Introducing a new baby to the family
Particularly a sibling, here are some tips to help you introduce your new baby to older siblings
Introducing your baby to their new siblings can be met with a dazzling range of emotions; from pure joy to indifference, to jealousy! It’s important for mums and dads to step into their child’s shoes for a second, especially if they’re an only child. A baby brings changes to the time spent with mum and dad, alterations to their daily routine and adds new sights and smells into their lives, all of which can - understandably - be quite a lot to take in!
Due to the unpredictability of how your child may react, we’ve put together some top tips to help the introduction go as smoothly as possible, and get your little ones bonding positively as soon as possible.
1. Bond with your bump together
While we’re used to associating pregnancy with the arrival of a brand new baby, your little ones might not yet understand this, so it's important to teach them before your baby is born. Begin by including your child into bump bonding activities. This could include massaging your bump, listening to baby and feeling baby’s movements together, all the while explaining to them what’s going on inside.
2. Positively introduce the idea of a new brother or sister
Read books, watch videos or listen to programs with your child about gaining a new sibling, preparing them for the moving, noisy new bundle of life that will soon be making an appearance. Show them pictures of their baby pictures to help them relate, and be sure to reinforce how much fun having and watching over a new friend will be, and how they can ‘help’ by being gentle and kind.
3. Introduce the new baby as soon as possible
You should take your child or children to visit mum and the new baby as soon as you can. While meeting for the first time, ensure that baby and sibling get equal amounts of love and attention, to enforce that your new baby shouldn’t be a source of jealousy. Encourage them to look into their new sibling’s eyes, and delicately touch hands and feet in order to establish physical bonds.
4. Keep up with your normal routines
Once you’re at home with your baby try as best as you can to keep things as they were for the siblings although you’ll be understandably busy! Children find comfort in established routines so try and keep them going if you can; from going on trips to the park with each other, brushing your teeth together or visiting family. These activities add stability to your other children’s lives and keep them entertained. If you can, have some 1-on-1 time with just you and your other children.
5. Encourage your baby to help out with caring for baby
Your new baby will need lots of care and attention - something their siblings will be able to help out with! Turn activities such as nappy changing, feeding, putting to bed, chatting and entertaining into fun activities for them to help out with. Your children will enjoy being praised for being useful, and learn to take responsibility and grow closer to their new brother or sister.
How will my child react to a new baby?
It’s impossible to predict exactly just how your child will initially respond to a new baby. It’s very likely and completely normal for there to be some jealous episodes as everyone learns to live together. It’s also not a given that your other children will immediately love your new baby and some elder siblings might start acting like their baby brother or sister once they’re on the scene, as a method of attention seeking. However, by following the tips above, being understanding, making things fun and dividing your attention as best you can, you’ll be on the right track!