Growing Together: Welcoming a New
Baby into the Family

Welcoming a new addition to the family is an exciting time, but it can also be a period of adjustment, especially for older siblings. National Siblings Day, on April 10th, provides the perfect opportunity to explore ways to prepare older siblings for the arrival of a new baby and encourage positive sibling relationships. Here are some insights and practical tips to help your family navigate this transition smoothly.

Introducing the concept of a new sibling

We’ve spoken before about how to prepare your first baby for a new baby. When preparing older siblings for the arrival of a new baby, it's essential to approach the topic with care and sensitivity. How you approach this will depend very much on the age or ages of older siblings. Toddlers will react to the information in a very different way to school-age kids. 

Start by having age-appropriate conversations about what it means to have a new sibling. Use low-pressure moments, such as during car rides or meal times, to discuss the changes that will occur in the family. Emphasise the positive aspects of sibling relationships, such as having a playmate and someone to share experiences with. Encourage older siblings to express their feelings and concerns openly, and reassure them that their love and bond with you will remain unchanged.

Parenting expert Janet Lansbury recommends accepting and validating children's emotions during times of transition. As Lansbury advises, tantrums and limit-testing behaviour may increase, but these reactions are natural responses to confusion and stress. By acknowledging and accepting their feelings, parents can help older siblings navigate the transition more smoothly.

Addressing concerns and fears

It's natural for older siblings to experience a range of emotions, including excitement, jealousy, and uncertainty, about the impending arrival of a new baby. Take the time to address any concerns or fears they may have and reassure them that their feelings are valid. Encourage them to ask questions, express their emotions openly, and provide age-appropriate explanations about what to expect when the baby arrives.

Brittany Dixon, of A Healthy Slice of Life, says the best advice she ever received was that the new baby couldn’t understand her words but her older child could. One way to help older siblings — especially toddlers who may have been used to your undivided attention — is to frame activities around prioritising them and their interests using your words. 

Say, the baby needs their nappy changed, but your toddler wants you to see the tower they built. You say something along the lines of, “Come on, baby, let’s change your nappy as quickly as we can so we can go and admire your brother’s amazing tower!” Your toddler will feel that you are prioritising them, while you’re getting the necessary task done. 

Involving older siblings in the preparation process

One effective way to help older siblings feel excited and involved is by including them in the preparation process for the new baby. Allow them to help choose baby items, such as clothes and toys, and involve them in setting up the baby's nursery. This not only makes them feel valued and important, it also fosters a sense of responsibility and anticipation for the new arrival. 

If you’re worried about the all-consuming early weeks and months with a newborn, while having another child around — especially if that sibling is a toddler — consider prepping some activity pouches for them in advance. 

“Before the new baby is born, create a couple of busy bags with a couple of small, new things in each one. Make sure you select things your toddler can busy themselves with alone — think stickers, figurines, crayons, and so on — and hand one over when you're feeling overwhelmed. It should buy you a few minutes to get the baby changed or fed, keeping your toddler happy and occupied.”

For older kids, consider stockpiling some new books or comics, sidewalk chalk, or busy books like Where’s Wally. These will both communicate your ongoing love and care for your older child, while giving them something fun and novel to do while you have your hands full with the baby.

Creating special bonding moments

Building a strong sibling bond begins long before the baby arrives. Encourage older siblings to spend quality time with the new baby, such as reading stories, singing songs, or helping with gentle tasks like diaper changes (under supervision, of course). These special bonding moments not only strengthen the sibling relationship but also help older siblings feel involved and connected to the new baby.

Remember to also make sure to preserve special bonding time between you and your child, free of the baby. If there are two parents involved, take turns caring for the baby while the other spends quality time putting the older sibling to bed or for a short outing. It’s important for the older siblings to know that their relationship with their parents won’t change, and for a lot of kids, quality time spent together is a big deal.

Let Snuza help you care for both children

As parents, ensuring the safety and well-being of our children is always a top priority. This is where Snuza baby monitors come in handy, providing peace of mind and added security, especially in households with multiple children. All our baby monitors are equipped to help watch over your baby, even when you’re occupied elsewhere. The Snuza Pico 2 connects to an app on your phone, alerting you to a break in abdominal movements, as well as tracking, skin temperature, body position, and sleep patterns.

The Snuza HeroMD, the world’s first portable, medically certified baby breathing monitor on the market, offers reassurance to parents by alerting them to any cessation of breathing in infants. With its rigorous testing and certification, the Lullaby Foundation in the UK trusts our device as well as parents worldwide for the HeroMD to watch over their little ones while they sleep.

For families looking for simplicity and ease of use, the Snuza Go!SE provides reliable abdominal movement monitoring without the need for complex setup or configuration. Its straightforward design makes it perfect for parents and alternative caregivers, such as a nanny or grandparent. It provides basic yet effective monitoring for little ones, allowing parents and caregivers to focus on nurturing positive sibling relationships while ensuring their baby's safety.

Embrace the journey together

Preparing older siblings for the arrival of a new baby is a journey filled with anticipation, excitement, and love. By fostering open communication, involving older siblings in the preparation process, addressing their concerns and fears, and creating special bonding moments, families can lay the foundation for strong and positive sibling relationships that will last a lifetime. With the added peace of mind provided by Snuza baby monitors, parents can confidently embrace this journey, knowing that their little ones are safe and secure, allowing them to focus on what truly matters — building cherished memories and growing together as a family.

Remember, every family is unique, and it's essential to find what works best for yours. Embrace the journey together, celebrate the joy of siblinghood, and cherish the moments you share as a growing family. Happy National Siblings Day!



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