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How do you start preparing a 16mnth old for the arrival of a brother/sister?

(24 Posts)
CADS Wed 13-Jul-05 10:02:55


Has anyone got any tips? DS will be 21mnth by the time the new baby arrives but am worried that we aren't doing anything to prepare him for the change. Was wondering how you prepare a toddler who doesn't talk and can't really conprehend things yet? Am scare of leaving it too late.


Enid Wed 13-Jul-05 10:06:38

I didnt do anything

and dd1 was 2.5!

About a week before I was due we started going on about it and telling her there was going to be a new baby etc.

She was jealous at first but now they love each other

PiccadillyCircus Wed 13-Jul-05 10:09:45

My DS will be nearly 22 months when his brother or sister arrives (he is nearly 20 months at the moment).

I haven't really done anything to prepare him at all, but would say that his talking and comprehension have increased a lot over the past couple of months.

He does find my enlarging tummy amusing.

And also knows that little babies go Waaaah.

Sorry I'm not much help, but once September comes, I'll let you know what DS's reactions are.

Stilltrue Wed 13-Jul-05 13:05:02

Hi Cads I had the same gap with ds1 and 2. I was sceptical about what my little boy would understand, but a wise midwife told me to assume he would understand a lot. she was right; of course they pick up a lot of conversation about the new baby even if it's not directed at them. So just keep telling him you love him, maybe show him a few babies, etc. We kept the direct chat to him until I was clearly showing; he seemed to understand really well. He looked sooo proud and not in the least baffled when he first saw his little brother. I had not a moment of jealousy and they have always been the best of friends (now 10y on!)
Best of luck to you; I loved having my 2 littlies sharing toys and trips out. I now have 4 children and love them all dearly, but looking back there was something really special about those early days when my eldest became a big brother for the first time. Enjoy!!!

KatieinSpain Wed 13-Jul-05 13:39:50

I have an eighteen month gap between my two DSs. I talked a lot about babies, pointed out babies at the toddler groups we went to, read books about babies and he still screamed when he saw his brother for the first time .

DS1's behaviour did change - he suddenly became able to vault out of his cot! Yet, within a couple of weeks, he was asking for his brother, reminding me to take him with us (no, I had never forgotten him!) and insisting that people got DS2 whatever they bought him - sweets, comics. I don't think closeness in age equates closeness in relationship but it does seem to help.

compo Wed 13-Jul-05 13:41:41

There are quite a few children's books about this - might be worth asking at the library

compo Wed 13-Jul-05 13:43:05

here's one

franch Wed 13-Jul-05 13:52:05

'My New Baby' in the same series is also very good. DD (17.5m - will be 19m when DD2 arrives) LOVES 'I'm a big sister' by Joanna Cole - there's a 'brother' equivalent available and a nice page of advice for parents in the back. No idea how much she understands but knows enough to point to my bump and say 'baby'. We shall see! Good luck

franch Wed 13-Jul-05 13:53:52

Also have a look at this thread.

franke Wed 13-Jul-05 13:58:36

My dd was 20mo when ds was born. I did as others have done here - talked to her about it throughout the pregnancy, she came with me to antenatal appts and we looked through books about babies together. When ds arrived her first sight of him was lying in our bed, rather than in my arms and he also bought her a present . Of course she has her moments with him when he p's her off, but she pretty much adores him and has done from day 1. I suppose just try to be as inclusive as you can before and after the birth.

merglemergle Wed 13-Jul-05 18:19:02

Don't think you can really, not if not reaaly verbal. Sorry.

We have ds (22 months) and dd (1 week). Ds has started saying "noooo" to everything, just in the last week-never did this before. Largely ignores her but asks us to put her down if we hold her. Wants her to go back now.

He also seems very angry with me, and anyone else who holds the baby.

I think just hang in there. I hated my brother when he was born + now, despite being completely different we are close. dp + his brother apparently bonded immediatrely (MIL says, as another helpful example of How We Have Failed As Parents-but dp does agree)-and hardly speak now-not even a card/phone call after dd's birth!

Get lots of videos in + make sure house is fairly childproof, if you intend to bf. Its a few weeks before you can bf while running after a toddler.

Make + freeze him food he likes and get him some new toys to play with, ones that don't require you so much. If you possibly can, get him used to playing independently.

Get help with him for the first few weeks, if humanly possible.

Good luck. Sorry this isn't more positive-its only been a week and I think maybe dp and I are strugglung a lot because we are both elset children.

CADS Wed 13-Jul-05 22:26:33

Thanks for the messages everyone.

PiccadillyCircus and merglemergle - please let me know how you get on.

Will have to start talking to ds about the baby and pray that we don't have any problems. What makes you think I want an easy life.

