Baby 1, Meet Baby 2: A How-To Guide on a Proper Introduction
Written by: Sara Sladoje
New baby in the house? How is that going for your “old” baby? Having a new sibling can create feelings of insecurity and even loss for an older sibling. How can parents get a sibling relationship off to a healthy start and best prepare for the transition?
Before baby’s arrival
- Let your child know Mommy will go to the hospital, will return, and everyone will be together again at home.
- Encourage pretend “baby” play with a stuffed animal/doll.
- Read children’s books about new babies.
- Give the sibling a role in preparing (i.e., draw a picture for the nursery).
When baby arrives: encourage sibling bonding
- Give the sibling a specific job; (i.e., get burp cloths, show a book to the baby).
- Discuss how the baby is “talking” to the sibling with eyes, body, cries. Praise the sibling when he “talks” back.
- Let the sibling choose a photo with him/her and the new baby to post in the house.
Help older sibling cope with feelings of insecurity/jealousy
- Learn to pass the baby, not just the sibling, to another caregiver.
- Schedule a “date” with Mom; mark it on the calendar.
- Have the sibling choose the day’s activity for everyone. This helps children cope when they do not have control over an activity (hello—breastfeeding!).
Avoid words like “big” boy/girl and expect to see some behaviors from a younger age (i.e., accidents, baby talk). Remain calm and avoid disciplining the behaviors, and they will disappear.
Enjoy the ride with your newly expanded family!