Today we’re talking all about tips for introducing siblings to a new baby in the hospital. This post may contain affiliate links and if you buy something, I may earn a small commission.
The last month has been filled with a lot of wonderful moments, but the most special and memorable for me was snuggling on the hospital bed with all three of my kids for the first time. The kids came in and after a few minutes we all ended up on the bed together and I couldn’t help smiling through the happy tears. It was magical.
Before my second was born I did a lot of reading up on helping a child adjust to a new sibling and how to introduce the new baby. We followed a lot of it that time around but with Lincoln only being 17 months, it didn’t seem to matter as much as I thought. This time around, with a 3 and 4 year old meeting their baby brother for the first time, the way we handled things mattered a bit more.
Regardless of the age difference, there are a few things to consider before having your child meet their new sibling in the hospital. Today I’m sharing all the tips and things to think about before you introduce the two loves of your life.
Tips for introducing sibling to baby at the hospital
put the baby down before the sibling(s) arrive:
When the older sibling gets to the hospital, find a way to give them your full attention when they first arrive. This probably means putting the baby in the bassinet. If the baby is very fussy, consider having one parent hold the baby in a corner of the room so the focus is not on the baby when the older child arrives.
let it be about them:
Save the introduction until the sibling is ready. This probably looks like spending a few minutes snuggling and chatting with your older child about what they’ve been doing for the last day or two. It might mean explaining all the things in the hospital room with them. They will probably love sitting on your hospital bed and pushing the buttons to adjust it with you. Make sure to give them some quality 1 on 1 time before you introduce the baby (unless they walk in asking to see the baby right away).
help them hold the baby:
Get your older child involved by helping them hold the baby.
Depending on their age, this might be on your lap or sitting next to you.
praise them to the baby:
Let your older child hear you talking to the baby about how great they are. Things like “you are so lucky to have __ as an older brother. ” or “Look, your older sister is hear to see you! She is so kind and fun and I am so excited for you to meet her.”
comment about how the baby likes them (talk for the baby):
Your baby can’t talk and it is likely your older child doesn’t understand a lot about babies, so consider being the voice of the baby by telling your oldest child how the baby could be feeling. Things like “oh the baby is looking around when he hears your voice! He likes you a lot.” or “The baby likes it when you talk to him. See how he calm he is when you’re talking/holding him.”
consider a gift from the baby:
In an effort to make the first interaction between siblings positive, consider a gift “from the new baby” to their sibling. One great idea is a baby doll so your older child can be taking care of “their baby” while you are taking care of the real baby. This last time around we had the baby “bring” matching pajamas for all the kids (my older two are obsessed with pajamas) and while my 4 year old was skeptical about how a baby could bring a gift when “he can’t even carry anything,” he loves the pajamas and getting to match.
- a baby doll (girl doll here and boy doll here)
- matching pajamas (our favorites here)
- big sibling shirt (cute options here)
- a new favorite toy
- a book about siblings
talk about when they were a baby:
Talking about your memories with your older child helps keep the focus on them while still involving the baby. Things like “see his hair? You had a lot of hair like this when you were a baby, too.” and “Daddy and I loved getting to snuggle you like this in the hospital when you came and joined our family.” help remind your child they are loved and important as well. It also can help foster interest in babies in general, and their new sibling in particular.
It is easy for older siblings to feel overshadowed by the baby/ jealous of this baby stage. You can help this by talking about how glad you are that they’re a big kid now. Things like “You cried like this to tell me you were hungry when you were a baby, too…and I am so glad that now you’re big and can tell me when you’re hungry.” or “I had to carry you everywhere when you were little, too…and now it is so fun that you’re big and can walk and run and play with me!” help remind them that you love the stage they’re at, too.
make the hospital experience fun for them:
Finally, and most important (aside from safety), focus on the way your older child FEELS at the hospital. It might be stressful for you to have a busy toddler or energetic child in your hospital room. Likely you’re in pain and exhausted. But, for these few minutes, try and focus on how your child feels. It probably isn’t that important to teach proper hospital etiquette and this time (if he’s touching all the buttons, consider redirecting instead of a lecture). If he wants to eat all of your snacks, let him or redirect. He might not remember what happened at the hospital, but how he feels while there will set the tone for his relationship with his sibling once you’re all home together.
How did you introduce siblings at the hospital? What did you do?
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