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. Lisa says...

    I went through this two months ago!
    My first concern when I found out I was pregnant was what it would do to our son – hes still little (there’s a 21 month age gap). It’s been touch and go.
    The suggestion of not holding the baby when the older sibling meets them is a great one – that was my plan, but they arrived while I was holding the baby and the look of betrayal on his face was tragic. I quickly handed the baby over to my mother in law and gave him a hug. He also got a car and a book about trucks (he’s OBSESSED with vehicles) from baby, which he loves.
    He’s adored baby from the beginning but at times acts out. I can tell he misses spending time alone with me (which I try to do as much as possible), like putting him to bed or giving him a bath. He has also regressed in some areas. He always wants to sleep in our bed and last night spent the whole night touching me in some way, like holding my hand or trying to lie on top of me.
    I’ve find it hard emotionally, feeling so split between the two of them. But – seeing them together is the sweetest thing, and there is nothing better than cuddling my two babies

  2. Abesha1 says...

    Older brother (3.5 yrs) watched the birth, and was totally fascinated. Remember, they’re used to being matter of fact about bodily functions! And no, that’s not only possible for home birth, you can make it happen in hospitals too. You do want to make sure they have an adult available to them no matter where you give birth.

    We never used the “J” word (jealous). We asked others to avoid it, and we didn’t even think it; it’s not been an issue.

  3. Annie says...

    We actually didn’t have my son come to the hospital to see the new baby. We didn’t have family close at the time so he stayed with some friends for two nights. We came back home and my husband picked up our son. When he walked in I was on the couch and baby girl was in her bassinet. He was only 23 months but he barely wanted anything to do with me and was instantly obsessed with our new baby. Introductions when they are that close together don’t seem like a big deal, but I was very conscientious about spending time with him every day. Just 20 min a day down on his level doing whatever he wanted to play made all the difference in the world in how kind and accepting he was any given day.

  4. Naomi says...

    We just had our 4th child 6 months ago and have had a similar little routine with each new baby. My Mom has been sweet enough to bring the big sister/brother to the hospital. They get to choose their favorite dress or outfit for a special occasion and when they get to the room each child gets to hold the new baby oldest to youngest. I always pack a little baby brush and the children brush the hair of the new baby. They love it and the new little one sleeps through the whole experience. The baby gives a special gift to each of their big siblings and the older siblings each choose a gift for the new baby and they exchange gifts. It has been so sweet to see each new baby accepted into our family with so much love by every older child. Our little 3-year-old kept telling the new baby Lucy each time she cried, “oh Lucy, Lucy it’s so hard for kids when they are babies!”. He has such empathy and kisses her all the time! She is so lucky to have such loving big sisters and big brother. We hold them a lot when the baby is born and take them on individual little outings to help them know they are still loved and important.

  5. Lindsay says...

    As you are about to go from having one child to 2, I wanted to share a piece of advice I got from a dear friend who is mom to 6. If anyone knows about how siblings interact, it’s her. She said…

    When her kids fight she tries carefully not to place blame. Often she’ll assess the situation and say “You’re both wrong. Work it out.”

    I know this doesn’t exactly speak to the moment when your son will meet his new sibling, but I think it’s imprtant to remember it’s beneficial to create an environment where they’re both being heard. Rather than falling into a pattern where one is the victim and one is the wrong-doer. Seems silly to think of that now with an infant, right?

    My kids argue NON STOP. It can be exhausting to navigate this period of their lives. This bit of advice has helped to alleviate conflict.

    Enjoy your new little one. Savor these special, fleeting moments. Your big guy will need you more as you all transition, although it may seem like the baby does ;)

    • Lisa says...

      My friend said something similar – she and her brother are really close and she asked her mother how she managed that. What she did was any time they had a fight, she didn’t apportion blame and made them work it out themselves. They were also treated as a team. I hope to follow this advice as it sounds great!

  6. Leigh-Anne says...

    i brought my daughter along to every prenatal appointment, except my non stress test after we were over due. our midwife was amazing an included her in everything! she seemed to have a surprisingly good grasp on what was happening. she was 2 1/2 when her brother was born. she brought a birthday cake to the hospital for him, and he brought her a gift as well. he was, and continues to be her baby. i am so, so thankful to have them both!

  7. Ragna Vranken says...

    Hi,

    I’m now 33 weeks along in my second pregnancy. Our eldest (a girl named Taro) is 4 years old. I loved reading all these tips about introducing siblings to each other. Really helpfull, so thanks!

    By the way, good luck to you, Lexi!!

    xxx, Ragna

  8. Katherine says...

    This sounds like a great plan! I am due with twin girls in 7 weeks and also have a 3-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl. For my older two I just ordered these lakeshore alpha-bot toys (amazon!) as a “gift” from the babies. I hope when my 3-year-old is getting antsy they will keep him busy in the hospital room for a while longer. And help him in loving the babies ;) Plus I had my son “give” his older sister a gift as a newborn and she still talks about it. Best of luck!

  9. Carrie says...

    I have nothing to add to the conversation as I’m a yet-to-be mom, but I just wanted to say how much I love reading all these sweet comments. You mamas are just wonderful! So much consideration and love went into planning these moments, it’s beautiful :)

  10. Jessica says...

    It depends on how old the child is. My oldest wasn’t even 2 when our second was born. Honestly, he was just confused about why I was in a hospital bed. He had mild interest for the baby and the present we gave him was treated like any other toy. When our third arrived, the older two were 4 & 6. They were so excited. They would have been gutted if the baby wasn’t in the room when they arrived. We didn’t to presents and they were fine without. They excitedly took turns holding their brother. And their favorite part was being there when the pediatrician came in. He let them help with the check up and it was really cute.

  11. Chelsea says...

    they definitely don’t have nurseries anymore in Seattle hospitals! I did make sure my 2nd was in the bassinet and not in my arms when my first came to visit the first time.

  12. Having the baby waiting in the nursery is a great idea, if that doesn’t work, at least try to have the baby in the cradle next to your bed. My older kids wanted to crawl into my arms and be held, it helped for them not to see ‘their place’ filled with the new baby! Good luck!

  13. Dana says...

    Congrats on the growing family! My 2 and a half yo was staying at my MIL’s. After baby sister was born, my MIL and my older daughter stopped by the grocery store and picked out one of those “its a girl!” Balloon on a sticks. My older daughter gave it to baby sister when they met. It was a big hit! The meet up was so cute. My oldest wanted to hold her sister (via daddy) and while I took a video with the flash on (accident) my 2yo covered her sisters eyes and said “too bright, too bright and kept showering her with hugs. So glad I got that on film:)

  14. Alice says...

    My eldest was 23 months when he met his little brother. My mum and dad brought my eldest in, and my husband introduced them, my eldest loved it, was so fascinated by his toes and the tininess of his brother – he kept giggling and was just in awe! Then my eldest came for a cuddle with me, which was the first time I touched either of them since they met. Though honestly we just all went with it, it was fairly unplanned. My mum was a great soother, it’s good for your eldest to have someone in that role.

    It was a beautiful moment, BUT if my eldest had slept badly, had an odd day at nursery, or tripped on his way in the whole thing could’ve played differently! I guess what I’m saying is, it’s good to think about the logistics but you can’t plan for every eventuality! I have several really precious memories of firsts: arriving home, the first time my eldest held his brother on my lap, and the first time they shared a bath. You will have so many you won’t even be able to choose!

    We did read There’s Going To Be A Baby before hand, a lot! And I gave my eldest a doll that he practiced dressing, those things definitely helped.

    So excited for you, what times of love you have ahead :)

  15. LM says...

    My advice is to stop thinking so much about the moment and just let it happen organically. My 2.5 year old stayed with my parents at our home near the hospital. The day after she was born, my husband went home and got the toddler and brought him to our hospital room. We had some train toys for him sitting out on the chair. But “the moment” was basically him just running in the room, saying hi mom, grabbing the trains and playing with them, and generally being confused by the surroundings. The baby was in the bassinet and the toddler was probably in the room 15-20 minutes before he even noticed the baby. I was happy at the time we didn’t push it or try to make a big emotionally packed moment out of it. It feels big on its own and you are mostly just happy to have everyone in the same place for a bit and to see the older kid. If I had expectations about how it was gonna go, I probably would have been let down by the toddler’s lack of excitement. Relax, it will be wonderful no matter what!

  16. Sarah W says...

    My first thought reading this was that the hospital I gave birth in did NOT have a nursery for healthy babies. Only newborns needing extra care (or when the mother needed extra care) got to go. The only time the hospital staff watched our baby was to give her a bath, and I remember closing my eyes for that 20 min. Otherwise, yes, I did watch the baby all night in the hospital and didn’t sleep a wink. I didn’t realize hospitals still do have nurseries that will allow any parent to get some extra rest – I’m definitely shopping around for that when we have another baby!

  17. Irati says...

    I think the mission is a great idea! Our hospital didn’t have any baby nurseries (babies stay with one of the parents at all times) so better check it out first.
    I’ve always heard that it’s best that the newborn is not in the mother’s hands, when the older sibling makes first contact.
    Good luck!

  18. Sarah says...

    It’s such a special time, but admittedly I found it very emotional and 6 months later it’s still a blur. An intense labour, a 2.5 year old missing mummy, a “big sister” balloon that was accidentally let-go and floated away (cue tears), a fall off the hospital bed (the 2.5 year old) that resulted in smashed phone and a hysterical Mummy as I thought the sound of the phone smashing was her head on the floor! We arrived home, I burst into tears, and we promptly all came down with Influenza A. Except the baby. She just had jaundice, a big bruise on her head from delivery, and reflux. I’m typing this and shaking my head at the sheer chaos of that time, but I wanted to say that whatever happens it’s sure to be every emotion you could imagine. Don’t be too hard on yourself to create a perfect experience. Good luck in welcoming your beautiful new girl to your family!

  19. MJ says...

    I just went back and read Joanna’s post of Toby meeting Anton and we did/experienced many of the same things. When it’s all said and done, I spent a lot of time before and after the baby arrived mentally prioritizing my older son’s adjustment and behavior, and now that we’re 4 months in – a brief time span, but feels like a lifetime ago – my older one has stepped into his bigger kid role in such a graceful, beautiful way and we have a smiling, sturdy little chunk of a baby (which makes the not sleeping more acceptable), and I realize those consuming worries were fleeting. A suggestion I liked: keep older kid’s visit to the hospital short and sweet and have a simple, fun activity planned for him after so saying goodbye to mom/dad is easier.
    Lastly I have to share my favorite moment of that introduction day, which speaks to my emotional state at the time of letting go of my family of three to make room for our fourth. My then 28-month-old son arrived to the hospital carrying with care a narrow glass vase holding a single rose. He walked down the hospital corridor towards our room clutching the vase in both hands, eyes downcast in nervous anticipation mixed with concentration, and a hint of stage fright as he passes fawning nurses in this strange florescent, sterile, beeping place. He looked so small, he looked so proud. He gave the rose to me – I think – I only remember hugging him for a long, long time. Kudos, Grandma for facilitating that tearful reunion with my first and always baby boy.

    • Sally says...

      What a sweet boy.

    • Lisa says...

      Oh man I’m tearing up from that

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, what a beautiful moment! sweet, sweet boy.

      also this: “smiling, sturdy little chunk of a baby” :) :) :)

  20. Annie says...

    We were lucky to have our second this summer and luckier that many of our friends also welcomed second babies so that we can all benefit from collective experience. I will say… the hospital stories have been less than perfect. Lots of tears and confusion. For many families all four family members ended up in tears! Haha. I don’t mean to be discouraging. Just to say; know that, if all isn’t as you hoped, you’re in good company. There have been many moments since when we have all experienced beautiful sibling moments. In our early life-with-two days, our oldest popped the pacifier back in for the baby before we noticed she (the baby) was missing it. As a pacifier fanatic herself, she recognized this importance. That simple moment of thoughtfulness and protection felt especially beautiful. One other thought: I wish that we had better explained why the baby was staying in our room. Before baby’s arrival we read many big sister books. They talked about diapers and crying but never mentioned the fact that the baby must be in mom and dad’s room. One day our daughter sweetly refered to our bedroom as: “Mommy and Daddy and baby Alice’s room” and my heart sunk. Big sister felt left out, alone in her room.
    No matter how the introduction goes, it will be a beautiful beginning to the next chapter. All the best to you and yours. xo

  21. Evita says...

    Before my little son was born, I read Big Sister and You are My First to my daughter (she’s two and half). And on that day she’s finally going to meet her little brother, I asked my husband call me before arrival, and I went to the hallway to greet her. And I held her to see her little brother together. She found him interesting but she refused to hold him or touch him or stay in the same bed at the beginning, but later that day she would go to his crib to check on him and talk to him. She became more demanding for sure, always want to be held, and cry instead of speak when things happened, like a baby, but it would pass.

