If you have other children at home, make sure they’re ready to welcome their new brother or sister.
Here’s some advice that can help.
Every child is a unique individual and siblings will have different reactions, depending on their ages and personalities. Some may adore the new baby right from the beginning while others may feel angry or jealous. Many children will revert to acting like babies themselves for a while. To help them prepare for the new addition:
- Introduce the idea that families often have more than one child. Take your child to a playgroup. Make friends with parents who have children the same age.
- Make any major changes to your child’s routines – such as with toilet training or moving from a crib to a bed – several months before the baby arrives, or well after the baby is born.
- Read books or watch videos with your child about pregnancy and being a big brother or sister.
- Give your child a chance to stay with family or friends before you give birth. Do this well in advance of the big event to ensure your child is comfortable being away from you.
- Present your child with a celebratory gift for becoming a big brother or sister.
How can you help the older child with the new adjustment?
- If your child goes back to baby-like behaviours, wetting his pants, wanting the crib back, or wanting to breast or bottle feed, just relax. This will not last long.
- Give extra love and attention to your older child and tell her that you love her and the baby.
- Plan quiet feeding times with the new baby. Prepare a snack for your older child, listen to music, or read together while you feed your baby.
- Give your child something to do to show that this is his baby too. He can tell stories or sing to the baby, or help to wash the baby. Mention how helpful he is.
- Make special time just for your older child each day.
- If you are still worried because nothing works with your older child, call your public health nurse or contact a local parent group.