?s for families w/ more than 1 child


My husband & I are pregnant with baby #2, who is scheduled to arrive in Feb. '07. Our first son turned 2 this past July. We are preparing for baby as much as we can, and I had a few quick questions for those of you with more than 1 child:

  1. What kind of things did you do to prepare older sibling for the new baby?

  2. Any tips on helping older sibling sleep well with baby crying at night? i.e. Did you separate the children? Have hubby stay with the older sibling and wife stay with the newborn? What worked for you?

Thanks & God bless!

First Congratulations of the new addition!

*1) What kind of things did you do to prepare older sibling for the new baby?
*Nothing really other than tell him I was pregnant…my eldest was 12 at the time…so this was not a BIG issue for us:)

  1. Any tips on helping older sibling sleep well with baby crying at night? i.e. Did you separate the children? Have hubby stay with the older sibling and wife stay with the newborn? What worked for you?
    Sorry I cant help you on this one…as my eldest could fall asleep by himself (would hope so at the age of 12:D-well he never had an issue with this as he slept by himself since he was 2y/o)…they do not share a room but when the baby was younger he never kept the older one awake (the are next door to each other) as the elder child is a sound sleeper:thumbsup:

1.) We moved into a new home when my oldest was two years old. At that time I was pregnant with my older daughter. Part of moving was that my son got a ‘big boy’ bed. It turned out that most of his playments also had Moms who were expecting so all these little boys were hearing about the new babies that would be coming. Our hospital offered tours for older siblings. If you will deliver in a hospital I recommend such a tour. The tour not only covered what would happen when the baby was born, but also what ‘responsibilities’ the older sibling would have.

I think we did also did the tour with my older daughter when I was pregnant with the youngest.

  1. All of our babies slept in our room for the first while. In our new house our bedroom is downstairs and the other bedrooms upstairs. (We definitely HAD to have monitors.) Crying babies usually weren’t loud enough to wake a sleeping child upstairs. Because our rooms were so far apart and I was nursing we didn’t move a baby into her own room until she was older.

There were plenty of nights when an older crying baby DID wake a sibling. This was usually because the baby was teething or was ill. In that case we’d just do what we could to help everyone sleep. Often that meant taking the baby back to bed with us.

  1. When I was pregnant with my dd (she was born when my ds was 19 months), I got my son a (gasp!!!) baby doll. Don’t worry, he mostly had boy toys, but I got a little baby doll to use to introduce the concept of baby, crying, holding etc. He was only slightly interested, but I still think it’s nice. That way, when baby comes, and you are holding the baby, if he wants in on some action, he has a baby he can hold too. If he was a little older, I would have had some conversations about what babies do (sleep, poop, cry) so that he wouldn’t be too disappointed.

  2. If your 2yo already sleeps pretty well, he probably won’t be bothered by the baby. Little kids tend to sleep deeply. Also, there may not be THAT much middle of the night crying. After all, when the baby wakes and cries, you’ll be feeding/changing etc. her/him, so YOU’ll be disturbed, but your ds wont. Even if the baby does cry alot, your ds will probably sleep through it, or will after a short adjustment. When I Ferbered my baby and she cried for 40 minutes at bedtime (and in the middle of the night), her older siblings (3 and 5) slept through her screaming - never even knew she was crying, and they were right on the other side of the wall.

Our older children sleep in their own room, and our newborns sleep in our room. So they are automatically separated, which I imagine helps alot (although I’ve never done it any other way, so I can’t say for sure).

One thing I did to ready older kids for a new one was to buy them presents “from the baby” and take them shopping to buy a present for the new baby. It helped them get into the spirit of celebration. We looked at the sonogram together and also listened to our heartbeats and then the baby’s to help them “get it.”

Thanks to all who’ve responded so far :slight_smile: I guess this is really something I can’t really “handle” until baby #2 really arrives. My 29-month old son does sleep quite well through the night, often going 8-9 hour stretches. He’ll only wake up for a very short time (less than 5 minutes) if his diaper is wet, and even then goes right back to bed after the diaper change. So we are blessed in the sleeping area! I am hoping he won’t be too disturbed by the baby’s crying!

Another topic: my in-laws (mother, father, brother, & sister!) are planning to visit once the new baby comes. Any tips on “accomodating” them with the new baby around? My plan was to use our extra bedroom as the babies room to change and nurse the baby (our son till sleeps in our room so I wanted the separation to help keep the noise down!). However, with the in-laws visiting, they will be using the babies room as a guest room. I guess I will be using our living room as the “baby’s room” while they’re here? Any other ideas?