  22. Kellianne says...

    My children are pretty close together (two under two), so my experience might be too “apples and oranges” to be helpful, but we kept things very simple. My husband had been home with our daughter, and he brought her to the hospital to meet our new son. My husband set Nellie on one side of me in the hospital bed and I held Henry so she could see him. At first Nellie was as interested with the buttons on the bed as she was with Henry, but when she noticed Henry’s TOES stick out from under his blanket–he had her attention. We carefully pulled back his blanket and she pointed out his belly, his knees, his eyes, his fingers. She was so fascinated with his whole tiny body and its relation to hers. Mommy had toes, Daddy had toes, Nellie had toes, and …. the BABY HAD TOES. She was delighted.

    I think these moments go best when we don’t observe too intensely, or put too much pressure on our kids to enact certain emotions–just let them discover this baby.

    Good luck! It will be beautiful or hilarious or both. :)

  23. Claire Walker says...

    So exciting!!! Our second boy is due in two weeks and this “hospital meeting moment” had been something I had been so looking forward to as well…and then we received a note from the hospital last week that they aren’t allowing any visitors under the age of 18 into the nursery ward because of this crazy flu season! I was really disappointed and continue to be even more anxious about that time away since I won’t be able to see our first and I don’t want him to feel abandoned during an already potentially fraught time .
    It feels like one of those many “make a plan, God laughs” moments that come along far too often in this parenthood journey. So, we’re re-framing and looking to have a really nice reunion at home but… I am bummed, no doubt about it. I wanted that hospital bed picture!
    Best of luck, Lexi!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m sorry to hear that, claire! that sounds disappointing, especially after you had daydreamed about that moment. i bet it will be SO lovely coming home, though. maybe your older son can work with an adult to draw welcome home signs or make a cakes. for my boys, at least, they love making a plan and looking forward to it. sending you so much love and good wishes as you bring your baby into the world! xoxo

    • Sally K says...

      All of the hospitals in our area are limiting visitors to immediate family only, no one under 18 and no one with flu symptoms for ALL patient care areas, not just the nursery wards.

      A suggestion: when you take the baby home and see your first boy again, have dad carry the baby.

  24. Amy says...

    Is there still a nursery at the hospital where you’ll have your second? They don’t exist in the city (in Canada) that I had my babies. Unless you or your child have significant heath issues you stay together from birth.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s interesting! i gave birth at a manhattan hospital and there was a nursery. you could send your baby there anytime if you wanted to get some deep sleep for an hour or two; and then you could bring your baby back anytime. i actually really appreciated that because it was very hard to sleep with my newborn in the room — i kept wanting to make sure he was still breathing! and also just gaze at him :)

    • Katie says...

      I am in Southern California and there were no nurseries at my hospital either (other than the NICU). Your child stays with you from birth and there is extremely high security with regards to the newborn.

    • Sarah says...

      THere is only a nursery for the smallest window of time at night in the hospital i gave birth at in cincy. I love my dr group but the hospital experience is just terrible (survived it twice now) because i’m so overwhelmed and exhausted and they won’t take the baby to let me sleep (happy to have him/her brought back to nurse but please take the baby!)

    • I just gave birth two months ago (in WA), and the nursery was only used for babies with serious medical problems. Otherwise, we were never separated from our child. Everything was brought to us, from hearing tests to a pediatrician. I assume this was to avoid any potential baby mix-ups, but we were given paperwork about the risk of kidnapping, and warned about how to identify which medical staff was allowed in our room, so that seemed to be a concern, too.

    • Anne says...

      I had my first baby in 2015 and my second in 2017 and it was such a different experience when it came to the nursery. My first son automatically spent a ton of time in the nursery and sometimes we had to ask for them to bring him back. With my second baby, they would only take him to the nursery when we asked, and once they said no!

    • Tristen says...

      I gave birth at UCSF and there was no nursery! I was like WHAT.

  25. Sarah says...

    I just gave birth 4 months ago to my second. My first was 21 months at the time, and we weren’t totally sure she understood the concept of a baby in mommy’s belly. My mom watched my daughter while I was in the hospital. Unfortunately, everyone had a bad cold when I delivered, so my mom and daughter stayed at home and the two siblings met when I brought the baby home. The one thing that was hard was that I physically couldn’t pick up my older child, even though she could sit in my lap. So when she came bounding toward me, it was heartbreaking to have my husband grab her and say “mommy is recovering.” It was like she thought she did something wrong trying to give me a hug :( There wasn’t any rivalry (yet?!); we just said this is your new baby brother and she was excited from the start to have him with us all the time (at dinner, at bathtime, etc)

  26. Jane says...

    Not sure if anyone’s already given the suggestion, but get a small gift from the baby to the older child. Because obviously your older kid is going to get much less attention for a while, and a small offering might sweeten the deal. The other valuable piece of advice I got before my second child was born is to talk through what you’re doing and occasionally, when you think it’s ok, tell the baby to wait: “Hold on, Baby2, I’m helping XYZ older child right now.” This might be when the baby’s on a play mat and starts squeaking because tummy time is not fun or something like that. The older child needs to get continued reminders that her/his place in your heart is secure.

  27. Taryn says...

    I was really worried about my oldest seeing me in the hospital bed, and feeling like I had “left” her in the middle of the night. (She was 2.5 when her little sister was born.) So when she came to hospital, I made sure to wash my face, and have the baby in the bassinet so I could hold her on my lap and “connect” with her. She came running in, didn’t so much as glance at me, and beelined it for the bassinet. It was all about the baby! She felt like it was “her” baby and her celebration! I think however it goes, it will be a delightful moment. Take ALL the pictures, they are some of the best I have. Congratulations!

    • Sarah says...

      I was so worried about my daughter thinking I left her in the middle of the night, but she totally got it when Grammie explained where I was. The pictures are the sweetest!!! She’s hovering around the pack n play, giving him kisses :)

  28. Lia says...

    Check with your hospital – when we had our twins last year our oldest was unable to visit because it was flu season and kids under 12 were banned. So that was tough. We skyped with her, and her dad went home to see her and showed her pics of the babies. The night before we went in for our induction we had a special big sister party – balloons, cake, some big sister guests, her favorite foods – and inducted her into the big sister club with advice from other big sisters. It was a really fun way to celebrate her and to mark a new beginning (rather than focusing on the end of her time as an only child!). Tearing up now thinking about it…

    • maia says...

      That’s an awesome idea!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that’s so wonderful!

  29. Tera says...

    My son was just shy of 3 when we brought our daughter home. One thing that really helped with the transition was that my husband was able to take the first month off work (he works for a great company with paid paternity leave). This meant that he got to focus on fun adventures with my son, while I focused on my newborn (and my postpartum body) without abandonment guilt!

  30. txilibrin says...

    Not sure about new york but here in boston the nursery closes during the day, so i dont think you can do that. Check first!

  31. Katie Larissa says...

    I had everything about Jeffrey and Jamie’s first meeting planned out…including our plans for who was to come to our house when I went into labor and keep jeffrey (2) while my husband and I drove the 45 minutes to the hospital. BUT I went into labor in the middle of the night and woke up having contractions 3 minutes apart. Aaah! No time for anyone to come…I had to run into our son’s room, pull him out of bed, carry him downstairs while his daddy threw the car seat into place (we had taken it out so his GiGi would have it,) and then my poor Jeffrey was subjected to a middle-of-the night race to the hospital with mama screaming in the front seat. It was so awful. The baby’s head was already coming out when we pulled up at the hospital, so I wasn’t in a state to comfort Jeffrey at all. I just jumped out of the car and started yelling at nurses that my baby’s head was out. Thankfully my husband had called my sister who lived 5 minutes from the hospital and she was waiting in the parking lot to take Jeffrey.
    So, the whole thing started out pretty traumatically for him. Oops. But he recovered quickly, and I just made sure that I wasn’t holding the new baby when Jeffrey came into the hospital room, and I held him in my lap and talked to him before we introduced him to Jamie. Then we had a stuffed puppy for him from Jamie, which he loved. But the real star of the show was the hospital bed that could move! He loved it. Haha. And I don’t think he remembers that traumatic ride to the hospital…but I sure do!!

  32. Meg says...

    The initial meeting of our eldest and his little brother was memorable for sure- we introduced our then two year old to his baby brother and he leaned in for what we thought was a kiss. Nope, he head butted his hours old little brother! They are now two and four and the best of friends. Even if it starts off rocky it doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed!

  33. Simone says...

    When my husband left to pick up our toddler and bring him to the hospital to meet brother, they went and had a special breakfast first (donuts) and when he came into the room, I had the baby resting so I could give him a hug right away. Then he got to hold his baby and he loved it! I had been nervous but it went very smoothly.

    One thing that surprise me was just how big my 19 month old toddler seemed when he walked in. He went from being my baby to the big brother in an instant!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, yes! i felt the same way. three-year-old toby seemed so GIANT after i had been spending two days with a wriggly newborn. :) such a special time, these conversations are making me so moony.

  34. margaux says...

    we read lots of books about becoming a big brother/sister, and that seemed to help prepare my oldest daughter. our favorite was hello baby by lizzy rockwell. https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Baby-Lizzy-Rockwell/dp/0517800748 we also did the ‘gift from your new sibling’ thing. i don’t know if it helped, but we got some cute pictures out of it! one more thing: don’t shy away from hiring a mother’s helper if you’re going to be alone with both kiddos while you’re on leave. it can be quite a transition. BEFORE i gave birth, i found a mother’s helper (an awesome high school senior i found by calling a guidance counselor at the local high school) for after school/dinner/bath/bedtime, and it was the smartest thing i did. she held and rocked the baby while i had one-on-one quality time with my older daughter.

    good luck! it’ll suck at first, but it gets easier. ( :

  35. Lomavistagirl says...

    My daughter was 4.5 when my son was born 6 months ago. My two favorite things we did for my daughter were: 1) We had my daughter draw a bunch of art in advance that we taped to the walls of our hospital room so the baby would see her artwork as soon as he was born (those drawings are now decorating the walls around his changing table), and 2) We promised our daughter that she would be the very first person to hear the baby’s name after he was born. Both made her feel special and part of the experience.

  36. Wow, this post is especially well-timed for me. We’re expecting our 2nd any day now after 4 years of secondary infertility. Our daughter is almost six, and I get weepy thinking about all of us meeting this much-longed for little sister. After thinking about it for years (even when the reality of a second pregnancy was still unreachable), I finally pulled the plug and hired a birth photographer. Of course, everything relies on timing, but I am hoping that our daughter can join us shortly after “our baby” (as she refers to her) is born and we can capture the moment. We’ll see how it actually happens.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, saba, that’s wonderful. wishing your sweet family all the best xoxoxo

    • We are in a very similar situation!! Good luck to you guys!!

      I confess that the “meeting of siblings” has been very low on my list of concerns— my pregnancy has been a rocky one.

  37. Lydia says...

    One of the funniest stories about my husband when he was a kid is when his sister was born. His parents did the gift from the baby since he was not thrilled about becoming a big brother, and he got one of those little cars that he could drive himself. He spent all day driving around in his new car. At the end of the day he went up to his parents and said “okay, I’m ready to return this now so you can give the baby back.”

  38. Emma Nelson says...

    My son was born seven weeks early and my four year old daughter wasn’t able to meet him until he was released from the NICU. As you said, life doesn’t always go as planned, but my heart was- and continues even a year out- to be sad to have missed the sweet post delivery all kids on the bed with mamma moment. Still, it meant so much to see my daughter’s eyes light up with almost an “I know you, little brother of mine” look when she came with us to the hospital to finally bring him home. We gave her a Fujifilm instax mini with loads of film as a gift from him, and she snapped away beginning with our homecoming prep all the way to the big moment when he finally was sprung from the hospital and brought to our little apartment. Those pictures are ones I will always treasure.

