Preparing your firstborn for a new sibling

Anticipating the arrival of a second beautiful little cherub with ten perfectly cute toes and tiny little finger scan fill you with happiness and joy. Along with this excitement, it is also natural to feel nervous about how your firstborn might react to a new addition to the family.

Bringing home a newborn the second time around can feel different from the first time. With your first child, you were trying to focus on how to take care of the baby while with the second you will be concerned about how your first child would react and adjust.

We have compiled a list of easy tips and guidelines to help you meet the needs of both your children while helping your firstborn adjust and transition into being an older sibling.

  • Tell your firstborn about the pregnancy as soon as you start to show or maybe even a bit before. The more time he/she has to get used to the idea, the better. This gives your child enough time to ask as many questions as needed, and for you to put their mind at ease.
  • Be as honest as possible. While the baby will be sweet and cute, explain to your child that the infant will also cry and take up a lot more of your time.
  • Explain that a new baby is a lot of work and that if you seem tired and a little less attentive sometimes, that it will be because you have to pay attention to their sibling and not because you love them any less.
  • Always reassure your child that you will love him/her just as much even after the new baby is born.
  • Use age-appropriate language and explanations to tell your child about their new sibling. Statements that are positive and happy such as ‘We are so excited for you to be an older brother/sister’, ‘You are going to love having another person to love’ etc. can help your child get excited and happy for the arrival of the new baby.
  • Look at picture books on new babies with your first child. Seeing pictures and words like sister, brother, new baby etc. will help them adjust over time.
  • Get your child involved in planning for the baby. Take him/her shopping for baby clothes and toys, get their opinions and ideas on how to decorate the baby room etc.
  • Your older child might feel jealous of the attention a new baby gets, therefore talk to him or her and make them see the advantages of being older, such as later bedtimes, more TV time etc. Make them feel like an adult.
  • A new baby can take up a lot of attention. When family and friends come to visit, ensure that they pay attention and make a fuss over your firstborn child as well.
  • Once the baby is born, allocate one on one time with your firstborn multiple times a day.
  • Your firstborn might regress a little once he/she hears about the arrival of a new baby. They might act out, start having accidents, break things ‘accidentally etc. This could all be because he/she wants to make sure that they still have your love and attention. Instead of being stern, try to give him/her the attention he needs.
  • When the baby is born, have a member of your family bring your firstborn to the hospital for a visit. Once he/she sees their new sibling, get another person to hold the baby while you and your partner give your older child plenty of cuddles and love.