Preparing Children For Pregnancy
This should come as no surprise - preparing your child for the birth of a sibling is best done BEFORE the arrival of the new addition. As your pregnancy continues, children are likely to wonder about the change in your body. Let your child participate in discussions of how the baby will be cared for, what things the baby will need, and where the baby will sleep.
Let siblings help prepare for the new baby. Have your child help you pack your suitcase for the hospital and help pick out the baby's coming-home clothes.
Buy the older child a doll before you go to the hospital and encourage him to feed, diaper, and care for "his" baby. Attend sibling classes with your child and visit the hospital with him before you deliver. Consider preparing presents from the new baby to give to older siblings. On the day that you take the baby home, bring the other child to the hospital to "help."
When you get home with the new baby:
- Spend special time each day with the older child.
- Encourage your child to help with the baby in ways that are age appropriate (singing to the baby, assisting with diaper changes, etc.).
- When visitors come to see the new baby, let your older child be the tour guide. Let him open the baby's gifts.
- When you bottle- or breastfeed your baby, read a story to your older child, sing to him, or just cuddle him.
Don't forget to visit our special section just for kids, as Emily learns about her new sister!
Peter J. Chen, MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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