Motherhood

How Did You Introduce a New Baby to an Older Child?

An Idea for Introducing a New Baby to an Older Child

I’m due with my second child in about four weeks, and my to-do list is pretty long (e.g., my hospital bag isn’t packed, the nursery isn’t set up and the infant car seat is nonexistent). The past eight months have been a mix of intense excitement and, at the same time, longing for things to stay exactly as they are at home. So, I’ve dawdled. A lot. But there is one thing I’ve been thinking about since day one…

The meeting of an older child and a new baby in the hospital seems like an especially sweet parenting moment — and sets the scene for a huge family transition. I’ve daydreamed about it 100 different ways. Maybe the baby stays in the bassinet next to my bed when my four-year-old son, Jasper, comes in for the first time. Should we offer Jasper a small gift “from the baby,” which I’ve heard can help with jealousy? What did did you do?

This weekend, a friend gave me an idea I hadn’t thought of: Before the older child arrives, she said, send the baby to the hospital nursery. “You can catch up with Jasper for a few minutes, and then make a big adventure out of going to find his sister together,” she explained. This idea sounds really lovely, especially since Jasper already calls her “my baby,” heads out into the world wearing one of his own babies these days and delights in any kind of mission. It would be so cute to see him peer through the glass window and try to pick her out of the line-up. Then we can bring her back to our room and be a family of four for the first time. Pass the tissues!

Of course, things don’t always go as planned for one reason or other, but I love this idea and would be thrilled to hear your thoughts…

An Idea for Introducing a New Baby to an Older Child

P.S. More on siblings: Preparing your child for a new baby, Toby meeting Anton for the first time, going from one to two kids and five tips for sibling rivalry.

(Photos of Jasper by Christine Han.)

  1. Marie says...

    I was two when my little sis was born. When my parents took her home, I was apparently quite cute and impressed… but at some point during the day, my parents heard my sister cry in her nursery and went to pick her up and I had taken one of her socks off and had (aggressively) bitten her tiny little foot! My parents were both very annoyed and amused by it.
    Today my sister is my best friend, my soulmate, my favourite person. And she still brings up how I tried to bite her foot off on her very first day of existence!

  2. Sally says...

    Oh my goodness. We have a beloved happy baby who will be a big brother at 19 months. I admit to anxiousness about my baby having to have another baby around – reading these comments have made me well with tears, well ok cry quite a bit – for the love and care the commenters have shown on the topic*, the wonderful ideas, and the words of love. I especially loved Emma’s advice on “we love the baby, that just what we do”. Thank you.
    *Jo, this just goes to show the extraordinary community of people you and your team bring together and honest conversation you facilitate. You should be very pleased x

  3. Sara G. says...

    As an older sister, I was around 5-years-old when my little sister was born. I got to give her her first bath in the hospital along with the nurse, gently pouring little cups of water on her tiny head. I remember feeling special and important (and very “big sister-ly”) to be able to do that – and it’s obviously something that stuck with me for years to come! :)

  4. Anna says...

    So many lovely stories on here! My eldest was just over two years old when my youngest was born at home. My husband’s aunt came and took her to the park once contractions kicked in. They fed the ducks, played on the swings and went to the cafe for a special treat. My youngest arrived in two hours, so by the time they’d finished at the park the new baby was swaddled and snug in her bed. We were so excited for them to meet, but our eldest fell asleep on the way home and did an epic three hour nap in the buggy! So we took the opportunity to build the present (a dollhouse) and have it ready and waiting in her bedroom. She woke to a calm house, a sleeping baby, and a dollhouse, which to be honest occupied more of her attention than the baby. I did her bathtime and read her bedtime story so that she got some 1:1 time with mummy. The 1:1 time has been something we’ve continued with our eldest and I do think it helped – especially around the six month mark when the novelty of a new sibling had well and truly worn off and we were getting sparks of jealousy. The other thing that I think helped was our daighter’s nursery – they had her spend time in the baby room ‘helping’ about a month before Margot arrived. It got her used to being around little ones. Final tip – I always had my eldest kiss my youngest on the toes. Meant I didn’t have to worry about her accidentally hurting her head (she’s a very boisterous and strong little thing) and she could show affection without picking up on my nervousness. And who can resist delicious little newborn toes?! Good luck – it will be fine.

  5. I was really concerned about this too. We have an almost 5 year old daughter., February, and had her baby sister, Odessa, 3 weeks ago today! The first meeting went really well and their new relationship is off to a great start. First of all, while we were at the hospital for three & a half days, February got totally loved on & spoiled by my mom, so it was a really special, fun time while my husband & I were away from the house. Then, when she arrived at the hospital (well fed and not tired), she was so excited she could barely contain herself. My husband & I had placed a relatively large photo of her in a frame on my bedside table. I’d read this was a good thing to do to make your older child feel like she was still important to you, and I think it really had an impact! She burst in so excited to meet her sister, but kind of stopped in her tracks and just stared at the photo of herself for about 4 seconds, and her smile got even bigger. I scooted over in the hospital bed, she washed her hands, kicked off her shoes, and climbed in for a snuggle to meet Odessa. It was joyful and exciting, but I think that photo really said something powerful to February that she we couldn’t have communicated to her nearly as well verbally. Good luck with your introduction!!!

  6. Ewelina says...

    We tried the gify which was a bit weird for my 3 to at the end – he ubderstood that baby wasn’t able to really buy this one for him😂
    We tried also other parents tip to give older brother a task so he could focus on it during this first awkward moments. So I met my son alone, than my husband brought the baby and I asked him to count if he has all fingers and toes which he did and was so happy to help and I believe he felt important :) such a precious moment ahead of you!

  7. Elizabeth says...

    We have my son a gift from his baby sister. I wanted to have the baby in her bed when he arrived but in the end he arrived right when I was feeding her. Later we did get a nice cuddle in bed just the two of us though. I highly recommend this book to give your child ideas about how to interact with “their” baby: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2935895-101-things-to-do-with-a-baby

  8. Jenny says...

    Our story is a little different as we welcomed our babies through open domestic infant adoptions. We had been on the waiting list for a second adoption for over three years and our five year old began to voice doubts that “his baby” was ever going to arrive. We received a call in Sunday that a mother had made an adoption plan and chose us as a family for her baby ❤️. We could pick her up in four days! Since the baby was staying at a gentle transition home (a designated foster home through our agency where she was receiving loving unbiased care while her First Parents shored up the most heart-wrenching decision) we pick our son up from kindergarten and headed down to meet his sister. We had a stuffed hedgehog in the back seat of the car waiting for him as a gift from the baby and we ate pink donuts on the hour drive. When we arrived I held our daughter on the couch and encourage our son to come say hello. He was so tender and loving as he marveled at how tiny her little hands were. It was one of the most precious moments of my life.

    • Love your story Jenny, thank you for sharing it!
      We have an almost 4 year old son and are currently waiting to adopt again through domestic adoption. My husband and I talk a lot about how we will introduce the siblings – do we do it at home or at the agency etc. Great to hear input from another adoptive mother, so rare to find those in comment threads <3

    • Barbara says...

      This is so touching, every detail. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Emma says...

    Though maybe my first instinct was to protect the older brother from the new baby by not giving the baby too much attention in front of him, instead I did the opposite. I gave the new baby the natural amount of attention and loving in hopes of modeling to the big brother how we treat the new baby. Sort of like I didn’t give him a choice in the matter. We love on the baby. This is what we do. I felt that if I shielded him, or if he felt I was nervous about it, it might put ideas in his head (no idea if that is a rational thought or not). That being said, I was open to exploring any of his feelings of displacement, resentment or anger but I really don’t remember that happening. I’m a real believer that kids pick-up on your anxieties and try to be aware of mine when I’m interacting with, and in front of, my kids (easier said than done). I hope you take a little bit of what resonates with you from everyone’s advice and experience and know, no matter what, both your babies are the luckiest little babies in the world having parents who care so much about their feelings.

    • Emma says...

      Oh, we did give big brother a few matchbox cars from the new baby. Huge hit.

