Some tips for preparing your child for a new sibling:
1. Talk to your child about the baby a lot during pregnancy, what the baby will do, how the child can help, everything!
2. If you know the gender and have chosen a name, start calling the baby by their name in front of the child. This helped us immensely because once Baby Sister was born, my daughter already knew her sister as "Abby". Instead of the baby just being this 'thing' she could put a name with her face.
3. Buy special gifts for your older child to give to them around the birth of the new baby. We bought a Big Sister Bear (see below) and some Big Sister books (also below) and wrapped them up and put them in our hospital bag. Then when our daughter came to meet her new baby sister, she got to open up presents for her, because after all, it was a very special day for her too! It's the day she became a Big Sister! Ever since she has LOVED her Big Sister Bear.
4. Let the child help out as much as possible! We let our daughter hold the baby (with supervision), get us wipes and diapers for diaper changes, throw away the dirty diaper, fetch a burp cloth, help soothe the crying baby, play with the baby, show the baby toys, etc.
5. Spend quality time with your older child. We would try to spend one-on-one time with our older child so she knew we still valued time alone with her. I tried really hard at bed time to help put her to sleep and if I was feeding the baby, I would still go in and say good night afterwards.
6. Always try to say "Yes" to your child's requests. If they ask you to come play with them, instead of saying "No, not right now" say, "Yes, I'd love to just as soon as the baby's fed (or diaper is changed, or baby stops crying, etc). This way, they always hear "Yes" instead of "No" and they don't have negative feelings towards the baby.
7. Another suggestion (not mentioned in the video) is to let your child have special toys or activities that they only do while you are breastfeeding/bottle feeding your baby. This way it makes feeding time fun for the older child since you are tied up with the baby.
8. Another suggestion (not mentioned in the video) is to show your older child pictures of when they were born and of them as a baby. Our daughter loves seeing pictures of herself when she was a baby and that helped her to understand what was going to happen. She liked seeing pictures of my pregnant belly when she was inside of me.
We let our daughter help set up the baby's crib. We praised our daughter for "sharing" her old baby crib with her baby sister and emphasized that she didn't need her baby crib any more because she was a Big Girl.
We encouraged our daughter to touch and feel my growing belly, and to talk to her baby sister inside.
They are best of friends!
Our daughter loves holding her baby sister. She asks us all the time if she can hold her. We never say "No" to this request! We want her to love her baby sister! Again, if the timing is not right we will say, "Yes you may hold her as soon as she is done eating (or whatever)."
Our daughter loves sharing her baby toys with her baby sister.
Our daughter loves having a pretend baby doll to do the same things we do with our newborn. She pretends to feed her baby doll, change her diaper, push her in her stroller, etc. It helps make her feel included and needed.
To make a Big Sister or Big Brother shirt, simply buy a plain t-shirt at a craft store or a second-hand store (what I did for $1-$2). I bought an alphabet stencil, craft paint, and simply sponged on the letters on the t-shirt. Then I ironed on some cute flower appliques from a craft store.
Holding her Baby Sister for the very first time. Can't you see the love she already has for her new sibling?
Admiring my growing belly during pregnancy.
Playing with her pretend baby dolls while I care for the baby.
Some Great Articles on Preparing your Child for a New Sibling: