My son just turned 2 years old yesterday, and he has a baby sister coming in December. We're hoping to make the transition from being an only child to having a younger sibling as painless as possible. I'm hoping for some advice from anyone who has gone through this before.

asked 04 Oct '09, 16:10

Brandon's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

Our eldest son was a little bit older when our twins arrived, which changes things in practical terms (we were able to potty train him and get him into a bed before the twins arrived) but:

Before the birth:

  • You could choose a present with your son to buy for the baby. Let him help you wrap the present etc, and let him give it to the baby - it'll help make him bond, with any luck.
  • Keep plugging away at the "big brother" angle, especially being grown up, and the baby needing him to be a special friend
  • Show him photos of when he was a baby to demonstrate how little the baby will be

After the birth:

  • Where you can, give him small tasks to help you - like getting the nappy cream or whatever. Again, the more involvement the better.
  • Try desperately hard to make time to be with him on your own, so he doesn't feel like he's lost you completely. The baby will obviously take your attention, but at least if he's got some one-on-one time that'll help.

(A lot of this depends on how advanced he is in terms of communication, of course... again, that's where we had an advantage with our eldest being that bit older.)


answered 04 Oct '09, 17:51

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%


my eldest so was 25 months when baby arrived, we did all of the above and it was fairly painless.

(12 Nov '09, 14:33) Phil Seller

Our children are 16 months apart. When we had our 2nd (son) we had my mom come with the main purpose of spending time with our 1st (daughter). That way when my husband and I were tired or taking care of the baby, our daughter had lots of attention from grandma. I think it worked out really well.

My mom did give her a doll, but she was too little to really understand that the doll was supposed to relate to a real baby. She was however VERY interested when our son arrived and we let her hug and kiss him as much as she wanted and praised her for being careful and sweet to her brother.


answered 04 Oct '09, 22:49

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%


Great idea - the grandma's on both sides live close and are always eager to help, so this should be a good option for us.

(05 Oct '09, 15:53) Brandon

My first child was 4 1/2 when we decided to have another but I think what we did could help. We started from day on( day we found out I was Pregnant) telling her about the baby. We took her with us to the second doctor appt to hear the babies heart beat. Really tried to keep her involves in the things she would care about. When we went to get the babies car seat we also picked up Her " Big kids Car seat"

When it came time for the ultrasound we were asking her what she thought mommy was having making it a game then we took her with us to the ultrasound to see the first "Baby picture." I took the picture and framed it with my oldest daughters for a fathers day present that She got to give Daddy of his girls.

After the baby came we let her spend the night with us at the hospital, and sit close to mommy while I breast fed the baby and she "Read" us a book. That way she was a part of the whole thing.

the main thing is to bring the baby in to the other child's life not let the new baby be the other child life. The the oldest have their space Never force them to be together let that be your oldest child's choice. And if you have a routine with your child already Keep it going if they want the baby to join in let them but don't just drop the existing routine or make abrupt changes to the routine because the other child just got the biggest change he/ she has to now share mommy and daddy.


answered 04 Oct '09, 20:10

Mary's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%

We got two excellent story books:

It's hard to tell what effect they had on the two-year-old, but we adults enjoyed them anyway!


answered 21 Oct '09, 13:42

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Paul Stephenson
accept rate: 4%

edited 18 Nov '09, 13:36

One thing to consider is how the 2 year old will react after the sibling arrives. Some preparation to ease the sting of not being the enter of attention.

We bought our two year old a 'birthday present' that he got to open at the hospital (a wal-mart ukulele, he loved guitars). That helped him feel like he wasn't being ignored when everyone cooed over his brother.


answered 05 Oct '09, 00:45

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Danno Ferrin
accept rate: 0%

Our children are 17 months apart and we were very fortunate with how easily the transition went. The things that I like to think helped were:

  • Reading books such as I'm the Big Brother by Joanna Cole
  • Keeping our son's routine as much the same as possible before and after the birth.
  • Having dad take over some of the duties for our son (such as bedtime) prior to the baby coming so that he didn't feel as acute a loss of mommy.
  • At the hospital we sent our daughter to the nursery when my son came for his first visit, so that he could see mommy and daddy and get cuddles without immediately feeling displaced by his sister. My husband and I then walked to the nursery with him where he met his sister in a low key environment. We walked back to the room as a family, and our son got to introduce her to his waiting grandparents (they had met her, but he got to share her name to everyone for the first time).
  • Put together a "nursing basket" of special toys/low intervention activities for the older child that only come out when the baby is being fed. i have a list of ideas if you are interested!
  • I think the most important advice I can offer is to maintain a no tolerance policy for misbehavior when the baby is being fed. Particularly if your wife(?) is breastfeeding, the toddler will initially look at this time as the perfect opportunity to test limits. I let my son know immediately that mommy could still get up and take the marker away from him when I was nursing our daughter! So, yes, there were a few awkward days of me either going after him with a baby attached to my breast, or having to put down a crying baby to make sure he followed directions, but it was soooo worth it! He learned quickly that the rules were still the same, baby or no!

Best of luck! It's a great (but wild) ride!


answered 22 Oct '09, 02:57

Tanisha's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

We are expecting too and have been told to buy a baby-like doll and start treating the doll like a real baby. You as a parent must mainly take care of the doll, hold it, cuddle it, pay it attention, etc in order to get your first ready for the transition. Its much easier and safer to practice on the doll in case your first decides to act out against it or throw it around. Hopefully by the time your second arrives, your first will be comfy with the idea of having to share your attention with someone else. You can keep the positive reinforcement up by talking to your first about how helpless babies are, how we all have to love them/care for them, having them help out and being the best older sibling they can be.


answered 04 Oct '09, 18:23

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

We use the "mommy and daddy need your help" angle. 2 year olds love their independence and love the fact that they can do things without help. They love being able to help others too because that makes them feel even more grown up than just doing things for themselves.

So when you're interacting with the newborn, let the 2 year old help by handing you things, or help by telling the baby a story, or whatever the 2 year old seems excited about doing. The 2 year old will never feel left out and will never feel like the baby is getting all the attention if the 2 year old is kept part of the action.


answered 09 Nov '09, 03:15

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Kurt W Leucht
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edited 14 Nov '09, 03:42

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦


That's a great suggestion, thanks Kurt. My son really likes being a little helper, so I think this could be a great angle to take with him.

(09 Nov '09, 17:42) Brandon

We did many of the things listed above. Having him help where ever possible was a big one for us. another that had a lasting impression - when our son, then 18 mos, arrived at the hospital to meet his sister there was a gift waiting for him from her. It was a stuffed animal and it is a special favorite now, a year later, because SHE gave it to him.


answered 14 Nov '09, 03:11

Krista's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

My two children are 21 months apart. The main issue we had was a regression in the behaviour of the eldest. He wanted to get as much attention as his little sister and thus tried to mimic her. In particular, before the birth of his sister, he was almost ready to abandon diapers during the day. But he finally needed one more year.


answered 14 Nov '09, 09:17

mouviciel's gravatar image

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Asked: 04 Oct '09, 16:10

Seen: 5,679 times

Last updated: 18 Nov '09, 13:36