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Preparing for a new sibling

Once you’ve told your child/children you are pregnant, what is the best way to prepare them for the arrival of their new sibling? 

How you discuss your pregnancy and the arrival of the new baby is very much influenced on your child’s age and interest.  Older children will have a better understanding of what is going on and may ask a lot of questions, while toddlers may struggle with the idea that there is a baby in their Mum’s tummy and they will have to share their parents with a sibling.

  • Here are some tips for how you can prepare your kids for the arrival of their new brother or sister.Talk to your child about what newborn babies are really like.  Explain there will be a lot of crying, sleeping and feeding and they won’t be able to play with their sibling immediately.
  • Tell stories of what they were like as a baby. Talk about how they loved to sleep in their bouncer, their favourite toys etc.
  •  Show them photos of you when pregnant with them, as well as pictures of them as a newborn.
  •  Let them touch your belly and feel their siblings movements and kicks.  Get them involved helping to set up the babies room.
  • If possible, install the babies car seat/set up the cot a couple of weeks early.  Explain to your child that’s where the baby will sit and sleep.
  • If you are going to make any major changes to your child’s routine such as toilet training or where they sleep, make sure you either do it a few weeks/months before your new arrival, so they are settled before the new baby arrives.
  • You may like to talk to younger children about how small their new brother/sister will be and how they will need to be gentle.  Some parents find giving younger children a doll so they have their ‘own baby’ to look after helps them to understand.

As well as talking about what they can’t do with the new baby, it’s important to also talk about what they can do to help you and their new sibling.

  •    Help Mum/Dad to change the babies nappy.
  •    Count their fingers and toes.
  •    Tell or read the baby stories.
  •    Sings songs.
  •    Give them kisses.
  •      Tell them how much they love them.

Remember this is a special time in all of your lives.  Always take the lead from your child when talking about your pregnancy and their new sibling.  If they show little interest, don’t push it. 

Reassure your child they are loved and that the arrival of their new sibling is an exciting time for the whole family.  

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