1.  Make friends before birth.

Let the older child acquainted with the baby before birth.  Show her pictures of a baby growing in mommy’s tummy.  Let her pat the baby beneath the bulge.

Let her talk to the baby.

Let her feel baby kick.

Replay the older child’s babyhood by sitting down and paging through her baby photo album.  Show her what she looked like at birth, coming home from hospital, nursing, having diaper changed.  Replay her baby events.

 2.  Foreshadow baby’s coming and prepare for the separation when mom goes to the hospital.

Read books to prepare for what to expect. Talk about babies and observe babies.  “When our tiny baby comes out of Mommy’s tummy, mommy will need to hold her all of the time at first.”  A newborn has different needs and limitations…baby can’t play with you yet.

Attend sibling tour at the hospital.  Make a book about the separation for preparation.

 3.  Include child in birth festivities and homecoming.

        a.  When you enter your home, spend your initial moments with the

                older child.

        b.  Give the sibling a gift from the baby.

        c.  Ask visitors to give extra attention to the older child.

        d.  From the beginning, refer to your newborn as “our baby.”

Ask for help in planning special homecoming and other birth celebrations like baptisms and brit.   Call your older child daily from the hospital. Encourage visiting.

4.  Make the older sibling feel important.

Keep a few small gifts for older sibling for when friends lavish presents and attention on the new baby.

Be attentive towards the older child in the presence of the baby, so she feels She is still an important part of the family.

Let sibling unwrap new baby gifts, test the rattles, etc.

Don’t make any new demands on your toddler (such as toilet-training) during the 2 months preceding the delivery and postpone until after toddler has a good adjustment to new baby.

Give sibling a “job” in the family organization…like “mommy’s helper.”  Notice good behavior…”Thank you for getting the diaper!”  “Thank you for being gentle.”

Help with baths…drying the baby, getting a clean toy, etc.

When an admirer says “what a wonderful baby,” reply “Yes, we have two beautiful children!”   Avoid starting a new preschool or moving your toddler into a big bed or different room just before the baby’s birth.  If you’re going to make these changes, they should be done several months in advance so your toddler doesn’t feel pushed out by the baby.

 5.  Time share

What bothers children most is sharing mom with the new baby.

Children under 3 really don’t have the concept of “sharing.”  It is unlikely you’ll be able to sell your child on the concept of “sharing mom.”

It’s unrealistic to think you can give equal time.  A new baby requires a lot of maintenance so here are some suggestions:

Wear the new baby in a sling…this gives you two hands.

When baby feeds…read a book to sibling.

Sit on the floor…this increases your availability to a toddler.

With an older baby…sit him/her in infant seat or on quilt on the floor to watch you play with older sibling.  This entertains both!

Baby’s needs come first even though your toddler can be persistent and boisterous. 

Realize that because your toddler got what he needed as a baby…he can handle the frustration of waiting, an infant cannot.

Contact us if you are interested in our “New Sibling Class” and “2nd time Mommy and Me group” A series of special classes just for parents who are expecting a second baby.

Topics will include the following:  Preparing your child for the birth of a sibling, handling the separation during your hospital stay, preparing a special homecoming, how to talk to your child about the new baby, tips for the first months at home, sharing a room, ways to include your child as a “helper,” understanding regressive behavior, what to do about your child’s “two big feelings,” and handling jealousy.