• Leah Soldner

Baby on Board

That exciting news, or however it is you may be feeling about knowing another addition to the family is on the way can often be overshadowed by the reaction of your other child(ren).

It's important to explain the process to your child, even if you think he or she already seems to have processed it. Depending on their age, they most likely haven't. They may feel excited, but also left out. This can often show up in challenging behavior, especially in the first months of your child being born, and sometimes during the late stages of your pregnancy.

Let's get into those little minds for a moment and realize: Their worried. And Jealous. And excited. And, and, and. Your child is processing a lot of feelings, and one of the primary ones they may both feel and express (jealousy) can be alleviated by involving your child in baby prep and baby care.

In our attempts to make No. 2 sound as attractive as possible we often skip out the real parenting bits: The crying, the night schedule, the constant feedings and changing. Your child will naturally feel resentful as their precious time with you, the parent, is being taken up by this intruder.

Go through the process of your baby developing with your child. Help them understand the new life that they too, are going to help take responsibility for.

Even a child as young as 3 years old can learn how to go to help fetch a bottle, listen to the baby monitor and rock the infant seat to sooth the baby.

This helps them feel a sense of responsibility and feel assured in the fact that they have a very important role as the older sibling.

2. Discuss the benefits of having a younger brother or sister. Emphasize how fun it will be to play together when the baby gets bigger, or how they'll be able to show them their favorite toys.

3. Take your No.1 along with you when you go baby shopping or, if they're old enough, for some of your basic check ups or scans. Have them help pick out clothing, baby gear or toys they think their new sibling might enjoy.

4. Involve your No. 1 as much as you can once the baby is born. If a hospital visit isin't possible, try and have a special moment where your first born gets to hold their new sibling. After being taught how to correctly hold them, of course.

Don't be surprised if, despite your best efforts your child still resorts to some behavioral issues. Things like going back to diapers, wanting to use a Binky or suddenly expressing more babyish behavior is a common sign that your child is struggling to accept the new addition.

Instead of being overly worried about it, make a point of encouraging your child when they display grown up behavior.

So if you can, talk about it! Help your child express their feelings and be sure to reassure them that there is no one in the world who could ever take their place.


Got suggestions on how you helped your child navigate having a sibling join the family? Leave us a comment below or share your views on our forum page.