With the imminent arrival of Royal Baby Number two for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge I’ve been asked by baby brand Johnson’s for my top tips on introducing a new baby to older siblings after they carried out research of UK parents for their top tips for settling into life with as a family of four. We have had plenty of practice at this having had to introduce a new baby three times to their old sibling(s) and I’m pleased to say that each time the new baby has been very gratefully received by their sibling(s).
- With each pregnancy we told the older sibling(s) about the new baby from when the bump started to show and in some cases before so that they could become a part of the new baby journey from early on. We also felt this would give them a long time to get used to the idea that they would soon have a new brother or sister.
- When the time came for the older child(ren) to meet their new baby sister/brother(s) we made sure that I knew when they were coming so that baby could be in the crib leaving my arms open for a big cuddle. I didn’t want their first sight of their new sibling to be a barrier between them and me. Each time they ran to me first for a cuddle and then went to the crib to see baby.
- We bought a small gift for each older siblings from the new baby as a big brother/big sister gift. Something personal to them.
- We offered ‘supported’ cuddles with their new sibling as often as possible. We explained from the beginning that baby was delicate and needed to be supported so they all knew they had to sit in an armchair, on a sofa or on the floor with the baby placed on them by an adult and the cuddle lasted as long as they wanted. When the cuddle was over they would tell us to take baby away.
- As much as possible I would make baby’s feeding time into special cuddles and reading time with the older sibling so they didn’t feel that baby was taking up all of my attention. I could easily feed baby with one arm whilst having an arm around the older sibling either to watch their favourite program together or more often to read books together. This would generally result in them kissing baby’s head lots during reading/feeding time.
- Ask for their help – even if you don’t need them to help you with jobs, ask them anyway it will make them feel very important. Fetching wipes, bags, nappies, creams or a special toy for baby, just the littlest thing which you can praise them for will make them feel they are an important part of caring for baby.
My final tip is to simply enjoy watching the bond between your babies, it is one of the most heart-warming experiences ever (until they reach toddler/pre-school years when the arguments start but before all of that it’s magical).