How can I help my child prepare for the new baby?

This is something I had never considered when I first found out I was pregnant with Baby No. 2. I just assumed Tyler would love his new sibling and would be really excited. After all, as a child I loved my little brother and there was 4 years between us. I can’t remember ever feeling jealous of him, he was a new buddy to play with.

My husband and I first told Tyler we was going to have a little brother or sister from the very beginning, I think more from our own excitement, expecting Tyler to share the excitement. We would say to him, ‘Do you want a baby brother or a baby sister?’ He would very angrily reply ‘NO BROTHER! NO SISTER!’

Oh.

We thought, okay, maybe he’ll get used to the idea, or maybe he doesn’t know what he’s saying. But every time we asked him, he’d say the same thing. It seemed he REALLY didn’t want a sibling. Eek.

I suppose I could see his point of view. for the whole 3 and a half years of his life, he has been the centre of attention, the only child, the first grandchild on both our sides – so he has have all the love and time and toys all to himself. Why would he want to share it with another sibling??

I thought maybe this is normal. But on asking a few friends who had or are having a second baby, they said the older sibling was excited and looking forward to the new baby. Now I was worried. Especially when Tyler poked my tummy and said ‘I don’t like Honey Nut!’ I was like, oh crap, how can I make him like her?!

When we found out Honey Nut is a girl at my 21 week scan, Tyler reacted really weirdly, and kind of reverted to being a baby, talking in a more babyish voice and just being extra clingy with me – I want mummy. Mummy mummy mummy.

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How did we get him to like Honey Nut?

Everything changed the next day, and it had nothing to do with me! I left Tyler at my parents and went to work, after doing a little family gender reveal. My parents and siblings were super excited to find out we’re having a girl. And I think that excitement rubbed off on Tyler. They were all like ‘You’re going to have a little sister!’ to him, with lots of hugs and excitement all day, while I was at work. So by the time I got back, I suddenly had my boy happy to be having a little sister. A miracle!

It’s been a month and a week since that day, and he’s still okay with it. He gives Honey Nut kisses on my tummy, and since we’ve been able to see her move through my tummy, he goes ‘Come on Honey Nut!’ waiting for her to kick.

I burped the other day, and then Tyler came up to me and said ‘Can I burp Honey Nut’ and then patted my tummy! So strange, where did he get that idea from?!

Last week he even chose a babygro for her, a green and white polka dot one. He was very grumpy choosing it, when I asked him which one to get ‘YES. THE GREEN ONE!’ ‘Okay, shall I go pay for it then?’ ‘YES!’ – still this was such a positive, he chose it for her!

We visited my friend last week who has a 3 month old baby boy. It was the first time Tyler met him. He was very grumpy at first, looking at the baby with a sort of annoyed look on his face. He was almost like a grumpy teenager, sitting on the sofa glued to his tablet.

My friend and I were having lunch at the table and we put the baby in his bouncer. He started to cry. I called out to Tyler “Please can you help us, can you help the baby stop crying? Howabout putting his flashing light on?” Tyler stomped over, and waved the light over the baby. And the baby stopped crying! It was so funny, Tyler really looked like a teenager being forced to help. When the baby stopped crying, he gave the light back to me and stomped back to the sofa.

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But, I was so amazed – he helped when I asked him too. I think that’s the key, getting him involved, like he is so helpful. I think that’s how I’ll get him interested when my baby is here.

Even though he was grumpy that day, he was interested. The baby was put in the moses basket for a bit, and Tyler went ‘Where’s the baby gone?’ I said he was in the basket, and he went over and just watched him.

Here’s a 1-minute clip of Tyler’s journey to meet my friend’s baby – you can see how annoyed he looks at the end, it’s so funny:


Other ideas for getting the firstborn to like a new baby

I’ve been asking people for other ideas, and this is what I’ve heard so far:

  1. Give a present from the baby to the sibling – I did this. I got little a new train ‘from Honey Nut’ and he really believed it was from her.
  2. Tell him he is the favourite when the baby is born. The baby won’t understand, so don’t worry about hurting her feelings. Just for the early days, always say to him ‘You’re my favourite’, so he won’t feel jealous
  3. When people come to visit the new baby, tell them beforehand to say hello to the older child first and bring a present for the older child as well as the new baby.
  4. Give the firstborn his own polaroid camera when the new baby is here, so he can take his own photos of the baby and feel proud of his photos.

Do you have any more ideas or tips I could use for getting Tyler to like his new sibling? Please let me know!

Sabrina x

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33 responses to “How can I help my child prepare for the new baby?

  1. A sweet story with the other baby and well done your parents on the big transformation. I’m sure everything will be just fine when the time comes but do watch out for a few months in when the novelty wears off, this is when it can get a little tricky. I remember it coming out in strange ways, I don’t think my eldest was even aware that jealousy was what he was feeling. Keep the attention to both up and a little one to one play date time with your eldest when you can and all will be well. #Twinklytuesday

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  2. Hey loved this post in dealing with the same thing i dont know how my daughter will be were planning for our baby #2 but she has her moments when she only wants me or ask about if there is a baby in my belly which I don’t know yet hopefully so πŸ™πŸ½πŸ˜Š but maybe when you give birth u can get a little gift from the baby for the big brother or maybe have him help out with small things so he can see your time is well spent together and not only on the baby maybe he can have a sleepover at a friends house so you don’t feel overwhelmed with him feeling down or left out.

