Helping the baby transition to big brother or sister


When my second-born came along, my eldest was two and perfectly happy to have a new sibling. She was very comfortable playing independently and never seemed jealous or upset that the new baby spent so much time in my lap. As long as she got her lunch eventually, she was cool. I suspect my son is not going to be so easy going about being “promoted” to big brother. He’s a year older than she was, but he still needs a lot of “lap time”. He definitely doesn’t like sharing with his big sister. I’m imagining he would like sharing with a baby even less. Does anyone have some good strategies for helping to prepare an “almost” 3yo to be a big brother?


PS- When I say he doesn’t like “sharing”, I mean sharing my attention. He’s actually great with sharing toys. His sister has him well-trained.


Happy cake day, first off!

I would always try and have my son help me to be involved with his baby sister (2 year age difference.)
“Would you please go get me a diaper for the baby?” And of course a very big thank you about what a good helper he is. Remind him that you will play with him when the baby naps. Encourage him to snuggle next to you while you are holding the baby, and once in a while let him sit with the baby on his lap as you supervise, of course.


I’ve always done a lot of talking about “our” baby, that way the baby feels less like a possible replacement. My third is very protective of our fourth (actually sometimes too much - he hit another kid at the playground the other day for getting too close to “MY baby,” hmmm…)

Like IrishMom, I involve the older siblings in caring for the baby, share my lap when feasible (“What book do you think baby would like to listen to?”) and then give some one on one time during naptime.


Id read to the bigger ones while nursing the little one.
And if the middle one still wants to be called “Baby”, let them.


He prefers “big boy” now, but we’ll see once the bump starts becoming more apparent!


I don’t have experience with a three year old, but when our second was born the first was only 18 months and very attached to me. He got a lot of one on one dad time after baby.

Does your 3 year old have a baby doll? Maybe practicing nurturing a play baby might help. I am hoping that helps our 2 year old transition to big sibling. Only time will tell… Haha.


He actually plays with Sis’ dolls more than she does as it is! And fortunately, he really likes real babies too. Just as long as I’m not the one holding them.


You are such a wonderful mom to think ahead! I learned that my little ones (your son’s age) were never really prepared. I don’t mean that to discourage you! Just that their little minds, no matter how much I prepped them, still had a hard time adjusting to a baby. It’s so monumental! Take all the advice here and do your best just don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Gosh, even new adult parents are blown away by the experience so imagine a young one. Just FYI if he cries or is jealous adjusting that doesn’t mean you didn’t do a good job. Like I said even adults adjust. Show him lots of love like I’m sure you will. God bless!


My oldest had a hard time becoming a big brother.

I think part of the reason is his younger sister was about a month early and instead of the smooth transition of “mommy’s will go to the hospital with daddy, you will stay with Grandma, and when you come the new baby sister will meet you”.

I thought that my hospital visit was to get hydrated with an IV and come back home. Baby had other plans.

He regressed a little bit, and one day I overheard him saying that mommy was his mommy and baby would go back to the hospital.

That was really the worst part.


Lol after my 2nd daughter was born, my oldest said “put Teresa back in mommy’s belly.” She was 2 years and 9 months at the time. I don’t really think there is a set way to prepare them. Jealousy tends to be natural. My husband and I just tried to show our oldest that we still love her-even dropped baby off with Grandma to take her out by herself sometimes.


Definitely agree with finding ways for him to be involved. As the PPs have said, he can get you a diaper for the new baby or bring a toy. Some parents have the new baby “give” a gift to the older sibling to help ease the transition. (No I did not get that backwards.)

Maybe you can teach him baby care on a doll and he can care for HIS baby while you care for yours.

It gets easier over time. When my cousin was pregnant with her daughter her son was very upset. She told him she’d emptied his old dresser and filled it with the new baby’s things and he said, “Mom, just don’t talk about that.” Then when she was born my cousin called him over to come see the baby and he was all, “I’ve got a BABY SISTER!” Some months later another cousin’s son was playing with the baby and got a little rough. Her big brother came up and said, “That’s MY sister. You be nice to her.”


We did this with my third, who was born in the fall. I was not looking forward to the newborn stage with two busy little boys mostly indoors, so I found a good deal on a mini trampoline, and it was great for all of us!


When my second was close, my father and I picked up a recliner/rocker for my wife.

We also picked up a nearly matching toddler recliner and a baby doll for my oldest, about sixteen months, so she could join mommy in the same activities.

As it would turn out, even after all our effort, the recliner wasn’t comfortable for her, and I used it far more than she.

but when the twins were on the way, the older was about six, and told my wife, “You take care, momma, and I’ll take care of the other one.” . . .



Funny. My older girl (out of diapers by the time her little sister arrived) loved helping with diaper changes. Still does.

When she was littler, we’d go to change her baby sister, and she’d say “she has poopie!,” to which I’d respond, “honey, she always has poopie.”


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit