How to Prepare 2Yr Old Daughter for Her New Baby Brother?

Updated on February 16, 2010
R.Z. asks from Swedesboro, NJ
11 answers

My daughter will be 2 1/2 when her little brother will be born (due May 27th!). She's in daycare/preschool and is around infants so she understands how to be gentle, what babies need, etc. She also will play independently, etc. She's a great kid, but definitely in a "mommy-stage"... I put her to bed most nights and when I had to travel for work last week she was so mad she wouldn't even talk to me on the phone (think she truly thought I abandoned her). Felt horrible. ANYWAY, I want to try to prepare her slowly for the baby.... any advice or experiences you can share would be great!.... especially tips on things Dad can do to help, or specific things to show/talk to her about to help her feel more secure (and hopefully prevent a tantrum-filled first few months with the new baby!). THANKS!!!

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answers from Allentown on

take her with you to appointments et her hear the heartbeat, see baby on ultrasound talk to tummy get tshirt for her and have her help. Try not to change her routine too much cause of birth have her hold baby asap in hopsital sit her down spread her legs and lie baby down with her head on her leg

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answers from Williamsport on

The first and foremost important thing is NOT to believe that she will have trouble with it. The truth is, your amazing 2 year old daughter is about to become a very important and blessed older sister. This has been a celebrated reality for families for centuries. People seem to buy into the idea that kids will be traumatized and "brace themselves" for it, but this can be a self fulfilling prophecy. She has an awesome head start from being around other babies. She will love being praised for her new role. Just get her excited that her new sibling is coming, give her lots of love (as usual) and be matter of fact when it comes to doing things for the baby. Don't shy away from the baby or feel guilty about feedings etc. If your 2 year old is already used to behaving well and not being allowed tantrums etc, she won't suddenly think it's allowed because a baby is there. My daughter was 2 when her brother came and 3 1/2 for baby sister and has been so excited and wonderful for both. There was a phase with the first baby where she "ignored" him for a while, but I just let her. Don't over think it. Your daughter will be very happy and you will be so proud of her!

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answers from Tampa on

My daughter was also 2 1/2 when I had my second daughter. One of the best things we did was buy the book "I'm a Big Sister" and read it to her at bedtime. The book emphasizes being proud of being a big sister and teaches that even though there is a new baby who will get a lot of attention, she is still very special and loved. My second daughter is now 4 months old and we have not had any problems with jealousy. My daughter LOVES being a big sister and I think this book helped my husband and I teach her this.

I felt awful about not being able to spend time with my oldest daughter during the post-partum period, and when I came home from the hospital I was sad that my daughter asked my husband to do things for her that I normally do for her, but I made sure to carve out some time that is dedicated for just me and her every day, even if it's only 20 minutes at bedtime. I also try to let my oldest daughter help with small things so that she feels included (she gets me clean diapers and puts the dirty diaper in the diaper genie, she holds the bottle sometimes when her dad feeds her sister (I nurse), she helps me pick out the babies clothes, etc...)

Children mirror their parents a lot, so crying doesn't bother my oldest at all I think because she knew from the book that babies cry and because we calmly explain to her that babies cry sometimes. I find my oldest daughter mirroring our actions that we do when we try to calm the baby (she will go "there, there Aria, you are okay" when the baby cries a lot :) or pat her gently

Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

One of the best things we did for our son (23 months when baby was born) was to get him used to Daddy putting him to bed at night and for naps. I figured it would be enough of a transition to have me out of the house for a few days in the hospital (and all hospitals around here will not allow visitors under 12) so I didn't want to try anything new at that point. The biggest goal for me was to disrupt his schedule, especially his sleeping schedule, as little as possible! Whatever changes you're going to make, do them starting now. We got a big brother book, and talked a ton about his baby sister coming to live with us. I expected a lot of difficulty when she came home, but I was very surprised to find that he thought she was hilarious and for his entertainment only. Luckily, newborns sleep a lot so it gave him an ease into having to share attention!

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answers from Tulsa on

The local library will have books that will help you prepare her. You can start reading her these stories about how the baby is growing in your tummy and how he'll be when he is born. They are written to get the child excited about having an addition to the family. There are some really awesome books out there.

I always use the children's resource libraian for finding good books on the topics I need. You childs child care teacher should have a resource file in her CDA, well, I think the CDA is a Nation wide certification that all child care centers require their teachers to have. Anyway, the teacher or Director may be a good resource too.

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answers from Kansas City on

The best thing we did was to not make a big deal out of it. My daughter knew that there was a "baby in my tummy" and when he came home, there were no surprises. All she said was "a baby!" and toddled off to whatever she was playing with when he came home.

We also had her help us get her brother's room ready. She was only two, but she could stack diapers on the changing table for me and fold blankets and put toys in his room. She loved it. Finally, I did get her her own "baby" complete with bottles and a diaper. When I was feeding her brother, she would hop up on the couch and feed her baby right next to me.

Bedtime can get challenging, but we made a big deal of how special it was that Dad got to put her to bed that night. They would have their own routine (hard for me to give up control!!!), but she really came to look forward to those nights. It was good for them to have their own little relationship.

