Motherhood

Help! A Parenting Question

How to Tell a Child You're Pregnant

With three years and seven months of parenting in the books, my husband and I have experienced lots of big milestones with our son, Jasper — figuring out sleep, potty training, the end of pacifiers, starting school — and we haven’t been completely and utterly stumped at any of these turning points. Until now…

I’m excited to say that I’m 20 weeks pregnant, halfway there on a huge change for our family, and pretty much the only person we know who has no idea it’s happening is Jasper. We haven’t told him yet. For a while, friends and family understood why we’ve waited: what if something were to happen to the baby early on, what if Jasper started asking every five minutes when the baby would be here, what if he were disappointed or worried or… we’ve come up with a lot of rationales. When I say them out loud they all sound designed to protect Jasper and make me feel like I’m a very relaxed mom because, what’s the rush? But if I’m being honest we’ve held off because a) we don’t really know how to tell him and b) while we can’t wait to welcome a new baby into our family, we also love how things are right now. I’d like to stay here just a little while longer.

I know Jasper will be a sweet older brother. He holds our dog’s leash with white knuckles when we cross the street, making sure he doesn’t stray too close to cars. He carefully pushes his friends’ baby siblings on the playground swings. He tucks two of his stuffed animals in my bed (one on each pillow) every night before he goes to sleep, so my husband and I won’t be lonely. And I often hear him whispering to a toy about a cool thing he did that day or telling it, “Don’t worry,” about something or other. How fun it will be for him to have a sibling to talk to! Right? Then why is telling him proving to be so hard for me?

Every once in a while, Jasper will broach the topic of a brother or sister. The last time this came up we were taking a bath together (with my burgeoning belly squeezed in between us), and he told me, “Mommy, I want to get a brother or sister. I’ll teach them how to draw.” I asked him where they would sleep. “Right here in the bathroom, where it’s so warm,” he said. And I asked what we would name them. “Netflix,” he said.

Needless to say, I would love to hear your advice on how and when to tell a first child about a new baby. Am I overthinking it? Joanna gave me The Baby Tree to read to Jasper once the cat is out of the bag, and I’m getting more excited now!

P.S. Going from one kid to two, and how to keep up your relationship after kids.

  1. Sophie says...

    Just tell him!! :) My kid (2 at the time) was in the bathroom with me when I took my test and he took the news just fine. Just tell him the baby won’t be here until the end of the winter. And be prepared for him to think he has a baby in his tummy too. Congratulations!

  2. You are totally over thinking it! Don’t waste this fun time – share it and experience with him, it’s ALL ABOUT them right now and jasper and the baby make it “family” .
    It’s gonna be great and it’s SUCH A SPECIAL TIME! Bask in it! All of you

  3. Tania says...

    I’m 21 weeks pregnant and have an almost 3 year old daughter. We told her early. We thought that if her world is going to be turned upside down it makes sense she has time to get used to the idea. After our 12 week scan we just told her there was a baby in mummy’s tummy and that she was going to be a big sister, and gave her a picture of the scan for her to keep. She acknowledged it and went off to play. We couldn’t tell whether she didn’t understand what we had just told her or if she just wasn’t bothered by the news. The next morning she took the scan picture to nursery and when I picked her up in the afternoon she had told every single person that there was a baby in mummy’s tummy, her baby, and she has been mentioning baby every single day, in the warmest possible way. She knows baby will come soon, she doesn’t ask many questions, but tells me all the time she sees me struggling with something, in a very caring way, ‘Be careful with baby, mummy’.
    I do understand your worries and I worry about the same things sometimes . I try to remember that my little girl is not going to be the first child to have a sibling and more often than not a sibling just comes to enrich the life of a firstborn. I think us, adults, overthink things. I find children can understand things much better than we give them credit for. Even if something is to happen I believe they are able to deal with it much better than we do. I believe they see the world in a much simpler way.

  4. Elisabeth says...

    Just a funny story to share on sharing the news of a new baby. When my sister was pregnant with her third, her two boys were 4 and 2… She told the older one “We’re getting a new baby!” And he was very quiet and contemplative for the whole day, and she wondered why it was bothering him so much. Then when she was putting him to bed, he burst into tears and said: “But I want to keep baby Sam!” (his little brother). So cute! Of course she explained that getting a new baby didn’t mean IN PLACE of any existing ones. So funny how kids take everything at face value.

    • irene says...

      This story is the cutest. I laughed out loud when I read it! My sister and boyfriend were in the room with me and asked what it was about and laughed even harder when I read it to them :)

    • zms says...

      So sweet :D

  5. i think this is a beautiful question. i’m a mama of five babes, ages 15 to 5 yrs old, and i think we shared the news with everyone differently each time. and each was special! take heart, there is no wrong way or wrong time. i really believe that … when we told the big four about our last baby, my husband had them figure it out with a pancake puzzle (it would take too long to explain :) ). in truth, i thought, can’t we just tell ’em, but they had fun with it and the suspense building and the ‘aha!’ moment was dear. i’m not advocating that ;) but i am saying that whatever way you share the news with jasper, at whatever time, will most likely surprise you with abundant joy. i mean, the white knuckles walking the dog … my word, j sounds like a sweetheart who will savor being a big brother. a wise woman told me recently that there is no limit to love, not ever to approach any moment or season with a sense of scarcity. it only expands. so when you tell jasper, it will not steal from this sweet time to enjoy your family of three … your focus on or talking about another baby won’t limit your love for him or his ability to receive it. i believe that with my whole heart.
    in case you’d like to know, there are a couple of books we’ve read over the years that are well-worn in our family and helped start beautiful conversations with our children about what was happening in my belly and what things might look like once the baby was born.
    _there’s a house inside my mommy_ by giles andreae
    _baby on the way_ by martha and william sears
    _hello baby_ by lizzy rockwell
    and i think the _9 months_ book by courtney adamo and esther van de paal looks beautiful, but it wasn’t out when our littlest was getting ready to be welcomed earth-side.
    all my warmest wishes for your growing family …

    • Carol says...

      this is such a lovely reply!

  6. Alice says...

    I don’t rememberer telling my then 1 year old about his brother coming!
    I must’ve done it in the second trimester, maybe 15 weeks. I gave him this book: http://amzn.to/2xLpUfE and a couple of others.
    About a month before I gave birth, I bought him a realistic doll and we called it the baby, and he began dressing it and set up a bed for it in the corner of his room and gave it crackers. One day I did find him trying to saw off the doll’s penis with his wooden two-part veg cutting knife. Thankfully he has not yet tried this on his brother. I hear him tell his brother ‘It’s alright darling, don’t worry’ all the time, and my heart melts. Congratulations Lexi, Your house will be full of so, so, much love (with a pinch of chaos). Jasper sounds like he’s going to be amazing and thoughtful big brother, and he may already know. Netflix is the best name ever!!!

  7. Y says...

    I’m due with my second kid any day now and my daughter is about to be 2. We’ve been talking about “the baby” / “your brother” for 4-5 months now, trying to get her warmed up to the idea. Books have really helped! She loves “Hello in there” and “Little Miss, Big Sis.” We also asked for her name suggestions (she likes “Peachy”) and we talk about the baby and how she’ll be a part of his life daily and how much we’ll need her help. Of course, once he arrives I’m sure it’ll be crazy and full of daily mood swings — sharing mom and dad in theory is very different than reality! But, we’ve tried to walk her through what’s going to happen so she is as prepared as possible.

  8. Big Sister says...

    I am 11 and I was 5 when my sister was born. It was kind of weird because no one had ever told me how babies can’t talk, or play, and won’t just do whatever you tell them to. Also, babies take a lot of attention, so just remember that Jasper also needs a lot of attention. My mom and I had a code word to use whenever I really needed my parents’ attention. And, speaking as a big sister, siblings are not just love. They will sometimes yell at each other, or fight, or do other stuff, and you kind of get the picture, right? So don’t tell him that he will be able to play with the baby as soon as he/she is born. In fact, remind him that he won’t be able to play with the baby right away. other than that, just go ahead and tell him.

  9. Erin says...

    You are overthinking it – which is also really sweet! It’s such a big deal and such great news. For me, what was hard to get my head around (and also a little sad, if I was honest) was that my daughter would no longer be our single focus and joy…I really secretly wondered if the “your love grows twice as big” wasn’t just a big happy lie parents tell each other. It’s funny but I think it was easier for my daughter to get her head around the idea of a baby than it was for me. I can’t even remember how or when we told her (she is also three years and seven months so we began this mom thing at the same time!) Enjoy spilling the beans, and I second the Baby Tree. We read it nonstop before my son was born, and now its a family treasure.

  10. Elise says...

    A few years ago, a friend of mine told the ladies at her son’s nursery in France (he was 2.5 years old at the time) that she was expecting another baby. She was not showing yet and hadn’t told her son. The (very seasoned) nursery lady smiled knowingly and told her “Yes, we’d figured that out.” My friend couldn’t believe it. The lady told her they’d known something was up just from his behaviour in the previous few weeks. She added that toddlers have antennas and that sometimes they will sense a change in their mother before their mother herself knows. So it’s best to tell them early and at least they won’t worry too much about why Mommy is changing.
    That story stuck with me, and when I became pregnant with my second baby I told our son (20 months at the time) as soon as morning sickness started. I just told him I was sick because a baby was slowly developing in my belly and that he would be a big brother eventually. He nodded and went back to whatever he was doing (which probably involved cars and tigers). We didn’t make a big deal out of it, just told him with simple words and he moved on with his life.
    He was sometimes aggressive with me in the last months of pregnancy but I figured it was healthier for him to express something than to bottle things up. He’s been a great older brother so far (baby’s 15 months old) and I’m sure Jasper will be too (he sounds like a great boy). Ambivalent feelings are, I think, healthy and normal when the family grows (for you, for your husband, for your son) and you can trust the baby to know how to carve his or her space when the time comes!
    So enjoy the ride, and don’t worry about Jasper– chances are, he already knows (hence his comment about a brother or a sister). And take extra good care of yourself!

  11. Sarah says...

    Oh my goodness, Lexi, congratulations! Also, are you me? My son is 3 years and 6 months, and I’m 18 weeks pregnant…but with TWINS!!! We, too, waited to share the news due to a difficult 2.5 years of secondary infertility and a recent miscarriage. Once we’d had reassuring test results and a few ultrasounds under our belt, my husband and I sat down with our son to share the news. We started by talking about his friends who have baby brothers and sisters, and referenced his preschool teacher whose belly is growing larger by the day, then asked if he would like to be a big brother, too. (Fortunately, he said yes!) At this point, my husband had to take over because I was crying so much, and my son listened earnestly and replied, “ok, but can I watch Thomas now?” . Since then, he asks about the babies every day, and remarks frequently on my growing belly; although most of the time, he thinks they’re in my breasts! It does make sense, though…. I mean, 2 babies… :)

  12. When pregnant with our third, we simply picked up the boys from school, picked up cake at our favourite bakery (which we NEVER do apart from birthdays!), went home, put the kettle on, lit some candles (as you do in Denmark) and as the boys were tucking into their cake, we gave them the news… they were stoked!! (or it could have been the sugar rush?) who knows. they have loved their sister every moment ever since. best wishes, having your second is SUCH a special thing (in my opinion) xo, Anna.

  13. Karen says...

    We waited until the 18 week scan, because we wanted to know that everything was ok and didn’t want to involve them if something was wrong or if I had a miscarriage. I don’t think small children should have to deal with that. Apart from that we just told them. They loved being involved in the preparations, choosing clothes and things we needed.

  14. maria says...

    Hej! Congrats on growing your family!
    I’m 25 weeks pregnant and we’ve started talking about “the baby” to my girl of 22 months when I was around 20 weeks. Although, she is super young to get the whole concept of course, we know she develops some kind of feeling and understanding of the change to come. It’ll just be there on day. She is playing with her Lego baby dolls, doll, stuffed animals and is kind of already building up a consciousness of the concept baby. I tell her that there is a baby in my belly, and I really feel she understands and talks about the baby very often. It doesn’t worry her, she is actually really excited and gets a huge smile on her face. Of course, reality will challenge her emotions later, but neither would be without telling.
    Good luck!

  15. Gabs says...

    Your little boy’s feelings about his new sibling will change day to day, so you should relax about how and when you tell him. Our daughter was busting to have a sibling, and she loves him now that he is here…but she also gets cranky because she has to share us. It’s not going to be simple…but the best things in life never are.

    • Kimberly says...

      I agree with this response so much. I’m just home from having our third and my eldest is three and a half. Throughout the pregnancy she was beyond excited to tell everyone we met the news and had very strong opinions about name choices. That said, it has been a huge transition for her- seemingly much bigger than when she first bacame a big sister at age two. Our pedi warned us: two year olds don’t know what they’re in for, three year olds know deeply what this change entails. That said- my recommendation is to give your son as much time as possible to wrap his mind around a sibling. To be part of telling people and claiming this little one as his choice as well, not just a choice- a change- happening TO him. Now that you’re firmly past the first trimester, pop the news. Sometimes simply is best. If he brings up a sibling so often, next time he does, why don’t you just agree that it’s a great idea and confirm that it’s in the works!

  16. I am sorry I don’t have any practical advice, but it sounds to me that Jasper would be really delighted to hear the news! :) I’d love a follow-up to this post! When I was a kid, I was always talking about wanting to have a little sister. When my parents finally told me, at age 4, that I indeed would have a younger sister or brother, I was just plain confused and asked: “When did you do it without me seeing it?” Needles to say, I had no idea how babies are made back then, but I still find this question hilarious.

  17. Franziska says...

    Congratulations! While I cannot give you any good advice (26, single and childless), I just wanted to say this :)

  18. When I got pregnant for the second time, we decided to tell my boy (who was then 4 years old) before telling anyone else. Just a few weeks before, we were talking about his friend’s sibling, who was the older brother, and I asked him if he would like to have a brother too. “Mmmh, no, I would prefer a cub”. “Ah, ok, a cub… of which animal?”, I asked. “No, mummy, you didn’t understand: I mean a cub of person!”. After this conversation, I was pretty much sure he would welcome the announcement with joy. I was wrong at all! On a saturday morning, we were all in our bed, cuddling and laughing. As we merrily pronounced the sentence “You will have a baby brother or sister!”, his face darkened and suddenly he started crying “I was better before!”, just like he could prefigure all was going to happen. We were so surprised, I can’t remember exactly what we said before changing subject to make him calm down. At lunch my mother came in, we invited her a few days before presuming to give her the announcement all together, but my son was still upset, so we didn’t say anything. Later that day, we returned on the topic with him: we gently said he was right, that we would say a milion times we were better before, because a baby brother is often a big bother, with lot of crying in the night, snotty nose and mountains of smelly diapers. He started soften his expression, and soon we were laughing at these concerns. Finding us on his side reassured him and, as we started listing all the good things we would do with the baby, he was finally smiling. The next morning he called granma and invited her for lunch once again and called the other grandparents and uncles and cousins to break the news personally. The little one will be 1 years old next week and as I watch them learning to love one another more everyday, through laughing, cuddling, playing, and also, of course, bickering and playing pranks on each other, I’m so grateful for what is the most extraordinary experience of my life. I wish you all this and more, Lexi, I’m sure it will be amazing.

  19. Penny says...

    My son was younger than yours (they’re 2 years apart), but we started telling him pretty early too – after the safe period and probably around 20 weeks. Just tell him, and we also used the “I’m a big brother” book by Joanna Cole which was really nice both before AND after the baby arrived. If he’s already asked about a baby, this is perfect – a great moment to tell him and have him share in the excitement, as another reader mentioned. I think you DON’T have to make a big deal about The Announcement – just simply say it and then repeat it in the coming days if it hasn’t yet sunk in. He’ll understand pretty quickly and even understand the timing if he’s already the bright little guy you describe him as!

  20. Suzanne says...

    We’ve found the easier and breezier you are about it all so are the older kids. If you fuss and make it special and do special things then it puts pressure on the little ones to live up to the expectation. Why are Mum and Dad suddenly doing this stuff? Kids are perceptive. Let them share in the excitement and reality of it all and know that when this baby arrives life will be great! There’s nothing quite like seeing your kids have a relationship with one another that has very little to do with you other than genetics. It’s really special. ?

  21. Pip says...

    I showed really early the second time round and people were already acknowledging I was pregnant before I was ready to tell. Luckily my eyebrow wiggling managed to communicate that my daughter then aged 3 didn’t know. One day we decided it was “the day” to tell her as I was getting ridiculously big and she might have thought I’d eaten a sofa! We told our daughter that because she had made us so happy we wanted to have another child and she looked really pleased. My husband asked her if she knew why I was big and she said “of course, she’s got a baby in her tummy!” As I’d had the earlier scan and knew there were no concerns she came to the scan to identify the sex, as this hadn’t been possible at the earlier one. She said she knew it was a girl all along and although they have their moments together seeing how our eldest became a big sister and the bond between them grow has been a joy! Good luck with however you go about it but if your little guy feels half as loved as he clearly is you and he will be fine!

  22. Carla says...

    Congrats! You are definitley overthinking it. At supper tommorow, just say “Guess what”? And then tell him and be prepared to be super-let down when all he says is “oh”, and goes back to eating his mashed potatoes. That’s my experience anyways. Takes time to get them excited.

  23. Kimberly Quigley says...

    We were ruminating on this exact question — I was reading countless blog posts about how to tell our son about his new baby sister, what books to buy, etc. But at 18 weeks, my husband just got really excited at dinner one night and blurted out “There’s a baby sister growing in Mama’s tummy!” My son, two at the time, slowly turned his head and stared in puzzlement and mild alarm at my still rather small belly. Four months in to life with two, I can report he absolutely adores his baby sister – proof that you might botch the whole telling the big sibling thing – and it will be 100% fine down the line. :)

  24. First of all, congratulations!

    We have three children. When number three was born, number two was four plus a few months. We had told quite early on in the pregnancy (because I had hypermesis gravidarum) but it seemed to be too abstract for her to grasp. While pregnant, we read a few books about babies, spoke about the baby and being a big sister, involved her in the preparations.. but still the arrival of child number three was a total shock for her. She was very jealous and the situation was quite tough for us parents. Still, 1,5 year later, there is a lot of sibling rivalry in the air.

    When child number two was born, we had done much less preparation and everything went totally smooth.

    Thus my point is, regardless of how much you prepare, it can go either way. Each child is different. Read a few books, talk about the baby – but first of all, prepare yourself in case things do get rough!

  25. First of all Congratulations! You seem to be a lovely mummy and I know Jasper will take it well and love the baby so much. Goodluck with your pregnancy lovely!

  26. Christina says...

    Congratulations!
    I don’t remember how we told my son he was going to be a big brother, but I do remember finding the perfect book that didn’t introduce sibling rivalry before the baby even arrived: “One Special Day” written by Lola M Schaefer. It’s so gentle and kept out my fears of ruining his sweet little life by adding a sibling. It takes adding a sibling in stride, as just a normal thing that happens and the end papers show how that is a glorious thing, even though it’s not addressed directly in the book. It’s where my son spent most of his time when we read it. I highly recommend it!

  27. Mary says...

    You’re overthinking it. Just tell him he’s going to be a big brother.

  28. Helena says...

    I think people make too big a deal about telling siblings a baby is on the way. Children are so cool and accept most anything if you just tell them matter of fact. We told our 3 year old five weeks in to my third pregnancy because I suffered horribly from morning sickness and I wanted to be honest about why. It was no big deal, she was a little bit excited and that was it. So nice not to have to lie to her! I feel the same about telling kids and miscarriage. They understand so much more than we know, and accept things in a way that adults just don’t. When we told our eldest so early on we also said that some small babies don’t stay in the belly and you never know who do. She accepted that, and after the 20 week scan we said that the baby was probably there to stay. I felt very strongly that if something had gone wrong with the pregnancy I wouldn’t have wanted to lie to my daughter. I would have wanted her to know why I was sad. Sometimes I think we shield our kids too much. Good luck! :)

  29. Michelle Carr says...

    Honesty is the best policy! Let him share in the excitement. Some is going to blurt it out before you….. that would be so disappointing and confusing to a child. He should share in the joy with you!!

  30. Mae says...

    The last couple of months of my second pregnancy, I bawled a few times a week over the changing dynamic of our family. “Am I ruining my daughters childhood? Was this fair to her? Why wasn’t I just happy enough the way things were and darn it why did I decide to do this?” Being totally honest, I actually resented the new baby for taking time away from my daughter for a while. It was all irrational thoughts/hormonal looking back, but I was pretty upset at the time. Now that a few years have passed, it was the best decision I ever made. I love them fiercely and they love each other the same. I can’t imagine my life without these two!

  31. Naomi H says...

    We have 4 children 8,5,3 and 2 1/2 months. We have wanted them to be involved in processing the change in our family each time and have told them around 12 weeks each time. One thing to remember is that change is hard for everyone and very emotional, even good changes. We told our kids about baby #4 by getting matching Christmas pajamas for them all including a fourth pair that was newborn sized. When they opened them they were all so excited about the new pj’s and then our eldest said “who are these for? they are too small for any of us” and then quickly guessed, they were all so excited and nicknamed her “baby hedgehog”. They all adore her and kiss and hold her constantly. Having alone time with each of them after she was born helped them to know we still loved and had time for them. Such sweet times you have ahead!

  32. Cath M says...

    It’s fun but daunting telling kids about the impending arrival of a new sibling. I’m 33 weeks pregnant and we told our 3 year 10 month old son and 21 month old daughter just over a week ago…6 weeks out from a planned CS. We felt it was enough time for them to get used to the idea, particularly our daughter….and we wanted to tell them together. We told my son about the impending arrival of our daughter around the same time which meant he could be involved in the final preparations at a time when things were clearly happening aside from just my expanding tummy. And now he and his sister are the loveliest little team.

    We got them each a book about a new baby: https://www.bookdepository.com/Theres-Going-Be-Baby-John-Burningham-Helen-Oxenbury/9781406331080?ref=grid-view&qid=1508215165335&sr=1-1 and https://www.bookdepository.com/Im-Big-Sister-Joanna-Cole-Rosalinda-Kightley/9780061900624?ref=pd_detail_1_sims_b_p2p_1.

    And sat up in their treehouse as a family to tell them the news and read their books….it was a bit squashy but such a happy and funtime.
    They were both excited and both like having their new books as a reminder.

    Different things resonate with each at different times but one of my favourites over the last couple of weeks is watching my daughter hand her brother his book and for them to sit together on the floor reading them to themselves…punctuated by a small voice exitedly saying ‘sister’. Good luck and enjoy it. It sounds like your new baby will have a wonderful big brother!

