Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond
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Your newborn: Older brothers and sisters
Helping siblings adjust to a new baby is part of the process of creating your new family.
During your pregnancy
Include your older children in as much of your pregnancy as you can.
- Let them help you prepare for your baby.
- Read books together about new babies.
- Visit friends who have new babies.
- Let them feel your baby kick.
- Use simple pictures to show them how your baby is growing, and talk about how special it is to be a new brother or sister.
When you go to the hospital
- Leave a picture of yourself with older children.
- Leave a tape of your voice reading a favorite story.
- Call them on the phone.
- Leave a card or note written by you.
- Have them visit you.
- Spend some time alone together before you introduce your baby.
- Don't expect perfect behavior when your older children come to visit -- they've missed you, and they may not immediately bond with your baby.
- Mark the special occasion of becoming a brother or sister with a small treat or special gift.
When you get back home
- Spend just-you-and-me time with each child each day, even if it's only minutes.
- Tell older children stories about when they were babies.
- Get out your older child's baby book and look through it together.
- Give older children extra attention, cuddles, praise and love.
- Be patient if older children wet the bed, suck their thumbs and "try on" baby behavior for a while.
Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, sixth edition, preg-ahc-90026, ISBN 1-931876-25-8
First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 08/22/2011
Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts