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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.