  10. Sina says...

    Hi, this is my story: when our second child was born I stayed in the hospital with her while my husband immediately drove home to bring our first child (3) to meet his sister (he was with my mom). When he arrived, the baby and I were cuddled under a blanket. He came close without hesitation and just sat with us on the bed, watching her and cuddling with us until finally someone showed up to help us get dressed for our way home. We then left the hospital – four hours after the birth – and returned home as a family of four!
    We only had one plan: to bring the brother as soon as possible to meet his sister. So we just sat together, watching the baby and taking in this feeling: we are a family of four now and we belong together like this.
    All the best for you and your family! Sina from Germany

  11. Alexa says...

    Our kids are a little more than 3 years apart, which was a distance that has worked very well for us. We talked to our first about the baby a lot. We asked how he was going to teach her things and what she was going to be like. I actually read on this site that someone recommended when Baby 1 comes to see Mommy and Baby 2 in the hospital, make sure Mommy’s arms are open and ready to welcome Baby 1 vs. holding Baby 2. He took to her right away, wanting to feed her and hold her. Some of my favorite videos and pictures are from our early days as a family of 4. We asked him once was she smelled like and he said: “Good! Sometimes milk…sometimes maybe lollipops…but teeny tiny little lollipops.” I was so worried about a new sibling, but Baby 2 will be three in July and it’s been amazing.

  12. Jessica Jordan says...

    Oh, Lexi! Congratulations! We welcomed a second daughter last June and let me tell you, watching their friendship grow is the sweetest thing in the world.

    However, I was very terrified of my oldest daughter not adapting well. We did all the things you talked about, we had a “gift” from her sister (dinosaurs!), and I wasn’t holding the baby when she came in. We got to snuggle and talk for a little bit before she met her sister. Things seemed to go well, but when it came time to say goodbye (my oldest was leaving with grandparents who spoil her, so it wasn’t so bad), she seemed a little worried about me. Similar to what a previous commenter said, I think she was thrown off by the fact that I was in a hospital bed, surrounded by tubes, etc.

    I think all the work you’re doing leading up to the baby’s arrival (talking about the baby, etc.) and making sure you carve out one-on-one time with your oldest once you get home (even if it’s quick play sessions while baby naps or even hugs) help cement those reminders of love.

    I can tell you that our daughters LOVE LOVE LOVE each other and my oldest even scoots the youngest’s high chair toward her at mealtimes.

    You are going to have so much fun!

  13. Marie says...

    I was 2 when my little brother was born, and have absolutely no memory of the moment I met him… It wasn’t a “thing” back then, and still isn’t here in France I think, so I didn’t get a gift “from him” or anything; but what’s funny is that I was never jealous of him – apparently he was jealous of *me* in his first year and a half!! It didn’t last, mind you, we were very close growing up, but it just goes to show that sibling rivalry doesn’t always go the way we expect!

  14. Erin says...

    When he came to meet the baby, my 3.5-year-old son was a bit overwhelmed by the hospital environment and seemed a little worried about me. (I was totally fine, but was in a hospital gown and still had an IV line in my arm.) He also seemed tentative about the baby, and just shy of the whole situation in general. It was different than I expected, because I remember meeting my own little sister at the hospital as more exciting than Disneyland.

    But bringing my younger son home was much more fun. Big brother was a lot more comfortable because he was in his own space, and he was “showing the baby my toys” before we even got the baby out of his car seat. The photos of this are my favorites of all the baby pics because the older one is soooo excited and the younger one has the classic “newborn, confused, can’t see two inches in front of my own nose” facial expression. My mom got some small “big brother presents,” but we didn’t say those were from the baby; they were just treats from Grandma.

    Congrats, Lexi! You have lovely, fun times ahead.

  15. M says...

    I had grand fantasies of bringing our older son (then 2 1/2) to meet his baby brother in the hospital. I was going to have the baby in the bassinet to be free for big brother hugs, we were all going to take a cozy picture on the hospital bed as a family of 4! Little did I know, I would be stuck in a shared recovery room with ZERO personal space, and made a speedy exit in less than 24 hours after birth. Instead, our older guy was at school when we got home from the hospital, and was beyond thrilled to meet his baby brother when he got home. It was actually lovely to have that moment NOT be at the hospital – it felt very comfortable.

    In terms of the “gift from the baby” thing – we did it, and honestly he couldn’t have cared less. He was way more excited about getting a baby brother. What he WAS excited about was the gift HE had picked out for the baby. During one of the trips to the store to prep for the baby, we had him choose a special gift for the baby from him. To this day (20 months later), he still likes to remind us that he picked it out, and that his brother loved it.

  16. Related: make sure you take photos JUST with the 2nd child! I’m a 2nd and have practically no photos that don’t have my sister in them. I love her and she’s great, but I was looking for a photo of just my Dad and I and I actually don’t think that photo exists. I have several of me and Mom, but even those are limited. I actually don’t even think I have a solid one of just her and I when I was born. Sister is in that, too. I’m thrilled that they did take a LOT of photos, so I have plenty of good photos (and lots of just me with my grandparents, which is amazing), but it’s sort of a bummer when I’m going through and there’s tons of her and our parents and none of just me and them.

  17. I don’t have any advice on the older sibling meeting the new baby. But that quilt! Looks lovely in photos!

  18. Anna says...

    We gave our 4,5 year old son a quite big lego set (a police station!) right after he had met his baby sister for the first time. We didn’t say it was from his sister but that it was a “big brother gift”. He was so incredibly happy he couldn’t stop thanking us! Our situation was a bit different though, since we went home later the day of our daughter’s birth and so he met her at home and we could whip out the gift. The lego was a double win since he and his father spent a lot of time building it during the first baby days, so he didn’t mind me being tired and absorbed with the baby!

  19. Erin Kelsey says...

    I purchased a small gift for my son “from the baby”. A book and a little stuffed doggie. The meeting was cute buthe was also really little (17 mos) so he was more mesmerized by the hospital technology and wires than me or his new sister. He liked opening the present and then we took him on a little walk around the hospital floor just me and my husband. That was really sweet. I didn’t expect how much I would be missing him so it was nice to have one-on-one time. I recommend keeping expectations kind of low and then try to carve out a few minutes where he is your focus. Congrats!

  20. Ladybird2011 says...

    I forgot another genius tip! A few weeks before delivery, I gave my oldest a little photo book I had printed, with pictures of her as a tiny baby: sleeping, nursing, crying, in the sling, in the crib, in people’s arms… We even had a picture with an exploded diaper 😁 it helped her to see what babies do and that we did the same things for her when she was a baby. She still looks at the book from time to time, almost 4 years later! (she’s now 6.5)

  21. Jesse says...

    My sons were both born at home, so the intro was quite immediate. Our older son was 3 when baby brother was born and watched the final stages of the birth and helped to cut the cord! That’s obviously a longer more emotional story… :) But, I remember meeting my baby brother for the first time. I was 7, and it was the best day of my life. My dad picked me up from school and we went straight to the hospital. I remember washing my hands before we entered the room and maybe having to put on hospital garb? Including a cap? Maybe not! But it was ALL exciting. When we entered the room my mom was holding the baby and she looked all flushed and tired but so happy. I remarked on his elongated head which I described the next day at school as “triangular.” The baby pooped and it maybe leaked on the blankets? And I remember thinking it was so funny, and a friendly nurse came and changed him. My parents told me, “We are naming him Timothy Robin.” We had seen the first Robin of the season that week (he was born in spring) and I thought that was a very cool name choice. I felt I was very much part of the “we.” I don’t remember holding him that day but I did a lot of holding and helping with diaper changes when he was a baby and he remains one of my most favorite people on earth (with his own son now!) I think as natural as you can keep it, the better. Your son will be having his own emotions and experience no matter what you do. I did have my newborn give my older son a truck, but in retrospect that felt a bit forced and unnecessary. I think a gift having to do with being an older brother would be more appropriate. As a big sister I was given the best gift of all- a baby brother!

    • Myra says...

      I came here to say this but Jesse you said it so much better! keep it small, keep it natural. Try not to overthink it, you cannot fill it in for him. He will do that all by himself :) which is a wonderful thing.
      Exciting times ahead for you and your family!

    • Claudia says...

      Love your story. I’m planning on having my second child at home and our son will be nearly three when he becomes a big brother.