  33. ADV Mama says...

    I believe everything you’re feeling is completely normal. I had my daughter back in 2014. Her big brother was 4 when she was born.
    That day was so special and I’ll never forget the look in my son’s eyes as he loved on his baby sister for the first time. They definitely share a special bond. However those first three months or so were huge adjustments for us. The kids usually take on the changes and adapt to them A LOT better than we expect.

    Its amazing seeing families bonds grow so strong when you welcome a baby into the world. Its a time to rejoyce and celebrate all the joy GOD, Jesus & the holy spirits bring. Good luck mama!! ? you’ll do just fine and so will big brother ✔

  34. I agree with the other commenters who say “just tell him!”, and soon. He’ll probably be excited, because he’s obviously a very loving boy. But I’d also prepare yourself for him having little reaction or not many questions. He will most likely have lots of questions and won’t be able to stop talking about it, but it’s also totally normal and okay if he just accepts the news and doesn’t have much to say about it. And if that happens, don’t worry – he’ll have plenty to say in time. ;)

  35. Tabby says...

    I don’t have an opinion on timing so much as be careful what you say. My parents told me I was going to have a little sister, who would be my playmate and best friend ever. I thought we were getting another 3 year old and was behind disappointed when a baby came home. So just make sure to say you’re having a baby!

    • Jolanda says...

      That is the funniest thing I have read today. Children can take up things so literally! I love it! Hopefully you are happy with your sister now ;).

    • Tabby says...

      @Jolanda – yes! We did grow up to be the best of friends, but it took about 20 years!

    • Sarah says...

      My older sister thought the same thing! Although she was already five and maybe should have known better :) But instead of being disappointed I didn’t come out as an immediate five-year-old playmate, apparently she was relieved I wasn’t an immediate threat (I think her kindergarten year was not going well). That did not mean she was AT ALL excited about me, just that she had nothing to worry about. Thus began her campaign of ignoring me for years.

      But just in case anyone is worried about siblings who don’t bond immediately, I will say: my sis and I weren’t close for most of our childhood, but then “found” each other as young adults; now I have no better friend than her. It can take time.

  36. Jaimi says...

    We told my older son (who was not yet two at the time) that he was going to have a baby sibling on the same day we found out the new baby was a boy. We showed him the ultrasound pictures, too, which was fun. Henry, my older one, was a little unclear on the difference between what a brother was and what a sister was, so the first thing I thought to say was, “He has a penis like you do, not a vagina.” And just then, in the middle of the restaurant where we were eating dinner, Henry shouted, “I have a penis and a brother!” Now Leo is one and a half, and they are the sweetest of buddies.

    • Laura says...

      :-DDDD

  37. Capucine says...

    My kids are almost exactly four years apart, and it’s an ideal spacing from the parental stress perspective. I wanted to share that. My truth was I had been carted off in an ambulance after the loss of a baby, so my first had already experienced a story I would rather she had not, and when I was throwing up and going to appointments with her along and carefully invisibly sad when I got pregnant again, it just had to be an honest time. She knew this baby might not live but we hoped it would. It was hard letting her in my private pregnancy world. It’s not fluffy, is it? I was not optimistic, for one. I thought she ought to have chipper pregnancy, not what I had and affected a neutral attitude about. I look back now and remember her awareness and care for me before I had ever said a word, especially how she napped beside me despite no longer napping, and her steady calm faith in the baby. Your child, he has a full size spirit in that immature body, he’s already right there with you. Both of them! Hah!

    Go ahead and cherish the poignancy of where you stand here, now, with your son. Take a weekend just the two of you, even (maybe during home repairs or other troubles), and follow him around doing things he likes. Just go ahead and be in it. You are closing the door on one child and opening the door to two; it’s a real transition in your life, positive or negative is irrelevant. Journal if you like, all your ambivalence and anxieties. Telling or not-telling your son cannot change the truth, eh? And it’s a mighty true place, where you are.

    Everything is ok.

  38. Chelsey says...

    I think I said something along the lines of “our family is having another baby, you’ll be the best big brother!”

    Then we referred to the baby as “our baby” or “your baby” the whole pregnancy. I have to say nothing has been more wonderful then watching him blossom into a big brother. Tell him!!!

    Check out the book 9 months. It looks awesome (actually perhaps you linked it first in a fridays post?) http://amzn.to/2yunPbI

  39. Monica says...

    Netflix!! I’m dying!! So sweet though. I had my second when my first was three and a little but for us we had to do IVF and when we did it we told him right when we knew – so we told him we are having a baby!! And then I miscarried. So then we did round two and we were pregnant! And we told him again – and there were two babies! And we told him! And then we lost one very early. And we told him very matter of factly that now there was only one. And now my baby is 9 months and my four year old loves his sister so much! After reading this it makes me feel like maybe we should’ve waited a little haha – glad kids don’t overthink things!!

  40. B says...

    My girls were 3 and 18months when we told them I was pregnant with our third and they mostly……. didn’t care ? hahaha! I think it’s such an abstract concept for them at that age, if you’re happy, they’re happy! If you’re worried, they’ll take that on too. They absolutely adore their baby sister now, but I don’t think kids can really really understand what it all means while you’re pregnant. Mostly mine just cared about snacks and tv! Hah! Congratulations Lexi! You’ll nail this ??

  41. Meagan says...

    As always with little ones, as you know, there is so often much parental overthought and then it just happens! I would be eye to eye with him in a quiet or relaxed moment and just share your good news as that— you could say “hey- we have great news. I’m growing a baby in my belly and you are the lucky big brother! How cool it will be for him or her to get to be your little one” or something positive but light on details. Kids are so amazing in always asking for what they need and filtering out what is too much or extraneous for them. I would offer him the basics and follow his lead. A million good wishes for your family as you become a new version of yourselves! It was such a huge change for us to have baby brother join his big sister but it’s been so totally amazing (save for all the realllllly tight hugs she gives him!)

  42. Amanda says...

    Congratulations!! My first born was really into the body when I got pregnant, so we actually showed him the ultrasound. Being the curious kid that he is, he immediately asked how the baby would come out. I always think that if they’re asking the questions, they’re ready for the answers, so I told him. The next day he brightly told the first person we saw, “My mommy has a baby in her tummy, and it’s going to come out of her vagina!” ? bahahaha.

    After he found out, he was the absolute sweetest. He would talk to “his baby” and cuddle with my tummy all the time.

    You will find the right words when you decide to tell him because you’re his mom and you know him best. ❤️

  43. Marisa says...

    Keep in mind that little kids are pretty self-centered, and he might be less impressed than you’re anticipating! I was almost hurt when we excitedly told our older daughter that she was going to be a big sister, and she was like, “Cool! Can I keep playing this game now?” She didn’t really bring up the baby a ton during my pregnancy and didn’t seem exceptionally interested when we would remind her about what was coming.

    Then came the night she got to wake up at midnight to watch me give birth to her baby sister in our living room. She was the one to cut the cord (which she had been practicing for months!), and then we ate chocolate birthday cake in the middle of the night, which was DEFINITELY the most exciting thing that had ever happened in her life. Now she can’t stop showing off her baby sister to everyone she meets and telling them what an important job being a big sister is. I think it just wasn’t real to her until the baby was on the outside. And it warms my heart so much that she was old enough to always remember when she became a sister, because my girls are five years and five days apart.

  44. Ellen says...

    My second child is three months old and my first is almost five. We told our older daughter the news when I was twelve weeks pregnant by reading her a new book–“When You Were Inside Mommy”–and then telling her that actually there was now another baby inside Mommy. She was delighted.

  45. Laurab says...

    I think it’s okay to wait to tell them. Little kids have no sense of time and little patience. I told my girls (4 and 2.5 when expecting my 3rd) at 4 months vaguely that there was a baby growing in my belly and only in the last month that the baby in the belly would (hopefully) come out and be a little brother or sister baby for them. Plenty of time for them to get used to the idea. I would have waited even longer than 4 months to tell them but I knew other family members would ask them about it and I didn’t want them to feel left out.

  46. Katie says...

    I’m 20 weeks with my second, too! Hope your pregnancy is going well.

  47. Rachel says...

    We told my now- 3-year-old early this year that I had a baby in my tummy just like his best friends mommy. When I miscarried early on, we never really told him, but somehow he figured it out and told our friends that mommy “would have a baby in her belly next time”. Flash forward a few months and I’m currently 16 weeks pregnant. We told him a few weeks ago and he’s so excited to get a baby of his own since all of his friends have them already. We joke that doing things tandem (potty training, preschool, etc) with his best friend has helped, and it definitely applies to the whole “get a sibling” thing too… although he did tell me he hoped it was a T. Rex…

  48. Liza says...

    Holy Moly! Just tell him the way you would tell him any happy news. “Guess what? You’re going to be a big brother! Mommy is going to have a baby! She is growing the baby inside her tummy right now! Lucky you!” Of course, you’ll get a lot of questions, but I imagine he already asks plenty.

    • Kelsey says...

      #nailedit

  49. Megan says...

    Congratulations! Your worries seem totally normal – I don’t have children but I can imagine myself feeling the same things!

    As the older child of two, I loved the book “Koala Lou” by Mem Fox. It is a beautiful book for older siblings who may feel worried about no longer being the only child.

    I’m sure you will do a great job, regardless of how you choose to tell your son :)

  50. Carrie says...

    Congratulations! And yes, you’re overthinking it! Kids react off our emotions in new situations. Present the news as an exciting thing- it is! I’m 6 months pregnant with my 3rd and my oldest is just about your son’s age. A great book for that age is “Babies don’t eat pizza” by Dianne Danzig. My daughter asks endless “why” questions and I do my best to just answer her questions without elaborating beyond what she’s seeking.
    You’re about to really understand that the heart’s capacity to love is boundless. It’s amazing. Enjoy!

  51. Kate Baumwol says...

    The book “You were the first” was a big help for us. But we just talked about it a lot with our 3 year old in casual conversations, it wasn’t made a big deal

  52. haha Netflix! What a great name.

  53. I was laughing SO HARD when I read that he would name his brother “Netflix!” Can’t make that stuff up.

    My Aunt is a NICU nurse and feels that older siblings do better when the parents don’t hype them up before the baby comes. She’s seen a lot of kids angry or disappointed because their new baby is SO FAR away from being the playmate that the parents promised them.

    • Totally agree with this comment. Parents who hype up their kids are not doing it for their kid’s sake. Or, at least, the kids are not benefitting from it AT ALL. You are doing the right thing by enjoying your first child in the now. Toddlers have zero concept of time, and other than peer pressure, there’s really no reason to tell your son 4-5 months early. And when you do tell him the news, definitely don’t bring it up as a “you’ll have a playmate” conversation. A newborn is so far from that, as Crisanne said.

  54. Angela says...

    I tried to be totally open and honest with my 2.5 year old when we found out I was pregnant. I told him about the fun things AND the challenging things. I tried not to bring it up constantly, but I wanted to help him imagine what it’d be like with a new (very needy) member of our family. When we were reading books in bed, for example, I would say – when “Raisin” (the name he chose for her while she was in my belly) is here, she’ll be in one of my arms, and I’ll need your help to turn the pages. That’ll be different, but you can help me! Or, sometimes when we’re playing, Raisin might need her diaper changed or might need to drink some milk, so I might have to take a break from playing. That might be frustrating for you.
    When she was born, I made sure to give him tons of attention, and he got to go to work with my husband quite a bit, which was a huge treat. I tried to see any challenging behavior for what it was – his adjustment to the baby.
    All in all, he adjusted incredibly well.

  55. Katie says...

    our kids are 8 years apart. we told our daughter at 10 weeks, after our first appointment. she was thrilled. our son is 11 weeks old now and she adores him.

  56. Kristin says...

    I think you should tell him asap so he has lots of time to think about it, ask questions and get used to the idea before the baby comes.
    I have a 4 month old girl and a 2 year 9 month girl and I think the fact that she had so much time to prepare really helped her. (We told her at 10 weeks when we told the rest of the family).
    I try to follow Joanna’s sibling rivalry guidelines and also listened to Siblings without Rivalry on audiobook to get in the mode. I think one thing that’s important while pregnant is not to “blame the baby” for how you feel (which for me was feeling really tired and shitty a lot). It’s hard on your older one when you don’t feel good and you don’t want to set the baby up to be the scapegoat already ;).

  57. Corinne says...

    It’s nice to give the older siblings time to adjust. He needs that time to process just like adults need the (nine, long) months of pregnancy to get our heads around a big change. One sweet thing you can tell him is how the new baby already knows him because they can hear his voice! My husband and I were so surprised to see our daughter responding as much to her big brother as she was to us. He could make her laugh even better than we could!

  58. Jean says...

    My son was around 3 when I became pregnant with my daughter, and we actually didn’t ever tell him…we just let him figure it out. Lots of my friends had recently been pregnant and given birth, so he knew what it meant when he noticed my belly getting bigger. One day he asked, “Mama, is there a baby in your belly?” I liked letting him initiate and guide the conversations about my pregnancy and our new baby, and now he is super sweet with her, so I think we did something right!

  59. Rebekah says...

    I think it’s fun and helpful to involve the older sibling/s by telling them what’s going on. I get pretty sick my first trimester, so my daughters (4 and 2) knew why…they would say “mommy’s body is working hard to make the baby!” And I took them to most midwife appointments. It felt like a family thing. By the time their brother arrived they were totally used to the idea and they still adore him five months later!

  60. Rachel says...

    My brother is 2 1/2 years younger than me, and I’ve heard the story of how I first learned about his arrival a billion times: My parents told me–at some point during my mom’s pregnancy–that I would soon have “a baby brother or sister.” When my dad came to take me to the hospital to see my mom and new brother, he told me as such: I had a new brother. Apparently, I responded with “I don’t want a *brother,* I’m going to have a brotherorsister!” And then the nurses gave me a special hat and he went on to be my first (and still best) friend. Seriously, I’ve cried over just the concept of an alternate universe where I grow up an only child. He’s the best.

    I’m in no place to give parenting advice, but your little boy sounds sweet and kind, and I don’t doubt that–even if there are bumps in how he take it for now–he’ll feel the same way about his new sibling.

  61. Laura says...

    I don’t have kids but I’ll say that I think every kid reacts differently to this stuff and it doesn’t always mean as much as we think. My older sister apparently asked if she could ‘return’ my brother the night he was brought home, and was DEVASTATED to realize that he’d be sharing the home. Then she got over it and they had (and have!) a lovely relationship.

  62. Ann M Hanson says...

    I remember kind of mourning the loss of the three of us. I also knew the emotional roller coaster we were putting our first born on. (I am a first born; extremely aware!) As a preschool teacher and a daughter to aging parents I now fully appreciate the companionship and support that sibs can provide. And…It is also a valuable lesson to realize we are not indeed the center of the universe. You are giving your son a gift. One that he will often want to return! But priceless.

  63. Nicole says...

    So, I have a parenting question for you: how do I get my son (currently 6 months) to grow up to be as sweet as your little boy? I mean, wow! He just sounds like the nicest little man.

    Congratulations!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Haha, that’s so nice of you to say, Nicole. He’s really very sweet, but ages 2-3 were pretty challenging with him. I think he felt really frustrated that year, wanting to be more expressive, more coordinated and more mature than he was. Now that he’s a little older and more capable in all ways he’s in a really easy-to-parent zone. I feel lucky and take no credit! Good luck with your sweet son.

  64. ceciel says...

    The second and third time I went into labor (I have 3 children) I was so unsure/anxious/sad about the dynamics of our family changing. And yeah, I sometimes miss little parts of being a parent of just one. Or the (relative) ease of bedtimes with 2. But mostly, I’m thrilled with my 3 monkeys. And my heart grows more full as they grow. Congratulations! Keep us dedicated readers posted. xoxo

  65. Maggie says...

    When my mom announced she was pregnant with my little sister I was older than Jasper (9), but I remember the moment crystal clear. They rounded up me and my two younger brothers while on a vacation in Florida and told us that they had some news to share. Being the sassy pre-teen that I was, I had watched every episode of Lizzy McGuire and completely idolized her. Spur of the moment I repeated a line I had once heard on the show when Lizzie’s parents told her they had some big news — “What, you’re pregnant?!” — and my parents were dumbfounded! Was probably my luckiest guess ever, and my sister is definitely the most precious gift ever! Best of luck telling Jasper your exciting news!

  66. My husband and I were teenage parents, and now that our son is a freshman in college we’re having our second kid. I had tremendous, pointless anxiety about telling ANYONE about my pregnancy, but finally started forcing myself to tell people when I was about 25 weeks along. (I’m very tall and busty, so the pregnancy was easy to hide.) So I totally get being hesitant, but I think it’s helpful to remind yourself that your anxiety is more of an internal thing, rather than specific worry about your older son, who sounds like he is totally prepared to be a big brother. So just… spit it out, and I promise you’ll feel better!

    P.S. And if it helps, my older son’s only expressed concern about giving up his only-child status after 18 years was he insisted that my husband and I PROMISE that the new baby wouldn’t get a smart phone any earlier than he did–as a present for graduating from high school.

  67. Natalie says...

    First off, congratulations! Secondly, I just had my second two months ago and so far, sibling relations are great. I have a 2.5 year old daughter who is very much a mommy’s girl, so I was worried how she’d do with a new baby, but we started talking about it about halfway through the pregnancy and she was very excited about it, at least what she could understand of it. She liked to feel him kick and hiccup and talk about how to take care of him. Your little boy sounds like he will be an awesome big brother!

  68. SG says...

    I have three kids. With each pregnancy I told the older kid(s) around 12 weeks before we announced to anyone else. thy felt right to us. I figured that if something did go wrong at that point, we’d probably be devastated and unable to hide it from them anyway. And they were super happy and excited but not annoyingly constantly asking or anything.

  69. Rachel says...

    Seems like he already has it figured out:) Tell him with joy in your heart and mind and he will feel that and be so happy and excited:)

    • Tasha says...

      Love this!

  70. Just tell him. My sense is he already knows. <3

  71. Gayle says...

    My son, at 3, explained to me that you got babies at the grocery store because he always sees them in the carts. When told he would be a big brother he was a little puzzled how it took so long. That said he liked his sister but had just started preschool and was much more taken up with going there. His first big shock was when his sister yawned and he shouted: “Mom, Our baby doesn’t have any teeth!” I think they aren’t as impressed by the whole thing as we might think they are. Most take it in stride and it sounds like your guy will too.

    • MAGGIE RAY says...

      “you got babies at the grocery store because he always sees them in the carts.” This kills me. So cute!

  72. Rachael says...

    I’m 17 weeks pregnant with #2, and I’ve already told our just-turned-two year old. I believe in being honest and transparent with her, and while she doesn’t completely understand yet (and I may get sick of responding to, “Get the baby out?” for 23 more weeks!), I want to be able to be honest if I’m not feeling well or if I take her to a prenatal appointment with me (which has already happened). I’m also a very emotional and passionate person – so if something awful were to happen there would be no hiding it from her – and I’d want to be able to be honest about why I was upset. I explain everything in age appropriate terms, she got some baby dolls for her birthday and I look after two other children during the day, so she will be as prepared as anyone can be for a sibling!

    Have fun telling your little one – he sounds like he will be a smashing big brother :)

  73. Joanna T. says...

    This post has come at such an interesting time. Last week I found out that I was miscarrying at almost 7 weeks. My very observant 2-year-old son already knew that Mommy was trying to grow a little baby in her tummy and that’s why sometimes she didn’t lift heavy things, or she needed to take an extra nap. He had also already decided he wanted a girl baby. When I walked around crying the day the doctor called to confirm, my son said, “what happened, Mommy?” I explained that Mommy was sad because she didn’t have the little baby anymore. He said, “oh. Mommy is crying a lot. I cry too?” “No, you don’t need to cry. Mommy is ok, just sad.” He looked at me a long time, then gave me lots of quiet hugs and cuddles. I didn’t think to do it any other way.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, joanna, i’m so sorry for about your loss. your little boy sounds so so sweet.

    • Your son is getting really good support on the huge issue of Having Feelings. Good work mom. So sorry for your loss.

    • Sarah K says...

      You did it exactly right. We had to take three children with us through the process of grieving the loss of our 4th child who was stillborn at 26 weeks. I think it’s better to be honest, appropriately, rather than try to hide your grief and have them worry and wonder without any information. And it teaches them compassion for those who are hurting…not a lesson we really WANT our kids to have to learn at a young age, but one that is deeply valuable and character-shaping. I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s real and it’s hard to talk about, but I think it’s so good that you are speaking of it. Cuddle that sweet boy of yours; you need each other.

  74. Kate says...

    With #3, we had a big family party (big meaning festive, not crowded…it was just my husband, 5 year old, 3 year old and me) at about 20 weeks, after the anatomy scan. We gave the kids age-appropriate books about big sister-/big brother-hood and had a big gender reveal cake, which we played up to the fullest extent possible.

    Also, I’m due soon, so we’ve said from the get-go that the baby will come at Halloween, which has made the waiting a bit more conceivable for them. We have also asked them all the things that they want to teach the baby, and helped them learn lullabies that they will sing her. Exciting!

    • China says...

      I so love the idea of a gender reveal cake in this context! What a brilliant way to get your older kids excited about a new baby :)

  75. Laura says...

    We are expecting our fourth baby in a few weeks. When we told our kids this summer that we were having a new baby after Thanksgiving, our middle child (3 years old) got very quiet. Her older brother sensed it and said “aren’t you so happy that we’re having a new baby?!” Our daughter sweetly and sadly replied “but why can’t we keep our old baby?” She was fully on board once she realized that her 2 year old sister was not being replaced!

    • Kristin says...

      I do not often laugh out loud at comments, but with this one I can’t stop! So sweet and funny.

    • Kate says...

      Such a funny story.

  76. It’s such a big moment! And it sounds as though your son will love having a new sibling.

    I have 4 children – 7,5,3 and 1 – and wrote about preparing the ground for a new sibling here, if it’s of any interest-

    https://themumandthemom.com/2017/03/19/preparing-your-toddler-for-a-new-sibling/

    Also – I totally felt the pangs of not wanting anything to change! But watching your children love their siblings is honestly one of my favourite parts of parenting. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

  77. Laura says...

    I completely understand that instinct to want to protect a child from the possibility of a miscarriage. But the thing is, when my son was nearly three I had a post term stillbirth out of nowhere. My son had been invested in the pregnancy and therefore grieved with us and somehow that process of grieving as a family was also healing. And I treasure those moments when, nearly three years later, he brings up his little sister in such a loving, sweet way.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a great point, laura. i’m so sorry for the loss of your little girl.

    • Sarah K says...

      Yes. My children still talk about the brother they lost to stillbirth, and how old he would be now, and even though it hurts to have that conversation it means so much to me that they remember, and care. I’m so sorry for your loss of your daughter.

