Prevea Health

How can I help my older children adjust to the baby’s arrival?


There are a number of things that can be done to prepare your child at home for the new baby that is soon to arrive. As you read the list below, pick out ideas appropriate for your child’s age.


Talk about the baby early in the pregnancy

  • Talking about the baby before changes start to happen can help the sibling deal with mom’s growing belly.
  • Talking about other changes mommy is going through can help the sibling understand why mom is tired, moody or has pains.
  • Address that the family is going to change in size, routines and structure.

Include the sibling in the baby preparations

  • Take the sibling to a prenatal visit, so he can hear the baby inside mom’s tummy.
  • Introduce the baby’s car seat so the sibling can get use to the idea of another passenger; you could even put a doll or stuffed animal in the car seat to show it will be filled soon.
  • Try out the baby names on the sibling.
  • Get the sibling familiar with babies in general.
  • Play up the big brother or big sister role to get him or her excited.
  • Have the sibling help you get the baby’s room ready for arrival.

Before the baby comes

  • Try to do major changes early such as preschool, potty training and changing rooms.
  • Take a free sibling class. Call (920) 433-8329 to register.
  • Don’t let the new baby be the main focus at home.

Prepare for the hospital

  • Talk to the sibling about what will happen when you go to the hospital.
  • Make sure the sibling understands:
  • He or she will be able to visit you in the hospital
  • He or she may be leaving without you or the baby
  • Take a tour of the hospital.

At the hospital

  • Remember to have a gift for each sibling as well as for the baby, so they don’t feel overlooked.
  • When siblings are not there, keep in touch with them by phone.
  • Make the big brother or big sister feel special when present; allow the sibling to hold or interact with the baby as much or little as they want.

The homecoming

  • Use the baby’s name to help the sibling label the baby.
  • Try to limit visitors for the first day so everyone can adjust.
  • Have the sibling help with small tasks like getting a diaper or burp rag.
  • Set up special time alone with mom and dad.
  • Have a box of special toys, books and activities for older siblings to use during feeding time.

When visitors come

  • Focus attention on the older sibling; make the big brother or big sister feel just as special as the baby. Remind visitors to do the same - this is a sensitive time for older siblings.

Weeks later

  • Take pictures of the sibling with and without the baby.
  • Continue to set up special time alone with mom or dad each day.
  • Turn feeding the baby into story time for the sibling.
  • Have someone take the sibling for a special outing.