Preparing siblings for new baby

Before the Birth

"I prepare her for everything, and since this would be a very important experience, I wanted to include her. I did it by talking with her, showing videos, and letting her be as much a part of my pregnancy as possible: touching my belly, talking to the baby, and bringing her to prenatal visits."

Mother of 2 children, ages 3 and 5 months

The relationship between siblings is one that lasts a lifetime, and preparing children for the birth of a new baby is an important beginning. Most children will ask lots of questions about pregnancy and birth and have a natural curiosity about the baby-to-be.

What Parents Can Do Before the Birth

  • Show your child picture books and videos to help her learn about the sounds and sights of a birth.
  • Check with your hospital about sibling preparation classes and tours.
  • Bring your child to a prenatal visit to meet your birth attendant.
  • Visit friends who have a new baby, especially when the baby is breastfeeding.
  • Show children pictures of their own births.
  • Tell them how you prepared for their arrival and what they were like as infants.
  • Follow your child's lead and supply information when you're asked.

What Siblings Can Do Before the Birth

  • Practice holding a baby in advance with a doll.
  • Remind them to support the doll's head, and show them how to be gentle.
  • Help choose the baby's name. Don't bring this up, however, if you don't mean it. It's not fair to ask what they like, and then ignore their opinions.
  • Help pick out baby's coming home clothes.
  • Give them a choice of outfits and stick with their recommendation.
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