  22. Ladybird2011 says...

    When I was pregnant with my son, my daughter would start singing to my belly. We talked a lot about how it would all be: we had a planned homebirth while she was with grandma, but had also prepared her for a possible stay at the hospital. When she met her baby brother I made sure I wasn’t holding him, I embraced her and we went to look at the baby together. She had bought a toy for him beforehand and the baby brought a toy for her too (a baby doll that could also be bathed, so the next week’s she was little mommy besides me, breastfeeding her baby doll, wearing her in a sling, bathing her, changing her… It was so sweet to watch her. Another great tip I read about beforehand was to create a special box with books, crayons and toys that would only be used during baby feeding times. And I cannot recommend enough the book “sibling rivalry” by the writers of the equally genius book “how to talk so kids listen, how to listen so kids talk”! Good luck, 2 kids is so much nicer than just 1 :-)

  23. Laura says...

    Our nurse held off on bathing our son until our 3 year old daughter could be present. After the initial intro, the nurse made a big production of our daughter being the big helper during bathtime . The nurse had her hold the new baby’s hand and sing while he got his first shot and commented on how great she did at soothing him. After the exhaustion of childbirth, it was sweet to sit back and watch my two kids interact with each other for the first time without the pressure of trying to create a moment. And it carried over to my daughter wanting to be the big helper at home!

  24. Jessica says...

    We just welcomed our second son two weeks ago. Our first, a two year old boy, was very excited to know a baby was in my tummy and told everyone we came across about “my baby, Donna” (a name we still can’t figure out the origin of, but stuck for my 41 weeks of pregnancy). We expected an adjustment period of transitioning to a family of four, but didn’t expect our toddler’s first question upon meeting his brother to be “where will he be living?” We laughed — how sweet — but stopped laughing when our first whole day home as a new family consisted of our first born hiding behind a chair screaming. He had never had a meltdown or tantrum to date. I cried wondering if we really did ruin his life (post pregnancy emotions contributing to this I’m sure), and my husband and I questioned what to do next. Do we send him to daycare so he has some consistency in routine or will that make him feel like we’re pushing him out while we spend time with the baby and so forth.

    In the end, we kept his routine up, scheduled visitors during nap time and his daycare hours and asked people to ask our toddler questions about himself oppose to baby related comments and questions (“Do you love being a big brother?” “Does baby cry a lot?” “Are you helping care for the baby” are all well-meaning questions but still a reminder that all attention is on the new baby). Each day got better as we moved from day one of screaming, to day two and three of ignoring the baby, to back-to-normal by the end of the week. The hardest part about having a new born for us, was having a toddler as we balanced trying to rest/heal post-delivery, with having our normal energy to keep up with an active little boy and his big feelings during the change.

    A very clever mum-friend of ours gifted us a sensory play box filled with candles, rocks, play dough, moon sand, coloured noodles, tongs, little farm animals etc. to pull out during feeds to give the bigger child some independent play time that will keep his attention for some time. Another friend suggested downloading an app with tracing activities and setting up little obstacle courses through the house to get the big-kid’s energy out during cold winter days where you just don’t want to go outside.

    You’ve got this :)

  25. Katherine says...

    What a special time!! I have a picture of the first time my son met his new sister and it is my favourite picture of all time. He (age 3) is peeking into the bundle I am holding with such a sweet and curious look on his face. I was worried about bringing a new person into our family because I felt I loved my son so much how would it even be possible for my heart to expand? But, of course, it did. One thing I did to ease the transition of going from a family of 3 to 4 was, I had my son pick out a special toy for the baby. He brought the little rattle he picked out to the hospital when he met her. I also had a little gift for him from his baby sister. We had it wrapped and at home. When we arrived home from the hospital we gave it to him from the baby. They still talk about the special toys they picked out for one another 7 years later. (They are 7 and 10).

    *******We realized quickly however, that the new baby would have to grow on our son and that HE didn’t see us as a family of 4 just yet. We were getting ready to move to a different province soon after my 2nd was born. I was busy packing boxes when my son asked, “When we move, mama, do you think Olivia (new baby) will miss us?” Lol. I guess he thought the baby would just stay behind when we moved. (In the end, we decided to bring her. lol!!!!)

    • Jasna says...

      So cute!

  26. Beth says...

    We had a nursing basket (or a bottle basket). Every time the baby ate, we would get the basket down. Inside we had new toys, coloring books, snacks, juice boxes & fruit snacks (which I never buy), and the occasional lollipop. My older child was SO EXCITED every time her baby brother wanted to eat (which is always in the first few months). She would be occupied with a new toy and a snack. When the baby is done eating, all the new toys go back in the basket until the next time baby wants to eat. My 3 year would go up to the sleeping baby and say “Wake up! Don’t you want to eat again?!”

    • Valeria says...

      This is really a smart idea!

  27. Emily says...

    When we had our second, we brought a family photo and places in the baby’s bassinet so my daughter could see that the baby already “knew” her and was excited about our family. Was nice! We also took our daughter to build a bear a few weeks before and had her make a stuffed animal for each of them. Such nice memories!

  28. Mary says...

    I had my second when my first was only 18 months. I honestly didn’t do anything or have any expectations. My daughter still just seemed a baby herself! When my husband’s grandma brought her to the hospital a few hours after her little brother was born, she climbed on the bed, pulled him into her arms, and kissed him. It is probably my all-time favorite moment as a mom. Time just stood still and I felt so lucky these two would have each other. That being said, I have friends whose kids didn’t even acknowledge the baby for months. I’m actually pregnant with number three right now and my kids are 2 and 3. My little girl is so excited, but my son keeps saying he hopes it’s a puppy. Hopefully he won’t be too disappointed.

    • Alice says...

      “My son keeps saying he hopes it’s a puppy” had me CACKLING with laughter!! SO CUTE.

  29. elizabeth says...

    We would drive past the hospital on the weekends on the way home from whatever morning adventure we had planned and would tell our oldest (2.5 yrs) the story of when he was born. Then we would tell him what will happen when the baby comes, also like a story. We’ll go to the hospital so mommy can have the baby. Grandma will stay with you at our house. She’ll bring you to the hospital to meet the baby and see us. We tried to add as many details to both stories as possible so he could imagine it and feel comfortable with his story and the baby’s. You’ll meet a nurse! You’ll see a bed with a remote control! You can check out a big ice machine with dad!
    On the day he came to visit us in the hospital, he was excited to see us and to see his new brother. But, in the end, he was most excited about the nurse, the remote controlled bed and the ice machine. No drama, just a fun story.
    Now, on weekend mornings, we tell both stories as we drive past the hospital and he helps tell them to his baby brother.

  30. Jasna says...

    Our son was 3 when we found out that we were expecting a baby girl :-). When I was about 16 weeks pregnant we told him about it and from then on we included her in every possible conversation so he had time to get used to the idea that someone new will be joining us. And when she finally came earthside it was as if she was always there! He wasn’t jealous or acting out at all. However, we did the whole “baby giving him preset and vice versa” thing and it was a hit as he still talks about it. We also warned friends and family to first greet him when they come over. :-)

    Also, I want to share the best possible advice I was given – to have baby’s bedtime routine two hours before our son’s usual bedtime. So, his bedtime was at 9 pm and we decided to start putting baby down at 7 pm. At 6:30 we would bath the baby and then at 7 she was down for the night, which meant she was waking up for the next feeding at around 10 pm. Therefore, we had two hours to spend solely with our son while baby was sleeping and his bedtime routine stayed the same, which really helped him adjust well.

    Sending love!

  31. Ximena says...

    Just the thought of that moment made me tear up! My baby is just 5 months old so we are not even close to the day we welcome a new member to our family but I definitely would like a second baby… hopefully, a girl :)

  32. Bear says...

    My eldest was 4.5 years old when my son was born. She “met” him the same time we did at the first ultrasound (after the technician gave the all clear). She came to every appointment and scan and the midwives were wonderful letting her use the heartbeat monitor and involving her.
    We had a natural birth so she was with us for the whole labour and at the business end of the delivery! At one point when I was struggling to get on top of my breathing she instinctively got in close to my face and blew on it and my breathing calmed down and matched hers. She cut the cord with her Dad and examined the placenta. It was the most amazing experience to share with her. It seemed like a normal and natural thing to include her. I should say We also had my mum and sister on hand to entertain her, take her for breaks and in case she wanted to leave. Totally get that it’s not for everyone or every child. She is a pretty switched on, mature kid and with prep she knew what to expect. I thought we might need to do a whole bunch of debriefing after but she was totally unfazed by it all!

