24 answers

Bringing Home Baby to a Toddler

My 2nd baby is due April 1 and my sister has offered to take my 2-year old that first week home so that we can get situated. I totally appreciate the gesture and sacrifice (as she is taking a week's vacation to do it) but I just wonder if I should separate my toddler from the family that first week. Certainly, I welcome the break as 1 kid is exhausting enough but I don't want to alienate her. I know it's important to make her feel a part and to let her know that she's not being replaced. We've been prepping her about the baby and for now, she seems very excited. She's even requested a "baby brudder". What did you guys do?

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So What Happened?™

Wow. Lots of great advice. I think I'll ask my sister to come over every day to help out instead of sending Zoe away. You guys helped confirm my reservations about that. But having someone around to help with bedtime, play and meals will be just heaven! Thanks so much to everyone for your thoughtful words of wisdom. Much appreciated. Have a great Valentines Day!

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I had the same offer from my family, but chose not to accept it because I didnt want my 2 yr old to deal with the normal seperation anxiety from going away, then come home to a new person in the house. I let my mom take her for the birth, but She came home the day after I came home from the hospital, so she was only gone about 48 hrs. It just seemed a bit much for her to go away for a week, and I esp didnt want her to go after the baby was born, I didnt want her to ever think she had been replaced or given away because of the new baby.

Absolutely not.....I would never suggest doing that - she needs to help you settle in with the new baby - not walk in to a house that has 'changed' in SOOOOO many ways after a week - that is not fair to her!

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Hi C. we are in mirrored lives right now! Same everything except our daughter will be 2.5 and we are due in June. I have been reading everything possible to help our daughter be prepared and comfortable about the new addition. Everything I have read rec. NOT sending the toddler away for the homecoming. A stressful time for everyone, but also soooo exciting and wonderful. I think your daughter will feel more confident about her role if she is able to help when the baby arrives home. I have received some great suggestions from others that I'll share with you, 1.Let Zoe pick out a gift for the baby form her and you and your hus. pick out something from the baby for zoe 2.Let her give the baby a tour of her new home and tell her all about things in your home toys, pets etc... 3. Have special jobs "just for her" 4. Have a special time each day just for her. 5. Let her help get the nursery ready, paint a picture and frame it for the room. 6. This is really cool: buy a pack of onsies and fabric paint and let zoe decorate them for the baby. she'll get excited everytime she wears them! I am excited and anxious too! good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I had the same fears when my son was born. I was afraid that my daughter would hurt him or do something drastic because she thought he was taking her place. We did stay with my parents for the first week after he was born, but my daughter was amazingly good with him.

What we did when I was going to the hospital, my daughter went to stay with my inlaws for the first night. After which they brought her to the hospital where she not only had a baby brother to meet, but also a new doll of her own to care for. This worked great for her. She immitated everything she saw us doing with the baby. I think that is why they have gotten along so well up until this point (but now she is going through puberty and we all know how hard that can be for a girl!)

It is great that your sister has offered to help but I personally think you should keep your daughter at home with you. I would maybe ask your sister if she wanted to come and stay with you and your new arrival. That way she would be there to help with your daughter and your daughter would be able to spend the time getting to know the baby.

I hope this helps! Congratulations and good luck!

That is SO gracious of your sister!!! In one aspect I would be tempted to follow the advice of everything I have read that says - accept any help from anyone that offers. I also see the point in what you have said and I think it is very important for your first child to be in the house during this important time. Does your sister live close? If so I would see if maybe she can take your first little one in the mornings or in the afternoons so you can nap extra. Possibly she could even spend the day with you so that she can watch both when you want to nap.

Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! Maybe since your sister is taking the week off of work to keep your daughter for you, she can just stay at your house or come daily to help out. You definitely don't want your daughter to feel left out because you brought a new baby home and that is probably how she would feel if you sent her away for a week. I have four children and when I brought the babies home we just had people take turns coming over to help out. Whatever you decide to do, there will be an adjustment period for everyone. Good luck!


My friend who is an OB and had her hubby bring their 20 mo. daughter to the hospital to meet the baby where upon the new baby "gave her sister a gift" which was a pair of sunglasses (wouldn't be my choice for a gift- I think a doll would be better ). I haven't read it, but supposedly that's helpful.

Personally, if it were me, I wouldn't want my toddler excluded for the first week entirely. I would want to acquaint and bond the toddler and the baby from the very beginning. You may want to consider having your sister come and stay with you the first week and help with the baby in addition to your daughter. I don't know about you but I was exhausted and struggled for rest with a newborn. Maybe your sister can lift the load in a bigger way by helping make meals, doing laundry, tidying up, and looking after your toddler and the baby while you simply rest. That in my book would be ideal. You would owe her big time but that would be the cat's meow. You are very fortunate to have a sister like her.

Congratulations and all the best with the arrival of your baby!

