How Can I Prepare My Toddler for a New Baby?
For a toddler, the arrival of a new sibling is nothing less than world-changing. I mean, think about it—all the sudden, they’re not the center of their parents’ universe. There's a new baby in the house and everything they knew as normal is turned side-ways because of it. Or at least that's what it seems like from their pint-sized point of view.
One way to prepare your toddler for a new baby is by practicing with a baby doll. Show her how you’ll breastfeed the baby—she can practice that, too—and how she can help with the diaper changes (or, at least, bring you a new diaper).
When you deliver the baby, you don’t have to bring your toddler, but if you do, make sure to bring someone along with you to help take care of him. Tell him that the baby’s toes are his “Special Big Brother Spot” to kiss and touch. That will help keep him from accidentally poking the baby in the eye. It’s also fun to tape one of his little drawings onto the baby’s bassinet. And, bring a new, wrapped stuffed animal to give him as a gift…from his baby! It’ll help him feel loved and included.
Speaking of presents, make sure you have a few new trinkets around the house for when visitors bring the new baby presents. When you have a visitor stopping by, secretly pass along one of them to your guest—to give to your toddler—as a “big brother” gift.
In the Happiest Toddler On The Block, I share lot’s more fun tips to help keep the peace in your growing family! For example, one called “gossiping.” Say you’re in a room with your toddler and your husband, whisper loudly to your husband about how wonderful your toddler has been with his new sibling. (When you do this DO NOT look at your child or wink…the idea is that you “didn’t mean to be overheard.”) Your tot will intercept this secret message and feel appreciated for his cooperation.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.