How Did You Prepare Your Child for Another Baby

I’ve been considering how to prepare our DD for when we do get pregnant. I’m curious what others have done/what others plan to do when the time comes.

The main things I’m wondering are:

  1. When to tell DD that we’re pregnant - do we tell her right away and risk her telling people before we’re ready for them to know, or wait until we’re closer to telling our other family members?
  2. Ways to include DD in the pregnancy - are there ways we can help her feel connected to baby during the pregnancy?
  3. How to help DD bond when baby arrives - I already have a pretty good idea of how we’ll handle DD meeting baby at the hospital (presuming that she’s able to by that point, given COVID restrictions). But wondering what we can do to help her feel close to her sibling, especially at the beginning.

Thanks for any input!

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I’ve been thinking about this too. I think a lot depends on how old your daughter is.

I probably wouldn’t tell a young child until I was ready to tell everyone. They are unlikely to be able to keep a secret.

My boys are 2.5 so I’ve thought about getting them little baby dolls for them to practice being gentle. They may not really care or understand at this age. :joy: But they do understand what a baby is so who knows.
They do very well with their cousin who is 14 months younger.

When my nephew (who was 7 at the time) had a little brother I got him a special book that had his and his brother’s name in it and it was all about how cool it is to be a big brother. We gave it to him at the baby shower and he was so excited.
I think anything you can do to let them know how awesome it is to be a big sibling and make them feel as much a part of it as possible is a good thing.

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Totally agree about the age thing! [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter will be three soon, so not exactly the prime age for keeping a secret :joy:

I love the idea of the special book about being a big sibling! That definitely seems like a great way to build excitement, and my DD is generally pretty inquisitive about the books we read so I feel like it’d help us talk about the baby and maybe prompt her to have questions.

Gentle is definitely a good thing to work on! [name_f]My[/name_f] DD has one baby doll and lots of stuffed animals. Sometimes she’s super sweet to them, but she can chuck them across the room at any given moment :rofl:

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Yes, mine are known for chunking things across the room too :grimacing::joy:
The book we got from Etsy. It was called The Super, Incredible Big Brother book. There is a Super, Incredible Big Sister version too. :blush:

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[name_f]My[/name_f] eldest daughter was 22 months when her first sister was born, I bought her a baby size doll, gave her some old baby clothes (still in good condition), got dolls pram etc, so she had her baby and I had mine. she did the same thing when she had her second baby. [name_m]Little[/name_m] granddaughter was 3 then. We bought a doll’s cot, painted it up, [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter supplied the rest.
No problems at all.

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My girl is almost 26 months, will be almost 29 months when next baby is born.

We waited until after 12 weeks to tell her, as despite the awful morning sickness that I wanted to explain to her, I didn’t want to risk having to explain miscarriage to her so young.

Since then we’ve talked about it a lot, that mummy’s growing a new baby and that she’s going to be a big sister. That she will be an amazing big sister and she can help change nappies and help mummy bathe and dress baby. That at first baby will be very little and just cry and poo and be on the boob all the time, but that he’ll get much more fun as he gets bigger and she can teach him all sorts of things.

I’ve tried to avoid mentioning any link when talking with her about the negative things, that my nipples hurt and she’s had to be weaned because of him (milk dried up too), that it’s him in there that makes me tired or not able to pick her up and carry her as much.

She was really weird and reticent about it at first, but talking heaps now about being a big sister and seeming kind of excited.

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@Asherose that’s so sweet that your daughter did the same thing! It definitely sounds like a great way to help get my daughter excited!

@Kiriko I didn’t even think about the prospect of having to explain a miscarriage. I definitely wouldn’t want to have to explain that to my DD if I could avoid it. Also a great idea to avoid talking about the negative things with pregnancy, as you mentioned, and keeping the focus on the positive! I definitely think my DD will be a good helper – she already is a little mother hen to her toys :grin:

Last night I was reading a book (We’re Going on a [name_m]Bear[/name_m] [name_m]Hunt[/name_m]) with my DD that had three little kids and she was asking me who the kids were. I told her they were brothers and sister. She paused for a second and then said “I don’t have a brother and sister.” I told her that’s right and pointed out some kids we know who do have brothers or sisters. Then she said “I want a brother and sister!” :joy: Guess I might not have to worry too much about her.