Blessings to you …

a hotel room:D (for them not you)
Since you eldest is in your room can you use his room as the baby room?

I wouldn’t get worried about the sibling reaction. Your concern or efforts to “help” the first child deal with the second could make him think that he should be upset.

I think this fuss is just one of these modern “me” things. It is good to find out that the world is not all about me. The child should be allowed to experience that to the fullest, not have it masked by presents and other distractions.

This is life. Just let him face the next step of meeting a sibling like you let hom get up from a fall on his own. (Or her own)

I have four and the less I mess with their little squabbles the better they are off. Of course I do have to enforce discipline, but letting them figure it out works often if I don’t know who is right. I had the same attitude when a new one was expected. They will cope. And they did and do!!!

For myself, we now have 3 college aged sons. When we were expecting our second, my greatest concern was how was I able to love this new baby as much as I already loved my first.
And the great thing about love as your family grows…you don’t have to divide love at all. It multiples as your family multiplies. And we were able to show that to our sons as a new one was born.

We bought a small present for our older son and when grandma brought them to the hospital to meet their new little brother, out came the present from the baby to older brother. The kids are college aged now and still remember the gift they got from their new brother.

We also included them in the care…age appropriate of course. Get momma a diaper, give baby his pacifier, help dress etc…and it was so easy. Kids are naturally loving if you give them the chance. If you hover and become overprotective…then the older one feels the isolation and will begin to resent the new baby. To this day, the 3 of them are the best of friends and call each other at their colleges nearly everyday to share what is going on…or just talk about a shared sporting event etc. God bless you on the upcoming birth of your new child.

Also consider subscribing to a great Catholic magazine on parenting…it’s is called Faith and Family…just put it into your search engine and it will pop up. I highly recommend it.

Let baby sleep with you. www.askdrsears.com

My first was 20 months old when #2 arrived. Number 3 arrived yet another 20 months after that.

We told #1 that ‘the baby likes you best’ when #2 was born. Similarly, when #3 arrived, I stressed that “baby loves you guys helping mommy and baby” and then baby would of course smile.

Two are now teens, and they are, and always have been, best friends.

The older ones “helped” (diapers, wipes, bringing supplies, etc) and the younger ones were taught gratitude for their help (through mommy first, of course, and then later when they could talk or give hugs, they would).

None of mine ever woke up when baby woke. They were sound sleepers (still are).

First off… congratulations on your new little one!!!

  1. What kind of things did you do to prepare older sibling for the new baby?

We didn’t do too much formal preparation. We’d talk a lot about the baby in Mommy’s tummy, and how our older DS was going to be a big brother. We’d point out other babies when we were out in public… and take him around the infant room at the daycare to show him how small little babies were.
Just general conversation… nothing at all formal. I didn’t want to overwhelm him with anything.

  1. Any tips on helping older sibling sleep well with baby crying at night? i.e. Did you separate the children? Have hubby stay with the older sibling and wife stay with the newborn? What worked for you?

Well my boys officialy share a room. But when the second one was an infant, he mostly slept in the bassinet/pack-n-play in our bedroom. Our boys also climb into bed with us a lot, so when the younger one was breastfeeding during the night, I’d just have him lie up in bed with us… it was more comfortable, less crying (because we were there when he woke up), and I tended to get more sleep that way…

HTH! Good luck with #2! It can be quite challenging with 2, so just prepare yourself for change… but as you already know with #1… they’re so much fun… such a blessing! :slight_smile:

My first son was 22 months when his brother was born.

We told him very early on that God had put a baby in mommy’s tummy and it would be in there a very long time getting bigger and stronger, then it would come out and be his little brother or sister.

We visited with friends who had multiple children and I would explain how “Jane is Jimmy’s older sister. Soon you will be an older brother!” Stuff like that.

He came with me to all my midwife appointments and sat next to me while we listened to the heartbeat. I would let him touch my belly as the baby got bigger and he liked to try to feel the baby move.

We looked actual photos of babies developing in the womb and talked about what stage his little brother was at. We pointed out the hands, feet, face, etc just like DS1 had.

We had a homebirth and had planned for DS1 to be in the room if he was comfortable. He ended up watching TV through the whole thing, but his daddy took the baby right out to him afterward and introduced him to his new baby brother. Then he came in and we all sat in our bed and looked at the new baby together.