  33. Susie says...

    When I was three I got a baby sister. My dad brought me in to the hospital to see her and mum – they were full of expectations – but I apparently just peered curiously at the sleeping baby and then asked for money to play with the much more interesting soda machine in the hallway. What may seem like a massive moment for the parents can seem almost inconsequencial to a child ;)

    A few days later once we were all home, mum and dad turned their back to me and the wriggling baby for a second and I had scooped her up in my srms, holding her perfectly right and smiling, saying I was going to take care of the baby. So there you go :) no matter how the first meeting goes (and the rest of the up- and downhill siblinghood) they’ll be ever so happy to have each other. Best of luck on your new family member and on the delivery <3

    • K says...

      This is so lovely.

  34. liz says...

    We just had our second last week, and used this exact idea! It worked really well – my daughter (2) had time to snuggle with me, then went with her dad to find her brother and was so proud to bring him back to “show” me.

    One other piece of advice we got from a nurse at the hospital which has been really great was this: you’ll often be asking your older child to wait a minute (for whatever he/she is asking for) while you finish feeding/changing/holding/etc the baby, so sometimes make a point of (when you can) asking the baby to wait while you finish doing something with the older child. That way the older one doesn’t feel like they’ve become less important. We’ve done this a couple times – when he cries, saying, “Max, please wait just a minute, I need to finish helping/playing/whatever with your sister, but I’ll be right there” – and she really seems to notice!

    • Julia says...

      I totally agree! Say: I’ll be right there, just a second” instead of: “First, I have to do xy for the baby” , so that the baby doesn’t seem like an obstacle between you and the other kid. Or say: “I prefer to go out later, since I’m so tired right now” instead of “……, because the baby needs/must/wants….”

    • oh wow that is superb advice. Thank you for sharing that!!

  35. Maywyn says...

    Those 4 weeks might feel like 3.
    We included older child in selecting the name, and teaching the newbie how to play with toys.

  36. Amber says...

    Have someone else hold bub and give oldest the longest hugs, cuddles, kisses and chats ever. Then a ride up and down on the bed.
    Also a present from the baby went down a treat with out 3 1/2 year old.

  37. Caro says...

    When our second was born she “gave” her 2.5 year old brother a buzzlightyear talking doll that he had been obsessed with . I wrapped the gift and he was given it when he came in to the hospital for the first time to meet the baby. When he received the gift from his new baby sister, he was so excited and kept saying she “likes me” she loves me”. He thought she was amazing for buying and wrapping his much wanted toy. and went on about it for weeks and feel in love with her and Buzz. That was 15 years ago and he still loves his sister. I have made the same suggestion to other friends and it has worked a treat.

  38. Helena says...

    I haven’t read any of the other comments but honestly, after having three kids I think that one shouldn’t really have any expectations regarding the first meeting between the siblings. My eldest was two years old when her younger brother was born and the meeting between them was the least emotional part of pregnancy and birth. She just didn’t care about him and was more interested in the hospital corridor😂 And when our third child was born this spring it was almost the same thing. We tried to act normal, and just not make it a big deal. And the kids looked at their baby sister and then ran off to play in the garden. I don’t think you need to make it into a big thing.

    • Sandra says...

      That is hilarious! And I agree…we only have one child, but I am the oldest and I still remember a lot of expectations about how I was supposed to act toward my new sister. It is really hard to have your position at the center of your parents’ attention taken over by a new sibling, especially one isn’t even old enough to play with. I’d recommend skipping the Instagram moments and just letting it happen naturally and without a lot of hoopla.

    • Shannon says...

      I agree! A sibling is the best gift you can give your son so I wouldn’t put any pressure on yourself to have a perfect meeting. It’s going to be beautiful no matter what happens!

    • Anu says...

      I think it depends on the age of the older child. Our daughter was almost 4 when our son was born and she had been so excited for his arrival. She understood a lot more. I will never forget the look on her face when she first saw him. So much happiness and love.

  39. Natalie says...

    My son Marius was2,5 when Louise was born. I followed 2 ideas from a profesional:
    welcome your oldest at the hospital fully dressed and NOT in the bed. Mommy is not sick because of the baby.
    Prepare a framed portrait of you and your oldest on your bedside to show that you are thinking of him while you are away.
    Yes, there was a present waiting for him…
    Once older, jealousy or frustration kicked in, but it felt like an opportunity for him to learn and cope with that emotion. The one time he could have shown agression towards the baby , i firmly explained that if anyone, anyone, hurt him or louise, i would transform into a growling, protective mommy bear. Marius and louise are part of the team of 4 and we have to work, play and love together. I think he got a little afraid, but understood the meaning of having a role in a team.

  40. Sarah K says...

    I wouldn’t put too much pressure on the moment—it’s the years of life together that really count. Neither of your kids will probably remember this one moment, so I’d just try to enjoy whatever happens. My oldest was 20 months when he met his brother, and really cared more about the buttons on my bed. ;) When their sister was born, the boys had a cold and couldn’t come to the hospital, so they met her at home—and I have no memory of it! We next went through the agony of introducing them to their stillborn brother, which was heartbreaking but crucial for all of us. And lastly, we adopted our youngest daughter as an infant out of state, and after a week with just the baby my husband flew home and got our four-Year-old daughter and brought her to wait on the paperwork with us. I have such a special memory of my older daughter coming in, me crouching down at the foot of the stairs and introducing her to her new baby sister—and my older daughter has no recollection of this! Our boys, who were 6 and 8, remember when we finally came to get them at my parents’ house and they couldn’t grasp what the infant car seat was: “What’s in the basket, Mommy?” :) So all the memories are different and special and make up the story of our family. Whatever your moment is like, it will become part of the unique story of your family. Best wishes to you! (And I think being fully prepped for baby to come is overrated. Babies don’t need much at first; people can bring stuff to the hospital if you forget it; you can order diapers from amazon after you get home! I say take the pressure off yourself!)

    • Anne says...

      So so true. Don’t put too much pressure on “the moment”… or any such so-called great moments. What happens, happens and no matter what they will be a family for a very long time and as siblings they will face the world – hopefully for many years to come.

    • Love this. Everything you say is completely spot on.

  41. Susan says...

    When I was pregnant with my second child 30 years ago, my then 3-year old daughter would call her unborn sibling Baby Brother-Sister. We convinced her it would be super fun to have a sibling to play with. This memory has stayed with me for many years as my children grew up, and I eventually wrote and illustrated a children’s book called the same. Baby Brother-Sister is the sweet story of a little boy who is surprised to discover that his mother is not growing a watermelon in her tummy, but a baby – a baby brother-sister! With love and magic, Mommy convinces the little boy that having a new baby in the family will be fun.

    https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Brother-Sister-Susan-Sayfan-ebook/dp/B0154KGY6Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517256520&sr=8-1&keywords=baby+brother+sister+susan+sayfan.

    This book may help ease the transition for your own children.

  42. Rachael says...

    All of our babies (we have six children) have brought the next-youngest sibling a gift when they’re born. We also do a little party for the new big brother/sister, and emphasize that the baby can’t have cake but they can because they’re the big one! My kids all still talk about their parties; it is literally one of their earliest memories and I love it!! We also always refer to the baby as “your baby” rather than “the baby” and talk a lot about how lucky the baby is to have a big brother/sister who is so good at (fill in the blank).

    • Ruth says...

      This is lovely! My sons would have loved the exclusive cake thing, great idea! We did do gifts from the baby each time (we have three) of matching outfits for the children.
      Our second son was born on Christmas Day which was pretty unfortunate for our 3yr old at the time, to have to say goodbye to mummy and daddy in the morning after breakfast when I went into labour. Living in the U.K. (and having a quick delivery) meant I got home the same day around 4pm, but I do think we ruined Christmas for my eldest, he was so overwhelmed by everything! When we ask him about that Christmas now, he refers to it as “the Christmas I got a bow-and-arrow in my stocking” lol.