Prepare her for the crying. That was about the only thing that got on my daughter's nerves. Just keep reminding her that babies cry alot and find a quiet place for her to call he own when the noise kicks in.

I hope this helps and that you have a wonderful pregnancy. Really, take it easy. I had a friend that was positively freaked out about bringing home her newborn and how it would affect her daughter. It kind of takes away from the joy of bringing baby home and I didn't want that for my family. You are going to love having another little one in the house! Good luck!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I had my second baby boy when my first son was 2 years and two months old. My two year and a half old son is being great with his little brother. To be precised with you, I will give you my tips that may help to improve the interaction between the two.
1) let your husband put your daughter in bed. I used to do the same you do and when my second son was born, I could not do it, anymore. It will create the habit that daddy is the one that will be in charge of bed time with her.Additionally, the transition will be much better this way, before you baby boy comes.
2) create a sense of "ownership" in your daughter. Tell her that he is "HER BABY BOY". This will make her fell important, bigger and will give her a sense of responsibility over her little brother.
3) make her participate of the daily activities like changing diapers or cleaning baby's face or passing a little toy to the baby, even when bathing your baby boy, make her passing the items next to you to help you out with the baby.
Finally, let your husband to make more things with your daughter. For instance, giving her the breakfast, dressing her to go to the daycare and putting the pj's at bed time. It will help you immensely if your husband do these things with your daughter, while you are adjusting to the baby.
I did all these things with my older son and so far so good. I congratulate you for your new baby and wish you the best in the new journey of raising your two little bundles from heaven

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answers from Philadelphia on

Have her talk to your stomach and such and make her feel like she is apart of the pregnancy.


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi R., Congrats! My oldest was just turning 2 when I had my second, and my second was almost 3 when I had my third. The secret is first, don't talk it to death...she really has no concept of time and won't understand why it's taking so long for the baby to come. Second and even more important is to carve time out of your day (even if it's only a few minutes) for just her. Dad should do this too once you bring home the baby. Even if it's only a walk, time with a book, a quick trip to the grocery store....time when you do NOT respond to the needs of your baby...just her. When you come home from the hospital make sure that YOU do not carry the baby in the house to her...your arms should be open for her. With time and patience she will be fine and your moments of jelousy will be breif...but know that there will be some. For her whole life she has had your undivided attention and a new baby taking up your time and attention will affect her...and she won't be able to verbalize what she is feeling. Don't fall into the guilt trap of buying her tons of stuff, although a present from the baby for his "big sister" is a good idea and having a few little things hidden away for those moments when people bring gifts over for the baby and forget her are also cool. How you handle things will set the tone. If it's no big deal, a normal part of life, then she will accept it as such! Best wishes and good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Hey! I'm not sure if it'll help or not, but my daughter and I read "I'm a Big Sister" by Joanna Cole (we bought it at Motherhood). She was 3 yrs 4 mths when our son was born. She asked for her "big sister" book several times a day, and she's even helping me create her very own scrapbook version of the book with her and Baby Brother's (as she calls him) pictures in it. I think having a kids book that was her very own helped alot, we also tried to include her as often as we could in everything baby. We wanted her to feel as included as we could, with still having some focus on baby separately.
We kept her in just about everything about the baby, she was allowed to rub my tummy and talk to the baby as often as she wanted (she often sang "Twinkle Twinke Little Star" to him, at will). We also took her to all the appointments to hear the baby's heartbeat and see the ultrasounds (Daddy took her out during the regular exam part).
Another thing she really enjoyed was giving baby brother a big gift from just her. We paid of course, but since we had a girl first, most people had bought everything in pink, so we had to rebuy to have for our son, so when it came time to purchase the items I let her pick several items we needed anyway out in the boy/universal colors she liked (she preferred green and yellow over blue) and then let her pick him a special toy just from her. We bought the gift bag and tissue paper even, so she had her very own present to give to little brother just from her. She loved it and it made her feel special and like we treasured her opinion through out the whole process. She'll be 5 in a few months and he's 16 mnths, they are both crazy over eachother and she says often how much we love Baby Brother and how we need to take good care of him. Sometimes you'd think she was the momma, hehe! Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas that would work for you! Congratulations!


answers from Bellingham on

We let our daugher be involved when I was pregnant. She was just 2 when I had her sister. I let her "help" decorate the nursery. She picked out the outfit that we brought her sister home from the hospital in and we talked a lot about when Mommy would go to pick up the baby at the hospital. I also had bought a baby doll for her to get with a little carseat from her new baby sister. I made matching things for my new baby and her new doll. Then when she came to the hospital to "take her baby and Mommy home" our new baby Audrey gave her big sister the baby.

It worked out well for them. Everybody took part and had a baby. I also had her Dad take her shopping for a present for the new baby just from her. My only suggestion is that if you're going to be in the hospital for a few days be cautious how much you bring her up and take her away. Leaving you too much can be really hard. I was only in the hospital for 1 night so my daughter only came the once to pick us up to come home.

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