Introducing the New Baby to Your Other Baby or Toddler

Bringing home a new baby can be somewhat traumatic for an older sibling. If you’ve approached it right during your pregnancy, your toddler likely has some degree of anticipation and is probably looking forward to it. Yet, it’s not uncommon for your toddler or other baby to very soon feel like things have changed for the worst. She’s no longer the center of attention. This new baby starts to be seen as an interloper, rather than simply a novelty.

Here are some things you need to take into account when introducing your new baby:

  • Recognize the older child’s needs. The first couple of years of life, your baby is learning that the world is a safe and secure place to be. He discovers that he can communicate with you and you will respond to his needs, such as feeding, changing diapers, and more. Toddlers have already passed that phase, but they still have a hard time being told to “wait” when they express a need. When the new baby arrives, sometimes your other child is going to have to wait.
  • How you tell your child matters. It’s best to keep things simple. For children under three, you can wait until the third trimester when you start to really show. Earlier than that will create an expectation that will be hard for your older child to understand and be patient with.
  • Include your child in the process. Consider bringing your older child along to a doctor’s appointment so that she can see ultrasound pictures of her new sibling. Let her feel your tummy when your baby is kicking. You might even consider enrolling your older child in a “big sister or brother” class, which many hospitals now offer to expectant families.
  • Speak on behalf of the new baby. A toddler will want to be able to try to communicate with the baby, but the baby won’t be able to communicate back for quite a while. Explain to your child what the baby is thinking and it will help your older child to see the baby as a person.

A new baby doesn’t have to create chaos with an older child. Spend some extra time preparing your child for the new baby and then be sure to give him plenty of attention after the baby comes, as well.


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