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"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 two children, ages three years and five 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.