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    • Aw that’s interesting that she’s asking about the baby. I think girls are different from boys in that way, I think they get more excited. I’ll try to get Tyler helping out so he feels important, and that’s a good idea for him to have a sleepover, so he still gets to have fun. Fingers crossed for your baby no. 2, hope you get your good news soon! Xx

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  3. I hadn’t considered this as an issue, I’m quite sure my daughter would just be thrilled as she always coos over babies, perhaps it’s an age thing. Anyway, sounds like great ideas to help him adjust. Good luck with everything! X
    #BloggerClubUK

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  4. Aw I’m so glad that your family’s excitement rubbed off on him! It is so funny how kids react to things – you never know what you’re going to get. My little nephew (who’s 3) pretends he doesn’t like my 1 year old but when she’s no there he’s always asking after her. I think they just feel confused. Hope everything goes well with the rest of your pregnancy x #TwinklyTuesday

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    • That’s exactly it, you don’t know how they’re going to react! I just hope he’ll be happy when the baby is actually here. It’s definitely confusion, they don’t know how to deal with their emotions, poor little babas! Xx

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  5. Such a timely read as we have number 2 due in 2 weeks! I’ve got a pressie lined up, and asking people to greet the older child first is great advice. Thanks!

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  6. Ah we’ll be facing that challenge soon. It’s so hard to predict how they’ll react at each stage. I like the idea of the little camera for them. My midwife said getting them to help and feel like part of the parents team can help in the early days. I’ve also heard a present from the baby when it’s born can help. Good luck #familyfun

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    • That’s exactly it, it’s hard to predict. They might be okay, or not! I’m just going to do my best to get Tyler involved and make him feel important. I’m going to need that luck, thank you! xx

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  7. Sounds like you are doing a great job preparing your son so far and I think you are right that he needs to be involved. We also read books about getting a new baby brother/sister and that helped. TY for linking up with #FamilyFun 🌸

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  8. We welcomed no 2 last July, there’s a 4y+ age gap. I was slightly worried through the pregnancy because my daughter said she only wanted a sister – we didn’t find out but I kept thinking eek there’s 50% chance she’ll be very disappointed! Then right towards the end she said she wanted a brother – and yes we had a boy! So funny because even now she’ll say he’s only here because she decided he would be a boy. To be honest she was fantastic right from the start, so protective and I’m sure your little boy will be too. I did a special ‘big sister’ gift bag to give her from baby in hospital, which she loved. If you’re interested I wrote a post about it at the time (it’s quite girl focused but might give you an idea or two) tomaternityandbeyond.co.uk/2015/06/25/the-past-ten-days/ Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy, exciting times! #FamilyFun

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    • Ahh that’s so nice to hear how protective your daughter was, I hope Tyler will be like that, as he’s quite protective of me anyway, so it’s in his nature! I like the gift bag idea, there can be lots of little pressies! I’ll have a look at your post too, thanks so much xx

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  9. Ah thanks for this – we had a few teething troubles with my eldest when I had my second and I’m now expecting number 3 so I really need to prepare them both!! I love love LOVE the idea of the polaroid camera, I’ll definitely be using that one this time πŸ™‚ #FamilyFun

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  10. Aww bless him! I have to admit that my eldest has always been thrilled with her little sister. But there’s only 15 months between them, so she didn’t understand about the pregnancy or that there would be a baby, and she wasn’t that used to being the only one. I think that makes a big difference. To her now, I’m sure it seems like her sister was always there. But I think they all adjust in the end, just takes some a bit longer than others. I have always heard the tip you say about asking visitors to give the eldest attention before baby. & also that if there are any things the eldest still uses that will be going to baby, or a room change, to take those things away quite a while in advance, so that they get forgotten about & it is not like they were taken from the eldest to give to baby.

    We gave our eldest a present when we brought the baby home. We gave her her first baby doll to look after. #BloggerClubUK

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    • Oh yes I guess the age gap does make a difference. The only thing going to the baby that was Tyler’s is his pushchair – I hope he’ll understand by then. Thanks for the tips! Xx

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  11. I’m glad that Tyler seems to be coming round to the idea. Zach was a bit distraught at first after telling me for ages that he didn’t want a sibling but within moments he was mega excited and didn’t stop talking about it! I can’t imagine how hard it is to have that worry about acceptance of the new baby. If anything I feel that Zach might be too accepting – he too met a newborn recently and was besotted!!!! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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    • Ahh glad Zach is excited! Tyler was terrible in the early pregnancy months, but I’ve definitely noticed a difference since he met my friend’s baby. I think that has helped him realise that it’s a baby that is coming! Xx

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  12. I know where you are coming from on this, I was hoping that the age would make a difference with Monkey and Kipper. He did want a brother when asked so I think that works in our favour and he’s now at the stage where he doesnt want to wait another 5 weeks for him to make an arrival. Its almost like a light has gone on in his head, I think this is partly because he has worked it through himself but also because we have been making a huge effort to include him in everything. Love that tip about the polaroid camera… Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again next week x

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    • That’s so good to hear Monkey is excited now. Saying that, since meeting my friends baby, I’ve definitely noticed more of an interest from Tyler, so maybe that’s helped it make sense to him that a baby is coming! Xx

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  13. Good tips, this is something we are also dealing with! My little boy is 2 and we’re expecting number 2 and he hasn’t been very enthusiastic. He doesn’t fully understand yet either which doesn’t help so I hope he’s ok when the baby does come along! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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    • It must be a boy thing! But Tyler is getting more interested as the bump is getting bigger, so maybe it makes more sense to them as the time goes on! X

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