Siblings and a New Baby

Having a new baby in the family can be hard on brothers and sisters. Here are some tips for easing the transition if you have other children:

  • Try to spend some time alone with each child.
  • If both your children need you at the same time, consider taking care of the older child first. The baby's feelings will not be hurt if made to wait.
  • Use feeling words with your older children so they can express their emotions. For example, saying something like, "I can see you're disappointed that Daddy can't read to you now" helps older children learn to recognize their feelings.
  • Allow your older child to help care for the new baby with tasks such as bringing diapers and putting on lotion.
  • Talk to your new baby about his or her older siblings. Comments like, "You're so lucky to have a brother who can teach you how to walk" can make your older child feel special.
  • Interpret the baby's actions in a positive way. For example, "See how the baby is smiling at you. She likes you talking to her."
  • Praise your older child's good behavior.
  • Tell your children that you love them many times a day.
  • Keep taking photographs of your older children by themselves rather than only focusing on the new baby.
  • Let the older children hear you telling another adult how much you appreciate them.
  • Don't be surprised if your older children regress or act immature for their age. It is their way of asking for the kind of love you are giving the baby.

Books for Children About New Babies

The New Baby at Your House, by Joanna Cole
The New Baby, by Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers)
That New Baby, by Sara Stein
Let me Tell You About My Baby, by Roslyn Banish
The Berenstain Bears' New Baby, by Stan and Jan Berenstain
101 Things to Do With a Baby, by Jan Ormerod
A Baby Sister for Frances, by Russell and Lillian Hoban

For parents, the book Welcoming Your Second Baby, by Vicki Lansky, may be helpful.

 

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.