phrase “our baby”, but most often it was his baby.
And it still is.
When you’re pregnant with your first child, you and your husband get 9 months to prepare yourself for the baby’s arrival. You read books about giving birth, shop for baby clothes and a whole lot of other things to make the baby more realistic.
But when you’re pregnant with your second child (or your third, or fourth etc.) there’s one more person in the family that you need to prepare for life with a baby.
Suddenly there’s one more thing you need to add to the list of things to worry about.
How will the older sibling react to the new baby?
Reaction To Siblings
Older siblings can react in various ways to a new family member. A 1-2 year-old has almost the same needs as a baby and might find it hard to understand what it means to get a sibling. Whilst a 3-year-old or older child might feel excited or perhaps breached or jealous. It is not uncommon for siblings to feel jealous of the new baby.
Your child has never before had to share his mom with someone else before. For his whole life, you’ve been his greatest love and he has been yours. But suddenly, there’s a third person intruding your relationship.
Your child might also envy the baby. This happened in our family.
My son (3,5 year old) wanted to do all of the things that the baby did. He wanted to lie in the baby’s stroller, talk like a baby and breastfeed like a baby. I actually woke up one morning because my son was nursing from my breast. I was so surprised and couldn’t do anything other than to laugh at the situation.
You are your child's greatest love. When you get a baby, your child might feel like you're… Klicka för att Tweeta
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How To Prepare For A Sibling
There are so many things you can do to prepare your child for the baby. Here is what we did to prepare our son for the birth of our baby daughter and what you can do to prepare your child.
1. Read Books
We read a lot of books on pregnancy and babies for our son. I can’t say that he loved listening to these books. He would much rather like to read books about fire trucks. But I sat down with him and made him listen. I told him that first, I got to choose a book and then it was his turn. Here are a few of the books that we read:
This book is told by the older sibling and shows the family’s life with a new baby through his eyes. The book teaches your child what he can do as a sibling. The book doesn’t show breastfeeding. The baby in the book eats from a bottle.
With images and text, this book explains to kids how pregnancy start, the journey and how the baby is born. It also explains how the baby grows from the food mommy eats. It leaves out giving birth trough C-section though.
A colorful book that teaches the child about the wait for a sibling and the things that need to get done before the baby arrives. The book asks the child questions and open up for conversation and lets the child reflects.
This book explains about pregnancy and how mom might feel different. She might be more hungry or thirsty than usual and feel sick in the mornings. The book gives your child tips on questions he or she can ask mom, like how she is feeling etc.
What Baby Needs is the sequel to Baby On The Way (above). The book shows life after the baby is born and how the parents take care of the baby and how this might affect the older child.
2. Get A Doll
If your child doesn’t already have all, get one! We got a baby born doll that could cry and eat from a bottle. Let your child take care of the doll and show him or her what to do and how to be gentle with the baby. My son treated the doll like a real baby for months after our real baby was born. Sometimes I had to nurse both babies or put both babies down for a nap, but I was glad to.
3. Put Together A Busy Bag
Create a busy bag for your child that you only take out when it’s time to breastfeed. Busy bags are perfect when you want to distract your child or when you want them to play quietly. By making a special breastfeeding busy bag, you make sure that your child doesn’t grow tired of the items too quickly.
4. Let Your Child Feel The Kicks
Let your child put his hands on your belly and feel the baby kick. It makes it easier for your child to understand that there is someone (and not just something) in there. Encourage your child to talk and sing to the baby. You can also use a baby voice and pretend that the baby is answering.
5. Visit Babies
Do you have friends or family members with babies? Visit them! A doll is a great way for your child to practice interacting with a baby, but a real baby is of course so much better. Don’t you know anyone close with a baby? Perhaps someone on your Facebook had a baby recently? Message them and explain that you want to teach your child about babies and ask if you can come over for a quick visit. Bring a gift!
6. Look At Baby Pictures
Show your child pictures of him or herself as a baby. Explain that ”this was you a long time ago when you’re where a baby”. I made a “My first-year” book about my son that we read a whole bunch of times when I was pregnant. Showing pictures of him sleeping or nursing prepares him for a baby that sleeps or eats a lot.
Showing your kid baby pictures of him sleeping, teaches him that the new baby will sleep a lot… Klicka för att Tweeta
7. Engage Your Child In The Pregnancy
Take your child with you to the doctor’s office to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and show pictures from the ultrasound. Show the baby’s bed, stroller, and clothes and let your child help you to make the bed and fold the clothes.
8. Talk About The Baby
Explain that the baby has to grow “this much” before she can come out and right now she’s only “this big”. Explain what’s going to happen when the baby decides to come out. And I don’t mean all of the details! Just tell your child that when the baby decides to come out, grandma (or whom it might be) is going to come and pick you up. Then mommy and daddy are going to the hospital to get our baby.
9. Just Don’t Do This
Whatever you do when the baby is born, don’t ever blame the baby. Don’t say that you’re too tired to play because the baby didn’t let you sleep. Don’t say that you can’t go to a friends house because the baby has to sleep. This will only make your child dislike the baby. Say “Let’s read a book or play with Lego instead” or “We can go to a friend when the baby wakes up if you’d like”.
Before you leave, make sure to check out the guide on How To Develop A Strong Bond With Your Baby: The Secrets You Need To Know.
We’re also working hard on writing these posts:
- +10 Best Ways To Prepare For Childbirth
- Sleep Guide For Pregnancy: How To Stop Tossing And Turning!
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Let’s chat down below! How did you prepare your kids for the arrival of their sibling?