Preparing For Siblings

Preparing siblings for the arrival of a new baby can be challenging. We conceived our rainbow baby when our toddler, Silus, was 18 months old. While we were over the moon with excitement, we were also terrified of how our son would react to a new baby in the house. He had been our whole world all his life and never had to share our attention with anyone else so we knew it would be a huge adjustment. Would he be excited? Would he be jealous? We also expected a very real possibility that he would absolutely hate his new sibling!

Throughout the pregnancy, we tried to make him as prepared as possible. These are some things worked for us:

  • Reading books about becoming a big sibling
  • Bringing our son to OB appointments with us & involving him
    • Letting him help with the Doppler
    • Taking him to ultrasounds to show there is a baby in mom’s belly
    • Explaining all the things the doctor is doing to mommy
  • Letting him feel kicks or hiccups (or drive a car around mom’s belly!)
  • Giving him a baby doll of his own to care for
    • Teach him to be gentle when holding & caring for the baby
    • Show him how he can be a big helper with mom!
  • Telling him ways he can be a big helper when the baby comes home
  • Showing him ways he can be patient when mom is busy with the new baby
    • Make a busy kit! Include things siblings can do/play while you’re busy with the baby 
      • Crayons, stickers, sensory bins
      • Use a tablet or tv if you need to! Buying a few minutes of peace will NOT make you a terrible mom!

In the end, it’s hard to know just how much siblings understand about a new baby or how they will react to him or her until the baby is born. When our son met his brother Jax in the hospital he was very excited to see a baby. He was excited about helping, playing, and talking to the baby. He loved his brother until he realized that he was coming home with us! Ha! A new sibling is a huge adjustment for a child, especially if he’s used to being the only child at home. Some children will adjust very easily. Some children, like ours, will become more easily frustrated.  There were a lot more tantrums. Breathe mama! It will get easier. 

Bio

Alexandra Leeper is a Pediatric Registered Nurse and currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Family Nurse Practitioner. She lives outside of Pittsburgh, PA with her husband and two boys who keep them on their toes.  When her boys aren’t (physically) running circles around her, she enjoys binge-watching The Office and eating candy that she’s hidden from her husband and children.