  78. Jen says...

    One day out of the blue my 3 yr old asked me for a baby sister, like a real one, not a stuffed animal or a pet. His words. Well when he was 4, I went into a dressing room and my son saw my belly. It wasn’t even that big and he asked with his eyes wide open, “Is there a baby in there?” I told him yes that there was a baby in there! He was so happy and excited, like it was the best surprise ever. Honestly, for the first 2 years, he couldn’t stop talking about his baby sister. He was absolutely smitten and in love. I think your son is really ready for a sibling and telling him the new is going to blow his mind in a good way.

  79. Abby says...

    No advice, but I just talked to my now 6-year-old, Zoe, about this over the weekend. My younger daughter, Kira, is now 2.5, and Zoe was remarking on how Kira is nearing the age Zoe was when I got pregnant. I’m an only child who loves being an only, and I remember the fits of agony I had during my second pregnancy, wondering if we were completely ruining Zoe’s life (pregnancy hormones were also in play).

    Anyway, now, a few years on, here was Zoe’s reaction: “WHAT!?! Why wouldn’t I like being a sister??? I… I… I LOVE being a sister!!!” She truly seemed almost affronted that I even worried about it. Granted, she’s a really sweet, nurturing, affectionate kid where some kids perhaps naturally aren’t (which is fine!), but it sounds like Jasper is similar.

    Sometimes now, my husband and I are with only one of our children, and I allow myself to picture what life would be like if it was just the two of us and ONE of our children. And it would be wonderful, truly. Each of our girls is incredibly sweet. But the four of us all comprise what happens to be our perfect family, and that’s just that.

    • 30 years after the birth of my daughter, and 27 years after the birth of my son, I have no doubt that the choice to have the second child was the right one. You expand the intimate world of your first-born, how can that be bad?

    • Abby says...

      Lisa, I hear you! It was the right move for our family, for sure.

      But there are definitely families where one child is the right number too (and others where no children is the right number).

      I mean, by the time I was agonizing… the decision had been made and we weren’t going back on it. But I’m beyond relieved to hear that my daughter, at least at 6 (if not later on in life!), is happy that we made this particular decision for her.

  80. Taylor says...

    We have three kids, and the addition of #2 vs #3 was very different.
    My second pregnancy was very difficult, and the viability questionable; thus we didn’t share anything with our son then 18mo. When his brother was born 3mo early, we continued to wait until we knew he was stable. All of this to say, we told him about a month before his brother came home. He adored him, and helped.
    When we added #3 to the family, we told the boys pretty early on. #1 was 3 and #2 was 15mo. In the end, I don’t think it made much of a difference telling them Early vs late. The one benefit of telling your son earlier, is you can prep with ‘big brother books’ especially as your son is a little older and will understand the concept a bit.
    Congrats and good luck!

  81. Gen says...

    Oh sweetie, you are going to be JUST FINE and Jasper is going to be JUST FINE no matter how/when you spill the beans! Siblings are the best and little kids have NO IDEA all the considerations involved so it’s not as big a deal for them. I honestly can’t even remember telling my daughter she was going to have a brother; it was no thing. And now they love each other and play together sweetly when they aren’t wrestling and pulling each other’s hair and fighting over who gets to lick the yogurt serving spoon. ;) HAVE SO MUCH FUN with two!

  82. JO says...

    Congratulations! I, too, struggled with mourning the loss of our little family of three when I was pregnant with my second baby, our son. He’s 14 months now and, guess what? I still struggle with it! He is the sweetest, most affectionate addition to our family and his big sister, daddy and I could not love him more. BUT there are moments here and there when I am so wistful for the days of singleminded attention on my sweet daughter, like when she is snuggled into me to read a book and my son needs his milk, or when she wants to play outside a little longer and I need to get him down for a nap. I’ve finally allowed myself to simultaneously LOVE LOVE LOVE my little boy and also to ache a bit for that time with my daughter. I think it helps remind me to give them what they (and I!) both need.

    • Sarah K says...

      I think it’s fine that you’re still adjusting. But also, it’s good for kids to learn to wait, to adapt their preferences to the needs of others, to learn to make compromises and get along, to share their mom and dad. This is good for both of them!

  83. Lori says...

    Wonderful news! My son was 3 1/2 when his sister was born and in addition to reading books about being a big brother, this is how we handled the “when will the baby come” question: We read a TON of Richard Scarry books (Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, Busy Town etc.) so we told him the baby would come when Mommy’s tummy was as big as Roger Rhino, a character he knew well. He totally got that and didn’t ask all the time. Thanks Richard Scarry!

  84. laura k says...

    Here is a perspective that was shared with me when I had my 2nd child- 9 years after my first- welcoming a new sibling for your child is kind of like how you would feel if your husband got a younger cuter second wife that everyone was so happy to meet. She would be very emotional and demanding and cry and spit and not sleep thru the night because she didn’t want to and everyone catered to her every need. She would get presents and attention and you wouldn’t- now that wouldn’t feel so great- but I think it gives perspective as to how it might feel to be the older sibling and why the older sibling might be a little cranky or emotional- so I applaud your taking your time and loving your family just the way it is- and loving your family the way it will be tomorrow and every day after that… I think that nature has a way of taking care of itself and not too worry too much- go on… enjoy yourselves….. it will all work out- it always does- congratulations on your family

  85. Katie says...

    I vote you’re over thinking it! He’s going to be thrilled! I don’t even remember how we told our oldest the first time as she was just over 2. This second time (well, third baby!) she’s 4.5 so we waited until we felt comfortable with everyone knowing as she would inevitably tell everyone. So we just videotaped her and her younger sister while we interviewed her and then told her. She was excited and started telling people two days laters. Ha! We have a lot of books that Joanna recommended a while back too so as it gets closer, we’ll read that to our second to prep her.

  86. Ainslie says...

    Congrats! We told our daughter at 20 weeks (she was 2.75). It didn’t really sink in until I was really showing. And it didn’t change much until baby was born. I will say that while I am 4.5 years older than my brother, I don’t really remember a time before him. These will just be special memories for you, your son won’t remember not having a sibling. And that is really the most magical part of siblings – you have them as a buddy for life!

  87. Kelly says...

    My friend just took her almost 3 yr old to a “Becoming a Big Brother/Sister” class at a local wellness center. She said it was amazing and discussed things like when the baby is born, baby safety, etc, in a factual, yet age appropriate manner and allowed the kids to ask questions as well. They also played games related to becoming a big brother/sister, did crafts, and received a certificate at the end. I’m sure this type of class is available in many areas with a quick google search. Congratulations and best of luck!!

  88. Sarah K says...

    Congratulations! What happy news. I firmly believe that a sibling is the greatest gift parents can ever give their children, far better than any thing or experience money could ever buy. That doesn’t mean there won’t be days they can’t be in the same room without snarling and bickering. But your children will have a companion to go through life with them, a person who deeply understands their childhood and their family of origin, an ally to confide in when they feel like Mom and Dad are being so unfair (!), someone to hang out with at boring family events…and on and on. I did not grow up with this, and I always felt the lack of it–and still do as an adult. Whenever I wondered if my children (we have four living) would miss the undivided attention and generosity my parents were able to give me, I reminded myself that I would always have gladly traded that for a sibling. I love my parents dearly and there are many good sides to being an only child, as well; and I know that there are circumstances in which growing the family is just not possible. But I think that when it is possible, it is such a wonderful blessing.

    So if any of your hesitation to tell your older child the news has to do with fearing that you are taking something from him, I would just banish that. There might be some difficult days of adjusting, when you tell him and/or when baby arrives, but I doubt he will have any long-term memories of that. He might eventually not even remember life before his sibling arrived! How precious is that–not to remember what life was like without that other person in it. I also wouldn’t pin too much on how he responds. As you probably know, three-year-old emotions are changeable to say the least. :) He might be thrilled or apprehensive or annoyed, and any of those is okay. I would tell him cheerfully, without making a big deal of it, whenever you feel like the time is right, and then get him as involved as you can in planning and prepping for his life as a big brother. I hope the coming months are sweet and special for all of you!

  89. Sofia says...

    Oh such sweet news! Congratulations Lexi! And yeah, you’re probably just procrastinating that “oficial” moment of turning into a family of 4 ;) You’ll be fine! I will hopefully have the same “problem” in a few months as I have a now 2 and 10 months old future-big-sister (I’m still in the very first weeks of pregnancy and plan to wait until the 2nd trimester to tell her).
    Good luck!

  90. Meredith says...

    My son was 2 when I was pregnant with #2 and my husband talked to him about their being a baby sister in my belly. So for a long time he thought there was a baby sister in his belly too.
    Don’t wait! It’s so cute for them to participate in all the anticipation!

  91. Lucy in England says...

    Huge congratulations!! How lovely.

    I really recommend a couple of books, “Waiting for Baby” and “My New Baby.” They are picture books where the text is questions like “When can baby walk like me?” There are great scenarios too- Mummy and Daddy going off to hospital, older child with Grandma, caption “See you very soon, will you be a long time?” So you can discuss the childcare, the hospital, there’s even a page for if they come with you to an ultrasound.

    I reckon he will be totally cool with it. My two are 2 years 4 days apart (we only do that thing in July ?) and are just starting to play nicely with each other at 6 months and 2 and a half. It makes my heart explode.

    • Emma Bee says...

      We used these exact books for our older daughter when I was pregnant with #2, highly recommend. The pictures in the My New Baby show the mom breastfeeding as well.

    • Erika says...

      Congrats, Lexi! We also loved My New Baby. And all those books are great to read post-baby’s arrival too! One other helpful thing we did – My oldest (17 months at the time) also liked “practicing” baby care with his babydoll and playing with it while I was occupied with our new little guy. He even nursed his baby and pumped milk for him on many occasions!

  92. Sarah says...

    I’m so touched and reassured by this article. My husband and I have an 18-month-old boy named Jack and I’m also 12 weeks pregnant with baby number 2. The past several weeks have been such an unpredictable roller coaster of emotions. We are so excited for our growing family. And so happy that we’ll have two kiddos close in age, which was always what we both envisioned. But what I didn’t expect was to also feel a little sad – sad about saying goodbye to this sweet time as a family of three. Sad about saying goodbye to having so much energy and attention to focus just on little Jack. Sad about realizing that he will be a BIG brother, which just seems impossible when we see him now, confident that every color is called “lellow” and curious if every man with a beard in public is dada. I think we’re months away from him understanding the coming changes, but this article was a perfect reminder to just embrace all these crazy and conflicting emotions. Thank you for helping me remembering that we’re not alone in our experiences, and that our deepest fears and anxieties almost always come from a place of love.

  93. Johanna says...

    I don’t even remember when we told my son. At 21 weeks and 6 days I went on bed rest and couldn’t leave the house until two weeks before his little sister was born. Then she was born and he turned 3 the next day. I don’t know what the best thing is. I say, keep it light and maybe wait until at least 3 weeks out. That’s how long I recently learned that the brain needs in order to process a transition. In any case, your son will do great. Your lives will never be the same but you already know that. ;) Congratulations.

    P.S. It gets REAL with the second one.

  94. We told our son there was a baby in momma’s tummy and she’ll be here in the fall around Halloween. She’s now 4. They’re best friends and so sweet. The new baby little critter books is great too!

  95. Alex says...

    Sounds like that boy is ready and anyway you tell him will be just wonderful- but why not make an occasion of it! And to my kids occasion = bumper cars.

    • Sarah says...

      “occasion = bumper cars” FTW!!!

  96. Lisette says...

    First of all, congratulations with your pregnancy!

