8 Tips For Bringing Home New Baby To Big Sibling(s)
When I was pregnant with my son, I was sooo nervous for how my daughter would react to him. Would she ask me to take him back to the hospital? Would she be jealous and act out? Would she be excited and want to hold him? (She ended up being SO enamored with him, and still is today). So I wanted to share some tips that we did to help my daughter adjust to this huge new change.
1) We talked about the baby in Mama’s belly a lot. Not too much to inundate or annoy her, but in a way that was natural. If she hugged me and would pat my belly, I’d say “yes that’s YOUR baby brother! He loves you so much and can’t wait to meet you!”
2) We got her a baby doll and showed her how to gently hold babies & where babies sleep. This was helpful because she was very curious about all the baby items we had out in our house. She would put her toys in the Rock N Play or crib, but after a few times of showing her where the baby doll went she took it very seriously & would hold the baby doll gently, get diapers and wipes for the baby doll. Worked out well!
3) Anytime I had to leave her in someone else’s care I would tell her “Mamas always come back”. Being a stay at home mom, my daughter was used to always being around me. In fact, the first time she was away from me over night was when I had my son. In retrospect, it might have been good if we had done a few trials of her having a night or two away from me ahead of time, but she actually did really well and was more than fine. Had a blast with my parents one night and with my in laws the next night. I think this will depend on your child’s temperament.
4) We read her “I’m a Big Sister” by Joanna Cole, (you can buy that here) a few times a week. She loved this book! She would get so excited about hearing about what big sisters can do and what babies do. I really think this helped introduce the idea of how hints would change, but in a fun way.
5) We made her a part of anything baby preparation related. Whether this was putting away the baby clothes, or figuring out where to put the baby equipment (rocker, changing pad etc), picking out his “coming home outfit” from the hospital. She loved being a part of it all.
6) We practiced what the change would be like. Sometimes we’d explain that babies cry a lot and that’s ok, sometimes we’d ask her to wait and explain that sometimes we’d need to help the baby first but would always be there to help her too. Or sometimes we’d pretend to change the baby doll’s diaper and make a big deal if she came to help out (with a wipe or new diaper etc).
7) We would point out other babies whenever we’d see them. This actually really spiked her interest in babies once we started doing this. After a few times, she would point babies out too, and excitedly point to my belly saying that’s where her baby brother was. She loved how cute and little they were, and I think this helped her get excited for the new change.
8) We had my parents bring her to the hospital to meet the baby. I’m sure either way works (this way, or having the baby be brought home to the older sibling), but my husband and I personally wanted our daughter to be at the hospital with us so that she felt like she was a part of this new and exciting experience! And this worked out really well, she was sooo happy to look at him and be a part of this fun new adventure. She was so protective of him and wanted to help cover him with a blanket in the car seat and talk to him the whole way home.
And to this day, my toddler loves my baby. They get along really well right now, and I know will probably change pretty soon and we will have to adjust to this new change again and even if your child does act jealous (which mine occasionally will do, and ask my husband to hold the baby so I can pay attention to her) and that’s fine. Perfectly normal. Just take it each day at a time.