Siblings are super

Siblings are super

by Jennifer Richards CD (DONA), HCHD, CYBE
Japan Birth Resource Network

Adding a new baby to the family can be very exciting for the big brother or big sister to be but, your child may be apprehensive about their new role.  Involving your child during the pregnancy and preparing them on what to expect when the little one comes home is key in building the foundation of their sibling relationship. Start preparing your child for their new role from the moment you tell them you are pregnant. If you have a name picked out call the baby by that name. Refer to the baby as “our baby”, “your sister”, “your brother”. If you are able, bring your child to prenatal appointments with you. Listening to their little sister/brother’s heartbeat and asking questions can open up a good dialect for him or her to ask their own questions.

Most of us love shopping for our new little ones. It’s also fun for your child. Include them in making some of the purchases such as buying clothes, toys, gear and other necessities for their brother or sister. Let them pick out things they’d like the baby to have. They could buy a musical toy and hold it to your belly as a way to play. There’s so many fun ways children can interact with the baby while you’re pregnant. Have your child sing their favorite song or lullaby. They could also tell a story or read a book. When you feel kicking ask them if they’d like to feel the kicks as well. A lot of kids find it pretty funny when they sing or talk to the baby and get a kick in response.

Break out the old pictures of when you were pregnant with them. As well as pictures of them when they little. Start a conversation about what they were like as a baby. What they did, games they liked such as peek-a-boo! Encourage them to ask questions. If this is your second child or they don’t have prior experience with newborns ask a friend if you could bring your child over to show them the baby. Help them interact by talking and helping with the newborn. Show them how to be gentle and how to hold a baby. If you don’t have any friends with infants joining a playgroup can be of great help. More than likely there will be siblings in the group including infants.

Help your child understand that newborns cry to let us know when they need something. Crying may mean s/he is hungry, needs a diaper change, is tired or wants attention. Let them know this is normal and show ways they could help. Such as bringing you a diaper or they can help gently rock the little one to sleep with you.

Bringing a new baby home is a big change and adjustment for kids. If possible, get any other big changes out of the way well before the baby’s arrival. Such as potty training, changing rooms, sleeping a big kid bed, moving, weaning...the list goes on.

For more tips and ways to prepare your child for their new role as big brother or big sister please join Japan Birth Resource Network in September for Siblings Are Super! We have a lot of fun educational activities planned! Follow Japan Birth Resource Network on Facebook or go to to keep an eye out for date and time updates.
Connect with local Okinawa moms on Facebook in “Pregnancy & Birth Talk Okinawa”.
Japan Birth Resource Network provides evidence based information and mother friendly support throughout Okinawa and Japan. To learn more visit:

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