• I was asked by a newer mom how to handle the reaction and transition of the elder sibling when her new baby would be born.  Since I have done this twice now with little upset to the elder sibling, I decided to share the tricks I employed.

    • * Tell the new sibling to “show baby what you are doing.  Baby wants to see how you climb the monkey bars by yourself.” (or use the potty, get dressed, eat your food, etc.)  The older sibling will take pride in showing their sibling how independent they are.
    • * Stash gifts and books in a closet.  When it is time to feed your newborn, grab a new item and let the older sibling play with it or read to them.  This should work for the first month and by the time the novelty of the new items runs out, they will be acclimated to being an older sibling.
    • * Feeding time becomes story time.  Every time I fed the baby, I read a storybook with the other hand.  No jealous feelings to surround feeding, because it became a special story time for the older sibling as well.
    • * Let the sibling make the choice.  For example, the older sibling wants to be held or played with and the newborn is crying.  Let the newborn cry for a moment and ask the older sibling, “What should we do?”  Usually they will choose for you to pick up or feed the baby to help him/her stop crying.  Since it becomes their choice for you to care for the baby, they won’t demand your attention at that moment.  Sometimes it is okay to let the newborn cry when the older siblings emotional needs outweigh the newborn’s physical needs.  Only sometimes though!

    Remember, always try to involve the older sister or brother in as much of your pregnancy and birthing process as possible.  Ill feelings will pass, tantrums will wane, and at the end of it all, you have given the older child the best gift of all – a sibling.  At least that’s what my parents keep telling me!