  39. Heather says...

    I went through the exact same when my second was due to be born: excitement to meet the new baby but loving having all of my attention and energy devoted to my first (and anxious about change)! When my mother in law brought in my daughter she was excited to see me and the baby and to cuddle but when asked about it a week later, she only remembered that the hospital couch turned into a bed.

    Almost two years later and they are best buddies! We are certainly enjoying a very sweet stage of their bid right now :)

  40. I’ve got only the vaguest memories of my brother’s birth. I was 2 and a half and someone brought me to the hospital to meet him, and gave me a big white stuffed teddy bear. There’s a photo somewhere of him next to that bear, but otherwise that day is a complete blur. I was over 8 years old when my sister was born, and both my brother and I remember the trip to the hospital to meet our sister. We’d been part of the name choosing, so we knew her name already. When we met her she was in the bassinet. We got small gifts (I got a Nancy Drew book) and we hung out for a little while before going home. Congrats on your new baby, and please try not to stress about the meeting of the new little sibling. It will be fine!

    • Aimee says...

      I remember very distinctly that my new sister gave me a wooden puzzle (where you lifted the pieces by these little red plastic pegs) when she was born. That was 43 years ago, and I was 3, so it must have been a really good puzzle for me to still remember it! I got zip when my brother came along five years after that, though, ha!

  41. Kat says...

    I think a lot of commenters covered what I was going to say: that many (most?) maternity hospitals don’t have a nursery anymore. Instead, tend to babies ‘room in’ unless they’re in the NICU. However, I did take the advice of some friends to make sure my baby was in the bassinet when my older son arrived so that I had my hands free to cuddle him before we looked at the new baby together. Good luck! In my experience, having two kids is lots of fun.

  42. MM says...

    Our firstborn was not just 3 yet when we had our second child last fall. I was a bit worried because he could not care less about the baby in my womb. We read ao many books and it still seemed too abstract. Wgen the baby was born we did everything like “in the book”, the baby was in the bassinet when he met his babybrother for the first time, my arms were open for our first child and the baby “had a gift” for him.
    But what really helped was that we had all the visitor ask our first son, if they were allowed to see his brother. So he didn’t feel left out.

    And we always adressed the baby in front of our first son as “YOUR ‘baby’s name'” and he started calling the baby “MY ‘baby’s name'”

    He is still so sweet with his brother who is now 4.5 months old and who still gets all the kisses by the bigger one. And it’s lovely to see how the little one adores his bigger brother.

    Lexi, it will be fine!

  43. Amy says...

    We used this same process for introducing our son to his little brother and it worked great. The baby also had a gift for this big brother, and big brother had already picked out a gift for “our baby.” Just remember that your older son is going to need his mother’s attention a lot over the coming weeks. I didn’t really understand this at the time, but if I could do it over, I would have planned more small slices of alone time with my older son without the baby. This would have helped my husband bond with the new baby and reassured my oldest son.

  44. lomagirl says...

    I didn’t do anything special and we didn’t have any issues. Partly maybe their personalities. My oldest stayed at a friend’s house when I gave birth to her younger brother, and after we got home, the friend brought her back to our house.
    The two of them were already in school when their little brother was born, so we called at 10 pm to tell them the baby was born- our neighbor friend woke her up to tell my oldest daughter, and she didn’t even really remember, but they stopped by the house on the way to school to see the baby, then came home after school and got dressed up to go trick or treating.
    It was all very normal- but sweet and special, too.

  45. I’ve thought about this a little bit since becoming pregnant with my second, but admittedly not a lot, since our kiddos will be quite close together (I got pregnant ON my daughter’s 1st birthday, haha. Be very careful how you and your partner celebrate surviving that first year!). It’s weird to think that my daughter will likely not remember ever being an only child. I kind of assume it doesn’t matter much how we introduce the new sibling, but then again I’m always surprised at how much my toddler already understands at just 15 months. If anyone has any advice about this subject for kiddos who are much younger than four, I’m ALL ears! Two Under Two Club members, I’m lookin’ at you #whathavewedone

    • Sarah says...

      Same thing happened to us, and it is the BEST to have two so close. It’s so much fun. Yeah, it’s a lot of work especially initially and it feels like you get no time to yourself because, newborn sleep schedules. But I never felt like OMG we can’t do this. It really is fun. My first is having a blast, the baby (obviously) comes with us everywhere and she always wants him included (at dinner his pumpkin seat is at the table, at bathtime he lies on towel looking on). She isn’t phased at all. We didn’t do anything special to introduce them.

    • Lisa says...

      I also fell pregnant pretty much on my son’s first birthday. Before baby arrived, I did read him lots of books about being a big brother (like “I’m a big brother” and “what baby needs”). I also wasn’t sure how much he understood, but it seems he did pick up some of it an understands that sometimes mama has to be just with baby, or has to be able to feed baby milk.
      My mother in law taught him a song to sing to baby (which he does every now and then – it’s so sweet!).
      He adores baby, is always trying to kiss her and cuddle her. You just need to make sure they’re not too rough – what actually worked well was telling him to touch baby gently, but also showing him what “gently” means (and then he tried it out on himself)
      He has regressed – wanting to sleep in our bed all the time, being very clingy with me and acting out at times if he feels he’s not getting enough time with me, but then we went through a really rough time when baby arrived. She was (unexpectedly) very ill when she was born, so both of us were in Hospital for 5 nights which was rough on him. I saw him almost every day, but he really missed me and when I saw him I was very stressed out and found dealing with a toddler quite hard.
      Try to keep your toddler’s schedule as much the same as possible and if they’re at daycare / Nursery – KEEP THEM THERE. It means they have somewhere that’s theirs alone, and it gives you a break. Dealing with just one child at a time suddenly feels very easy.
      I’m only 2 months into 2 under 2, it is tough, but they are the sweetest and seeing them together melts my heart

  46. sasha says...

    My oldest was 22 mos when her baby sister was born, at home. She met her while we were both still in the bathtub where the baby had been born. I didn’t put any thought into that moment at all! Big sis just wanted to touch her a bunch. Later we all snuggled in bed and she helped the midwife weigh her and put a diaper on.
    That evening (it was a beautiful mid September warm day), we all walked down to the ice cream shop just a few blocks away, a big treat. The next night she wanted to go again and was quite put out when we said no. She thought it was what we did now that baby sis was here lol.

  47. Maria says...

    We had the baby in the nursery so I could just see our son for a minute. We brought her into the room, and each had a gift for the other. I recommend the toddler gift include something they can easily do there with you- stickers, coloring…he was beyond thrilled to meet baby sister, but then he wanted to sit and play with me awhile before going home.

  48. Nina says...

    I got my children at home. So when I gave birth to my little boy, his sisters (4 and 2 then) where right there with me and my husband. It was just the perfect way for us to meet the new baby – as a family together.

  49. Katie says...

    Congrats, Lexi! When we brought our three-year-old daughter to the hospital to meet her little brother, we made sure someone other than me or my husband was holding the baby. We also chose our words carefully, and made a point to introduce our baby to our daughter saying, “Sammy, this is your sister, Leni. She’s going to teach you lots of things and give you great hugs.” He was the newcomer, not her. I think it really helped her to feel “a part of the crew.” A small change, but important!

  50. Kate says...

    If you haven’t already, watch the episodes of Daniel Tiger getting his baby sister. We watched the episode about meeting the new baby in the weeks before my second arrived and both my son and I LOVED them. My second was a week late and the waiting was hard for all of us! The Daniel Tiger episode helped prepare for that.

    The actual meeting itself still makes me tear up, 3 years later. We managed to have the baby in the bassinet for the reasons others have mentioned. He was just so excited to meet her!

    The next day we went home and had tasked him with picking out a birthday cake for the baby (with Nana’s help). Newborns are pretty boring to toddler aged kids but birthday cakes are universal.

    Congratulations – and good luck!

    • Emma says...

      Lexi – please ignore the part of that episode where Mom Tiger immediately puts on real clothes and walks through the entire neighborhood – singing – the very day she gives birth!

  51. We just went through this transition as a family. It was so beautiful and also really hard! My two-year-old, Myra, ran into the hospital room squealing “new bobby new bobby new bobby!!!” and couldn’t stop kissing her new sister’s head when she crawled into the hospital bed with us. We had Myra spend our final hours in the hospital with us just because we didn’t have child care, and that turned out to be a good way for Myra to become more familiar with the baby on neutral territory. Once we got home, though, she started acting out in ways I hadn’t seen before but that were due to her very real feelings of hurt and jealousy and some loss of our attention and her norms. Our solution has worked fairly well: I still carve out special time with Myra at bedtime, I’ll make sure to proactively put the baby down and snuggle Myra during the day, and we try to involve her as much as possible in caring for the baby. I have started saying “remember, gentle hands, gentle spirit” as she approaches her sister, which makes me sound like a yoga instructor but she definitely understands. It took about a month before she was what I would call comfortable with the baby around, but is now a doting big sis.

    Good luck and stay strong!

    Also, loving all the other comments on this post!

  52. Meghan says...

    My oldest son was 3 when his little brother was born. Because our first delivery was rather intense and we didn’t know what was in store for our second, we decided to have the boys meet at home. We bought two little monster trucks as a present from the baby and my son was so in awe that his little brother got him a gift that it was immediate affection. He still talks about it and he’s now 6. “Remember that time when you gave me those monster trucks?!? How did you know I liked monster trucks??”

    • molly says...

      “How did you know I liked monster trucks?” – Meghan that is so sweet!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, my heart!

  53. Michelle says...

    Our first-born and second-born were 3 and 3.5 when the next baby came along. We did the “gift from baby/parents” and “gift for baby” thing. They were more excited about the gift FOR the baby, than getting one themselves, which was sweet.

    One thing both kids LOVED was that we kept the gender/name a secret (we didn’t even tell grandparents when we phoned) and waited to tell the next oldest child. We then had the kids announce it to everyone waiting downstairs. We also let them phone their aunts/uncles/close friends to tell them “The baby is here! It’s a boy! We named him…”

    Our oldest – now 9 – said she really felt like her little brother closest in age belonged to her since she was a big part of the announcement.

    All the best! IsIt’s such an exciting time for your family!

  54. I’m glad I didn’t spend too long dreaming about it… an emergency c section meant I struggled to move and had a piece of metal in my hand for the drip. My eldest was delighted to see me and ride on my bed but overwhelmed by the baby. The best thing I did was take some duplo as a from the baby gift so we could all hang out together on the bed and play. Don’t put pressure on yourselves. It’s impossible to know how you’ll feel or how your child will react, and it would be a shame to feel disappointed.

  55. Tis says...

    We went to Build-A-Bear a few weeks before my due date and big brother created the perfect bear for the baby. When he picked out the heart and held it in his hands, closed his eyes and made a wish? Oh my goodness!
    Also, once you’re all home and adjusting, be sure to ask the baby to wait from time to time. Big brother isn’t used to sharing you and your time, so hearing you say, “I’m sorry, Baby, you wait your turn please, I have to help your brother,” will (hopefully) help a lot!
    Good luck! The relationship my two have together is possibly my favourite part of this whole thing. <3

    • lomagirl says...

      I did this a couple of times.

    • M.K says...

      We do this too… “remember sometimes I need to help big sister first and sometimes I need to help baby sister first”. It makes it so much easier for my older one when she sees that.

  56. Pascale says...

    We revealed the name we chose for the baby to our 7 year old daughter a few days before my due date. It seemed to be a nice way to include her by letting her in on our secret. Our son ended up being over a week late and we figured all of her classmates and friends (as well as their parents) probably knew the name… but no. She kept the secret and was very excited to meet her little brother.

  57. Rebecca says...

    My daughter was 3.5 and my son three months shy of 2 when my youngest son was born. We spent the last month of my pregnancy looking at photos from the day they had been born, which helped emphasize their role in our family and gave them some special attention. I kept telling them that their baby was so excited to meet them and my husband brought them to the hospital for lunch the day after the baby was born. We all ate french fries in my bed and Lenox Hill gave them each a bag with a coloring book and stickers that said they were a big brother/sister. I think the harder part was a month or so after the initial excitement, when my 2 year old struggled with the new balance of power. Although there were some tears and sadness as we all adjusted to a new family balance, it all equaled out to a bigger and better love.

