Tips for Helping Your Toddler Adjust to a New Baby

by Denise on December 22, 2010 · 2 comments

in (1-4 years)

And They're Off (1-4 Years)

A new baby brings significant changes to any family, but for your toddler, this is even more true. After all, up until the time your new baby arrives, your toddler is the baby of the family. While the adjustment is likely going to take some time, there are some things you can do to make it go easier.

Make sure your toddler knows what is about to happen, but do not make a huge deal out of it. Sometimes you can create anxiety and animosity by putting too much emphasis on the change that is about to occur. New sibling classes, books, and videos can be helpful tools, but only if they feel like a normal part of life, rather than a big, new thing.

The first time your toddler meets the baby, make sure he has had some mommy time. Remember, he has not seen mommy for a while, and this may be the first time he has been away from mommy. After he has seen mommy, introduce him to the new baby by name. Instead of calling her “baby” or “baby sister,” call her by her new name. This will help your toddler realize that she is not a toy, like the baby dolls at home, but a little, tiny person.

Do not expect your toddler to be excited about the baby. Whatever her reaction is, let it be. If your child is willing, let her touch the new baby gently, but do not force it. You can have a family cuddle time on the hospital bed. This will make the first encounter with baby a positive one, and the human contact will help your toddler start bonding with the new arrival.

When you bring your new baby home, your toddler’s routine is going to be greatly disrupted. If you can, have someone on hand who can help your little one stick to his normal schedule. While all of your friends and family members want to see the new baby, make sure there is someone with the toddler. You, as mommy, are not going to be able to fill this role, because you will be recovering from birth and nursing a newborn. Try to carve out some time each day to spend with your toddler, however. He is going to be missing his mommy quite quickly.

Let your toddler talk about what is happening. If he is frustrated, let him tell you about it. Expect him to show some babyish behaviors, such as extra crying and neediness. This is temporary, but respond to it as well as you can. Give your toddler some mommy and daddy time, and soon you will have a well-adjusted big brother or sister who enjoys the new role of older sibling.

About Denise

As a mom to three girls Denise knows the difficulties of being a single parent. Denise has been working to help single moms across the country since 2007. In her free time Denise enjoys camping, riding four wheelers and just spending time with her family.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie December 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm

That is a really great idea about calling the baby by name so he or she does not confuse it with the baby.
If you know of any babies, then maybe you can have a little get together before you give birth to see how your toddler reacts. This may help him or her by seeing you with another baby and you will be able to gauge their reactions.


Savannah February 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

Another great little trick my mom used was to give me a present “from the baby.” When my little sister was born, there was a box with an engraved locket in her hospital crib from her to me. It definitely warmed up my reception of her – after all, the kid was giving me presents already!


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