Start by talking to your older child about the arrival of his or her new sibling. A study by J. Reprod Infant Psychology shows that “firstborn children who were told earlier in their mothers’ pregnancy were more likely to have positive feelings about their sibling before the birth.”
Explain in age-appropriate terms how the baby is growing, and ask him or her to help prepare for the baby’s arrival. A great way to do this is taking them shopping for babies’ clothes and supplies, and having them help set up the baby’s nursery. Another fun activity is taking them to hospital sibling class designed for children and parents to learn together about what to expect.
Explain to your older child that the baby will cry a lot, and otherwise sleep and eat most of the time. The baby will eventually be a playmate, but not right away.
If your child will need to change rooms or have their crib or bed moved to create space, do so before the baby is born. This will provide your older child a chance to get settled in the new setup before the baby’s arrival onto the scene.
Before appointments in the hospital or birth center, let your child know that your time away will be brief and you will soon return! If possible, arrange a time for your child to visit the hospital or birth center so that they can feel involved in the process.
When the new baby arrives, have a family member or friend bring your child to the place of birth for a brief visit. Allow someone to hold the baby for a while so that both parents can give the older child plenty of cuddles.