  58. Y says...

    I just went through this 3 months ago (my older kid is 2), and we followed two recommendations that worked well for us: 1) a small gift to celebrate her being a big sister — a necklace wth her name on it that she adores and 2) Putting the baby in the bassinet for when she actually walked in, then introducing her (as opposed to me holding the new baby when she walked in). We did the whole introduction at home and not at the hospital as I was only there for <24 hrs.

    I will admit I was very anti the gift idea at first, but our daughter talks about the necklace from her baby brother EVERY SINGLE DAY, and I think it made her feel really special.

    We also had grandparents around for the first few days of getting home from the hospital who were able to focus on her while my husband and I were adjusting to the new baby.

  59. I don’t remember meeting my little brother in the hospital (I was 2 and a half), but to this day I love hearing the story about it :) Apparently they let me hold him (sitting on the bed) and I sang him songs for a bit. Then I said “now let’s change him!” hahaha. I guess changing diapers sounded like a fun activity? I’m not sure if my parents had explained things to me or maybe I just remembered wearing diapers and was excited to be the big kid? Either way, so funny.

  60. Capucine says...

    I love that you care deeply about the bonds between all the spirits in your family, bravo mama! My four year old daughter wanted to be there for the birth, so I hired a doula to be with only her so I could say ‘yes’ to her wish. The doula woke her up when I was pushing and my daughter watched, sitting in my doula’s lap. She called out ‘It’s a boy!’. After he was on my chest under a blanket, she held her finger out and nudged his hand and he gripped onto her hand for a long time while he was checked out by the midwives. I remember that very clearly, how everyone navigated around that anchor point between those two. After he was swaddled and we were going back to bed, she sat on the bed holding him, jiggling his body perfectly like she’d seen in the ‘Happiest Baby On The Block’, deep in a trance. She came in every morning begging for him to have skin time on her chest, so I did that as a routine, he loved her heartbeat and would sleep there in peace. So I would say, teach him the ‘magic trick’ of how babies will grip onto fingers, let him watch a few videos with you even if you don’t need it like The Happiest Baby, and let him do skin time on his chest during the newborn days. You’ll know best from his character what aspect of this new being he can most easily, safely click into – for my daughter, it was nurturing.

    • sasha says...

      That’s all so beautiful Capucine.

      I was a doula at a very similar birth, with a big sister on my lap, welcoming her baby sister. She decided she would be a midwife when she grows up. She was so nurturing too, so beautiful to witness.

  61. teegan says...

    Chiming in to say that my second baby “brought” my then 2.5-year-old a toy backhoe he had been wanting, but what surprised me was while I was pregnant and making a baby quilt, the same 2.5-year-old asked to make one himself, so he chose the fabric and the design and “helped” me on the sewing machine to make a min-quilt for his brother. It was super-cute.

  62. Susan says...

    I had the baby in the bassinet to hug my older son (3yrs). He ran right past me looking for his baby. He was super excited to meet him. And my parents brought the baby a small gift that my older son got to hand off and he loved that too.

  63. What a lovely idea! We did a similar thing when introducing our 3 year old to her new sister. Our doula suggested that we put the baby in the bassinet, or have her in the nursury when our bigger one came to visit…leaving our arms and hearts open to her in that moment. Maybe she’d need a hug, after spending an overnight at the grandparents while I gave birth? Maybe she wanted Mama time first? Having the baby in the bassinet or nursery, as opposed to in our arms, allowed her to walk into a neutral scene where she could become a part of it…instead of feeling left out at the get-go. We also got her a “big sister” gift from the baby and my mom & her made a “big sister & new baby bday cake” that we shared together at the hospital….she was super proud of the cake, and it helped include her in the celebration while acknowledging her new role.

  64. Sounds like a great idea! I had a home birth with my second so we didn’t plan anything like this (we did have my son pick out a gift for his baby sister before she was born and she got him a gift, too, I don’t know if it really made a difference, but it was fun). About an hour before she was born I called my mom to come over, hoping my son would stay asleep until after the baby was born. He ended up waking up and coming into the room where I was laboring. He just sat in the corner with one of the midwives, and then my mom when she arrived, and watched while his sister was born. He wanted to stay in the room for quite a while after she was born, then my mom took him to have breakfast and play and he got to hold her a few hours later. It was not what I had planned but since it all went so smoothly it ended up being really special having him there. In almost two years since she was born, I can’t say it has all gone smoothly, but amid the ups and downs they have become good friends.

  65. Maggie says...

    I agree with some of the comments that it’s probably best not to put too much meaning on the moment – it’s really hard to know what the birth will look like, how the baby will be and how big brother will react. The nursery idea sounds nice, especially because it will let your son to take a lot of big things in in pieces – the hospital, mommy as a patient, then the baby. (Our hospital wouldn’t take babies to the nursery unless there was a medical reason.) One thing I wish we’d done a little better was talk to my son ahead of time about how we’d be staying at the hospital and he’d be staying at home with grandparents. It was the first time we were both away from him overnight and I think it freaked him out. All that said, we had my husband pick my son up at day care and bring him to the hospital, and he was sweet with the baby and cuddled with me for a while, and got SO MANY TREATS that day and the next when he came to visit :)

  66. Eleanor says...

    Expect nothing. We actually called off the first visit (daughter is 4) as she had a really rough time with my abrupt leaving when my water broke, we didn’t want her upset when she’d have to leave me again at the hospital. Finally we let it happen and expected a meltdown.. but it was ok. She sat on bed with me, looked at baby, got her gift, and gave baby a kiss after a lot of coaxing. My inlaws kept pushing her to hold the baby and she started getting mad, so she was ready to leave. The real moment happened at home, we put baby in a bouncer and he was sleeping, we went into the kitchen and heard my daughter showing him all her toys while holding his hand. Tears. That was the memory of their first meeting that will stick with me more, just letting it happen vs people trying to force a moment.

  67. Janine says...

    I left the new baby in the hospital bassinette when i was waiting for my older (2 year old) child to come into the room. I hoped that would squash any jealousy of me holding the baby. She completely ignored her little brother so if i had planned to have any sweet moments of them meeting, there wouldnt have been any to capture lol. I guess the real sibling meeting happened at home after a day or 2 when we were discharged. Maybe it will be a different experience for you since your child is 4? I agree with keeping expectations low, they’ll become buddies eventually

  68. Emma says...

    I bought a gift to give from the baby, then my first born said she wanted to get something for the baby (so I immediately repurposed the stuffed animal to be her gift to the baby instead of the other way around). It was great because we said “you have so many stuffed animals, now you get to give the baby its first.” At her bed time stories, we’d tell of going to the hospital and bringing a present and playing the baby its first song (she picked ‘Obla-di-obla-da’) – she couldn’t stop talking about it!

    We did get my first born (2 years old) a few gifts from Mom and Dad (a box of banana bread to bake, a coloring book, etc) that we wrapped and kept on a shelf for her to open as soon I went into labor and her Gram showed up.

    with all that lovely stuff planned – first thing she did when she came in the room was walk right past the bassinet to my tray table & ask to eat my snacks.

  69. Catherine says...

    My in-laws brought my daughter to the hospital, got to my room and I wasn’t there (was getting the once over for bubs so we could go home)!!! So on the verge of tears, they wandered around the ward until they found me when Audrey threw herself towards me. Unfortunately, I was still holding her sister and couldn’t pick her up. This is after she told my in-laws ‘nope, don’t want a sister’ (at 2!) Not the scene I wanted, but a laugh now and she loved her sister once we got home, I think part of it was the weirdness of the hospital

  70. Meg says...

    We had two girls when our third arrived and completed our family.

    We followed through with the gift idea and our little dude had two small Lego sets wrapped and ready when his big sisters arrived. I thought it would help foster a sense of connection (let’s be honest, newborns can appear to be inanimate slugs at times) and curb any jealousies. While I’m sure the Legos helped serve that purpose, I found there was a highly practical benefit to the gifts that didn’t dawn on me until we were in the moment. Once the girls came in and had their first snuggle, they didn’t have much to do except sit around watching everyone stare at the baby a la heart eyes emoji. As others have said, I think it can be overwhelming for little people to be there in that hospital setting – not to mention, boring (cue drawer rummaging, button pushing, hall running, and other stressful shenanigans). My girls soaked in the moment and then took their Legos and played happily for an hour tucked in a quiet corner of the room while everyone visited. It was a blessing for all of us because the time could linger – it was heaven enjoying the moment with family and my two loves tucked away in their carefree make-believe… popping over on their own accord when they wanted another peek at the baby :)

  71. Tristen says...

    I don’t remember meeting my brother in the hospital, though I’m told I did. But, I DO remember the day he came home. My parents put him in my room and said they were going to give us some time alone because we were brother and sister now, and we needed to get to know each other. They suggested I show him my favorite things. Then they left us alone (just for a minute or two), and even though I was only two years old, I remember this powerful feeling of “oh right, he’s MINE TOO.” It was intense.

    My mom also put together a little basket of special new toys that I could only play with while he was nursing, because she’s a genius.

    Congratulations and best wishes Lexi!

    • Michelle Ziomek says...

      I LOVE how your parents let you demonstrate responsibility and ownership so early. I just had my 2nd over the weekend, and am going to steal this idea. Thank you so much!!

  72. S. says...

    I was six when my mum had my sisters. Since she’d a miscarriage the year before, I was told very late that she was pregnant. Probably only a month before their birth, and people who knew would ask me if they could take one of the babies as we’d have two, so “one extra”. They were kidding but that would distress me so much! How could we give one away? Wouldn’t that baby feel excluded and unloved if we did? Heavy thoughts for a small kid! My mum delivered my sisters at hospital while I was home with my gran; my dad was with her. Within 15 minutes of their birth, my dad called up. I was the one who picked up the phone and he said (more or less): “Dadu-u-u-u (singing his nickname for me) you’re a big sister now, to two little girls!” I thought the way he’d said it was so special! Also probably due to the fact he spoke to me first, even before speaking to my gran, his mum. Anyway, just with that call, I felt completely included and couldn’t possibly be jealous. :) My heart still melts when I think of that moment.

  73. Colleen S says...

    I was eight and twelve when my youngest sisters were born. We didn’t do the gift thing, since it was 1992 and 1995 when they were born, and that didn’t seem to be as big a thing as it is now. With both of my younger sisters I would wake up in the middle of the night for their feedings and help my mom. Not stuff that most kids do, but it is funny that I was in school and waking up at two a.m. to help my mom with feedings and take the babies and rock them so she could go pee in the middle of the night.

  74. My helpful tip? Lower your expectations. Not to be horrid, really not, but you can’t know per se what state you will be in, the second baby will be in, if your older child has a stomach-ache, and so on. And hospitals are so weird for most kids they are unlikely going to be in the mood for cute.

    Keep it short and sweet at the hospital, do the real introduction at home.

    • Emily says...

      Ditto! I had really high expectations and wanted that perfect Insta-worthy photo, but my 21 month old was not at all interested in his new sister and just wanted to sit on his grandma’s lap. He also didn’t want to pose for any photos – it was underwhelming. 12 months later, the two of them were inseparable and they’ve been best buds ever since, so it all worked out in the end.

    • Maggie says...

      Totally agree. Also, you can’t manage completely how the older kid will handle it all and like you, they can have vacillating feelings about the whole thing from day to day or hour to hour.

      My oldest son, Jack, was close to 4 when his younger brother came around. Jack is a sweet, emotionally attuned kid and was kinda ho-hum about little brother. Until little brother could walk, talk and steal his toys. He went through an intense dislike of him about 2 years in. But if it helps at all, now they sleep in the same bed (despite having their own rooms) play together, share friends and interests and generally adore each other – with the occasional punch to the face. You just can’t know until it happens.

  75. Di says...

    it is indeed such a big moment but at the same time you can’t over think/over plan it. I was dreaming of this precise moment as well, but then life took over and I ended up having to have a emergency c-section and our little one was admitted to the NICU. When our older one came to visit I wasn’t sure how to explain she wasn’t meeting her brother, but she had a look at my tummy and said “oh he’s still in there” and then proceeded to get busy pressing the bed up and down and meeting all the nurses and wandering the halls. When we were eventually able to introduce them, she instantly welcomed him into her arms and it was a smile like no other. That being said, they are 7 and 4 now and some days I’m not sure if they bicker or hug more. Siblings, it’s a lifetime experience and that first introduction is more important to us parents then it is to them. Just wanted to share our story.