If I could say one thing it would be take sister up on her offer. DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! I have had 5 kids, so we've been through this many times. You could pump up your daughter by telling her this is gonna be her fun week coming up. See if your sister can plan some fun things to do w/your daughter, so she'll look forward to it. Maybe still plan to bring her over to see you all for an hour or two at a time throughout the week, and then "off to do something fun". Doesn't have to be anything big - a game, or craft, or kids meal and playground. Just tell her you all are gettin baby situated, so that you can spend equal time w/them in the long run and make things easier for all of you. Maybe have a surprise, ex. a toy, waiting for her when she comes home after the week w/your sister. She won't remember not being there w/you all when you come home from the hospital. Nor do i see it as alienating her. What you're doing is a huge adjustment the first couple weeks, and having her w/your sister will help you in making that adjustment. You and your husband will be "wiped out" when you get home, and it makes life so much easier knowing that your 2 yr. old is getting everything she needs w/your sister. You could even send your daughter some special "mail" at your sisters for her to know she is still really special to you all, and you are glad she's having fun, and can't wait to see her soon, and maybe (if you choose), you'll have a surprise waiting for her when she comes home. A specially wrapped "big sister" present.

My best wishes and prayers are w/you and your family through delivery and coming home. If you think about it or have the time, I would love to know how it turns out and/or what you decide. Take care!

No way, I dont think you should send your 2 yr old away. That is her bonding time too! I just had my 2nd in Oct and also have 2 yr old (was 21 months when the baby was born). We had her visit us at the hospital and come home with us with the new baby! Its important for her to relize that the new baby is not replacing her. She will act alittle weird the 1st couple of days and maybe be kind of clingy. But esp at age 2, she needs to get use mom looking after someone else in the house sooner than later!! Just my advice!

Congrats on the upcoming birth of yor baby. I had a five year old and a two year old when my third was born. My husabnd took four weeks off with me-thankfully! He took our oldest two out for "BIG SIBLING" day. He took them to the park, the baseball field and over to their grandparents for the day. We told them that because they were the BIG brother and sister that they had to the right to do something just for them, so that the baby could get used to the house and be ready for them to come home that evening. It worked great. I was very sick for the first 14 weeks after delivery. Thankfully my kids were great. That first week was very trying for me-my baby was very small and it made it so much less nerve wracking to have time to focus only on him. My hubby and I never let them stay overnight with anyone-I always wanted them close at night. If your sister is that willing to help you, maybe you should ask her to stay with you in your house for the first few nights to help at bedtime,mealtime,etc. Then after a few days, maybe she could come over for a few hours every say to help ease the transition.
I hope everything goes great for you. Big Time Kudos to your sister for caring so much to take a week vacation for you. That is terrific that you have a family like that./Not everyon does.
Good luck.

Hi C...
First congratulations to you and your family for the beautiful new addition. I know that you have gotten a lot of advice on this situation but here is my two cents for all that it is worth. I just had a baby in October with a lot of complications. I am 36 with 4 children and maybe it was just me but I noticed that having a baby in my 20's was SOOO much easier than having my baby at 35. I have a three year old daughter as well as a 15 year old and 8 year old son. I let my son's go to their father's for a week and my daughter went to different family member's houses for a week. She called it an "adventure". Believe me she WILL love the extra attention from other family members and you will LOVE getting a little rest and most important allows YOU to bond with your new child

Take that time that you are given to rest and get yourself situated. Thank God you have people that are supportive and are able to take are of. Good luck and let us know what the baby is... :)

Hi C.,
Congratulations on the new addition. This is definately an exciting time for your family. I, too, brought home new babies with children around the 2 year mark (the 1st was just 19 months and from there anywhere from 25 months to 28 months old.
I would not recommend that Zoe stay at your sister's for a week. This new baby is an important part of her life as well and she needs to be introduced to her sibling right away too. Granted, it's a lot of work in the beginning, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how well Zoe accepts the situation and how much easier that second baby experience will be for you. (fingers crossed)
Your sister is a doll for offering to help out. I'd suggest that she spend that night at your house during that week off from work. She can still be on Zoe duty..attending to Zoe's needs if you are otherwise busy and having another adult around will be great for you too!
Good luck and let us know what you decide.

My oldest daughter was 15 months old when my youngest was born. My parents offered the same thing, to take her a few days while we got situated. What ended up happening was that I delivered earlier than we thought, on a busy Tuesday night where my parents lived two hours away. My daughter stayed in my delivery room until they got there. She got to see her new sister before leaving with my parents for four days. I think that worked okay because she got to see the baby and understand that mommy was tired and that was why she was visiting grandma. When she came back, we still had to re adjust with the two of them, but getting used to the baby first, then getting used to both children together was a little easier for us. If your sister does not live far, maybe it doesn't have to be for a full week, just a few days or maybe the can "visit" so she can see her sibling and can used to it.

Can your sister come & stay with you & take care of your daughter at your home for that first week? My mom was able to stay with us for about week after my second was born & that worked out very well for us. I was still able to give DD1 some attention, and DH was able to give her a lot as Mom helped out with all the chores & entertained DD1.

