How to Prepare Siblings for New Baby

May 28, 2020

Family Birthplace

toddler kissing newborn sibling

A new baby is an exciting time for the entire family. One thing parents-to-be often worry about is how to make a smooth transition for everyone in the family – especially siblings.

At Memorial Family Birthplace, your family’s health and well-being are our top priorities. Our experts recommend the following suggestions to help prepare siblings before your newborn arrives.

  • Talk to your child about what the word “sibling” means and their special responsibilities.
  • Demonstrate safe behaviors around the baby – practicing with a doll is great for young children.
  • Teach your child about safe sleep practices for a baby.
    • No blanket in sleep area
    • No toys in sleep area
    • Baby goes to sleep flat on back
  • Engage your child in your pregnancy milestones.
  • Attend an online sibling class to practice baby skills.
  • Tour the hospital virtually.
  • Read books about babies and siblings.

As families prepare for a new addition, it’s important to talk about emotion and the love for each family member.

Nirvanni Chatoori, PhD, RNC-MNN, perinatal educator

Meeting Baby During COVID-19

father and older son looking at newborn

During the COVID-19 health crisis, preparing for a baby looks different to everyone – including older siblings. Because of physical distancing rules and the safety of our patients, Memorial Family Birthplace allows one significant other to visit during mom's birth and postpartum hospitalization.

This can be disappointing for families who want their baby to meet their big brother or sister right away; however, virtual visits can help to connect the sibling during the hospital visit.

Make the time parents are at the hospital an adventure for the sibling, preparing special surprises or activities to keep the sibling entertained. Siblings can create a memorable homemade gift for the baby. Have a care plan in place for the siblings – caregivers should be healthy and maintain physical distancing recommendations to keep the household healthy.

Once the baby is home, have the sibling meet their new brother or sister right away.

  • If you are bottle-feeding, siblings can help feed and snuggle the baby.
  • Be patient with the siblings – their world has just been changed, and acting out is normal.
  • Include siblings in age-appropriate baby care like diaper changes or finding a pacifier.
  • Help the siblings safely hold the baby – and take pictures.
  • Talk to the sibling about the special activities they would like to teach the baby as the baby grows older.

It's important for parents to spend quality time with siblings routinely. Continue to do activities that you both enjoy together to keep building that special bond.

Nirvanni Chatoori, PhD, RNC-MNN, perinatal educator

Your Healthcare Partner

At Memorial Family Birthplace, we are here for you and your growing family. Please call any one of our offices for more help:

Classes and Safety Resources

In order to keep you safe, please click on the following links to learn about our new childbirth safety measures and how to sign-up for our free, online baby classes.

Childbirth During COVID-19

Memorial Regional Hospital Online Classes and Orientation

Memorial Hospital Miramar Online Classes and Orientation