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Fun tidbit I heard in an interview with [name_f]Helen[/name_f] Oxenbury is that the biggest is not the father as many assume… he’s a much older brother. So it is a five sibling group going on a bear hunt. Great for explaining age spreads as you can have teenagers and babies in the same family.

My first was 13 months when we were first home-study approved for our infant adoption. We waited 18 additional months but were trying to prepare him that at any time (literally that same day or several years from then) he could become a big sibling. The picture book You Were the First by [name_f]Patricia[/name_f] Maclaughlan did wonders for this. The book focuses on all the special “firsts” that a first child in a home experiences and also how the child teaches the parents to be parents. Nearly all the pages are just about an only child, but at the end there is a spread with the older child looking over the bassinet he used to use “One day there may be a second…” and then the two siblings aged up and looking in the bassinet at a third “or a third to sleep in the basket with the yellow ribbon wound round” and it finishes with the parents tucking the eldest into a big kid bed, “but you will always be the first.” We read that to him ALL the time.

We also tried as best we could to explain how much care and attention little babies take and that sometimes he might feel lonely or jealous. [name_m]Even[/name_m] when he was too small to name those emotions himself. His transition to siblinghood when it finally happened (we had 5 days’ notice) 10 months ago was as smooth as we could have hoped for and has continued to be extremely easy for us.

Now I’m pregnant again with our third. We waited until the last possible moment to tell our oldest (now 3.5) but we did tell him before we told anyone else. I didn’t want to explain miscarriage though we did have to explain a few times when potential adoption matches fell through and that was rough. Quarantine has kept him from blabbing it to everyone but my eldest is genuinely excited for another baby, which honestly surprises me considering how much attention was “taken” from him so recently. But I think the idea of the “or a third” from the book we share has made an impression. We have told him that there won’t be any more little babies after this one (we may adopt an older child/teen eventually, but nothing he needs to concern himself with now as it’s likely a decade away) and I think that is in some ways comforting, to know that the transition will happen one more time but then he will have another playmate. His little brother now is seriously becoming a great playmate for him so I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised how excited he is. I was also still nursing him (I guess I still technically am but he is just asking to “try to see if there is any milk” every few days) until my milk dried up. I have told him that when the baby comes in the summer, there will be LOTS of good tasting milk and that if he wants to share some again (we tandem nursed with my second briefly) he may. He is extremely excited about this prospect so we will see if he still wants to nurse after 6 more months.

My second will only be 15/16 months when number 3 arrives so will have less awareness but we are already trying to explain to him, too. That will just continue. We have other sibling books where the new “big sibling” is actually the middle child so those will be good but they aren’t quite as sweet as the other one I mentioned.

We are starting to ask when they want hugs from me if they would also like to give a special hug and kiss to my belly for the baby. We call the baby (will be team green the whole way) [name_u]Bao[/name_u] and having a special name for them is helpful, I think. [name_f]My[/name_f] eldest talks about [name_u]Bao[/name_u] a lot and all the things he wants to do with the baby. When I lay down with them at night in the kids’ room I have started saying goodnight to each of each of them individually and then saying “and goodnight [name_u]Bao[/name_u].” Then I say I love you to each of them individually and then I say, “and I love you, [name_u]Bao[/name_u]” And my eldest has taken to doing the same of his own volition. Telling his brother and me that he loves us and then saying, “I love you, [name_u]Bao[/name_u].”

