Heather L. Zimmerman, M.D.
The thought of sharing mom and dad with a baby brother or sister can be unsettling for a young child. After all, your little one has had your full attention for some time now. By helping your toddler adjust to a new baby, it will help ease any mixed emotions or questions he has before the baby arrives.
The best time to tell your child the exciting news is when your belly becomes noticeably larger or about two months before the baby’s arrival. There are many ways you can prepare your firstborn for the arrival of a little brother or sister. Boys Town Pediatrics suggests:
While you are at the hospital, be sure to keep in touch with your older child as much as you can. It will reassure him that everything is okay and that you will be coming home as soon as possible. When he visits the hospital, be sure baby is in a bassinet so that your hands are free to give him a big hug. Let him a wear a nametag while there that says, "Hi, I'm the big brother." Take a Polaroid or digital picture of him holding the baby in the hospital to show his friends at playgroup or school.
Once baby comes home, it is important to show your older child that he holds just as special a place in your heart as his little brother or sister. You or your spouse can do this by: