See the latest Covid-19 information HERE

Health library

Back to health library

Number 1, meet number 2!

The arrival of a new baby is a major milestone for your toddler. And it can come with mixed feelings. While becoming a big brother or big sister can be exciting, your tot might have a harder time sharing the spotlight once the baby actually comes home.

It's common for a toddler to feel jealous or resentful of a new sibling. Tantrums, clinginess or regressive behavior (like potty accidents or baby talk) are all normal.

Your older child will adjust, of course. In the meantime, you can help ease the transition by preparing as a family and being open to your toddler's feelings—whatever they might be. These tips can help:

Share the news. Start talking about your growing family when mom's belly starts to show. Take the time to answer all of your child's questions in a way that feels age-appropriate.

Set the tone. Talk about how excited you are for your toddler to have a new brother or sister. Your feelings will rub off.

Ask for help. Make your toddler feel involved as you prep for the baby. Invite them to join in when you decorate the nursery or go through the old baby gear.

Practice with play. Use a baby doll to practice holding and being gentle with the baby.

Read picture books. Add a few stories about new babies to your reading rotation. This can help give your toddler a more concrete sense of what to expect.

Be mindful of milestones. Plan to finish potty training or moving from a crib to a bed before the baby's arrival, if possible. If the timing won't work, hold off until things with the new baby have settled down.

Set expectations. Have ongoing talks about what babies are like: They're sweet and snuggly, but they can also cry and need a lot of attention. As the due date nears, give your toddler a heads up about how long you'll be at the hospital.

Plan one-on-one time. Have a short, daily ritual for just you and your toddler—like reading or taking a walk together. Plan for other caregivers to do special solo activities with your tot too.

Accept your child's feelings. If your child expresses anger or frustration over the new baby, that's OK. Listen to your tot and work together to brainstorm ways to feel better.

Remind your toddler that you love them. Make sure your child knows that they matter to you just as much as ever.

Source: American Academy of PediatricsZero to Three

Reviewed 10/09/2022

Related stories
Healthcare website made with Invisible Ink