  43. Shannon says...

    Our son was born early so any ideas I had about our daughter meeting him we’re immediately nixed, but, of course, like many unplanned things their meeting(s) has become a thing of family legend! It started when she had to accompany us to the hospital when I was in labor and she got to see an ultrasound, which blew her barely two year old mind – there he was, a real baby! Then, a few days later, the NICU nurses got our little area all set up for our daughter to visit. She was the guest of honor and she was beaming! And then, when our son finally came home, my mom and our daughter were there to greet us. Our daughter had been prepped to know hand washing was a must with her brother around, so she immediately scurried off to wash her hands. I found her moments later with bubbles coming out of her mouth as she talked because she ate the soap … 30 seconds into having two children in our house and we were on the phone with poison control! Legendary.

    • Erin says...

      Oh, this is the best!

  44. Tracy F. says...

    I’m really curious if anyone asked their first child(ren) how they envisioned meeting their new sibling before the big day. I’m certain that many ideas need guidance towards a realistic scenario, but it also seems pretty special to give them some agency in choosing the situation.

  45. Congratulations to your family! I have two children, and what’s helps us is allowing the oldest to greet the baby in the bassinet rather than your arms (so that he doesn’t feel “replaced” in any way). Also, this is such a happy time! But keep in mind that the oldest child may have some strong feelings about sharing attention, new routines at home, etc. Accepting and validating his emotions, even the hard ones (“You said you want your brother to go back in my tummy, you sound upset”) rather than forcing him to “be nice and love your baby sibling!” has helped us build connection and understand one another a bit more. Though, gently stopping negative behaviors like hitting is really important – just allow the feelings! The book Siblings Without Rivalry is WONDERFUL for navigating the feelings of siblings that comes along with new babies. Enjoy this special time!

  46. Leah says...

    However you decide to do it, my one piece of advice is to try to get the “meeting moment” on video. I have 2 such videos- my first meeting my second, and my first 2 meeting my third, and OH MAN those videos reduce me to tears every.single.time. Have someone else filming (husband, sister, etc.) so that you can focus on the kids and so you are IN the video! I’m just so glad I have those…

  47. Meghan says...

    We actually didn’t bring our older son to the hospital to visit. He was quite attached to me and we knew him coming and then having to leave me behind would be difficult for him, so we introduced them once I came home. We had a bassinet set up in the living room and my husband too the baby from the car seat and put him there while I went immediately to our older son for hugs. He seemed a little upset that I had been away (I had to stay in the hospital 2 nights, and it was my first time away from him). A little while later we introduced him to his brother. He took one look in the bassinet and said, “Nope.” *sigh*

    I knew it likely wouldn’t go well. My older son just wasn’t the type who would be into a baby. So I didn’t want to have any expectations or extra pressure at all.

    After a few hours, he came in for a closer look and said hello. And that was basically it. He didn’t have much interest in him until he started crawling. Now they are 4 and 2 and they are very close – they play, they hug, they fight… you ask my oldest who his best friend is and it is “Owen.”

  48. Amy says...

    Our two year old wasn’t allowed into the hospital to visit because it was flu season so they met at Home. I think that was best as he would have had a hard time leaving without us. Have someone else video and just soak in that precious moment!

  49. Amy says...

    My second was born recently and we were looking forward to introducing them in the hospital. Life had other plans and she was whisked away to the Nicu immediately after birth. Since toddlers aren’t allowed in the Nicu, there was no sweet family reunion in the hospital and instead, there was the stress and worry of a newborn in the Nicu. If this happens to you (and I hope it does not!) one piece of advice – have your first child come along to pick you up if you check out before your baby. It was heartbreaking to leave the hospital without the baby – but made so much better by having my first run towards me with a huge smile and hug at the hospital, and to be able to cuddle him on the way home. (As an update – we were very lucky as the baby recovered wonderfully and had a lovely low key meeting at home.) My heart goes out to the many Nicu families dealing with challenges (most much greater than ours) with such love, grace and resilience.

    • Amy D says...

      That’s great advice!

    • Lisa says...

      What great advice!
      We had the same – my daughter was ill when born and was in NICU for three days and then in transitional care for two. Fortunately I was able to stay with her (thank you Hospital and the staff!) even though I could have been discharged days before, but it was incredibly hard being away from my oldest. I spent lots of time in NICU when she was there, and I really admired the strength of the parents who had to go home without their babies

  50. My daughter was born at home this past spring and my two older boys ( almost 4 and 6 at the time) were able to be there for the birth like they had hoped. She came so quick that the midwife hadn’t arrived yet nor the paramedics she told us to call if I started pushing before she got there! It was a beatiful and sacred family moment followed by a bit of chaos with the paramedics and then midwife showing up. But after all the hubbub passed the boys came back in to meet their sister and my oldest held her in his arms but my middle one said he wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t want to force him to hold her until he was ready and he finally decided he was ready… two months later! Different kids respond differently to the arrival of a new babe so just read their cues and let them adjust at their own pace. And, when they do hold their baby sibling in their arms it will melt your heart!

  51. Kelly says...

    My older daughter had just turned two when my second daughter was born last summer. The baby had just fallen asleep next to me in the hospital bed when my parents brought the two year old in, so I brought her into the bed with me, and introduced her to her baby sister. Her first comment was “She’s naked!” which cracked everybody up. She was very excited to see her sister until the baby started to cry, which frightened her I think, and then they were both crying! My mom calmed down the baby for me and then we were able to cuddle a little and calm down. We didn’t do gifts, although the hospital gave the baby a book, which my older daughter quickly claimed as her own, so I suppose that’s just about the same thing.

  52. I’m due in about 4 weeks as well!! I’m completely in the same boat with not having things ready (oy). I’m getting there, but I feel like I’m tempting fate. The hospital that I’m delivering at offers a special class for kids who are about to become new siblings. Maybe yours (or another by where you live) offers one, too?

    Congrats, mom!! I hope you and your baby are doing well!

    xo, Sofia

  53. Kristin says...

    I recently had identical twins and we didn’t find out the sex. After they were born we didn’t tell anyone what they were until our 2 older sons were able to meet them. Then they got to announce to everyone who visited that they had 2 baby brothers. Before they were born I would often tear up thinking about the moment my 2 older boys got to meet their babies, but in reality the moment was kind of chaotic and exhausting. Haha.

  54. Alex says...

    My in-laws arrived with my two year old son while I had just hobbled into the bathroom post c section. So I didn’t get to see that first moment when he met his little brother! I am still a bit ‘harrumph’ about it… but it can be hard to stage manage when you’re post c section and everything is crazy! My top tip – insist that someone takes photos of the four of you together as a family. It sounds silly but often other people don’t think to offer to take the photos with you in them.

  55. I have four children, each 2 years apart (7, 5, 3 and 1) and also really thought hard about this! I ended up really trying to keep it a low key, low pressure situation – so we tried to be casual (!)…Each time I was lucky enough to come home from hospital a few hours after the birth so we just brought the new sibling in, sat down and asked if they’d like to have a cuddle, and then continued on with whatever activity the older siblings were engrossed in. It made the new family setup feel immediately very natural.

    Actually, after my second child was born I ended up coming home about 20minutes before bedtime and lying on the floor next to a toddler bed reading a story, 9hours postpartum and completely unslept… so I can recommend from experience avoiding that particular scenario!

    Good luck with your new arrival! Despite feeling nervous each time we added a new baby to the mix, watching the siblings together is absolutely my favourite part of parenting (even the bickering that comes later?!) … it’s really a profound bond that is just lovely to witness.

    I wrote some more about preparing your toddlers for a new baby, here – in case it’s of interest!

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

  56. Alex Peterson says...

    Oh Lexi, I’m also due in four weeks, and I also have the exact same things on our to-do list! Glad I’m not alone 😜

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      That makes me feel so much better! Good luck to you!

  57. Alison says...

    We had our daughter in October and our son was 4 – first let me tell you its really a great age difference! Like really great! I had the baby in the bassinette when my husband brought in our son and he was so excited! We also had a gift he picked out to give to her (a lovie) and one she brought for him (some books from his favorite collection that he didn’t have yet – which he LOVED). It was a very sweet moment and everything I wanted it to be, but he did “loose interest” in the baby pretty quick and was excited to read his books, look around the room, etc. He was also disappointed that we didn’t name her his suggested name (Flower!). I guess what I am trying to say is while the first moment they meet is very special and we dream about it for so long – it still wasn’t what I pictured. It was special! Don’t get me wrong, but the day we came home from the hospital, along with countless other moments since have been even better! Try not to put too much pressure on that first moment – there will be so many other amazing ones that take you by surprise that you never even imagined that will really melt your heart!