  76. Rachel says...

    I had imagined this moment a million times and was so psyched….but then, I found out when we arrived at the hospital that my older son wouldn’t get to meet the baby in the hospital room. They usually allow it but due to an especially bad flu season they were not allowing any visitors to the maternity ward. Not even my mom could come. I was so disappointed.

    We set up a meeting in the hospital lobby, but it definitely was not the image I had in my mind. I don’t think this is why, but my older son (2 at the time) did have a really hard time adjusting to his new baby brother. We did everything we could think of to set him up well for the transition (my husband even took an extra long paternity leave), but he still struggled a lot and got aggressive with his baby brother. They are good friends now, but I do cringe when people act like/say that if you do everything a certain way it will be perfect.

    Sometimes kids are just really hard and they struggle despite your best efforts. I just wanted to put this out there for anyone who does not experience the “perfect sibling moment.”

  77. Lizzie says...

    When our second daughter was born, my parents brought our older daughter (2.5 at the time) to meet us in the hospital. It was a sweet meeting, but our daughter was a bit overwhelmed by the hospital environment. We are now expecting our third daughter, and at first I was certain we would have both older sisters meet her at the hospital. However, as the due date has neared, we have changed our minds. We’ve decided that it will be less disruptive for the older girls (4.5 and 2) to maintain their daily rhythm with the grandparents and meet their new sister at home when we return. We’ve also decided not to have any hospital visitors at all, because I typically get over-tired from well-meaning visits from family and friends. I am looking forward to a couple of days at the hospital to soak in our newborn with my husband and to focus on my own rest and recovery before heading home.

    A few favorite new baby books for older siblings – “Not Yet Rose” by Susanna Leonard Hill is really sweet, and definitely helpful if you’re planning on the first meeting to be in the hospital. Also “The New Baby” by Fred Rogers – hilariously dated photos, but really lovely for encouraging the older sibling to communicate the range of emotions she might feel when the new baby comes. Also – Janet Lansbury has phenomenal parenting resources (a podcast called “Unruffled,” and a great website). I’ve particularly appreciated her article on life with a new baby: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2013/04/helping-kids-adjust-to-life-with-the-new-baby/

  78. Nicole says...

    I’m pregnant now with my third, but one helpful game I played with my oldest when my second baby was born was “you’re still my baby.” When Mac was sleeping, I would pretend to swaddle and rock and sing to Mikey, who was 2.5 at the time. Somehow, having designated “baby” time with his mama helped him feel like he could be the “big boy” when the real baby was around. And it COMPLETELY cut out the acting out/aggression kind of regression that I’ve heard some older siblings go through. He did not regress in his potty training or try to hurt his brother or anything…

  79. Not exactly related, but do most hospitals have nurseries with glass like you see in the movies? When I had my first, she was in the room with me the whole time except for going somewhere for a few tests, didn’t seem like a nursery was an option?

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Ours did!

    • K says...

      It depends on the hospital! More and more are earning the “Baby Friendly” certification which promotes rooming-in with baby and mom to encourage breastfeeding and bonding.

  80. Kate says...

    Good luck, Lexi! Like you, I thought threw the sibling introduction a lot before #2 was born, but what I didn’t think about was how the afternoon would end. My husband brought my son to the hospital, we also did the find your sister in the nursery game (fun!) and he basically smothered his new sister all afternoon. But, when it was time to leave and me and the baby were staying and he had to go it was heartbreaking. He had to be dragged out kicking and screaming and it was tears all around! Obviously, every child will react differently but I would just think about your older one and how they handle goodbyes…something I totally overlooked!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Oh, that’s so sweet and heartbreaking! Thanks for the tip.

    • Ali says...

      Yes! The best tip my OB gave me was- make sure whoever is taking your older child(ren) home has something REALLY FUN for them to do – your children are not used to leaving both their parents behind, and may not understand why they have to go when it’s clear mom and dad and new baby are staying behind. So, my parents made sure to lure her with ice cream :). We also had great luck with a gift ‘from the baby’ for the older child, and made sure I wasn’t holding the baby when she came in. For reference, my daughter was exactly 2 years old when her sister joined us. I was also so sweetly surprised by how much interest my daughter had in her little sister – she saw her toes, and immediately took off her shoes to compare feet and toe sizes. She was quite alarmed by the umbilical cord stump…

    • MM says...

      That is a great advice! In our case our first child was happy to leave to something fun with the grandparents (my genius parents had promised him to look at the ambulance cars on the parking lot outside – he LOVES ambulances) but I was hit by hormones and cried after my first baby left.

  81. Elizabeth says...

    When our older daughter came to meet her sister in the hospital, we taped pictures of her on the walls and on the baby’s bassinet. I think she was happy to see the prominent place she had in the hospital even though she wasn’t ‘there’ with us the entire time. I highly recommend doing this and the gift from the baby!

  82. Marisa says...

    We had a home birth and our five year old watched her baby sister being born! She loved it. She had the special honor of cutting the cord and she had been practicing her scissor skills for months. As excited as she was about the birth, the most exciting thing that had ever happened in her life was getting to eat chocolate birthday cake in the middle of the night! If your son is as into sweets as my daughter, I recommend celebrating their meeting as a birthday party with cake and party hats. He will be thrilled!

  83. Kate says...

    We decided not to bring our older child to the hospital to meet the new baby and instead waited until we got home to introduce them. We were fortunate to have our first stay with my mom and she brought her over once we were home and settled with our new one. When our daughter came home, we didn’t make a big deal about the baby but made a big deal about HER, we missed her, what did she do when she was at gramma’s house, etc… We let her discover the baby in the swing on her own so we didn’t force the interaction or take any of the attention away from the older.
    We just had our third and did this both times. I also found it may have been a little unsettling for the younger ones, depending on the age, to enter a hospital setting and see mom in bed, possibly still hooked up to IV’s, etc..

    • Tovah says...

      We did exactly this as well. I was in the hospital with the new baby for about 4 days, the longest I’d ever been away from the older child! (Both grandmothers were holding down the fort beautifully at home, with Dad going back and forth.) So when we could finally bring the baby home, my reunion with big brother was absolutely the priority.

    • Nicole says...

      Yes! My oldest one (now 4) still gets concerned about me when he sees pictures of me in the hospital bed when his brother was born. I’m pregnant now with my third and am seriously considering just waiting until we get home to introduce the brothers to the new one.

  84. Thank you for this post, I’ve been wondering the same thing! I have a 15 month old and am not currently pregnant but it is something that my husband and I have been talking about. I have wondered about the dynamic between my first born and future siblings. He loves other kids but I’m sure having to share the attention and his home will be different. I love all of the helpful tips given in the comments!

  85. K says...

    From your last post, it doesn’t sound like your son will be jealous. He sounds like a very emotionally advanced little person.

    I’ve always like the idea that as your belly grows, your heart is also growing (figuratively, of course). I think it would be comforting for a little kid to know that you’re going to love him just as much as you always have and now you have room to love his sister, too.

  86. Ginny says...

    My son (2, almost 3 at the time) was VERY unimpressed with the baby. I think we talked her up so much, about how they would be playmates when they were older and best friends, that he was extremely disappointed to meet her and find that she couldn’t do anything (he tried so hard to make her laugh, to no avail).

    I could sense that my son was very disoriented by the hospital and seeing me in bed (he normally very rambunctious, but just seemed distant), so after we greeted the baby I snuggled with just my son in bed while my husband held the baby, and we watched a peppa pig on the computer and read the book his sister “gave” him. That was the best part for us!

  87. Rachel says...

    I’m confused- why would the baby be in the hospital nursery and not with you? If it is a personal reason please feel free to disregard my question. Thank you!

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Hi Rachel, It probably works differently in every hospital. When I had my first child the baby spent some time (sleeping, mostly) in the nursery so his parents could get some rest too. Joanna had the same experience! Sounds like yours was different. :)

  88. Before my second was born I had my two year old (at the time) son make his soon-to-be baby sister a welcome card, to bring to the hospital. He was really proud to have something to give to “baby girl” when he met her at the hospital. At someone’s recommendation, I made sure to have my new baby girl next to me in the hospital bassinet and not in my arms, when my son first entered the room. After giving his new sister his card, I had the new baby give my son a small gift (a little dinosaur from Toy Story 3, his favorite movie at the time), that he remembered for many years, as the dinosaur from his new baby sister. I found the small gift suggestion a big win for us.

    And most importantly, when my parents brought my son to the hospital they also brought a box of chocolate croissants, which my son very happily joined me in my hospital bed to eat. New toy, chocolate croissant and a new baby! It all made it a happy moment and good memory for my son.

    Good luck and congratulations!

  89. Kelsey says...

    I love the idea of going on an adventure to the nursery. Would have loved that when I had my second baby. Our hospital is small, and doesn’t really do a nursery anymore. The nurses will take your baby for you if you need a minute to nap, but otherwise, babies stay in the room with you.
    When my son came to the hospital to see me, I made sure his baby sister was in the bassinet so that I was free to snuggle him. After he was all set, I let him hold her, instead of just looking at her in my arms. I think it made him feel more involved, rather than just a kid who’s only allowed to look.

  90. Yes! My daughter went to the nursery to bring the baby to my room. She doesn’t remember that part, but she does remember getting a hospital bracelet (a special “big sister” one from the nurses). Hopefully your hospital hands out special big sibling bracelets. Also, make sure to get the older kid a haircut before meeting the baby! I’m not big on appearances, but I wish I had thought to make her look nice, knowing how many photos we would take of them together.

  91. Lorraine says...

    We did the gift thing – it was sweet and I think my son really loved it. He was 3.5 so had a good sense of what was going on, but we basically didn’t push things. He kept his space from his baby sister that day and for a good few weeks really. Now (at ages 5 and 1.5) they are best buds and squabbling siblings too.

  92. Jen says...

    We welcomed our second eight months ago, and our son (three at the time) took to her immediately. He was at daycare when she was born (whew!), and when my husband went to pick him up from school to meet “his baby,” he had a new pair of “big brother” scrubs to put on. He still wears them to bed. At the hospital, the baby gave him a camera, which he used to document the afternoon from his perspective. We are lucky to have grandparents in town, and so my son got to leave the hospital when he was ready and have a fun spend-the-night party at my parents’ house where he was showered with love and attention. Best of luck. Enjoy!

  93. shannon says...

    Something I was told that I did – and it was a good idea…make sure someone in the immediate family (dad, for example ) brings the big sister/brother to the hospital after the baby is born, not a babysitter or grandparent. It’s important that big sibling not feel like the 4th wheel when being introduced to their little brother our sister.

    Also, I do like the idea of the baby “giving” a present to the big sibling. They obviously don’t get that the baby didn’t “get” the present, but it’s a small way to refocus some attention on them, especially as they’ve been used to 100% of moms & dads attention thus far…

  94. That’s a super sweet idea if your hospital still has a nursery! My hospital didn’t, so that wouldn’t have been an option. But, I do think one on one time would be a lovely thing for your older son…including meeting the baby. Maybe he meets the baby and then he can walk with you (if you’re feeling up to it, or get someone to help push your wheelchair…also kids love wheelchair rides:)) to get a snack or treat at the hospital cafeteria/restaurants?
    Receiving a gift from baby is sweet, too. Remember that kids around this age also want to feel like they have a job, so maybe having HIM prepare and give a gift to baby will help him feel like he’s the big brother welcoming to the family. More thoughts in my blog post: http://unwaveringfable.com/2016/10/17/5-ways-to-prepare-older-siblings-for-a-new-baby/
    Best of luck to you!

  95. When I was born and my dad brought my then 2-year-old sister to the hospital to meet me, she cried hysterically and threw a fit, and he had to take her out to ice cream to get her to stop crying. And there are photos of my first Christmas 6 months later, when she’s making sure she has all the toys and I have none. She was never into me as a baby, but it didn’t take long for us to become best friends and we still are today!

