It’s time to prepare for a new baby

15 Mar 2019

You’re happy about your new baby on the way and so is your partner, but does your older child(ren) feel the same?

It’s an amazing time for you and your family because you’re pregnant again! Congrats! Sometimes, however, the same is not felt by your first born or, perhaps, by all your children.

Feelings of discomfort at the news of a new arrival is natural in small children because they’ve been at the centre of attention all this time. Preparing them for the new arrival is a great way to dispel these feelings and reassure them that they will always have a place in your heart.

There will be jealousy

Think of it as being replaced, because that’s how they see it. They’re filled with feelings of worry and anxiety that you will forget about them. This is okay because it is expected. Fortunately for everyone in the household, the older child should also have a few other emotions for the baby: love, compassion, affection and intrigue. This new baby, as it gets older, will also begin to imitate their older sibling and form a strong bond between them.

Here are five tips to prepare your children for the upcoming arrival – especially if they’re not sure that this is a good idea.

Preparing your child

A significant change is coming, so here are some steps for preparing your older child:

  1. You want to give your older child the impression that families with small babies are normal and that it can even be fun. Show your child other families in public areas and place emphasis on the fun they’re having.
  2. Place the older child in a role of responsibility. Explaining that they will have to love and be a good role model for their younger sibling is a great way to make them feel that they are a part of the process and accept a role of ‘power’.
  3. Take your child to obstetrician/midwife visits to begin to ease them into this new role as an older sibling and make them feel like they’re part of the process. Just as you will develop a connection with your unborn child as your see them grow at every ultrasound, so will your older child. This will also get them excited for the arrival of the baby and reduce the jealousy.
  4. Get your child to interact with new born babies as much as possible, showing them that babies are helpless, fragile and should be loved.
  5. Try to ensure that big changes happen before the arrival of the baby so that your older child is settled into a predictable routine that won’t be disrupted too much other than the disruptions that the new baby will bring.

Preparation is the key to setting your child’s expectations as the arrival of the new baby gets closer. Constant reminders and lessons will also help the older sibling to discover more about having a baby in the home.