I recently asked the women at Sisters Midwifery how parents can prepare their toddler for a new baby’s arrival. Littles at two(ish) are curious, learning to share and seesawing between independence and the need to cling to your leg. All children are different, but here are a few suggestions Sisters Midwifery had for getting your younger kiddo(s) ready for a sibling.
Show them your belly
As you move into your second trimester it will be more obvious to children that your body is different. The idea of a life growing inside you is a bit abstract for youngsters, but it’s still worth telling them the truth – there’s a baby in mama’s tummy! Let your child feel the baby kicking once her movements are pronounced enough.
Read them books about new babies
There’s a myriad of books out there about the arrival of a new sibling from Our Water Baby to Waiting for Baby. One of the books suggested was Hello Baby by Jenni Overend, a story about a family preparing for home birth. It’s out of print, but available used on Amazon.
Get them a baby toy
Give your little one a baby doll to carry and care for. Talk with your child about how to be gentle with babies and try having some fun like singing to the babies.
Bring them with you to a few midwifery appointments
It may be helpful to bring your toddler with you when you visit your midwife. They can listen to baby’s heartbeat, see mommy’s tummy get measured and participate in other parts of the process.
How best to prep your child(ren) will depend on their age and interest level. If your child is a little bit older you can often let their questions be your guide. Also, consider taking them to a sibling class to learn more. Sisters Midwifery offers one – email them to sign up for the next class.
By Stephanie Bazan
Stephanie is a mama, and freelance writer and graphic designer from Austin, Texas. She enjoys adventures with her husband, 2-year-old son, and shepherd pound puppy.