Health Tips

Welcoming a New Baby: Making the Transition Easy for Siblings

napping baby Your toddler will soon have a new sibling, but he may not take to this news with the same excitement you have. It’s not always easy for a firstborn toddler or preschooler to accept a new baby who makes lots of noise and seemingly steals all his mommy and daddy time. But there are ways you can help make the transition a little smoother and help your firstborn understand that there is plenty of love and attention to go around.

When (and how) to share the news?

Many families like to wait until the second trimester to share the news with family and friends. You can explain to your child that she is going to have a new baby brother or sister in a few months. Reassure your child that you’ll love her just as much when the new baby comes and while things will be different around the house, your love won’t be. Reading stories is a great way to introduce your child to what happens when a new baby comes home. There are many picture books available that explore new siblings from a child’s point of view.

How will my child respond?

If your child is between 2 and 3, you may find that to be the most difficult age to add a baby brother or sister to the fold. Children of this age are very attached, and they may feel threatened and jealous. You may also see a regression in behavior. It’s not uncommon for children of this age to go back to wanting a bottle or pacifier, even though it’s been a while since they kicked the habit. Recently potty-trained children can go back to having accidents or wetting the bed. It’s important that you not make your child feel badly and give him reassurance with lots of love and affection.

How can you make it easier?

One of the most important things you can do is to include your firstborn in as many of the preparation activities as possible. Make sure that she doesn’t feel pushed out of the way or ignored.

Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: January 2014

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