Introducing your toddler to a new baby
The arrival of a new brother or sister can be unsettling for a toddler who is used to having your undivided attention.
You may find that your toddler isn't as happy and excited about your new baby as you are. Some find it difficult to adjust.
These tips may make introducing your toddler to their new brother or sister a little easier:
- Try to keep up your toddler's routines and activities. Going to playgroup, visiting friends and telling a bedtime story might be difficult to organise in the first few weeks. But sticking to established routines will help reassure your toddler.
- Accept that your older child might not love their new brother or sister at first. They may not feel the way you do. It's lovely if they share your pleasure, but don't expect it.
- Be prepared to cope with extra demands. Your toddler may need more attention. Friends or relatives may be able to help out, but your child will still need one-to-one time with you, so that they don't feel as if they've been forgotten.
- Encourage your older child to take an interest. Children don't always love babies, but they do find them interesting. You can encourage this by talking to them about what they were like as a baby. Get out their old toys and show them their baby photos.
- Distract your toddler during feeds. Your toddler may feel left out and jealous when you're feeding the baby. Find something for them to do before you start feeding, or use the feed as an opportunity to tell them a story or have a chat.
- Be patient with babyish behaviour. Your older child may ask for a bottle, want to be carried or, even if they are potty trained, start wetting themselves again. This is completely normal behaviour, so try not to let it bother you and don't punish them.
- Expect some jealousy and resentment. It's almost certain to happen at some point. Ask for help from your partner, friends or relatives, so that you can have time alone with each child. This will help you balance the demands put on you.
- Encourage your toddler to help with the baby. Turn looking after the baby into a fun game. Perhaps ask your toddler to help with a nappy change, and encourage your child to talk to the baby.
Media review due: 26 October 2022
Page last reviewed: 31 July 2017
Next review due: 31 July 2020