He had a complete understanding of what was going on and took the whole thing very well. He just acted like nothing big had happened, very matter-of-factly that this was life now. He had a baby brother. We all shared a bedroom at the time (baby coslept with us, DS1 had a toddler bed in the corner) and he never had any problems sleeping when the baby woke up.

He and his brother are the best of friends now, but now we’re dealing with DS1 beating on DS2.


When we were expecting our second, my greatest concern was how was I able to love this new baby as much as I already loved my first

We are expecting our second baby in May. I am not “concerned” about not loving my baby as much as I do Elizabeth, but, how is that possible??? It makes no sense to me but it has to be true. I just wonder if I will feel the same as I did when I saw Elizabeth laying there on the bed all covered in goo…lol…she was so beautiful and I could not quit crying. It was so amazing to think that this little baby came out of me and that I was able to participate so intimatly in this creation of a new child.

I am really excited about this baby and just to keep the thread on track so is Elizabeth! She is three years old now and always talks about what she will do when “her baby brother is born” although we have no idea if this is a boy or girl. I bought her a book called “Angel in the Waters” and think this would be appropriate for a 2 year old as well. I always tell Elizabeth how she will be my “big girl helper” which is what she calls herself and how she can help me with the baby. It does help that she is three and not two, she has also been lonely as an only child so this helps her to be excited as well. Anyway, I will quit rambling now.

Each child is different and we have enough love to go around for 2 or 3 or even more. There is no way for a parent to ‘equally’ love each child, we need to be fair, but sometimes folks do have their preferences. We try our best to not let our kids be aware of any favoritism.

What’s important is that one never tells one child or the other that there is favorite. It’s interesting to note that a survey was once done on kids and the majority of times the kids failed to identify which kid in the family was really the favorite.

They always think it is one of the other kids that is the favorite. We try to treat our kids equally well or discipline them equally, but we have in fact mellowed with experience. We were stricter with the older two than the last, but we think the last one is equally well disciplined.

WIth more experience we found things that worked better than before. Luckily our kids have turned out quite well. There does not seem to be any petty jealousies or any squabbles. But the older two do always point out that we were much more strict with them than with the youngest.

We agree with that but, we still managed to raise another well rounded child without spoiling him and with more lax rules. And the results are more important than how we went about it. IF we had known a better way beforehand we may have made different rules for the other 2 as well.

And no, we really do not have a favorite, I love being with any of my kids and there is no way, anyone can get me to choose any one of them over the others, and I’m sure my wife feels the same way. Each child is special in their own way. I believe this is how God feels about each of us. Sometimes one or the other may give us more heart burn than the others, but that does not diminish our love or concern over them.

Thanks again to all who have posted replies so far. I am uplifted and blessed by all of your responses! :smiley:

We have 5 children and expecting #6, so we’re in the process of preparing everyone again. We always make sure we speak about the baby even before birth as “our new baby” or “your baby brother/sister” so that they know the baby is part of the family right from the start.

We have them make or buy a present for the new baby.

They come to a few doctor appointments and hear the baby’s heartbeat and to the u/s to see the baby.

We read books about families having new babies and about what new babies can and can’t do. We also look at how the baby is developing in mommy’s tummy.

After the baby comes, there’s a special meeting at the hospital. When I remember, the baby buys each child a gift and the children can give their cards and gifts to the baby. We’ve also made big brother/sister T-shirts and make sure to take pics of everyone holding the baby for the first time.

As for nighttime, we co-sleep so the baby hardly cries at night. Sometimes, it can be hard if the baby’s colicy in the early evening, but it doesn’t last forever and we usually divide and conquer if that’s an issue.


BTW we also made sure that the siblings were aware of a new comer entering the family and had each hold the new baby as well as getting a present. My daughter wanted a baby sister and was so miffed when she got a baby brother instead that she refused to talk to my wife over the phone.

She had put her order in and just could not understand why she did not get her request.

:rotfl: I think this is fairly common.

I remember my five year old sister was in tears when my youngest brother was born. She did not want another boy in the family. My son was five when my youngest daughter was born. He was not happy that it was a girl. He figured that he already had a sister; he wanted a brother, not another sister.

Maybe it has to do with being age five?

When my first son, 4th child, was born, my oldest daughter, then almost 5yrs. informed me that this is a “Girl House Only” send him to Aunt Theresa’s house because she has the boys. She was serious! :slight_smile: Kids, got to love em:D

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