How to Prepare Son for New Baby Brother

Updated on July 11, 2011
E.W. asks from Jackson, NJ
15 answers

Hi mom's. I am due in 3 weeks. My 3.5 yo son, is well aware we are having a baby and all that. But I am not exactly sure what to do or say to him so that he gets a better understanding of what that means. We talk about how he can help me with the new baby and I've explained how he will eat, cry and sleep alot at first. But what else can I do to prepare him. I don't doubt he will be a great big brother and he kisses my belly all the time. But up until now, he's been an only child and this is going to be such a big change, I just want to make sure it goes smoothly for him. We bought a present for the baby to give to him already and am going to get a baby doll that my son can have to use, when I am doing things with the baby. Any other words of wisdom??

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answers from St. Louis on

go to the library & get some "welcoming the new baby" books. Some are funny, some are sweet....& they'll help set the stage!

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answers from Honolulu on

My daughter was 3 when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. And my kids are 4 years apart.

ALL along 'my' pregnancy, I made it about her.
Meaning, I spent my pregnancy prepping HER.
I talked to her about it, let her bond with her baby brother in my tummy, let her express herself, we took photos of her and my growing belly all the time, she sang to my tummy, talked to her brother in my tummy, we napped together (her, me and baby brother in my tummy), I explained what babies are... that they cry/wake/need to nurse all the time. But that is Mommy's 'job.' And she does not have to worry.

I explained, each month how her baby brother is developing. That he is a baby and can't even talk yet nor do things like she can etc.

I took her to all my prenatal appointments, which my Doctor encouraged. He even taught her how to use the Doppler Heart Monitor on my tummy and she'd do it herself.

I explained AHEAD of time, that Mommy will be in the hospital, then Daddy will be home with her. We kept ALL her routines, the SAME.

I explained that just because she will be the eldest sibling, Mommy does NOT expect her to 'suddenly' grow-up... that I KNOW she is still a little child herself.

I explained that, (because this is important to little kids), that she does NOT HAVE TO 'share' everything. Her things are her things. I understand that. She can ALWAYS tell me, if something bothers her. I will listen and be there for her etc.

All of this, helped her adapt and transition to her baby brother.
She thus, had empathy for him already, even before he was born.
She adored him, even while I was still pregnant.

I always, spent a ton of time on HER... during the pregnancy and after. I let her adjust. I let her express any feelings, grumpy or not. I talked with her a ton.
I told her that SHE is my 'first baby and will always be."

Unless you explain these things to a child, the child will not automatically know these things.

I did NOT "expect" my daughter to suddenly grow-up, just because there was another baby in the house. She was STILL a young child herself, with her own age-related phases.

all the best,

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answers from Denver on

when your kid is that young you cannot prepare him for getting a new sibling. They see the bassinet/crib they see the baby things and they hear you talk about the baby but other than that its like preparing an older dog for a new puppy.....

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answers from Tampa on

My boys are 3yrs 8mo apart. The oldest just turned 4 and the baby is 4mo. We did pretty much everything you have done - except the baby doll. We did let him pick a present for the baby and the baby "gave" him one too. He went to a few appts, ultrasounds, and one non-stress test with me. He did a sibling class, but I don't think he really got it. He loved talking to and playing with other babies, so I think that helped. He loves his brother, but we had a very irritable refluxing baby for awhile and he was always quick to tell anyone that asks how he likes his brother that "he cries alot" - LOL. He has tried to cover his mouth when he was crying and doesn't know his own strength when he "plays" with him, so you have to watch that. Just don't push him to do anything, ask him if he wants to. Try to give him a little extra attention when you can after the baby comes and have daddy do the same. My DH was and still is good about taking the older one with him somewhere or even just to the park by himself. Try to keep his routine like someone else had said, but know that he may act out in one way or another - mine seems to have more attitude, even his teacher has noticed a difference in him since the baby came. But we are lucky in that he loves his brother lots and always wants to talk to him or hold him and loves to tell people about him.
I wish you the best of luck! May you have a smooth transition from one to two kids ;) It can be tough at times........

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answers from New York on

Congratulations!!! I had my son help me with diaper changes, he got me a diaper, wipes, powder, etc even thought they were right in reach. I would also have him get me a bag and when the baby was asleep him and I did all sorts of fun stuff, like we used pudding and my macaroni board and did pudding paintings. Also sometimes we made cookies and cakes. One afternoon we made beanbags and cut out circles out of the top part of a box and made our own version of Toss Across; I put names and silly drawings of things and people above each circle which he thought was so funny. I did this with the other 3 and even my daughter who is the oldest and I have to say everything went smoothly and they are best of friends to this day.

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answers from New York on

There are loads of books you can get him to help him understand what it will be like to have a baby brother. Two that we used are: Arthur's New Baby and My Baby Brother is a Monster (Sesame Street book; not sure if that's exactly the right title...). I liked the latter one the best because I think it really prepared my oldest in understanding how hard it is to have a baby sibling (because you have to wait until the baby's naptime to go out, and it will knock down your blocks all the time, and it makes a mess everywhere, etc.) but also shows that it's a wonderful thing too. I would go to the local library and ask the children's librarian. She/he should have some good suggestions.