    I think the best time and the best way to tell a kid that he will have a baby brother or sister also depends on the kid. Whe told our 3,5 year old son quite early on in my pregnancy because I knew he would sense our excitement and might overhear us talk about the new baby and I didn’t want him to feel shut out. I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be. We told him that there was a baby growing inside my belly and he would be having a baby brother or sister. He stated he would like a baby brother and this baby brother should be a girl…that was it. We talked about the baby every now and than, but not too much.

    My son has always loved it when his stuffed animals “talk” to him (i.e. me talking pretending its his stuffed pinguïn). When his sister was born she “talked” with him too; I said things like “how are you doing today, asks your sister” or “Bobby, shall we go to the train together and visit grandma?” when she made a sound or looked at him and it made him open up to her answering her questions, telling her things, explaining that they could not just go to the train without mama, showing her things and ask questions to her! Now our daughter is nine months old and he still sometimes asks me “mama, please talk with Fay”. Knowing that she will start talking Herselt in a couple of months, I now sometimes say, just watch her face and listen to the sounds she makes and you’ll know what she likes and tries to tell you.

    It’s so amazing to watch them look at each other with smiles on their faces and see their love for each other!

  97. Jessica says...

    I haven’t read through all the comments but I /think/ you could be overthinking it. Your son is 3.7 so he’ll have enough understanding to be excited about a new baby which should give you some peace of mind about the transition for him. It’s normal to grieve the loss of the three of you though because it’ll never be the three of you again and that is bittersweet. My son and daughter are 21 months apart so it wasn’t until I was seven or eight months pregnant that my son finally got that there was a “bebe” in my tummy. I definitely grieved the end of the three of us, especially when my husband told me my son probably wouldn’t remember a time before his sister. This broke heart and I ended up writing my son a letter that one day he might appreciate. At the end of the day, this new baby is exactly who your family needs, your son included and it’s going to be hard but it’s still going to the best. The absolute best.

  98. Suz F. says...

    We have an almost 23 month old and are expecting our second any day now (due date Oct 28th). We didn’t have a special moment that we told her, but we just started talking about the baby casually. A lot of my friends all had second kiddos at the same time, so I also used their babies as a way of introducing her to the concept. She pats her bff’s baby on the back when he cries and tries (albeit a little aggressively) to share her favorite stuffed animal with our other friends’ 6 month old. I can tell she is going to be a sweet big sister.

    One question I’ve had though… Does anyone have any advice about whether to bring big sis to the hospital to meet the baby vs having them meet at home?

    • Sarah D. says...

      My kids are 6, 4.5 almost 3. My son still talks about being the “first one” to hold his younger sisters. When my second was born, my first was 21 months and visited us at the hospital and I have the sweetest video of him holding her. When my 3rd was born, my oldest was almost 4 and my 2nd was 21 months and they took turns holding the baby while on my hospital bed. These little moments are some of my favorite memories so I’d recommend letting your kiddos meet at the hospital. Good Luck!

    • Peg says...

      My older son was 2 yrs 4 mos when his baby brother was born. My husband brought him to the hospital, and together we walked to the nursery. (This was before anyone “roomed in.”). My son looked at the baby and said, “Adam go in and pet it?” So cute. We then gave him his own baby doll that he could take care of when I was taking care of his brother.

  99. Lindsey says...

    The best advice I ever received was from a friend, who when I was fretting about bringing a new baby into the lives of my almost 4.5 and 3 year old, said to me, “you are literally giving them the best gift they will ever receive in their entire lives.” And she was right, my son and daughter dote on and love on their littlest sister so much–it has brought out a level of caring in each of them that I hadn’t seen before. Now she is 21 months and such a key member of our family, it is hard to imagine life without her.

    • Celeste says...

      My little boy looks up to his sister so much!

    • Maggie says...

      Oh my god, this is amazing. The joy in this comment!! Adopt me!

  100. Rita says...

    I got pregnant with my second child when my daughter was 1,5 year. We told her when we started telling other people, so before she was 2 so I imagine the concept to her was very theoretical. “There’s a baby in mommy’s belly”/ ‘you’re going to have a baby brother or sister” and that was pretty much it, but we couldn’t think about not being able to share the experience with her, even if she had limited understanding of it.
    Her brother was born when she was 2 and almost 3 months – she went to the hospital a few hours after he was born, had a lot of interest in the first 10 minutes and then moved on to chatting with her grandparents about whatever little toy she had at the time. When time came to go home from the hospital, she asked, surprised “oh, he’s coming with us?”. :-))))

  101. G says...

    So lovely to read about how sweet your son is. While it is natural to have concerns & none of us can be certain of anything, it seems like you have the best possible odds that Jasper will take the news as well as you can possibly hope for. He sounds so, so sweet. You did a great job, mama, and you will continue to do a great job, just as how you are.

  102. Mimi says...

    Congrats! My oldest was too young to really understand what was happening when #2 was on his way. But one piece of related advice – our oldest had to vacate the crib for the new baby and we did it 3 months before the new baby arrived so big brother didn’t start off thinking that baby brother was taking all of his stuff. So if there are any major changes in what is happening to your older son’s space, maybe try to make the changes well in advance of the new arrival.

  103. Kathleen says...

    We didn’t make a big deal about telling our 4 year-old about her new brother or sister. I’m not trying to sound like a cool mom, we just didn’t go into a lot of details, other than a post-third trimester announcement “you are going to have a baby brother or sister in December.” The smartest thing we did, (and kudos to my husband on this one), was casually asked her about what she thought the baby would be like. “Can it walk? Can it talk? Can it use the potty? Who will feed the baby? What will s/he eat?” She totally got that babies are pretty helpless, require a lot of attention, and mom and dad are supposed to take the lead on baby care, though we made sure to emphasize that she could help (with supervision). The one thing we didn’t do was tell her she could feel the baby kick, even though he kicked non-stop. Knowing my kiddo, she would have pulled up my shirt in front of every schoolmate, grocery checker, and bus driver we met.

    • Lindsay E says...

      My niece was 4 when her mom was expecting her little brother. She was excited to be getting a baby, so Mom thought she would like to feel him kicking, but she was SO FREAKED OUT. She would get upset if he started kicking while she was sitting in mom’s lap or something and she could feel it. She is 6 now and he’s almost 2, but she still sometimes talked about when “Buddy crawled inside mom’s belly so he could kick me.”

  104. Megan says...

    My husband and I are going through this experience right now too! Our son is just over 2 and the new one arrives in about 3 weeks. I don’t remember when exactly we told him but he struggled to understand what it means. When you’d ask him what’s in mommy’s belly he’s just lift up my shirt and tickle my belly. He’s starting to talk to the baby a little bit and putting a flashlight up to my belly to get the baby to move. But when we most recently asked if it’s a boy or a girl (we didn’t find out) he picked shark. ?

  105. MA says...

    Ah I can totally relate as I have similarly-aged kids. It was a wonderful, confusing, mostly awesome, major change for our family. I don’t have any real advice except to just start talking about the baby that’s coming. Sounds like your son will be over the moon excited and probably love to talk about it. I also think Netflix is a fantastic name. Beats Avocado (which was my son’s name for my daughter while she was in the womb)! Best wishes for this next phase!!!

  106. Katie says...

    A sibling is the best gift you can give to your child! Telling your son he’s going to be a big brother doesn’t have to be a big event. It can be as simple as telling him at dinner, “hey guess what? There’s a baby in my belly.” In my experience as a mother of 3 girls, my children absorb what they are emotionally ready to take in.

    That being said, I vividly remember the feelings I had when I went to the hospital to give birth to my second daughter. I felt like I was in some way robbing my first born. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My daughters’ relationship is beautiful and so special.

    Best of luck to you!
    PS a cool book that my family has enjoyed is the usborne shine-a-light body book.

  107. Trista says...

    My son was 4 when we conceived our second child. We took him to our 12 week check up and told him then. He got to see the first ultrasound. We explained that he was going to get a baby brother or sister, and he was excited, but I don’t think he totally understood – this was confirmed when we left the doctor’s office, and he asked where the baby was. He thought we were getting a baby to take home with us that day.

    I’m pretty sure Jordan suggested that the new baby sleep in the bathroom too. He was just adamant that he would not share his room.

  108. Amy says...

    When my son was six. He started a campaign for a little sister named Fern. He left notes around the house, even one on my steering wheel. We told him we were expecting by creating a photo book of our families many adventures around the globe. The last page announced our newest adventure; welcoming our little Fern to the world. The video of him reading the last page of the book is priceless. Our lady was loved even before she was born!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Fern! Love that name.

    • Sarah K says...

      What a priceless story!

    • Ashley says...

      I’m not crying, you’re crying.

    • shannon says...

      This is the best! How many children get to name their siblings!!?

  109. Lauren Ashley says...

    We JUST went through this too! Our daughter is 3.5 years and our son is just 2.5 weeks. I’m a WFHM so we don’t have a nanny and my daughter hadn’t started school when I was pregnant, so I had to take her to all my doctors appointments. That meant telling her pretty early on, earlier than we probably would have otherwise.

    I actually told her by reading “The Baby Tree” to her and then explaining that I had a baby in my tummy too, just like the mommy in the book. It worked well because it addressed a lot of potential questions at once. Then I had to wisk her off to my 1st ultrasound appointment. :-)

    You got this mama!

  110. Jenna Brown says...

    Timely. I am telling my 5 year old this week that she is going to be a big sister! She has also been asking but we had trouble conceiving. I ordered a book called I am going to be a big sister, and am planning on giving her a present with some other baby thing in it to help her be a big sister.

    • Jenna Brown says...

      Also, I want to add that I share your feelings of wanting to keep things the same. Life had fallen into a nice rhythm but I think the next phase is going to be thrilling too.

  111. Jenny says...

    Wow!

    This is us, exactly right now. I have an almost 4 year old and am 17 weeks pregnant. I can’t say I have any advice for you, but I do identify with the feelings of wanting things to stay where they are right now. I walked down the baby isle today at the grocery store and took a quick glance at the diapers, baby food, pacifier selection and became a little more overwhelmed than I want to admit. Things are so good right now- my son is potty trained, eats whatever we make, is learning to read, etc and everything is going to change before we know it.

    Best wishes for an easy transition to two!

  112. Kimberly says...

    Tell him! Start helping him plan for the changes. Get some good books about being a big brother and get him ready. My regret with my firstborn was not bringing it up sooner, because I think he was all mixed up with emotions when his little sister was born. If you start the conversations now, you can help him get ready and adjust to his soon to be new normal. Enjoy this time with him. Make sure he knows how special he is as a big brother, and your son. Spend as much time with just him as you can now, and even after the baby is born. Our relationship felt really hurt when I had my second, but it only lasted a few days. I was so sad that we had that as part of the arrival process. Of course, I’m probably the only one who even remembers it that way.

    • Kimberly says...

      Also, CONGRATULATIONS!
      I can vouch for the amazing conversations you’ll overhear!

  113. Maria says...

    We had an almost 3 year old. He actually seemed to notice my belly and “ask” first. I matter of fact said I was growing a baby in there and that it was going to stay in there awhile until it was big enough to come out. After that, I tended to only talk about it directly when he wanted to, I didn’t want to push it or get him overhyped for something with such a long wait to go. He would bring it up now and then, ask to see it. He loves feeling the kicks by the end.
    But, babysitter and daycare did the rest. They showed him babies and he held babies and he learned rules like you can’t take a baby’s toy. So, they got him ready and excited for babies more generally.
    He did naturally (again without my saying anything) sense he was going to “lose” me when the baby came and got very clingy and worried about me coming back when I left. There is a Daniel Tiger about grown ups coming back that helped. I was scheduled this time so I had the benefit of being able to tell him a day a couple of days before.