  96. When we introduced our daughter Eloise to her new little sister, it was at the hospital. My mom brought Eloise in and I made sure to not be holding the baby, but waiting in bed with open arms to give a big mama hug! My mom took that time to meet the new baby and my husband and I got time with our oldest daughter. And then we have Eloise a present from her new little sister, and Eloise gave her sister a present too (one that she had picked out a few weeks beforehand). And then it was the big meeting. I had Eloise sit with me in the bed and then she got to hold her sister for the first time! And it made for some great photos, so be sure to have a camera ready!

  97. CLF says...

    Congratulations, Lexi! I went through exactly the same thing–excitement mixed with a tinge of sadness that things would never be the same, and that I would have to share my love with another child, made me feel a bit heartbroken at times for my son (the oldest). I tried to overthink things to death, but in the end I was got tired of thinking about it all. The only thing I did actually plan, was the gift my daughter gave my son at the hospital (his birthday happened to be the day after she was born! Talk about tricky business). In the end, I went with my feelings in the moment, and it all went perfectly fine, and my son came bouncing in with his own gift for his baby sister (thank you grandma) and ate all of the snacks at my bedside while staring down in awe at his new baby sister in my arms. It’s a transition, but take it day at a time, and try to be in the moment (instead of 10 steps ahead of yourself) whenever possible. You will rise to the occasion and at some point, it will feel like this is how it’s always been and you can’t imagine (or remember for that matter) how life was before you had two absolute loves of your life in your world! I wish you the very best wishes possible and send you lots and lots of love.

  98. I’m due on Friday. We received this advice which we will follow: say goodbye to your older child at the hospital before the baby is born, instead of at home. The first time they walk into a weird room with wires and beeps, it isn’t to meet the baby. Some said seeing mom in a hospital bed made their child timid or scared, and associated the baby with those emotions. We’re planning to have our daughter come with us to check in, look out the windows, check out the robe Mom has to wear, then go home with grandparents until it’s time to come meet the baby. We’ll see how it goes! But it really does make so much sense (since it will be her first time in a hospital room).

    • Claire says...

      Gosh….i don’t think this would have worked for us. My waters broke at home, i contracted in the car and the littlest brothers head was out before I was taken to a delivery room. I think my big boy (2y5m then) would have been traumatised. That said, the part where i emptied my bowels publicly might have helped with potty training by normalising the idea that everyone poos!

  99. April says...

    yes to picking baby up in the nursery! that’s what we did when my older son (now 5) met baby brother for the first time (now 6mo). another thing we did which was THE sweetest: throw a Big Brother party at the hospital when our older guy came to visit. it was simple: some cupcakes from the grocery store, mini party hats, a few balloons, and his big brother gift from the baby. the look on his face when he walked into our room for the “party” was one of my most joyful parenting moments I’ve had so far.

  100. I have two older brothers and obviously do not remember meeting them for the first time, but I’ve been told they thought I was the coolest new toy in existence and fought over who got to hold me. Later on at home, one of my brothers took me out of my crib and hid me under his bed so he could play with me by himself later. Sweet brotherly sentiment, but terrifying experience for my mother.

    • Emily says...

      This is hilarious. And adorable. And terrifying as a mother!!

  101. Kay says...

    So timely! I just found out I was pregnant this weekend and my husband and I have been musing about we’d introduce the idea of a little sibling and then the actual new baby to our toddler. I’m the oldest of three and both my younger siblings got me gifts when they were born — I loved it :)

    A little off topic, but does anyone have tips/ideas/experiences with revealing a pregnancy to siblings who may have been trying to conceive for a while? I want to be gracious and sympathetic, but not put my foot in my mouth OR go through my pregnancy not talking about it at all with my sister…

    • Britney says...

      My best friend had had three miscarriages when we found out we were pregnant. I actually decided to tell her when we started trying to conceive so that she wouldn’t be blindsided by the possibility. When we got pregnant (pretty much immediately) I had a conversation with her that basically said, “I know how hard this probably is for you, so I want you to know that I will be sensitive to talking to you about it but I do want to include you in on the celebration since you are my bestie. Please know that just because I’m pregnant, it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t talk about your struggle around me. I love you very much and am always here to listen. Also, please feel free to say something if you feel like it’s just too much to talk about and I’ll be ultra sensitive. I will not be offended. ” I made sure not to gripe about the usual pregnancy woes around her because I knew she would give anything to experience those and I also tried not to talk about pregnancy too much unless she asked me about it. I was just positive and went on with life normally around her.

      She was super appreciative and it was never awkward. We were both able to be open with one another about our different experiences during that time. Happily, she and her husband were chosen to be adoptive parents right around the time of my son’s birth and now our boys are both two years old and we are both expecting our second kids! It’s miraculous timing to say the least :)

    • Amy says...

      As someone who has been on both sides of the coin – struggling with miscarriage/infertility, then sharing my good news with a sister-in-law and friend struggling with repeated miscarriages/infertility, I recommend not waiting too long. Don’t let them be the last to find out! It makes them feel like everyone is tiptoeing around them because they should feel terrible about it, instead of including them in the celebration.

      Obviously it might hit them hard, so I would tell them in private instead of letting them find out during a big public announcement – this may mean spilling the beans to them ahead of time so they’re prepared. And let them know that you’re really excited for them to be an aunt/uncle/a part of this, but that if it’s difficult to be too involved, you understand if they want to step back a bit and that they’re not at all obligated to attend showers/gender reveals/etc if those events are daunting.

      Also don’t completely ignore the fact that you’re pregnant around people struggling with this (let’s go bungee jumping! Nothing has changed!), but also don’t go into detail unless they’re specifically asking. I’ve found everyone is different; some won’t be able to see you much because your belly and later, your baby just remind them too much of their own pain. Please don’t feel hurt by this; trust me when I say they’re hurting more than you are and they miss spending time with you too. Others will want to know tons of detail and hold your baby so they can live vicariously through you! Just follow their lead :)

    • Kay says...

      Thank you Britney & Amy for your insight <3

  102. I am loving reading all of these comments. I was really worried about that moment where my oldest (3.5 at the time) meeting new baby. I even asked her if the baby would get her a gift what she would want. She said “Babies can’t buy gifts!” … after all that worrying, she came into the room and came to cuddle, asked where the baby was, cuddled the baby for 2 seconds, then was ready to hang out with me and our other visitors. She has been nothing but loving to baby since day one (16 months in so far) and I spent all the worrying for nothing.

  103. Jessica says...

    That’s a cool idea, assuming the hospital has a nursery — ours definitely did not. But if there was no nursery, you could leave baby with dad in the room and go down to meet the older kid at the hospital starbucks/snack bar/cafeteria for some ice cream and catch up, then head back up to the room. Can’t wait to hear what you decide!

  104. Julia says...

    I have two boys, with Colin being 3 1/2 when Ronan was born. I’ll probably be the minority here but, for us, the key was to keep the fuss to a minimum. It was my mom’s advice. Her words were, “You were fine when your little brother came home. We didn’t make a big deal about it so it wasn’t.” True 1980s parenting haha! But, in all seriousness, it worked. I asked Colin if he wanted to pick out a toy for the baby and he had no interest so I didn’t push it. My husband did buy him a big brother t-shirt in the hospital gift shop when they arrived and he was pumped to wear it. Slipped it on right over his other shirt. My boys’ first meeting in our hospital room was so sweet and low-key and one those memories that’s just burned into my brain. I’m not saying we’ve never dealt with a little sibling jealousy now and then because we have. But, for us, we acted like the addition of our Ronan was the new normal and it was. Best wishes to you during this very special time.

    PS – Be prepared for your oldest to look SO much older after the baby arrives! I was floored by it. And, haha because I was super hormonal, of course I cried about it.

    • Sara says...

      Your Mom’s advice is 100% spot-on, Julia! I bought my son a “Big Brother” t-shirt, and my Mom brought him up to the hospital to meet his sister the afternoon of her birthday. He held her for a bit until he decided he wanted to snuggle in the hospital bed with me for a while. The thing he most remembers from that day is that I let him eat the jell-o from my hospital lunch!

    • Emily says...

      Your PS is so true! It is freakish how large your older child looks and feels. Almost Alice in Wonderland freakish. Especially if they are both still in diapers. I wasn’t prepared for that!

  105. Shannon says...

    A few weeks after my niece got home from the hospital my nephew sat on her head and asked when is she going back to heaven, hah! Now they are grown up and best friends.

  106. katie says...

    Most perfect timing – have a 3.5 year old son and today’s the 1-month countdown to baby brother’s arrival! I was also excited for the hospital meeting moment but now worry due to the flu that our hospital will have restrictions – some in Maryland have already started theirs. Will you have family to watch your older son? My ideal scenario of the entire birth happening while he’s at daycare is SO unlikely, and I’m most worried about how he’ll handle a possible middle of the night shake-up considering he doesn’t sleep very well to begin with. My sister-in-law is local but they aren’t very close. I know the moment needs to be all about the new baby but I can’t fathom being able to fully focus on the baby’s arrival and not be consumed with worry/second-fiddle my son who’s been my everything until now.

    • Jessica says...

      I have only one baby (a 10 month old — so I’m also very new to this), but I wonder what would happen if you start preparing your son now for the idea that there will be moments that will be all about the baby, like the birth (lol), but then things will settle back down and people will be so proud of him for being a big brother, and he’ll ultimately never be less important or matter less than the baby. Sort of a “this too shall pass” training.

  107. Emmy says...

    I’ve never heard of giving a gift from the baby! But my older child would have believed it anyway – she never believed in Santa, etc. We made a point to say her baby brother was a gift, a true friend who would have her back her whole life. She really took to this idea and still does 8 years later.
    Also to counter every one else fawning over him, I smothered her with my love when she was in the same room (and as soon as she left I’d smother the baby with my love like a crazy person). I involved her in tasks that would make siblinghood feel fun and told her story after story of the shenanigans my siblings and I got into when we were kids.

  108. Ellen says...

    I gave birth at a midwife center, and was home 4 hours after delivery. My parents were staying with my 3-year-old, and took her out of the house as we came home. Once baby and I were settled into bed, the oldest came in to meet her baby sister. It was so sweet to be cozy in our bedroom. BUT the best part is that I had my husband videotape the meeting. It is still the sweetest video to re-watch. Especially when she couldn’t pronounce her sister’s name (Fiona). Whatever you chose, try to get it videotaped!

    • RBC says...

      My baby’s name is Fiona too! She is our fourth. My two oldest can say her name but my two year old still calls her “baby Oona”. So cute

  109. Louise says...

    I remember my father calling from the hospital to tell me and my grandmother that my brother had arrived (I was 8). When we got to the hospital he was in the basket next to Mom and I peered in. Then I sat on a chair and he was plopped in my lap. Then they said I could NAME him ! He became my Daniel. My mom gave me a solid gold dummy on a gold chain. Precious memories

    • Emily says...

      I also got to name my little brother! We are seven years apart. I didn’t realize that was unusual until I became an adult. My parents and I had many discussions about it before he was born, but they made me feel like the choice was mine.

    • Sara says...

      My son really wanted to name his sister “Pizza!”

  110. I think so much depends on the age of the older sibling(s). I am the oldest of 8 kids and after the birth of a couple of my youngest siblings we took a birthday cake to the hospital and had a little birthday party with all of us. Super sweet and memorable.

    With my own daughter, who was not yet two when her little sister was born on New Year’s Eve, we kept it super chill and had her come and meet the “BAY-BEE” at the hospital. (We had been talking about the baby for months!)

    I think if the sibling is quite young it’s more important for the parents to have a way to hold on to the memory – I was too busy juggling the baby and keeping the toddler from poking her eyes out to take photos. I am glad my sister was there and took some sweet pictures. I really want a video of when they met too. Last but not least – my sister took a heart-melting photo of the toddler coming down the hallway to my hospital room – the last pic of her as my one and only.

    • Sanaa Murray says...

      We are starting to think about having our second and your last line, about “the last pic of her as your one and only” literally got me sobbing…all over my desk lunch soup and sandwich. The 23 year old single guy who sits next to me is very confused. Can’t wait to squeeze my one and only tonight.