Hi C.,

I think I've posted this advice before, but someone shared it with me and it worked beautifully, so I'm passing it forward. My first son was 18 months old on the day my second son was born. They said to have someone put the baby into the bassinet BEFORE you bring the older child into the room. Then, bring the older child in, have someone put the older child with you in the bed. Take a minute to visit with the older sibling, then, have someone broing the baby to the two of you. That way, it's not "look who's in your place" it more like "we have a baby". Hope it helps. Also, I wouldn't have the older sibling be away for the week. She will love being your helper and if your sister can come over to stay with you, it will be really easy on everyone.

Good luck and Congratulations!!

I just had my second baby in jan of this year i also have a 3 1/2 year old. for the first 2 days (that i was in the hospital) my mom took my son (which was wonderful) once we got home i wanted my son there. a new baby is hard to get used to, so i wanted him there from the start to see everything that was going on. my mother-in-law came to our house for a week which helped keep the 3 year old out of my hair for a while. maybe you could ask your sister to come stay with you for that week. that way you have someone else to help you cook and clean and give you a little time to sleep too. and i'm sure she would love to see the new baby to.

I had the same offer from my family, but chose not to accept it because I didnt want my 2 yr old to deal with the normal seperation anxiety from going away, then come home to a new person in the house. I let my mom take her for the birth, but She came home the day after I came home from the hospital, so she was only gone about 48 hrs. It just seemed a bit much for her to go away for a week, and I esp didnt want her to go after the baby was born, I didnt want her to ever think she had been replaced or given away because of the new baby.

I just went through this, I had my newborn in Feb and my son is 2. My mother in law offered to do the same thing. Please dont. Because it will affect your daughter and give her the feeling that she is being replaced. What we did and it honestly worked great. Try not to change your routine to much. If you take her for a walk or to the park, keep doing it. Or if its to much alternate with your husband and take turns once a day to spend quality with just her. Make her think shes still very special to both of you. My hubby and I would take turns, one would stay with the baby and the other would take our son to the park, bounce house, even just to run some arrons. And it worked great. Also getting her to help out witht he baby helps a lot too. Make sure you make it seem like you need her, not the other way around. That also helps with a little sibling rivalry. Oh well I just looked at the dates and you have already had your baby, well good luck! and congrats!

I would absolutely NOT seperate your daughter from the arrival of the sibling. It will cause more problems than it will solve. Yes, it is difficult adjusting to two kids but your daughter will need to feel included in the new family now more than ever. Have your sister come and stay with you and help entertain your daughter that way but I would not remove her from the house. She needs to be there to interact (as much as she can) with her new sibling and understand that even though there is another child in the house she is still loved as much as she was before. Sending her away may give her the thoughts of not belonging anymore.


we were lucky to have family take the kids for several days after each baby was born. we would drop them off on the way to the hospital or have them meet us there (it was different on each new baby) and then they would bring my other kid(s) to the hospital after the baby was born. i always asked that they wait until i was able to get some sleep then bring the other kids to visit. this way they got to meet the new baby and see for themselves that mommy was ok. the kids also really enjoyed the chance to spend time with family and since they did not get to stay over with them often this was like an adventure for them which of course included tons of attention for them. good luck and enjoy this!! by the way i have four kids (5, almost 4, almost 3, and 3 months) so i have been through this a couple of times.
:) jenny

Hi C., my daughter was three when my second was born and i thought about letting her go to her grandmother's house but then i realized that the whole family needed to bond together and kept her at home, it was tough with getting little sleep and then taking care of two during the day, but i was glad that i kept my toddler at home because now they are so close, it also helps that my toddler was able to help me with the baby so she wasn't jealous at all of the new baby. good luck

I brought home my new baby boy to a 14 month old daughter in December. I would say that the best thing to do is have your sister take that week off and stay with you instead of taking your daughter to her house. She can then be a big help to both you and your daughter in the adjustment. She definately needs to start adjusting to the new family dynamic and delaying this doesn't seem like it would do any good! Trust me... you are going to need a LOT of help with two young ones. It'd be better if your sis was there to help ease the transaction for you and Zoe. Plus you'll miss your girl too much! Hope this helps. Get ready for some chaotic months ahead.

C., this is a delicate matter. Although I understand the exhaustion of coming back home from the hospital with a new baby and having to deal with an older one, i would keep the big sis' at home, you never know how she may feel to be left out. She might feel like you don't want her around because of the new baby and also she might be excited to welcome the sister/brother (since you prepared her for this) and all of a sudden she will not be there when the baby arrives??? This might confuse her.
I would keep her and ask her to help me with little things around the baby, I also would remind her a lot that you love her , just to be n the safe side.It's hard on you, I know, good luck!!

Absolutely not.....I would never suggest doing that - she needs to help you settle in with the new baby - not walk in to a house that has 'changed' in SOOOOO many ways after a week - that is not fair to her!

Hi C.

My oldest was almost 3 when I had Cameron. My ex and I were separated at the time, so it was just me and the babies. Branden loved helping me with the baby. I had my parents take Branden for a few hours to give him some "play" time, but other than that....he was with me 24/7.

Good luck!


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