2 min read

When the first born becomes an older sibling, it's usually NOT a smooth transition. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be exciting and you’ll love to watch the first born learn to adapt and grow, now that they’re a big brother or sister. But there might be some kicking and screaming along the way, so here are 3 things you can do BEFORE the baby is born to help make the transition smoother. 

A Baby Doll
When I was about 5-6 months pregnant (so around the time my son could see something was happening in my belly), we gifted him with a baby doll. This allowed us to teach him words like “gentle” before our little girl was born. What's funny is, he didn’t play with the doll a lot - not in the context you expect a toddler to. But he did like to hold the doll, and he learned not to play rough around the doll. It was a great tool for him to start understanding the basics of being a big brother. 

Books, Books, Books
There are hundreds of books out there to prepare a toddler for becoming an older sibling. Friends I spoke to read a lot of books to their first born about the transition. Stories get kids excited, it was fun watching him grow with excitement for the baby. Added bonus; my friends didn’t need their books anymore so we got them for free!

Practice Sleepovers
If you choose to have your baby in the hospital, you can sometimes expect an overnight stay. We didn’t want our son's first sleepover to be while I was having the baby so we took him to his grandparents house a couple times while I was still pregnant. First of all - it's a great excuse to be childless for the night and have some fun / relaxation with your sweetie. But most importantly, these overnight stays made my son comfortable and happy for while I was giving birth and it took a lot of stress off my shoulders, knowing he was ok with Grandma. 

Build a Bear
A week before my due date, I took my son to a local Build a Bear store. I made a stuffed dog, while my son built his own bear. Then we worked together to build a smaller bear with my daughter's name on her dress. This was a great reinforcement to the books we’ve been reading. It was also a step up from the doll he used to hold, now he has a little girl bear with her name stitched on - a great representative of what's to come. Finally, it was a nice mother - son bonding moment right when we needed it most.