Just hope that ds's behaviour towards me doesn't change, i will be really gutted if he decides that i have betrayed him and doesn't want anything to do with me.

franke Wed 13-Jul-05 22:33:32

Cads, he'll only react negatively if you actively exclude him when the baby arrives. There is plenty he'll be able to 'help' you with - passing you things when you're changing or feeding baby for example. And at the beginning there'll still be plenty of opportunity for 1 to 1 time because (hopefully) the baby will be sleeping a lot.

CADS Wed 13-Jul-05 22:40:00

Good point and thanks, franke

CADS Wed 13-Jul-05 22:41:53

Just finding it hard to believe there will be enough of me to go around for two children without it taking anything (love, time, cuddles, etc) away from ds.

hunkermunker Wed 13-Jul-05 22:46:13

DS will also be 21 months when the next baby arrives. I have started saying "Baby" and pointing to my tummy - he kisses my tummy and says "Ahhh", so I think that's a step in the right direction!

DS is 15mo at the moment, so plenty of time to get him used to the idea. He's a pet with other children though, so hoping he won't be too cross!

May still be bfeeding DS when the new one arrives - have no plans to actively wean him off, and he shows no sign of wanting to stop - will be interesting to see if that helps or hinders!

hunkermunker Wed 13-Jul-05 22:46:53

Course there will, Cads - and there'll be sibling cuddles too!

KristinaM Wed 13-Jul-05 22:56:47

cads - you are right in one sense - but there's not enough of you for your Ds now - no one person can be everything to another, even our kids. So yes, in one way he WIlL lose out on some of your time, energy and attention. And for the first 6-8 months he probably wont be too impressed with the baby. Lets face it - they eat, cry, pee and puke and not a lot else ( from a toddlers point of view)

But when he starts to be able to play with him/her it will all start to change.Its the start of a life long relationship - your son and your new baby will be siblings for the rest of their lives, when you are your DH/P are long gone. Its one of the most wonderful gifts you can give a child.

(Remember that when they are beating the c** out of each other )

lalasmum Wed 13-Jul-05 23:43:02

I have 2 dds with 18m between them, dd2 is now 4m. The main thing to remember is if they are both crying the eldest one should get your attention first as the little one is too young to get offended. Try and chill when the big one is poking and prodding the little one - we forget how tough babies are, and saying "No dont do that!" all the time can get wearing for everyone. 2 great books are "New Baby" in the Usborne series (which dd1 loves) and "The House in Mummy's Tummy" by Giles Andreae (aka Purple Ronnie) (which I love!)

Best of luck. Its hard work, but I'm assured it will be worth it in the long run (that old cliche )

tiffini Wed 13-Jul-05 23:55:08

Get a lifesize doll, and be a part time mum with it until baby arrives, you can let your Ds help bath the doll and just sit the doll on your lap as you would a baby for 1/2 hour periods and explain to your Ds that you are busy during these periods. If you do this for a couple of hours a day it will help prepare him.

KiwiKate Thu 14-Jul-05 02:26:41

Am preparing DS by showing him books (teddy bear's mummy has a baby etc) which explain the whole thing. He loves it when MW puts baby's heart beat on the doppler so he can hear. They understand a lot more than you think they will.

I've also told him this is "our baby" (not "my" baby).

Also keep telling him every day how special he is and how lucky we are to have him (and will continue this after baby arrives).

He's been demanding "baby out!" and kissing my tummy.

But we've also told him that baby will be very boring at first, and not able to play with him for a long time. Also had some practice goes with the doll.

Agree about getting them involved (fetching stuff for the baby, choosing clothes for baby to wear). Others with two kids who I have seen struggle don't really involve the older child, and treat the baby as "mummy's baby". No wonder toddler feels left out!

KatieinSpain Thu 14-Jul-05 08:14:09

Kristina has summed it up beautifully. Realistically, there will be less time for your toddler and they suddenly appear massive and ever so grown up.

I really wouldn't change the gap between my two. It feels right for us as a family. Yet, the old cliche is partly true - it is wearying with two under two - but equally, it can be amazing. DS1 used to try and comfort DS2 - hold his hand, pat him and love him.

CADS Thu 14-Jul-05 08:27:19

Thanks for all the fantastic advice.

Have ordered "The House in Mummy's Tummy" by Giles Andreae, and am going to get a baby doll, much to dh's horror.

Also, should give ds more credit and talk to him, instead of believe he has no clue, otherwise he isn't going to learn anything.

Take care

KiwiKate Thu 14-Jul-05 11:19:08

Actually, my DS found my pregnancy book which showed the various stages of baby growing inside. He was amazed to see the tiny dot get bigger, and bigger and then develop into what looked like a baby. Never intended to show him that, but now he tells his grandmother proudly "baby growing in-a-tummy" and he thinks it is great. I am amazed at what they understand!

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