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New Baby: Helping Your Other Children While You Are in the Hospital

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You can begin helping your other children cope with a new baby in the home as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Expect that they may have mixed feelings about a new baby and may be scared about what their new role in the home may be. