Introducing your newborn to your older child

Bringing a new baby into your family is a big transition for everyone, and there will no doubt be a wide range of emotions on all parts. You’ve already explained to your first-born that they will be having a younger brother or sister, and you will have shared your pregnancy journey with them in whatever way was best for you. But what happens when the new baby actually arrives?

Introducing your newborn to your older child

There may be jealousy and your older child may find difficulty adjusting, to begin with. Don’t be disheartened if they’re not as excited about the new arrival as you are. Here are some tips that may make introducing your new baby a little easier.

Help them become friends before the baby is born. Look at scan photos together, let them touch your baby bump, feel the baby kick and talk and sing to it.

Once you bring your baby home, keep up your child’s routines and activities as much as possible. While some things may be hard to organise in the beginning, sticking to what they know can help to reassure them.

Be prepared to cope with extra demands, as you may find your older child seeks more attention. Try and give them as much one-to-one time as you possibly can.

Encourage your older child to take an interest in the new baby and help with looking after him or her. Make it into a fun game for them.

When you’re feeding your new baby, you may find your older child feels left out, so try and find something for them to do while you’re feeding or use it as an opportunity to have a chat with them, maybe tell them a story.

Be patient with any behaviour that may be out of character. Depending on the age of your older child, you may find them asking for a bottle or wanting to be carried.

Expect some jealousy and even resentment towards your new baby. Up until now, your older child has had you all to themselves, so they make take a while to adjust to having to share your attention. Try and involve them as much as you can, and ask for help from others so you can have some alone time with each child to help balance the demands that are put on you.