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Palmetto Parent

Welcoming the Newest Little One

Aug 22, 2018 09:29AM ● By Emily Stevenson
By Ashlye V. Wilkerson

Congratulations! Your newest little bundle of joy is joining the family. Big sister and/or brother is eagerly awaiting their arrival. Family and friends are beyond excited to welcome the newest addition. You are thrilled about the tiny human whom you can’t wait to meet. Yet, you are anxious about how your children will adapt to the new baby and how well the older sibling(s) will transition to their new role. I was there too. I get it! When our oldest daughter Alana celebrated her 2nd birthday, we were expecting our second child. A lot of questions popped in my head: will Alana be okay with a baby in the house? Will I be able to love them both? How would we take care of a new baby without neglecting our oldest child? All of those questions are normal. Don’t worry, you will be great parents and there is plenty of love and care to go around. Here are a few things my husband and I did to prepare our oldest daughter for her new role and to get the family ready for the new addition.

Books and Bedtime Stories
Include books about babies, families, and becoming a big sister or brother in their home library, book collection, and during story time. Inform their classroom teacher of the new addition and request that they read books during their read-aloud periods.

Celebrate and Announce their Promotion
Celebrate the milestone of your child(ren) becoming big sisters and brothers. Make the public announcement about them versus the parents (i.e., Guess who is going to be a big brother/sister). This will encourage family, friends and loved ones to join in and commemorate the occasion.

Seek their Input
When shopping for new furniture, clothes, toys, toiletries, supplies and other items for the baby, ask the kiddos for their input. Additionally, they will learn that family is a team, and it’s a joint effort of all members to help take care of everyone.

Interact with the Womb
During daily routines such as getting dressed for school, story time, or prayer time, allow your children to talk, sing, and/or pray directly to your womb. Have them begin calling the baby by name to further develop the connection between them.

Engage them in Special Activities
During the gender reveal party and/or baby showers, make them a part of the festivities. Include their favorite drinks and snacks on the menu, allow them to open gifts when appropriate, coordinate a matching item or favorite activity that will connect to their interest, and provide the opportunity for them to greet or thank the guests. If hosting a “Sip and See” party, allow the big sister/brother to introduce the new baby to the attendees as their official role.

New Family Photo Shoot
Say cheese! The hospital photographers are ready to take pictures of the adorable little one who you just welcomed into the world. Be sure to capture your first family portrait with the big siblings present to celebrate the official first family portrait. Consider contracting your own photographer, hair stylist and/or make-up artist for your photos. This will produce a high-quality picture that you could then use on your birth announcement and thank-you cards.

Pack a Family Bag
Don’t just pack a diaper bag for yourself and the baby. Include clothes, entertainment and favorite snacks for the older children in the suitcase. This will enhance their comfort when they visit you and the baby in the hospital.

Give a Gift from the Baby
Alana loves Doc McStuffins. Imagine her excitement when baby sister Ariah gifted her a brand-new doll at the hospital. She was ecstatic to get the new gift when introduced for the first time.

Now that you are home, life is demanding with feedings, diaper changes, lack of sleep, and soothing the baby. Be sure to cater to big siblings as well during this period.

Talk to baby while helping big brother and sister
When Ariah cried in the middle of me doing something with Alana. I would say, “Ariah, I will be right there. I am helping Alana get dressed.” This would reinforce to Alana that she is still important in the new family dynamic while simultaneously giving comfort to the baby until you tend to their needs.

Give the kiddos time to cuddle and take a lot of pics
They are in love with their new baby brother or sister just as much as you are. Facilitate periods for them to hold them (with assistance), give hugs, and kisses and be sure to have your camera ready to capture the precious moments.

Dress them alike
This is extremely adorable especially in the early stages, it promotes bonding between them and it’s so easy to prepare in the morning as well as to identify them when attending group activities or in crowds. I will admit, since I have girls, this is super fun for me to join them in dressing alike too.

All of these have brought so much love and joy to our home as we nurture our family, facilitate a bond between siblings, and enjoy life together. Be sure to contact me with your very own memories of welcoming the new addition to your family.

Hugs and kisses to your new bundle of joy! 

Ashlye V. Wilkerson loves all things education. She is a certified early childhood educator, former kindergarten and first grade teacher, college adjunct professor, children’s author, educational consultant, speaker and member of the Board of Trustees at her alma mater, Winthrop University. She is the founder of The Magic of Learning Foundation and owner of the Columbia location of Wine & Design. Ashlye combines her passion of family, learning and travel to facilitate fun learning adventures for her children. Catch their family excursions on her blog, Little Wife Big Life, designed to share her love of learning! Follow her on all social media platforms @ashlyev or @littlewifebiglife.