    • Jacque says...

      My 3.5yo loves Daniel Tiger and frequently uses the phrases with us. When her little sister was born last summer, it was the first/only time she’d been away from us overnight. To this day, if I’m leaving she’ll often say, “Grown ups come back. Are you going to the hospital?” Those memories are going to be permanently intertwined!

  114. “Netflix”! I’m dying. So cute. I’m not a parent yet so I have no advice, but Jasper sounds like a total sweetheart who will most definitely rock the big brother role.

  115. Gillian says...

    We have 4 kids all 2.5 years apart. Our hardest discussion was telling our only daughter (then 5) that our 4th child would be another boy. She sobbed. I was little disappointed not to have another daughter (though grateful for a healthy baby), hearing her sobs and thinking about how she would never have a sister was heartbreaking. Two years later we love all 4 of our children and can’t imagine things any other way. My daughter adores her baby brother. Kids are resilient and the bond between siblings is so very special. It is a joy to watch them grow up together.

    • Jenna says...

      I have four younger brothers and also was sad when my youngest was a boy but now I can’t imagine having a sister! I feel so special that I get to have all those brothers. They all have partners now so really I got four sisters in the end.

  116. Myev says...

    Whatever you do, don’t ask the rhetorical, “would you like to have a little brother or sister?” It is a false empowerment because the truth is their opinion on the matter will have no baring on your decision. And, there’s a decent chance the answer is, “nope.” Or as I answered my parents, “um, no, thank you, I don’t like sharing.” I remember feeling indignant when the baby prepping continued (I was a bit older, I was 7). I remember thinking, “um…I said, no.” It has become a joke in my family and of course I adore my little sister now, but I do think that this is a time for clear comforting parental authority, State, don’t ask. “You’re getting a baby brother or sister, and its going to be so much fun!” I’m pretty sure that if my folks had phrased like that, I would have just jumped on their enthusiasm and gone with it.

  117. Ros says...

    We told our daughter that there was a baby growing in mamas belly. She immediately dived under my shirt, poked her hands into my belly button, and yelled “let’s find it!!

    • Laura says...

      lol!!! love it!

    • Jacque says...

      When we first shared our pregnancy news with our families my niece (about 2.5) climbed in my lap in front of everyone and asked if she could “see” the baby under my shirt. I didn’t have a bump yet but I humored her and we said hi to the baby. She then immediately pointed to my husband and said, “Did uncle put it there?” I nearly died. She obviously didn’t understand the birds and the bees at that age, but I still don’t know what she was really trying to ask. Everyone else got a good laugh though!

  118. Laura says...

    Our oldest has always been a doting, sweet soul. He often asked for a “baby sister girl” and delighted in playing with the babies at daycare. When we got pregnant with our second we decided to wait until 20 weeks — when we learned the gender — to share the big news with him. We had the tech write the sex on a slip of paper … then went out for ice cream and opened it together while sitting on the stoop outside the shop. The moment our oldest lit up with excitement (turns out a “baby brother boy” was also thrilling) I felt my heart shift. Two boys! What a gift.

  119. AJ says...

    I’m not a parent, so can’t share a parenting anecdote. But I do remember my baby sister coming along when I was three was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and this remains the case today :) sounds like Baby Netflix is going to have a wonderful big brother.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a cute comment, AJ :)

  120. Sarah says...

    “Hey remember why you said you’d like a brother or sister? Well, we might have one for you in the spring.”

    And then, see what questions he has. I’m sure he’ll guide the conversation in a way that’s helpful for you both.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so cute :)

  121. I think that my big mistake when telling my 2-year-old big news is that I give it too much gravity, so she winds up feeling anxious about it. Maybe just treating it like a routine part of life, like “Oh yeah, see how that family has a baby and this family in a book has a baby? Our family is going to have a baby, too” instead of making a big announcement would help.

  122. Sarah says...

    Congratulations to you and your family, Lexi! That is exciting news for sure. I’m looking forward to following along with your pregnancy story, as much as you’d like to share.

  123. Jasna says...

    Congrats on the new baby!! You will have almost the same difference in age between your kids as we do (our son was 3 years and 9 months when our daugther arrived). We waited until we did all the tests and everything seemed fine with the pregnancy, so we told our son when I was about 18 weeks pregnant. We already knew we were having a baby girl, so we told him that he is getting a baby sister and from then on we basically already became a family of four – only she was still on the other side :-). This means we incoroprated mentioning her in about every conversation, such as: “Look at those brother and sister in the park, you will do the same with your sister”, “Next year your sister and you will be swimming together…”, etc. It was as she was already here with us and we were making plans. It worked so well that he was so used to her already when she came that he was never jealous at all and they have the most amazing relationship (he is now almost 6 and she is 2). If you are not finding out the sex of the baby in advance, just mention the “baby” all the time.

    My one piece of (unsolicited) advice – when the baby arrives, start puting the baby to bed for the night and hour or two prior to your son’s bedtime. That will allow you to have an hour or two just with your son and won’t disrupt his bedtime routine (for exmple, we would put baby at 7 pm and our son goes at 9 pm).

    Love to you!

  124. Eliza says...

    I can’t remember how we told our son…it was definitely after the three month mark and I think I just told him casually one random day and he kind of didn’t really care that much. It was as if I told him we would have sandwiches for lunch. Gradually as I grew obviously bigger he would ask more questions and get more excited – I got one of those ‘big brother’ books to help with the concept. Jasper is going to be such a great brother to little baby Netflix ;) Good luck!

  125. Erin says...

    It will all turn out fine, no matter how and when you tell him! Maybe he does at least partially know, already, or is starting to be able to tell something is going on?

    The bathtub conversation seems like such a great “opener” to refer back to– “Hey, you know how sometimes you bring up the idea of having a baby brother or sister? Like the other day?”

  126. Charity says...

    My daughter just turned 2, and my son is 3.5 months. We waited until around the 6 month mark to tell her, though at that point the idea of a baby probably seemed pretty abstract to her as an 18 month old.
    We did lots of things to try to help prepare her: we pointed out every single baby we saw when we were out, we read stories about new babies, we watched a few Daniel Tiger episodes about the arrival of his sister, we talked about our baby a lot, and got her a baby doll and modeled some of the things we’d be doing with the baby with it (diaper changes, feeding, burping).
    For the most part my daughter is really sweet to her brother and is generally still the happy, sunny girl she always was. But she has a hard time sometimes and acts out. We just try to be there for her and give her as much support as we can. Here’s an article I read recently that touches on this: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2017/10/how-we-got-our-daughter-back/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! i love janet lansbury. she offers such loving, common sense parenting advice.

  127. Just tell him. Don’t make a big deal or fanfare, just drop it into conversation. At his age the whole world is weird and amazing so a baby is another strange occurrence. And yes, you probably are overthinking but you are pregnant – all sorts of odd things go through your head. It will be fine. Really.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “At his age the whole world is weird and amazing so a baby is another strange occurrence.” = love this.

    • d says...

      agree with this. don’t make it a big deal. we included our older one in a lot of baby things once we hit the 20ish week mark as well. she proudly wore her “big sister” shirt around the house, or practiced swaddling a teddy bear, helped me pick out some stuff for her baby brother etc. we read books about welcoming a baby to your home… make it natural and gently add activities every once in a while to your routine and they’ll acclimate.

    • Jessica says...

      Agree 100%
      Mine was that exact age and I’m a chronic under-thinker which, in this case, was a good thing. I was helping her put on her shoes and I just had the urge to tell her so I said “guess what?” And she said “you have a lollipop for me?” (Kids are funny). I said “no, but I have a baby in my belly and you’re going to be a big sister” she squealed “For real???” She was so excited. Of course, since then we’ve had lots of chats about it and her feelings have evolved but the actual moment was low-key and blissful. (Granted hubby was disappointed I did it when he wasn’t there so I’m not saying do it like this) congrats!!! two is a wild ride!!

  128. Becky says...

    I think you should go ahead and tell him now. He will be excited and feel included. I think it’s great that you waited until the halfway point — pregnancies so often end not the way we want them to in the first trimester. I wouldn’t wait much longer, though… Our oldest was almost four when we had her little brother. We thought about waiting until the very end to tell her — she didn’t seem to notice my growing belly, and we didn’t want to field a million “is he here yet” questions, but she so badly wanted a baby sibling that we told her around 20 weeks. Well. I ended up having her brother quite prematurely and having an extended hospital stay with him several hours from where we lived. I have often thought how glad I am that she knew I was pregnant. She was still upset that I was gone so long, but at least she knew WHY, and didn’t have to deal with a double shock.

  129. Yella says...

    Seconding gifts from the new baby! Wrap up so many wonderful treasures for Jasper and tuck them all around your room at the hospital (or wherever you have your baby) and make sure he knows that they are from his new sibling…planting the seed of love between the two ;) Additionally, I highly recommend prepping Jasper with some books that you read INTO THE GROUND before the baby arrives. My daughter really got into Snuggle The Baby by Sara Gillingham and I’m a Big Sister/Brother by Joanna Cole.

    I may have gotten this tip from a CupofJo reader but “narrating” for the baby is really helpful for the big siblings! “Your baby brother/sister loves it was you rub her back like that” or “{insert baby name} is wondering if you can sing him/her a little baby song?” This makes the little newborn blobs slightly more exciting to the big sibling after the initial charm wears off.

    If Jasper likes to get dressed up, deck him out for his first meeting with the baby so it feels extra exciting and special for him, too.

  130. Selina says...

    Our kids are almost exactly 3 1/2 years apart, so we were talking to a younger child at the time. We talked with him about our friends’ families- who had a baby, what siblings we knew, who else might have a baby coming too. We did not know if we were having a boy or girl, so we could play with that idea of having a surprise coming. We tried to talk about where the baby would sleep, but honestly we had no idea how life was going to be, so we just acted positive, loving and matter of fact about it!

  131. Oneida says...

    We had our 2nd when our 1st was 22 months old. I honestly can’t remember when we told her, which I think ended up being a positive thing. There was no big talk or big reveal. It was just sort of revealed through life and a growing belly that it was happening, and of course we talked about it directly, just not as a “big moment” for her. Of course, she was so young when I was pregnant, but I think it really worked. It allowed her to absorb it slowly on her own terms without us defining it for her (I.e. You are going to love being a brother! It is going to be fun!) And she couldn’t understand everything about having a new sibling anyway. We have found that our kids completely and totally absorb the attitude we have towards life’s big changes whether unspoken or not, maybe not always in an instant, but over time, as long as we are open and honest with them. We were content and happy with having a baby, and in the end, she was too. I was even on strict bed rest for 4 (loooong) months and the first time she met her sister, she was so confused, tired, and had missed us for the 2 days we were gone that she just burst into tears. Ha. But we just gave her a hug and didn’t talk about siblings or love or anything, we just let it be. Plus, just to allay your fears a bit, there is nothing in the world like seeing your kids learn to love and work and even fight (haha) together. It prepares them so well from an early age to have meaningful relationships as well as honest ones (sometimes people annoy you and it’s ok! Sometimes you get mad and it’s ok! It’s how we work it out that matters!) And our kids are the best of friends and have been from pretty early on! Best wishes to you and this next season of life for your family!