  58. Laura says...

    We just had our second child two weeks ago, and I also spent a lot of time planning out how Ben (our 2-year-old) would meet the baby. Per many people’s recommendations, we got Ben a small gift from the baby, but he was actually much more excited about giving the baby a gift himself, rather than getting one from her. My husband had the idea, spur of the moment, when walking by the hospital gift shop. He brought Ben in to choose out a special toy to give to his baby sister, and Ben picked out a stuffed animal puppy that looks like our dog. When Ben came into the hospital room for the first time, he was so excited to meet the baby and give her her special present. Even now, when the baby cries or fusses, Ben comes running over with the dog, saying “Baby Tessa want doggie?”, convinced that it will make her feel better. :)

  59. Emily says...

    My son was 4 when my daughter was born last year. When they met, we had her in the bassinet in our hospital room, and introduced her to HIM. We said “Maeve! This is your brother, the one you have been asking about. He’s so wonderful, you’re such a lucky little girl to have him”. Since he’s still little enough to believe in the idea that Maeve has been somehow asking for him, it set the tone of him being the super important little man.
    We continued that thought for the first few months with the two kids, and made sure to scold her for things the same amount as we scolded him (ie. “be gentle with your big brother Maeve!” When her hands would accidentally flail and hit him). We would also verbally ask her to wait when we were in the middle of doing something with Cillian, which was oftentimes hard because babies aren’t known for patience when they want something.
    18 months later, they are truly the best of friends, so I’m hopeful some of these things are what helped form that friendship.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!! couldn’t agree more. i wrote about five sibling rivalry tips and tricks, including a couple of these, here, if anyone else is interested: https://cupofjo.com/2014/06/sibling-rivalry-5-tricks-and-tips/

      love your approach, emily, thanks for sharing. xo

    • Lisa says...

      Thanks for that link – I’ve sent it to my husband as since the baby arrived, the toddler has dragged bedtime out forEVER, particularly with me. It came take more than an hour

  60. Leah says...

    My son was 4 when his sister arrived. She was in the bassinet when he came to meet her, and it was a super sweet moment when he finally did. We picked out a special train “from” his baby sister … all he wanted to know what who really bought it for him :)

  61. KB says...

    Just had my third last summer. My pediatrician said it was important for me to look as much like “me” as I can when the boys came to meet their sister. Not in a hospital gown but in something familiar, no IVs still in, a little make-up and hair in a ponytail…regular mom to them. I had baby in a bassinet in the room but totally ignored her and was prepared to be super excited to see them come in the room…then my middle who was almost 3 at the time walked in straight to her and said in this funny Kermit the frog voice none of us had ever heard before “hello Mr. Lucy!” and we all dies of laughter and still repeat it to this day. Just prepare as best you can and I bet he will pleasantly surprise you :)

    • KB says...

      Oh and the most memorable and exciting part for them was my hospital bed that you could move up and down with buttons, and my own tv. Of course.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! hahahah i remember toby LOVING the hospital bed. couldn’t have been more excited about that.

  62. Ariel says...

    Good luck! Any way you decide to introduce them will be great. We had a brand new hot wheels and a lollipop waiting for our older son in the baby’s bassinet in the hospital. It was exciting, but what he loved more was climbing in bed with me and his new baby brother and holding him tight. Amazing how hot wheels and candy actually pale in comparison to a new live little being.

  63. Rachel says...

    These stories are all so sweet and are making me very emotional! My second son was born at home in the middle of the night after a whirlwind 1.5 hour labor (a story for another time), which my first son, 2.5 years old, slept through completely. So in the morning, when he woke up, my husband went to his room and told him that his baby brother had come in the night, and did he want to come and meet him? Watching him walk into the room with the most awed, excited, yet tentative facial expression & body language is a memory I will cherish forever. We had planned a homebirth and decided to let things be organic and happen the way they felt right in the moment when it came to the meeting of the brothers, which ended up being exactly the right choice for us.

  64. Vicki says...

    When our third son was born, our oldest (aged 4) just stood back and beamed! His face could’ve lit up a stadium! But … he didn’t say a peep. Our two year old climbed up on the hospital bed where I was sitting, holding newborn, and got thiiiis close to the baby and pulled back the swaddle and wanted to see all the baby’s parts!
    I don’t think anyone else has mentioned this, but all of my older mchildren have been freaked out by the giant scab that is the newborn’s belly button! We have to talk about it a LOT!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “We have to talk about it a LOT!” – hahaha kids are so cute :)

  65. Hillary says...

    I am a Labor and Delivery nurse and the most creative intro I’ve seen so far was when two parents dressed up their newborn in a spiderman onesie/outfit in hopes that her older brother would like her. It worked. When asked, I’ve also given advice that I read here awhile back that it may be helpful to have the new baby in the bassinet and Mom’s arms open wide to the older child when they walk in and then introduce them from there.

  66. When my second was born, my oldest was nearly three. I really didn’t plan much at all. I bought him a small lego train “from the baby” to give him at the hospital. My husband brought him and I think he looked at the baby for two seconds before he started playing with the buttons on the hospital bed. He then went with my husband to get Chipotle for lunch and we all ate burritos in the hospital room. There’s a photo of me in the hospital bed with the baby next to me and my older son clutching his wrapped burrito. I really don’t think that I could have planned it in any way that the outcome would have been different. It was what it was. I think most of his memories revolve around the time he spent with my friend who drove up to be with him when I was in the hospital and the time he spent with my husband after she went back home.

    When my third was born, my oldest was 7 and my middle was almost 5. My same friend had come up to be with them. She and my husband brought them over to see me and the baby. My 7 year old was really into it, he held his new sister and brought an older kid maturity to the situation. My middle guy definitely took notice, but really it didn’t last more than a few minutes.

    I honestly think that as parents we tend to hype up and preplan many situations far more than is necessary. This might be one of them. Hug your original kid when they come to visit, let them hold the baby if they are old enough, snap a few photos, and call it a success. It really is what it is and there’s not much you can do to control what happens or what memories your child carries with them through the years of the event. It’s far more precious a moment for the parents than it is for the kid.

    My favorite memory from when my brother was born (I was almost 4) was my dad taking me to pick out flowers for my mom before. Other than a very, very vague memory of seeing my brother in the hospital, that’s what I remember the most.

  67. Amy says...

    This sounds very sweet! Personally, my 21-month old son was going through a challenging phase temperament-wise when his sister was born, and we were about an hour away from the hospital by public transportation, so I decided to introduce the siblings at home. I have a very sweet video of my son gingerly approaching his sister for the first time while my husband held her, and then sitting down next to them while leaning as far away as possible in the opposite direction!

  68. Sophie says...

    Good timing, my #2 is due in four weeks as well! But it’s funny, I haven’t really thought too much about the big first meeting — what I keep stewing on over and over are 1) who will end up taking care of the two-year-old when we go to the hospital and how that will all play out (middle of the night? will she be around while I’m in labor and what if that’s scary for her?)…we don’t have family in the area so will be some combo of babysitters but everyone is available only at certain times and 2) that Uber ride from Brooklyn to the hospital in Manhattan, and whether it’ll be super traffic-y and the labor will be much faster than the first time around, as everyone seems to say. Gulp!

    Regarding the first meeting, one interesting piece of advice I’ve heard from a few parents lately is to not have the big kid come to the hospital unless you’re planning to all go home together — bc imagine how it might feel for him or her to finally be reunited with the parents but then have to say goodbye and leave them with the baby? I think at least for our daughter us being out of sight/out of mind until we’re all reunited for good might be less disruptive for her

    • Claire says...

      I will second the advice to not have the older child come to the hospital unless you’re all going home together. My second baby is a week old today and my parents brought our daughter to meet her new brother the day before we were released. She was thrilled (particularly by the hospital bed and telephone), but had an extremely hard time leaving and a very difficult rest of the day, crying for Mama, when she is normally very independent. Probably depends on the kid, but she is totally fine when we leave her alone with the grandparents for 3 days.