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answers from New York on

We have the same age difference with our two kiddies. My daughter loved the idea of being a big sister and we made a big deal of her new role. I also kept saying things to help her envision the scenarios. For instance: "see how we are playing on the floor, soon you will have a baby brother to play on the floor with us. Its going to be so much fun" and "see how we are eating dinner now, soon we will have your baby brother here to eat dinner with us".
We got the following gifts:
One from new baby to older child (shirt with favorite Disney character)
One from older child to new baby (Cute body suit)
One really cool toy for the older child to enjoy (since new baby was getting so many gifts)

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answers from Dallas on

take a picture of him kissing your belly with his brother in it... one day they will fight... On a more serious note, you can never prepare them enough to realize they won't be your center of attention anymore. They get jealous, so you need to make sure you still have that special time one on one with him, which is so hard. My 14 year old is still jealous of his 5 year old and vice versa... It's really important to have time for each and having a newborn it's hard, you are tired and extremely busy. Now, I never did this, didn't have the support system that is needed, but maybe you could. Pick out a day of the week or one or two days a month, let's just say every Friday afternoon start taking your older son to do something, maybe just to play at the park or something where it's your and his time only. If you have someone, your husband or other family member that could watch the newborn after he is born so you can continue that one on one time that he can look forward too every week. Mark it on the calendar, "Mommy and me day" or something like that.

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answers from New York on

Does he go to day care, even part time? If so, perhaps they can do what my day care did for my 5 yr old daughter when I was pregnant-they took her to the Infants room so she could see what babies are like and how much care they need. If he doesn't, do you have friends or neighbors who have small babies? Maybe you can bring him for a visit so he can see what they are like and how much care is involved.

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answers from Dallas on

You have done everything I did with my oldest. My advise when your in the hospital would be to spend time one on one with your oldest. Make sure he know your ok and tell him what everything is. I know people want pictures with the brother together but dont push that at first it might make big brother upset. Good luck and congrats, boys are amazing.

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answers from New York on

i'm in the same boat....i'm due in a month and my 4 yr old daughter has her days when she's kissing my belly and talking to her little brother and somedays she tells me to give the baby to my doctor cause we don't need another baby. so, the hospital offers what they call a "sibling class" and it's an hour n half and they get to swaddle baby dolls....have a tour of the nursery and watch a video of baby's first days and what they need. then at the end they give your toddler a certificate of achievement in being a great big brother or sister.

so i'm hoping that helps a little. my family n friends keep tellin me once the baby's here she will be all up for helping me and her little brother!
good luck to u!



answers from Rochester on

don't tell him what NOT to do. (don't yell at the baby, don't pull on the baby, don't ....)

Tell him what you want him TO do. Be gentle with the baby, move slowly with the baby, Be quiet with the baby, the baby will fall asleep and then you can I can ______ (read a book, play trains, take a walk, pick some berries, etc.)

Don't give him ideas (You don't want to ________, do you? wake the baby, hurt the baby, give the baby away, etc.)

Make things easy for him - don't give him a lot of decisions to make (do you want x or y? if you don't give him a choice for dinner, don't start!)

Help him help you help the baby. If we get the baby changed, I can nurse her, and she will fall asleep faster and then we can ______!

Help him with quiet time - have LOUT TIME! While playground is everyone's mainstay, just getting out of the house is a good thing - and lifting things and moving them around are better (logs, look for bugs, etc.) or tricycle riding, etc.

Good luck,



answers from New York on

Have him help you- get the diapers etc. BUT also make sure you and your husband have alone time with him. and he still does fun things with you guys.



answers from New York on

My M. used to tell me again and again that I had to take care of my baby brother, that I was in charge. As a 4 year old, that made me feel so empowered! She would also tell him (even when he was a baby, haha), that he had to listen to and respect his older sister. Even while we were young, we were put into situations a lot where we were on our own and we had the best of times. It made us realize that we were responsible for each other's well being.

I'm unsure whether the bonds of brotherhood are the same- since guys are guys, no matter what age. But my brother and I are really close and I credit my M.'s words for it.



answers from New York on

It sounds like you're doing a great job of telling him what to expect.
Some of the little extras that I did were:
- Calling the baby "our baby" or "your brother" to include him.
- Checking out big brother books at the library. I know that the Stamford CT library had a "big brother pack" that could be borrowed with a whole bunch of books on the subject.
- When my 2nd was born, dad took the big brother to the store for a present for his baby brother - they chose a stuffed animal, pull-string, lullaby duck.
When my 3rd was born, the big brothers painted pictures for the baby. We framed them and put them in her room for when she came. They still decorate her room after almost 3 years.
- After my 2nd and 3rd came I instituted "special time" for the big kid(s) - usually at nap time. They really needed it. They got an hour a day to choose the activity that we do together (craft, reading, playing dinosaurs, etc). It also helped me to not be cleaning all the time.
Good luck and have fun.

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