Prepping Little Ones for the New Addition

Growing your family is such an exciting decision and time!  However, as your new pregnancy develops, it’s critical to be honest with your little one about how life is going to be different with the introduction of their new brother or sister. The best way to go about this typically depends on two factors- your first born’s age as well as their perceived interest in the matter.

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If your first child is at or around the age of 1, odds are they won’t have a full understanding of what a new brother or sister really means and they’ll continue going about their regular routine, unfazed. Following your child’s lead regarding their interest on the subject is often recommended. Be sure to answer any possible questions they have and let them feel when their brother or sister is kicking! Keep discussions regarding the new addition light and upbeat. Showing your little one pictures of when they were born will help teach them what a newborn looks like. If you have friends or family with newborns, having your little one interact with them will also help better depict what life with a newborn will be like.

On the other hand, slightly older children may express interest in their new sibling via a downpour of questions for you mamas! Your little one won’t want to discuss the new addition all the time, but be sure to answer their questions as they pop up. Fun questions like, “What are they doing in there?” may arise. In response, you can ask what they think (you know they’ll have an interesting answer!). At this point, don’t make correcting them a priority. Invite them for belly sing-a-longs and to occasional doctor visits to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. At this age, many mamas also find it helpful to teach and encourage independent behavior- like picking up toys after play time. Giving your little one a stuffed animal to “take care of” while you take care of your newborn also helps reinforce feelings of inclusion.  

Regardless of their age, ensure your first born has enough time to prepare mentally for the likely fact that mom and dad won’t be able to spend as much time with them. Reinforcing feelings of normality during and after your pregnancy are key. Take the time to remind your little one that you definitely don’t love them any less and that they will always mean the world to you! Make it a priority during this time to spend as much one-on-one time as possible with them and continue to do so to the best of your ability after your pregnancy.