  69. Katherine says...

    When my younger brother was born, I apparently repeatedly told my parents to “take him back!” Now we have a great relationship – it all works out in the end :)

    • Meghan says...

      LOL this is basically what happened between my 2! Older looked at little brother and said, “Nope.” It is all good now thankfully!!

  70. Ser says...

    I’m about to have my fourth baby ( fourth girl!) my other girls are 17,13 and 8. I home birth and my oldest has watched each of her younger sisters be born. Kids accept birth very naturally. I’m also a midwife who has attended lots of birth with kids present. So that’s how my girls have welcomed a new sibling!

    • R says...

      Thank you for sharing your homebirth experiences! I am planning to homebirth again and I know there just isn’t the same space to plan the first meeting. Our first will almost definitely be there the whole time. It’s nice to know we can just let it happen and that kids accept birth so naturally.

  71. Elizabeth says...

    I didn’t know what to expect either, and honestly, I think hoping for the best, and being ok with the worst is a helpful attitude. My oldest son, Jack, was (still is) very attached to me, so I had my husband hold my youngest son, Griffin, when my in-laws brought him to meet the baby. He came in, walked to me, looked around the room and bee-lined for Griffin. It was the sweetest thing. He couldn’t wait to hold him, so we put him in bed with me and let him cuddle his new baby brother. He even kissed his head. It was one of the best moments of my entire life.

  72. ellen says...

    best thing we did was have a book for the big to read to the little- one of his favorites- we put the baby on his lap and he read to his sister just like we had read to him over the years… great way to say hello- and also a great photo op! Now as a nurse I get so happy when I see the sibs in the elevator on the way to meet their new family member- I always offer lots of kudos and kindness- and gratitude for the caregiver who is bringing them along on this very important mission

  73. valeria says...

    That’s how it went for us. My older son, who was 4 years old at the time, wanted to put in my hospital bag two giraffes from his plastic animals collection, for me to not feel lonely without him and to give me strength and courage. It was such a tender thought from him and, for me, the proof that sometimes, as parents, we have to calm down asking ourselves a million times a day if we love enough our children, if we have done enough, how we could do better, how we can arrange everything to make them feel loved. And protected. And loved and protected a bit more. Sometimes, we just have to let our children love us and deeply enjoy their love and the countless sweet, magic, inspiring ways they love us and just be grateful for that.

    What more can I add? That when they met it was the sweetest moment in my life, of course; that the little one was in the bassinet next to my bed as in hospitals here in Milan, Italy, is quite common to have your baby in your room; that the big brother, after a good half hour under a spell (silent, big eyes on his little brother, shy smile), took control of the camera and so now we have tons of funny pictures of that day from 1 meter tall perspective; and that, finally, he took control of the folding bed command, making me go up and down and fold, totally helpless and suffering after a c-section, but so happy that I laughed with him all the time!

    • Justine says...

      Aw this is so sweet Valeria.

  74. Corinne says...

    We have such a sweet and unexpected memory with my third. When my sister arrived with my son (3.5) and daughter (2) to meet their new sister, my husband happened to be out of the room. Not quite the family reunion I had pictured. But as soon as he stepped back in the room, our oldest shouted, “DADDY! There’s a BEAUTIFUL baby in here! Look at the beautiful baby!” All the tears of course!

  75. So many sweet ideas here.

    We did the hospital thing and it was totally sweet. Mine were only 19 months apart though, so it was kind of like… babiez meeting babiez.

    One thing that floored me though… once I came home from the hospital, I looked at my older daughter (my original baby), and was just so taken aback that she’d never seemed so BIG, but she’d also never seemed so BEAUTIFUL. She was just all of a sudden such a more fully formed/developed human that I’d ever thought in comparison to a newborn. It was stunning.

    • ceciel says...

      I’ve had the same experience with my 1st and 2nd…their legs just seemed soooo long compared to the new baby. Maybe that’s why my 3rd (who is 3 and older than the first two when a new baby came along) still seems quite little to me. I do love reminiscing about the newborn stage and the sibling adjustment. It all feels so nostalgic. But yes, the anxiety was so present too. Love to you all.

  76. Amanda says...

    We were more nervous for our almost 3 yr old to meet her sister. She was curious in the hospital but when we all came home, we threw her a big sister party. Cake and balloons too! She loved having the attention! We also got her something small from her new sister. She still remembers that part.

  77. Kate says...

    We had the sweetest time when our 2&1/2 year old met his newborn sister. My biggest memory of it though was about 1 hour in, looking at my husband and saying ‘wow this feels kinda full on doesn’t it’!

    There and then the feeling of having two children to care for and that balance/juggle/insane multi-tasking (which I think is not discussed an awful lot) really hit me. I don’t think i’ll ever forget it. They’re now 3 and 9months and it’s still pretty crazy. Please tell me I’m not the only one who felt 1 to 2 children was more life changing that 0 to 1!!!

    Hey from the UK! Kate x

    • Vicki says...

      I have five, aged 8months up to ten, and by FAR the hardest was going from one baby to two babies! You are not alone! But it keeps getting better and better ;)

    • Allison says...

      I totally felt that as well! Our first was an easy baby and our second… not so much… which probably had something to do with it!

      10 months was our sweet spot (where things finally started to get a bit more sane) so you go this!

  78. Joanna says...

    Our son was also 4 and very excited when we had our baby last April. We had him pick out a present for the baby in advance (and he picked one the baby could give to him). He came after school, we immediately let him touch and hold our daughter (no fear or hesitation). I wouldn’t overthink it too much. The nice thing about the age gap is that they get it more than, say, a 2 year old. I think your self-regulation is more important than setting the stage for the meeting: like, yes, my 4 year old kind of smelled like sweaty kid and sunscreen after a full day of school but, no, that wasn’t a reason to get in the way of him meeting his sister. When we went home, I picked activities that were manageable for me to do: bathtime with him where I could just sit there, painting his nails, a quick playground trip after a few days. And biting my tongue when he wanted to help with her and wasn’t doing it exactly right. That’s the most important thing!

  79. Hannah says...

    My little sister was born when I was 7. When my dad tried to get me to go to the hospital, I said “nah, I’ll see her when she’s home.” I just couldn’t see what all the rush was about since I knew I was going to have her permanently (kids!). Many years later, we are best friends, so don’t worry if it’s a little rocky at first.

  80. Christina says...

    I have a 4 month old daughter, and my first baby girl, Kate, was 2 years, 10 months when the baby was born. I stressed about this too and made a plan. I did NOT plan for the waterworks and emotions when it was time to go to the hospital at 6:30 am and I had to leave a sleeping toddler behind. I stood over her, watching her sleep, loving her so hard, with the tears streaming, imagining how her little life was about to be rocked and hoping all would be well.

    In the weeks leading up, we bought big sister books and started reading them every night and talked about baby sister all the time. Someone gave me the tip to make sure that when Kate came to the hospital, my arms were open to greet her, which I felt was really important. My husband texted me the heads up that they were coming, and I made sure baby was in the bassinet so my arms were wide open for Kate when she arrived. I also asked all the grandparents and other visitors not to be there so it was just our little family time and I could focus on Kate and her reaction without everyone there for the new baby. I had bought her a new stuffed bunny, an “I’m a Big Sister” book that came with a necklace that looked like a pink Olympic medal with “New Big Sister!” on it. After the big greeting, she got to meet baby sister by my holding her up to peek in the bassinet and then she got her presents from her new sister to unwrap. We made a big deal about how excited the new baby was to have her as a big sister.

    I just focused on Kate for as long as she wanted me to, let her tell me about her day and loved on her, before I asked her if she wanted to see baby sister again. Then I got her out and held both of them and we went from there.

    For the first few months, she cycled between being interested, ignoring baby sister completely, and some small signs of jealousy. She regressed completely in her potty training, which I’m told is normal, and wanted to sleep in our bed since baby sister got to be there. She wanted me to hold her all the time and became a more clingy than normal. We just weathered it. I held her as often as I could, reassured her constantly, and made sure to carve out time just for her.

    Four months in, and she runs over when baby is crying and pats her belly and says “that’s ok, baby.” She runs over to get baby’s binky and covers her with a blanket, asks to see her first thing in the morning, and tells her she loves her. “That’s my sister!” she announces proudly. Oh my gosh, Lexi, it is so good! Hard, but so, so good, which is pretty much the parenting motto. Enjoy!

