How to introduce a brother or sister

Baby number one, meet baby number two. Just as your toddler has gotten used to ruling the roost, you’ve suddenly got a new baby in tow that, as far as number one is concerned, probably followed you home from the hospital. The truth is, it’s impossible to know exactly how your kid will react to the new baby. They could be at your side, playing the dutiful and caring brother or sister, doling out the hugs and kisses. Or they could be figuring their new sibling out from a distance, steering clear of the little terror that’s conspiring to steal their crown (or who’s just making funny gurgling noises, whatever). Here are a few ways to make meeting their new baby brother or sister a little bit easier.

Keep bringing up the baby

Kids don’t miss a trick and any under-fives won’t hold back in demanding to know why mum’s belly is getting bigger. Answer any questions honestly and talk positively about how great it’ll be for them to have a brother or sister to play with. Let them know they’ll be the responsible big boy or big girl about the house; this can definitely work in your favour when you need a hand fetching bits and pieces for the baby.

Get any changes and routines in place early on

The last thing you need is to be nursing a newborn with one hand and potty training a toddler with the other. If toilet training your older one can wait for a month or so after the birth, let it. Focus on keeping your feet up (for reducing swelling and fluid retention, obviously) through the final weeks of your pregnancy. Get any changing bedrooms, transitioning from cot to toddler bed out of the way as soon as you can. We’d all be pretty upset, in true Goldilocks and the Three Bears style, to find someone (no matter how cute and cuddly) asleep in our bed!

Plan what will happen at the birth

All eyes in the hospital room will be on the newborn — and that’s okay. Baby needs you. Don’t feel guilty about prioritising your newborn but arming yourself with a gift for your older child can be a smart move.

Don’t stress it

If everything goes swimmingly right away, we envy you. Everyone is adapting to a new situation, so there’s bound to be a tantrum or two (or five). Everything will all fall into place eventually, so don’t worry. Just remind baby number one that the hospital doesn’t accept returns, so they’ll have to get along.