How To Prepare Your Child For A Sibling

Discovering that you are pregnant with your second baby is a really exciting time. Unlike your first pregnancy, you now have a tangible understanding of what lies ahead. 

Discovering that you are pregnant with your second baby is a really exciting time. Unlike your first pregnancy, you now have a tangible understanding of what lies ahead.
You’ve done this before and a certain amount of comfort can be taken from knowing what to expect. Of course every pregnancy and baby is different but you might just feel a little more relaxed about this pregnancy. You may worry less about what you eat and how quickly you should buy the baby items for example.
If, however, your pregnancy has been predominantly steeped in worry and guilt regarding your first born, you are not alone. That is something that other mothers will almost tell you to expect.
On the one hand, you are over the moon to be giving your child the gift of a sibling and on the other hand, you have an overwhelming pang of sadness due to the fact that they will now have to share you.
This pregnancy is a symbol of their little world undergoing great change and that can lead to a complex cocktail of emotions for you as a parent.

Preparing your child for a sibling is a really helpful way of working through these emotions. It helps you to bridge things together and it can also feel like the kindest way of introducing your child to the idea before it happens.

Finding the correct balance may seem tricky at first. You want to share enough information to normalise the idea for your child and to prepare them emotionally but you don’t want to overshare and overwhelm them with too much information. It is important to first consider your child’s age and interest level. Your child may have a curious personality.
They may like a lot of detail and ask a lot of questions. Other children will have a completely different personality and less may be more in these cases.

One idea is to let your child lead the way. Once you have shared the baby news with them you might wait to gauge their interest levels. Answering questions as and when they come rather than mentioning it regularly may work well in this case. 
They will not want to talk about the baby all the time so it is important to continue life as normal for the most part so that the child does not associate this news with a complete and utter upheaval of life as they know it.
If they ask a question answer it openly and as positively as possible without overwhelming them with too much information. For example – there is no need to tell your child that you feel sick due to the pregnancy. Instead, tell them that you feel sick as you would at any other time you felt unwell. Keep it general and light.

Giving your child an idea about what to expect from life with a newborn can be very helpful too. Mentioning that babies require feeding, cry and like to be held is a good start so that they can begin to accept those realities ahead of time.

Including your child in the preparations can be a really positive way of preparing them for the baby’s arrival. You might consult them regarding name choices or let them help you decorate or style the nursery. It will give them a great sense of being needed and they might just grow to remember that feeling when the baby comes along.
If the baby’s arrival will change your child’s sleeping arrangements or room it is important to introduce this as early as possible so that the child does not associate the baby with feeling displaced.

And finally – try to avoid any other major changes during this time. Changing schools or trying to wean your child from their soothers or bottles are huge milestones but, if at all possible, try avoid them during this time of great change.


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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