  81. I wish I had a sweet story to share like so many of you have, but our reality was a bit different. Our daughter came to the hospital with her grandparents. We were all so excited. When she got into the room, she burst into tears and screamed so badly we sent her new brother to the nursery. Nothing would calm her; we eventually decided it was best to have her leave. I’m not sure if it was the hospital environment (she was 2 years old) or what, but it was stressful for us all. I think, in retrospect, we should have simply brought him home and let her take in the new family member in a place she felt safe and secure. I’m glad my story is the minority. :)

    • Amy says...

      This is exactly what I was scared of! I had my kids meet at home.

      I hope it got better for you quickly! And I bet that lots of others have had that experience.

  82. Kathryn says...

    Someone else was holding the baby when my oldest came into the hospital room. That was very helpful and my son was super excited to meet him! The thing I wish I had done was make myself look more like…myself, when he saw me. I was a mess from labor, in a gown, hair crazy, hospital bracelets, the whole deal, sitting in a hospital bed. It scared my 2 year old for him to see me in such an unfamiliar way. I wish I’d taken a few minutes to look more like his mama and def not sitting in the hospital bed when he came in. But! That’s just my kid. Plenty of kids don’t notice that stuff one bit. :)

  83. My husband Sam is a child therapist and had a very strong opinion on how we conducted the introduction.

    Like your friend suggested, we had baby Phoebe taken out of the room before our 3 year old Felicity arrived. Then we brought Felicity in the room, set her up on the bed with us and explained she was about to meet her new sister. A nurse brought Phoebe in and we introduced them.

    Sam said this made Felicity feel like she was an insider welcoming in a new family member, vs. an outsider coming in to find a new person taking her parents’ attention away.

    For what it’s worth, we never had a conversation with Felicity about how baby Phoebe was going to require a lot of time and attention, and how she would have to share mommy and daddy with her. We just went on, like, “This is life now,” and she never questioned it.

    Phoebe is 8 months old now, and we’ve never had any significant behavior issues with either of the girls, and they love each other to death! Best of luck with your boys!

  84. Ali says...

    My absolute favourite memory is when my boys first met their little sister. Our eldest son was over the moon and it was love at first sight for him, our 3 year old son was trying very hard to not be bothered or the least bit impressed by his new baby sister.. but then he looked down and was like “ooohhhh!!! look at its little toes!!! and its little fingers!!!” and in that moment he just completely melted! Little sis has had both of her big brothers wrapped around her finger ever since ;-)

  85. Emily says...

    I like your nursery idea, but just in case the timing doesn’t work out make sure you are available for the oldest with both arms free for a big hug. You don’t want it to seem like his spot has been taken. My daughter made birthday cupcakes with my Mom before coming so she had something she was very excited to bring and share, too. Then we all sang “happy birthday” and had cake! And of course bring a present from the baby! Who doesn’t like a present. My daughter still pulls out her doctor’s kit (which was a hit in the hospital!) and says baby brother got it for her.

    • Lisa says...

      We hatched a similar plan and it worked out well. Our older son was 3 when little brother arrived and old enough to get a thrill out of birthdays. He went to stay with my parents when I went to the hospital and they baked a birthday treat for his new little brother. When he came to the hospital to meet him, my husband stayed in the room with little brother so I could walk downstairs and give now big brother a big hug. We then walked upstairs and had a birthday party. He was thrilled and remembers his brother’s “first” birthday to this day. (And I was lucky to enjoy a homemade treat after labor!)

  86. Carole says...

    We made sure that the baby was at the nursery when his 6 years old big brother arrived to visit me. I also had placed some photos of my oldest son on my nightstand, and another one in the baby’s crib, and he was actually really moved by this. He was so scared that I had forgotten him, and between the photos, the fact that the baby was not in my arms when he came into the room and that we had as much special time as he needed before meeting his brother really helped. I hope that this helps!!! Carole

  87. Kate says...

    I still remember meeting my sister for the first time when i was nearly 3. My dad painted my nails for the first time ever and did little pigtails. I wanted to look good to meet my future best friend!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      That is so cute, Kate. When I was born, my then five-and-a-half year old sister got to talk to my dad on the phone (he was at the hospital) over the loudspeaker so her entire elementary school could hear about the new baby, her name and hair color. Later that day he picked her up from school and and brought her to the hospital to meet me and she always says she remembers it like it was yesterday. :)

  88. Whitney says...

    Our 2 1/2 year old hung out with us most of the afternoon the day after the baby was born (our family wasn’t in town yet and we only had childcare for the morning). It worked out really well that she got to take a nap with me in my hospital bed and get some good snuggles in after meeting her baby sister. I also love the memory of the 4 of us going home together for the first time. Having grandparents visit for the first two weeks was also a huge help because having a newborn around is pretty boring :) She definitely went through grandparent withdrawal when they left.

  89. My son got a sticker from the hospital that said “I’m a big brother today!” So that was a big deal (he was 2). My daughter “brought” him a special gift, and they were mostly fine. He used to telling “THE BABY IS CRYING!” For about a month.

  90. Catherine says...

    I just asked my 6 year old how she felt meeting her baby sister in the hospital and I was actually surprised at her answer…
    “I just wanted to see you! I missed you at home so much so I just wanted time with mommy to snuggle and chit chat. So yeah I would like it if the baby wasn’t in the room until I could have mommy time, then once I ask to see the baby then we could bring her in.” (Makes so much sense looking back!)

  91. Mama says...

    Mainly just wanted to say, like with all things motherhood, I thought this through a million different ways and in the end it just was what it was. Baby had had a scary rash and was whisked away to the SCBU for testing, it was all a bit stressful, when Toddler finally got to come and visit I was just so glad to see him after 48 long horrific hours apart and so relieved that both my boys were actually fine and healthy (rash unexplained!!) that it just kind of…unfolded organically. I remember baby was lying in the crib when big brother arrives, I knew I wanted my arms free to snuggle toddler, but other than that we just followed his lead. He went straight over to say hi gently then jumped straight up into an armchair and demanded he be put on his lap…so that’s what we did!
    Enjoy every second, it’s nuts how your heart cracks open all over again for a newborn, then cracks open all over again looking at your firstborn as a SIBLING… the love in the room goes mentalist xxx

  92. Christy says...

    The hospitals I have delivered at do not have a nursery. But my mom was able to fly in and brought #1 to see #2. Have the cutest pictures of them together.

  93. Estela says...

    Sounds like a cute idea! We had a small slice of cake and sang “Happy Birthday” to the new baby together with my older daughter when she came to meet her. The older one LOVES birthday so loved the singing and enjoyed not having to share the cake with her new baby sister. We also took a picture of me with my older daughter with us to the hospital. That way, when she came to the hospital we could explain to her that she was always with us/we were always thinking of her.

    • Amy D says...

      Oh! I’m due soon and am going to use the Happy Birthday cake idea! So cute!

  94. Carly says...

    I just did this a few months ago! We had the baby in a bassinet when my almost 2-year old came to the hospital. We got her a gift from her new brother, which distracted her for a bit. She did great, until he cried and needed to be fed. Then she WAILED, like ‘this is my mama, not yours!’ When we got home though she was really sweet with him and just keeps falling more in love. In short, if it’s a disaster at the hospital, don’t stress- it gets better quickly!

  95. K says...

    Our second child was born the day before big brother’s third birthday. I was so concerned he wasn’t going to feel special enough. I couldn’t really plan on how his birthday would play out not knowing what day was baby day. I baked his birthday cake earlier in the month and put it in the freezer and when contractions started I quickly whipped up a butter cream and sang ‘happy birthday’ before I was off to the hospital.
    Big brother came to the hospital to meet his new brother on his birthday. We gave him his presents and made him feel as special as we could. He may have been a little freaked out about the baby creature in the room but 2 years later he still remembers his presents from that wacky birthday party in the hospital!

    • Joanna says...

      This cracked me up! Buttercream emergency while in labor! You rock!

  96. R says...

    That’s exactly what we did and it worked out well. Once we were all in the room though my daughter didn’t have a lot of interest in the baby :) but she was excited about picking him up from the nursery!!!