  132. We felt the exact same way when I was pregnant with our second! Our daughter Valentine was four and a half, and we felt strangely anxious about telling her. It had been such a wonderful four years with just the three of us and it felt almost like we were betraying those years by wanting to change anything.

    We told her on Christmas morning (we didn’t do anything impressive :) and honestly, it was kind of heart wrenching. She got so quiet and almost cried, but then took a deep breath and started playing with her Christmas presents. As the days and weeks went by, she’d ask me questions here and there or mention things about the baby, but she remained apprehensive. But all of that changed once the baby arrived. When I see her singing to her little sister or giving her little kisses or rushing into our room in the morning to bend over the bassinet, I wondered why I (or she) ever worried. It’s been such a sweet and natural transition.

  133. Lana says...

    I just went through this exact same thing! I have two daughters (7 and 3) and am due in December. I felt sort of guilty telling them we were having a baby (and a boy baby at that!) because a) sisters! and b) the moment I told them I knew it was 100% real. I had so many what-if’s going through my mind and I was so nervous to tell them. But honestly, the moment we did was literally one of the best moments of my life. They were eating cupcakes slathered in blue icing and we kept asking them why we thought we bought blue cupcakes. Oh, the answer we got! But then my oldest just sort of paused and looked at me and said, “Wait. Are we having a baby?! Is he a boy?!?!” And when we nodded she just started beaming. She was so thrilled she was literally oozing joy. I can not explain how much happiness was in the room at that moment. I wish I could say it erased all of my own reservations about having three kids, but kids are hard work and you’ll never be as naively joyous as you were with your first pregnancy. But lemme tell you, Jasper is going to be so excited that I really will alleviate a lot of your concerns.

  134. Lauren Tremper says...

    Hmm. I understand the idea of wanting to wait a bit before telling your first child. We told our oldest the morning of our positive pregnancy test when I got pregnant the second time, I didn’t even really consider doing anything different. We miscarried that pregnancy and seeing the big sister books in her room and having her ask about the baby after we’d miscarried was so sad and hard. So, I get wanting to wait. When we did get pregnant again later, we waited. We brought the picture from the 12 week ultrasound and had a nice little outing for coffee and showed her the picture and explained how doctors can see inside a moms belly and gave a little bit more information about how babies grow inside the mommy and then we told her that the picture was OUR baby. She was so pumped and for sure asked at least three times a week when the baby was coming, but it was so sweet and earnest having her ask questions and understand more and more about the whole process. It’s a sweet time and I hope for the absolute best for you on the timing of sharing the sweet news with him. Here’s to a healthy and peaceful pregnancy and delivery❤️

  135. Shirley says...

    Such exciting news for your family

  136. When I was pregnant with my second daughter I had the same problem. We didn’t know how or when to tell her so we just kind of let it go. As my belly grew she didn’t ever comment or seem to notice. Even when I was quite viably pregnant and we would shower together. Finally, around 8 months ( I know, so late!) I simply asked her “what do you think is in Mommy’s belly?”
    She replied simply, “a baby of course.” It was like she had known the whole time but felt it was too obvious to bring up!
    From that point on we talked openly about her baby sister. She would talk to my belly every night and ask the baby when she was coming out to play. It was very sweet. When I went two weeks past my due date her requests got more urgent. “Come on already baby!”
    In order to ease the transition when her sister arrived for real we threw a little party for her at the hospital when she came to meet her. Her baby sister brought her cupcakes, balloons and presents. However, despite all the fuss and thought I put into it all she wanted was to kiss and hold her sister. It was so sweet.
    I guess my best advice would be to not make too big of a deal about it. Kids pick up on things very easily and it sounds like he will be an amazing Big Brother. When it comes closer to the new baby’s arrival maybe talk more concretely about it, but until then I wouldn’t worry!
    Good luck!

  137. Laura says...

    My sister is expecting her second child and she started asking her 3 year old not-so-subtle questions about babies to introduce the idea. For example, “Hey Charlie, if we had a baby living with us, where do you think it would sleep?” “If you were a big brother, would you share your toys with the baby? What would be its favorite?” That way, by the time she officially told him, he had had time to warm up to the idea and took it like a champ!

  138. Em says...

    Have no advice on this one, as I’m not there myself…but help me with the end of pacifiers!! How old?!? Cold turkey?!? I have an 18 month old and I know this is around the corner but I’m dreading it!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi Em! When Jasper was around 2.5 we felt like his paci obsession was becoming more and not less intense at night and during naps, but we noticed he never needed or wanted one at school, so we saw an opening — it had become a crutch. We gave him a week’s notice that he needed to give his pacis to younger babies who needed them more than he did. He had the option of bringing them to a friend who just had a new baby or bringing them to the dentist to be distributed to new babies (i.e. go in the trash). He chose the dentist. We called and made an appointment. After a week of talking about it every day, Jasper put all his pacis in a little bag and brought them to the dentist, who took them and gave him a hug. He never looked back! Good luck!

    • ugh I need help with this, too! the problem is my 21-month-old is attached to her wubanub, which is a paci with a stuffed elephant attached. So it’s a paci and lovey rolled into one. (Her name is Ellie). At daycare she has to keep Ellie in her cubby except at naptime (the teacher initiated that), and she’s fine with it, but SO happy to be reunited with Ellie when I pick her up in the afternoon. I’m trying to encourage an attachment to her stuffed lamb, but I don’t know if it’s working! Really hoping we won’t have to ask her to give her “best friend” away the dentist! ;)

    • Erika says...

      This is for Joy who – could you cut the pacifier and lovey apart? Then she could keep the lovey but donate the pacifier??

    • Sara says...

      My parents did something very similar, we “mailed” my pacifiers to babies who needed them more than I did. Haha!

    • Cynthia says...

      Our oldest never used a pacifier but sucked her thumb when she slept. I couldn’t find the pacifier one night for our youngest and she went to bed without it and was fine. I found it under a chair after she went to bed, but I didn’t give it to her.

    • Em says...

      Thanks everyone for the responses!! We only use it for sleeping and car rides (sometimes in a store), but yikes I’m so nervous to start the transition! Hopefully it goes smoothly, good luck to everyone else in the same boat…and Lexi, congrats on baby #2, I’m sure however/whenever you tell Jasper will be the exact right way for your family : )

  139. Christine says...

    k I’m absolutely useless on this topic (sorry!), but I was hoping you guys might consider doing a post on pregnancy skin care? I’m completely overwhelmed by the conflicting information on what ingredients you can use and what you can’t use! I would love some tips!

    • Sarah K says...

      Just another reader jumping in here to say that if you haven’t looked much into green/clean skincare, pregnancy is a great time! I’m not a professional (and I don’t work for any skincare company) but I’ve done a lot of research on green beauty and I would say err on the side of safety. There are fortunately tons of great, effective, safe skincare options now. I know Joanna has posted about True Botanicals; other places you could look are the online green beauty stores The Detox Market and Integrity Botanicals, or the brands Blissoma and Osmia Organics. Those are some of my favorites. Any of those places will send you samples and also should be able to give you personal recommendations on what would be good for your skin type during pregnancy.

    • Abesha1 says...

      I stopped using everything that wasn’t identifiable, so for example, I use shea butter, almond oil, coconut oil. Physical sunblocks like hats, sleeves, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, in bases of oils not chemicals. Olive oil soap, glycerin soap, castile soap.
      I never went back… as the saying goes, your skin is your biggest organ and I’m feeding mine simple, healthy nourishment. My skin is not quite as perfect as many years ago, but I’m also older now, and a lot less well-rested! Haha!

    • Jenna says...

      Congratulations! I don’t have kids, but I highly recommend Caroline Hirons for all things skincare. She’s great at cutting through the hype and helping you make informed decisions about your skincare. A Model Recommends would be another good source for skincare + pregnancy info.

  140. Denise says...

    When the baby bump was visible is when i started approaching it with my daughter who just turned 2 at the time. I asked her if she wanted a little brother or sister and started talking up the idea of a baby. I would have her listen to the belly and tell her the baby says hi, if the baby moved then he was waving to her, and i would have her give the belly plenty of kisses and talk to the new baby. Hello In There and I am a Big Sister books were a great help but i’m sure they have the equivalent for big brothers too.

  141. Kate H. says...

    I laughed at your post because we did the same 27 years ago! I remember my belly was definitely big enough to tell, and we also delayed telling our sweet Sam. Here’s the best part of that conversation, he very simply said, ‘I know!’ I wonder if we underestimate the power of the little mind:). Trust your instincts, there are no wrong answers, and best wishes to you and your family!

  142. Kerri says...

    Although my oldest has been a big brother since he was 20 months old, experiencing my third pregnancy with him brought me so much more joy than I could have ever anticipated. He blossomed into an incredible, thoughtful caregiver, helping his mama and telling the baby to “be brave” while we listened to the heart beat . It’s like something inside of him that was always there was awakened and it is incredibly beautiful. The moment he finally met his baby brother, I wept. My “big” 3-year-old held his newborn brother in his arms and whispered to him, “I love you so much. I will never leave you. I will always be here!” Oh, my heart!!

    • E says...

      Okay, crying.

  143. Leanne says...

    Our kiddos were born 2 years apart. Before we told anyone else we were pregnant, my son would fall asleep with his face pressed against my belly. We didn’t find out the gender, but he always confidently exclaimed that he was having a sister. Ever since that sister was born, he’s (mostly) been a super sweet big brother — proclaiming since day two that he was his sister’s best friend. He now falls asleep on the floor in her room beside her crib, so we recently moved his mattress into her room to test out co-rooming. We read the Baby Tree to him, and What Makes a Baby (also recommended by Joanna, I believe). What Makes a Baby is coming in super handy right now when he asks how babies are made. It sounds like Jasper is excited to become a big brother — you should definitely tell him and include him in planning for the baby’s arrival. Make it fun, and let him know that there will be times you may not be as accessible to him (like during breastfeeding sessions), but come up with a list of things together that you can maybe plan to do just the two of you even after the baby comes.

  144. Amy Harleman says...

    We told our oldest right away–he was four. He had been asking for a brother FOREVER and he was sooooo excited. He came to every appointment with us but he opted out of attending the birth. He has been the best big brother–so gentle and sweet. I just didn’t see the point of NOT telling him, it was a big part of our life!
    BUT I also had the feeling of wanting to keep things the way they are, so I totally get that–when we left for the birth, I hugged my oldest sooooo long, the last time he would be my only! wah! But it’s so great, I promise! You won’t miss it!!

  145. Audrey says...

    We just had our 3rd kid and our other two were about 5.5 and 3.5 when we told them. We just enthusiastically told them that they were going to big sisters (big sister for the youngest and DOUBLE big sister for the oldest! ha!). They were excited and then pretty much moved on with their lives :)

  146. Hanna says...

    You’re totally overthinking it ? It’s far better that you tell him now that he will hear it from someone else accidentally (and feel that he’s somehow ignored by you)

  147. Shira says...

    I think a moment like the one in the tub would be a perfect time to tell Jasper! Then you’d be able to have him pick out new furniture or clothes to feel like he’s helping to prepare. So exciting – congratulations!

  148. Alyssa says...

    Fun news Lexi! I have no advice, but enjoyed your post all the same. Happy monday xx

  149. Sarah D. says...

    We had our 3 babies within 3.5 years. Once my belly was big enough and the baby began kicking we told our child(ren) there was a sibling on the way. The baby in my belly also wrapped a present to say “hello” to the big brother/big sister…nothing gets kids excited to meet a new baby like a gift from the new baby.?