  111. Sarah says...

    I really wish I had shared my grand plans for my older child came to meet the new baby with my kids’ grandparents. When my 2.5 year old son came to visit us in the hospital, I had put his new sister in the bassinet in the corner of the room and was ready for some toddler snuggles. But when my dad and in-laws came in, they immediately brought my son over to the baby and began fawning over her. My son looked totally overwhelmed. And when he finally crawled into bed with me he was just quiet and sucked his thumb for a while. It wasn’t a great introduction and it has really taken him some time to come around. But the thing is – everything is totally fine and then some. My son has never been very interested in babies and still isn’t, but he does do sweet things for his sister. If she cries he’ll insist we pick her up or give her a bottle. If she’s playing on the floor he offers her a stuffed animal then goes back to what he was doing. It has been sweet to see the way they interact with each other. Not how I imagined, but so true to their personalities :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so, so sweet, sarah. you sound like such a loving and thoughtful mother.

  112. Tara says...

    Congratulations! Our boys are 23 months apart and now 12 and 14. When our younger son Elliott was born, my Mom (who came to stay with us for a bit beforehand) brought our almost 2-year old, Beck, in to meet his brother. Elliott was sleeping in a bassinet and we made a big fuss over Beck and told him how exciting it was to be a big brother. I think we sealed the deal when we all came home from the hospital the next day and showed Beck the Kettler push-trike that Elliott had picked out for him to let him know how excited he was to have him for a brother. Beck’s eyes were HUGE as he looked at the tricycle and back at Elliott and said, “THANK YOU, BROTHER!!”

  113. C says...

    My older son was 5 1/2 when my younger son was born and I didn’t think much about it. He came to meet the baby when he was only a few hours old, so I was holding him — the older son did bring a present for the baby, and he was very excited and sweet. It probably helped that his grandparents were there, and that he went on a very exciting trip with them when the baby was only a week old (it wasn’t planned that way, just a family trip planned long in advance where he ended up going without us because of the baby). There really wasn’t any sibling trouble until the younger one was about 1-2 years old.

  114. KB says...

    We actually didn’t bring our older one to the hospital (she was almost 4 when my second one was born). It was really lovely to just be with the second one for a couple of days and then let her big sister meet her in the comfort of home. Worked out splendidly. And the older one is obsessed with her sister – I don’t think it’s occurred to her to be jealous (and it’s been almost a year). Point being, you never know how kids are going to react!

    • Abbie says...

      We did the same thing. Stayed at hospital with babies #2 and #3 and made the introductions at home. With our second baby we were conference our first born, who was only 2 would be so devastated to leave without mom and Dad it would be way more trouble than worth. It worked nicely, so we stuck with that for baby 3.

  115. Katherine says...

    With #2, we had moved towns and our hospital offered tours of the maternity and birth wards on weekends for expectant mums. We took our 2yo so he knew where mum and dad would disappear to and he’d come to meet his brother in one of these ‘bedrooms’.
    Both our boys were excited during my pregnancies and looked forward to meeting a sibling. They’d seen scans and been with me to appointments so they always felt involved and like our family was growing, not just mum getting a new baby. An inclusive, rather than exclusive concept. So if your little one is already happy, chances are it will be the same post birth, no matter how they meet. Keep including them by having them unwrap gifts, take out the next wipe or clean nappy, help at bath time…
    My one tip for hospital presents: choose something the older kid/s can do, that are no mess. Babies and hospital rooms get boring quickly when you’re little… I had little magnetic puzzle and activity sets, sticker books, and colour wonder activities (those ones where the felt pen ONLY works on the special paper.) I’ve been in 5 days with all 3, so the activity toys stayed in the hospital until I came home. The boys always had something special of their own to look forward to after mum and baby cuddles that was just for them.

  116. Anna says...

    My four year old son stayed (overnight) with my parents the day I delivered our daughter Aria. My mom actually met us at the hospital to pick up our son before we went in have our baby. The next day, my mom decided that Alexander should have an exciting adventure of his very own – so she took him to meet his sister at the hospital by subway, his first subway ride (that he could remember). He was elated to meet his sister an hour later but had his own story to tell as well – his subway ride and cookies made him feel so special amidst the attention surrounding his newborn sister.

  117. Sheryl says...

    This sounds like a wonderful plan! We didn’t have a nursery in our hospital (all babies stay in the room with the mother), but it would have been a great adventure for our older daughter. In the end, none of the planning we did mattered anyway— I went into labour 4 weeks early while my husband was on a plane to Europe and my 6 year old daughter came with me in the labour and delivery room at 2 am! She was the first to know if our baby was a boy or girl and got to call her daddy to let him know when he landed a few hours later. A crazy, quick (and kind of scary) delivery but an amazing birth story for both big and little sister to cherish forever.

    • Tori says...

      This is amazing! Did she stay with you the whole time? I imagine you had help/support from the nurses? I am so curious about your experience.

  118. Marcella says...

    I have two brothers, one two years apart and one six years apart. I don’t remember when my middle brother was born (but my grandma did give me a shirt that said “I’m a Big Sister” on it and I wore it to threads), BUT I remember when my brother was born when I was 6 and being SO jealous!! I remember going into her room when she was breastfeeding my brother and whining “You don’t even pay attention to me anymore!!” or something to that affect, haha. But I got over that and am now a well-adjusted adult :)

  119. Jillian says...

    I just had my 2nd daughter on August 31st, so my girls are also 4 years apart. I took friends’ advice and had the baby in the bassinet when my oldest came in the room. First, I made a big deal about seeing her, gave her hugs, told her how much I had missed her, etc. then let her go up to the bassinet to see her sister and get comfortable before we held the baby together. We did a Big Sister present, “from the baby,” a mini-Ergo baby carrier for her to use with her doll (it was a big hit). The hospital was also great about giving her a Big Sister bracelet and stickers, so she felt really special and included. It all went wonderfully, and much to my surprise, my oldest had adjusted extremely well and is very rarely jealous. I will add that, throughout the first few months, though my instinct was to protect my newborn from a very energetic and slightly overzealous 4-year old, I’ve been vigilant about giving her more responsibility as a big sister – letting her change diapers, hold the baby, rock her bassinet, assist in bathing her, etc., and I think it’s really helped her feel like this is her baby too, an exciting addition to our family as a whole, instead of a little intruder who steals mommy’s attention. Good luck and Congratulations!

  120. Megan says...

    I completely skipped the hospital visit with my older child – I wasnt feeling well and he was having a great time at his grandparents house. I needed that recovery time!
    When I did introduce them at home, he woke up from his nap and I was on the couch and my husband holding the baby. The baby had brought him a SCOOTER (!) and he spent the entire day with it and completely ignored his new brother. Sometimes I think we missed out on a really sweet moment by bringing in that scooter…oh well. Lots more sweet moments to come!

  121. When we had our second, my oldest was 22 months…and when she came to the hospital, she really didn’t care about the baby! hahaa. With our third kid, the oldest two were 6 and 4, so they were more excited to meet their newest sibling. My four year old exclaimed “ohhh..he’s so cute! Can we take him home?” haha…YUP! In our experience, the 4 and 6 year old handled the addition of a sibling MUCH better, but it might be different because this wasn’t the first sibling added to the family. If you start to feel overwhelmed in the first few months by the amount of attention that the baby requires and the lack of attention that your other kid ends up getting….just know that it is temporary. The first couple of months can be the most challenging, but then everyone gets into a rhythm and you find a way to give everyone your attention again. Good luck!!

  122. Louise Gibson says...

    My daughter was 6 when our youngest was born, she had been very clingy in the week leading up to the birth, coming back down stairs after going to bed to make sure i was still there. We reassured her all the time, letting her know what was happening (I had also had an accident broken my shoulder at 33 weeks pregnant) The night i went into labour i woke her and told her that we were going to the hospital and gran was here to be with her. The following afternoon my parents collected her from school and brought her to the hospital but called us when they got there so my husband went and got her so it was just her meeting her sister and not the grandparents too. We had bought her a gift from her sister and sister was wearing an I love my big sister onesie. have to admit it all went better than i expected until she was leaving and i wasn’t going home too. Hubby said she cried the whole way home. He said she took my pillow to bed with her that night and was okay. Totally fine the next morning and still fine 3 years later even with a troublesome little sister.

    Good Luck when your time comes xx.

  123. Katherine says...

    I have a three year old boy and had a son in early October. My thoughts/takeaways….

    Even if you can’t put the baby in the nursery, try not to be holding the baby. Either have the baby with someone else or bassinet so you can hold/hug your older child first. Then once we got home it was about one month of a roller coaster ride of first adjusting (still adjusting four moths later!). My older one did weird things in acting out but nothing major (he started to hide our keys which was a problem!).

    This tip my pediatrician gave me which is a success — You’ll maybe/probably tell your older one not to do things in the coming months because of the baby. Well talk to the baby like he’s doing things that also impede on the family’s rhythm. It makes it seem more fair for the little toddler which may help with the change. For example, when I am holding the baby and it poops (sorry but here we are), I say “Naughty —, there’s no pooping on mama!” It is a HIT. We then go change baby brother’s diaper together and my older one loves to get to say “Yeah, naughty baby! We don’t poop on mama!” (Again, cheap humor.) Also if the baby is fussing you could say, “Shhh, baby brother let’s try to not fuss,” when in front of the toddler. Again, there’s a time and place for everything. But I think my older one thinking that he/she is not the only one being asked to adjust and the baby can do no wrong really helped in getting us all on track from a family of 3 to 4.

    • Sarah says...

      This is brilliant! As an older sister who remembers feeling a bit put out when my baby sister came home from the hospital (I was 2 and it’s one of my earliest memories), reassuring your eldest that they’re not doing things wrong and that everyone is adjusting and acknowledging it’s a big change sounds like a really good tip.

  124. Jess says...

    I’m already anxious about introducing my daughter to her new sister and I’m not due for months! These comments are so helpful. I love that the comments here are often as good as the original post :)

  125. Martha L. says...

    The best advice I received was from my pediatrician. She told me to make sure that I spent time alone with my older son every day. It didn’t have to be much time or a big production, but the baby could not be there. So every night when my husband got home, I would pass him the baby and my older son and I would go do something. Some nights it was just a walk to the corner store and back. It made a world of difference. We have never dealt with sibling rivalry and my sons are best friends.

  126. Ellen says...

    So many great ideas and advice. When my son was born I called my in-laws as soon as labor began and they started the 4 hour drive to join us for what turned out to be a sort of long, sweet birthday party. We all spent the early part of labor together at my doula (who is also my best friend) Annie’s house with my then 2 1/2 yo and Annie’s husband, two toddler sons, and my in-laws, walking and talking and baking a birthday cake “for the baby”.
    Later in the day I had my husband, MIL, and doula with me the hospital but during the final stage MIL wisely took my daughter out for a snack and some adventure. When my daughter returned (she’d been prepped with hand washing) she literally jumped up on me (Ouch, ouch ouch!) to get to her brother. Her first comment was “Oh look at his cute little chin!” Soon after she was asking about the cake.
    It’s been nearly seventeen years and she has always been a huge fan of that guy (and he is of her too).

  127. Krissy says...

    The nursery idea is adorable but I worry my toddler would probably be like “no I want THAT baby” and be mad he didn’t get to choose which baby from the nursery lol. Seriously though, whatever you do, it will be great because you’re being so thoughtful about it. Good luck!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha good point, krissy!

    • Laura C. says...

      Hahaha that’s some seroius point to consider!

    • Katherine says...

      Yes! I can imagine that too! When my then 3yo nephew came to meet my son Sam, he was having a lovely time, until they had to leave, at which point he burst into tears because they still hadn’t met Baby Samuel! There was no convincing him that Sam *was* Samuel. He was devastated! There’s no predicting little kids!

  128. Laura says...

    We had the baby in the hospital bassinet so we could love on his (20 month old) big brother when he arrived. Then we showed him the baby and it was love at first sight.

  129. Erin says...

    These are all great ideas. The first meeting is awesome and important, but the most helpful tip I can share is more of a long-term strategy for sibling harmony. In the first few weeks especially, tending to the baby’s needs can be overwhelming and feel urgent. It can be so easy to stop whatever you’re doing with the older sibling to attend to a crying baby. But what I’ve learned is that, you should ask the baby to ‘wait a minute’ while you finish whatever you’re doing with the older child. Of course the baby doesn’t understand but the older child will appreciate that they are not the only one being asked to step aside, wait, etc. They will feel their needs are as important as the baby’s. And really…in most cases, the baby is just fine and can wait a minute! It’s made a big difference in toddler meltdowns at our house! Good luck!

