What is more precious than welcoming a new baby into the world? Welcoming this dear little one to it’s siblings. Absolutely heartwarming! We have had the joy of bringing three little boys into our family and with great success have helped the child/children joyfully welcome the new baby.
You have waited 9-10 months to meet the little person growing inside of you, feeling it’s every kick and roll, needing to visit the bathroom more times than what’s humanly natural. But to your child who doesn’t understand why the round bump of mommy’s belly is now pushing them off her lap, this pregnancy thing is perplexing. And soon they meet the baby… this new little stranger who they are going to grow alongside of, play with, keep secrets with, and love.
Here are some ways for you to introduce child to the new baby:
- Get your child excited about the new baby! Give them weekly updates on how big the baby is. Share with them how the baby is developing. Tell them how the baby likes to be talked to and let them chat away at your belly.
- Let your child help decorate the baby’s nursery. Let them be your big helper. Allow them to stock diapers and wipes. Have them find baby toys to put in the nursery.
- As you near your due date, share your plan for child care with your child. Who is going to come stay with them? Grandma? Do they get to have a sleepover at their cousin’s house? Get your child excited about the fun they will have when you are at the hospital. They will miss (and worry) about mommy less when they have something to look forward to.
- Have your child pick out a toy for the new baby. I took our boys shopping and each one picked out something special they thought the baby would have fun playing with. Although the baby will obviously not be able to enjoy these new gifts right now, it is a step toward getting your child excited about welcoming a brother or sister to the family. Presents are exciting and your child knows that from their own experience with holidays and birthdays. They will often carry that forward with wanting to get the new baby their first present.
- Have a Big Brother or Big Sister surprise ready when the baby arrives. Whether it be a new toy, coloring books/pages, favorite snacks… put together a little surprise package that makes the big brother or sister feel special.
- Decide on a method for your child to hold the baby. We used a nursing pillow wrapped around the boys to help support the baby. Want your child to fall in love with the baby sooner? Let him/her hold the baby, feel it in their arms, kiss the baby’s face, play with it’s fingers. Touch is crucial in bonding with a baby… both for the baby and your child.
- Love on and cuddle your child before introducing the baby. You want your child to know they are still dearly loved and have not been replaced. So first things first, love your child.
Now it’s time, dear baby, to meet your siblings.
Our first child, Connor, was 18.5-months old when his brother was born. My husband placed Connor in my bed at the hospital so I could love on my sweet boy. Then he brought over the baby and laid him in the arms of his big brother who was still snuggled up against me. Big brother’s first reaction was a big smile that just examined the baby’s face and soon turned into curiosity. It was endearing watching him examine Dylan’s fingers and rub his face.
Our third child was welcomed into our family by big brothers Connor (3.5 years old) and Dylan (2 years old). Connor immediately wanted to hold Baby Ethan while Dylan sat next to him looking over the baby’s face in amazement. Connor used to rub my belly. He talked to it, sang to it. And when the baby was born, he took instant claim of the Ethan. It was his baby. And the baby knew him. Dylan also talked to my belly and was very excited about Baby ‘E’, but was a little more timid upon seeing him. Once he held Ethan though, he too fell in love.
The key to introducing siblings is to start building the excitement of having a baby brother or sister as soon as your belly becomes visible for your child. Let your pregnancy and the arrival of your baby be a beautiful bonding experience for your growing family.