It’s also just something silly and special but we previously only had two armchairs in our living room. That was where we would sit to read books with one another in the evenings with a kid each on our laps. But we recently bought a sofa sectional and explained at the time “This one is big enough so that you kids AND [name_u]Bao[/name_u] and mama and papa can all sit together cozy.” And so now my eldest talks about all the books we will read together on the sofa when all of us are here. I’ll have them narrate their favorite books to my belly later on and also hopefully sing to the baby. We picked a special song for each child (that I sang to my eldest from the womb and to my second from the day he came home with us) so I will pick another for the baby but I thought maybe my eldest would want to pick a special song to sing, too. We will see if that is the case or not.

Gist of it is just trying to find all the special ways they can connect during the pregnancy to create some of those warm feelings that will hopefully carry over for both of them when this baby actually arrives…

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The idea of that You Were the First book makes me emotional. :sob:
I want to look for that one. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though I have two “firsts” it still sounds super sweet.

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Short answer, we talk about the coming baby a lot. [name_f]My[/name_f] older son was the first person I told when I found out I was pregnant with #2, but he was only 13 months so didn’t really understand and couldn’t spill the beans :slightly_smiling_face: But we talked about the new baby in Mommy’s tummy, made sure he knew what a baby was and introduced the idea that he would get to hold the baby (gently) and help Mommy take care of him. He did great.

Now that #3 is on the way, my oldest is 3 and is very excited. He’s sure he’s getting a sister, and we’re Team [name_u]Green[/name_u], so we tell him he may be right or he may have another little brother. He loves asking to see pictures of what [name_u]Baby[/name_u] looks like now, so we’re keeping up to date on weekly development (our baby is as big as a sweet potato!) #2 is going on 16 months and of course doesn’t understand as well, but he looks at the pictures also. He’s very sweet to his younger cousin, giving her hugs, and he sometimes cuddles a baby doll. They both like kissing and patting my belly to love on [name_u]Baby[/name_u]. I anticipate maybe a little more jealousy from #2 as he’s still quite a Mommy’s boy, but we’re working on his independence, and also Mommy’s lap will still be big enough for two (or three) sometimes. I have plenty of younger siblings, and getting a new one was exciting for everyone.

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We did toy swapping. Our eldest was 2years 9months when our youngest came along and our eldest picked a teddy bear out and when our eldest came to the hospital we had a gift wrapped up for him from our newborn so to speak. Also when the baby comes along I always made sure I set aside at least 30 mins of the day undivided attention to my eldest so they didn’t feel left out. I always tried to involve him in what ways I could. Like pram walks with both, youngest in a sling whilst reading to my eldest etc.

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I think this is a great idea. :slight_smile:

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I had thought about having our DD pick out a gift for the baby but I love the idea of a gift from baby to Big [name_f]Sister[/name_f]! That’s such a cute idea!

I think setting aside some time for undivided attention is super important too!

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My youngest ‘bought’ my eldest a toy helicopter and in all the baby pics it’s them both cuddling and toy helicopter in the middle hhahaa

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That’s hilarious and adorable!!

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This is a great idea! How can you not like someone who came bearing gifts? :joy:

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Exactly :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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[name_f]My[/name_f] daughter was three when I got pregnant. We told her right away to involve her. She told her preschool class, but we managed to keep it a secret for our personal community. I think if we did it again, we’d wait.

We talked up being a big sister a lot. She was excited about taking care of a baby. I was very open in explaining pregnancy and birth to her so it wasn’t a mystery or something she’d feel left out of (I even watched a birthing video with her. She was very matter of fact about it). She would talk to the baby and sing to it in my belly. When we got close, she picked out a present for the baby, and I told her we’d have a birthday party. We made our plans for who would watch her very clear (though things went a bit awry). We video called her once during labor and again as soon as we could when the baby was born. When we came home from the hospital, we bought a cake and a 0 candle. We sang happy birthday to the baby and she got to blow out the candle for him (and of course eat the cake).

Bonding was no trouble for her. [name_f]My[/name_f] issue was more that she wanted to be in his face and involved in everything I did with him. We found a balance letting her hold him daily but teaching her when I needed space with him.

The baby also got her a big sister bracelet, but she was not as interested as I thought she’d be.

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