    • Katherine says...

      Totally agree! My husband and I say the 2nd one is already more well adjusted because of this.

    • Beth says...

      Agreed! In this same vein, we also referred to the baby as “his baby” (our son’s) and when our newborn needed changing or to eat or Mama needed her water while nursing, we would ask him, “darling, could you grab a diaper for your baby? She needs to be changed.” Etc. The ownership and pride in his little sister was evident and they both take great care of each other (6, and 3 now).

  130. Livia Ikeda says...

    I made my daughter, who was 2yrs and 9mths by the time my second baby was born, a photo album, telling the story of our family (mom and dad meet, get married, you came and now baby). It really gave her an idea of what was going on. Het pictures in the hospital were specially important for her.

    • Lilly says...

      This was really useful to us too, and whenever I was doing something with my daughter (the baby), I would say something about the experience with him as well. Basically to draw attention to the fact that we had taken as much care of him as we were of the new baby. I prepared endlessly for the hospital visit, and I had the baby next to me on the bassinet. My son (who was 3 at the time) bypassed me and went straight for the baby, and offered her his crib to sleep in and some chocolate. It was adorable. My best advice for this transition is to read this article daily:
      http://www.janetlansbury.com/2013/04/helping-kids-adjust-to-life-with-the-new-baby/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i love janet lansbury. her site has saved me during tricky parenting phrases. thanks for the reminder, lilly!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love this.

  131. Sarah says...

    We gave our 4 year old a tea party set she had been wanting when she came to visit the hospital when baby brother was born. She asked “How did the baby buy this from the mall for me if he has been in mommy’s tummy?” Ha! We followed her lead during the first meeting. She fawned over him while he was in the bassinet and held him when she was ready. It can also be a fun treat for dad or another family member to take the older one to eat in the hospital cafeteria!

  132. Hanna says...

    My son turned three the day he met his little sister, who was born the day before. We made sure she was in the bassinet when he walked in and had a present waiting for him from her (a Thomas t shirt that he immediately wanted to change into). It went off really well considering that eventually he was whining that he wanted to bring “this” home right away (meaning his baby sister). He still knows who gave him the shirt and talks about “Zora’s hospital” whenever we go by. My advice is don’t overthink it and make time for him one on one as much as you can. You’re going to want it!

  133. heather says...

    my daughter was a little shy of three when her brother was born, and my favorite memory was her bringing him a happy birthday balloon and singing the song to him in his hospital crib. kids love singing happy birthday, and she was beyond thrilled to do it.

  134. sasha says...

    I attended a birth, as a birth doula, last month, second baby, and the midwife (out of hospital, birth center vbac!!) made a wonderful suggestion: let me hold the baby while big sis comes in and cuddles mom and dad in the big bed. Then when she notices the baby, bring over for her to see, and pass to Mom or Dad when it feels comfortable. It worked great!
    Best of luck Lexi! It will be such a sweet moment :)

  135. Mc says...

    Before you get your heart set on anything specific, check with the hospital where you will deliver. Many hospitals have imposed visiting restrictions due to high incidences of influenza. I delivered a couple weeks ago and my 3 and 2 year old had to wait until we came home to meet their new sister.

    • Lauren says...

      Agreed! A lot of hospitals are implementing visitor restrictions because the flu is the worst it has been in years.

    • Lauren says...

      *Agree! ( I hate typos :))

    • Lillian says...

      Me too! It was fear of mumps where I gave birth. They wouldn’t let children under 16 into the hospital so I couldn’t even see my first kid! We waved to each other through the window while she was in the parking lot 3 floors down. I was heartbroken. After a csection, I hauled out of there after two nights and forced the nurses to discharge me ASAP. I missed my big baby too!

  136. cate says...

    I remember going to meet my brother for the first time when I was three. The most exciting part was the apple juice in the cafeteria! Can’t remember anything about the new baby. Kids are funny :)

    • Sarah Beth says...

      I also remember going to meet my brother in the hospital– I don’t remember a thing about the actual baby, but I remember I got to wear a snoopy hospital gown over my clothes which I loved, and share my mom’s lunch. My parents (and grandma, who brought me) made me feel special– clearly the new baby was incidental!

  137. Lisa Jam says...

    We put pictures of our daughter into our son’s bassinet at the hospital. When she came in, I wasn’t holding him. He was in the bassinet “looking at her picture and waiting to meet her.” This was a hit.

  138. Laura C. says...

    My eldest was two and a half when I gave birth to my little one. She met her at the hospital and it was very sweet. I was having a tough recovery from my second C-section and I hadn’t see my daughter in four days, so you can imagine how many tears were dropped!
    The gift from the baby is always a great idea, in my opinion. Mine was a baby stroller for her baby doll, and four years later, it is still wandering around the house…
    Go on Lexi! xoxo

  139. Amber says...

    I just went through this in August with my three-year old. We made sure I wasn’t holding his baby brother when he came in and I spent some time cuddling with him and reconnecting before bringing his brother over for him to see. (We did rooming-in at our hospital, so the baby was across the room in his bassinet.) After we talked for a bit, I asked if he was ready to meet his baby brother, and he and his dad walked over to the bassinet. Dad lifted big brother up to peek in and check him out. Then big brother came over and crawled back in my lap so he could help me hold the baby. Then he got to unwrap a present from his baby brother (stuffed animal and a superhero cartoon) and we watched an episode of his new show while he got to hang out with mommy for a bit. Overall it worked really well. Then when I was released, he got to come back to the hospital to “help” bring mommy and baby brother home. Baby brother is now 5 months old and my oldest loves to help bring me things and love on his little brother. I’ve found the best thing is to make sure you can still give your oldest a few minutes a day of undivided attention. It goes a long way to help out with any behavioral changes that may come up. Good luck and congrats!

  140. Jill says...

    I love the nursery idea and wish I would have thought of that! When we introduced my oldest to his little sister (and then again when the two older kids met their baby sister), we had the baby in the bassinet when they came in. The big kids chose a special gift for the new baby (one chose a blankie just like his and the other a special stuffed animal that matched one of her favorites). The kids also brought me a special gift and were so proud and excited to be part of that surprise. The baby also “chose” special gifts for the big kids that were waiting at the hospital and gave them something they were excited to leave with as I was really worried about the leaving part of the visit. There may be some tears, but that is ok! My oldest broke down at one point and said “why am I the only one who is sad about the baby?”. It was actually a great way to talk about change and how its hard, but helps you grow and learn (and usually ends up good in the end!) A week or so later, once he was smitten with his little sister, we reminded him of the tears and he was happy to report that change is hard and good!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “The kids also brought me a special gift and were so proud and excited to be part of that surprise. ” = that is so sweet.

  141. Sonja says...

    My kids are 4 years apart. At the time of my second child, there was an outbreak of the flu and the hospital did not allow my 4 year old daughter into the hospital to visit. It turned out to be the best thing. My daughter wanted to get the baby a cake as it was his birthday. She was so excited to pick his cake. My husband picked me up at the hospital and grandma brought my daughter to the bakery. When she came home it was just delightful. We let her hold the baby and only took one quick photo as it was about her meeting her baby brother. My family and friends did a meet and greet baby shower a couple of weeks after the birth. We decided to have the baby give her a big sister gift of a dollhouse. This was a big gift and made it a non issue that the baby was getting all sorts of gifts.

  142. Jane says...

    We had tremendous success with this same situation by speaking with our family before hand. Our older son was 5 when his little brother was born and we asked everyone who came to meet the baby to hang out with our older son first. We explained that waiting an hour or three before seeing the new baby wouldn’t be a big deal to them but would dramatically impact our boys relationship with each other in years to come and we were right. The weeks after the baby was born were by far the best for our older son. Aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends came over to play soccer, read stories, play board games and go sledding with him. At some point during the visit our older son would bring the visitors into the bedroom to see the new baby or I would bring the baby to the kitchen to grab a snack and they would meet for the first time. No one made a huge public fuss over the baby at all. I am still so grateful to them for handling it with such grace and my boys are best friends. It also set the tone for our family to be conscious and respectful of the feelings of both of our sons in the years that followed as well.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, this is so wise and wonderful, jane! love that idea. you sound like a great mom.

    • Lexi Mainland says...

      Great tip, thank you!

  143. Jenny says...

    When we introduced our our two -year -old son, Otto, to his new brother, we did two things that worked well:

    1) We made sure that I wasn’t holding new baby Marcel when Otto arrived. That way, Otto didn’t feel any sense of replacement.

    2) We gave Otto a book when he arrived at the hospital, which was a gift from baby Marcel. It put him at ease and gave him something to focus on that was familiar. 9 months later, he still says “Marcel gave me this book when he was born”.

    Also, before baby’s arrival, we read the book “There’s Going to be a Baby” by John Burningham. Otto was obsessed with it.

  144. Swordspoint says...

    Our daughter was five when her little brother arrived, so we didn’t give her “a present from the baby” (which I think is a sweet idea for a two- or three-year-old), since she would have realized it wasn’t really from the baby… But we did leave the baby in the bassinet in our room while she came in with Grandma, and we got some mum-and-daughter time in first before Grandma brought the baby over to meet her. (And I got some photos of their meeting, which I highly recommend doing. I tear up even now looking at them.)
    We also gave her a little gift (pewter necklace) AHEAD of the baby’s birth, and explained that although babies need more help and attention at the beginning when they are so new and helpless, we would always love her just as much and the necklace would be a reminder of that.
    She’s always been great with him and loves him to pieces.

  145. Amanda says...

    When our second was born, our daughter came to the hospital with my parents and sister. They called before they came into the hospital and my husband took our son to the nursery. Our daughter came in and was bursting excited to hug us and then go meet her brother. We went down the hall together and got his bassinet and introduced her to him separately. She was the first to hear his name and she helped wheel the bassinet back to the room and introduced him “Everybody, this is my brother, Peter!!!” It was great and then we crawled into my bed and snuggled and they exchanged a present from each to the other. Her’s was a small baby doll and a kid sized sling in the same fabric of the new one we got for carrying him so she had her own baby and was the big kid instead of the kid that wanted to still be snuggled in the sling used for her. Worked out well.

  146. Jen says...

    Oh this brings tears to my eyes. I’m about 25 weeks along with our second and am so anxious to see how my daughter (she’ll be 2.5 when the baby is born) is going to react to big sisterhood. Will be reading the comments for ideas on how to pull off a smooth first meeting!

  147. Courtney says...

    We did a present full of Big Kid ONLY presents, I made sure I wasn’t HOLDING the new baby when big sister walked in (just to give us some time together first), AND we taped a picture of the oldest on the baby’s hospital bassinet with the words “Big Sister” beside it so EVERYONE knew. The nurses gave Big Sister a matching hospital bracelet like Mommy & Baby were wearing, too.

    Big sister still talks about the picture and the bracelet two years later, so maybe it worked?

  148. jcasey says...

    As a mom of three (and expecting a fourth!) what we found always worked for us when introducing the new baby to the sibling (s) was to have mom fully focused on the little ones when they come in for the first time (we’ve always waited until I’m discharged and back home so that we don’t need to be parted again. I’ve been blessed with very short hospital stays, though). That way, you have your hands fully free to the older children for hugs and kisses and catching up. If they’re more interested in going straight to the new baby, that’s fine. But it was always important to me that I was able to be available for them right when they came in and could shower them with kisses and hugs and I missed you’s that they’re so used to. Once we’ve had our snuggles, their dad who was holding the baby passes them over and everybody can have turns giving kisses and holding the baby if they want to.

  149. Julie says...

    If your hospital practices “rooming in” (which is healthiest for baby and mom), you likely won’t have the option of sending your newborn to the nursery.

    • Sarah says...

      That’s interesting – with our oldest (and currently only) we had the choice between “rooming in” and the nursery. Rooming in was encouraged, but it was made clear we could take the baby to the nursery any time we needed to. I never knew that some hospitals don’t give you the choice!

  150. Melissa says...

    I have been thinking about this same thing! I am due in 6 weeks and my son is also 4. I love your idea of going to the nursery, but our hospital doesn’t have a nursery :( (how am I going to cope with that?!?!) My oldest is super into presents these days, so, I think we will probably do a present exchange. Have my oldest pick out a toy for the baby and then have the baby give him something.