Prepare Sibling For New Baby

***Anecdotes and advice from a Supermom of 12 children

Preparing siblings for a new baby

Nearing the end of my pregnancy with my second child (out of 12!), I followed the advice in my childcare book and began to prepare my daughter, then 18 months for the birth of her sister. With my first birth, I bought a present to give to my husband for those times he might feel jealous of the attention the baby would receive from me. The second pregnancy had me buying a present for my daughter, as well. I wrapped both presents and hid them under some lingerie (would my cocoa-colored lace teddy set ever fit me again?) in a bureau drawer.

I also spoke to my daughter, throughout the pregnancy, about the upcoming event. However, no matter what words I used, I had the sense that when she echoed me, saying, "Baby. The baby is coming soon," she had no idea that the words she mouthed represented anything at all.

Preparing for the event

I used other techniques to prepare her for the event. I invited mothers with babies to our home and had my daughter hold their small infants with my assistance. I said, "See the pretty baby?"

I also bought a book about an only child who gains a new sibling. While reading the book, I pointed to the nine-month's pregnant mother's belly as depicted in the book, then at my own not inconsiderable girth. I said with a slight skewing of the anatomical truth, "Both of us have babies in our bellies."

My little girl pointed to my disappearing waistline and mimicked, "Baby."

Sometimes the books are wrong

Somehow I sensed that she just didn't get it—and I knew that I was squandering what little time was left in which to make the issue of the baby's arrival tangible for my toddler. Though I had tried to follow the advice in my parenting books, it was clear that understanding would come only with the arrival of the baby. Sometimes the books are wrong.

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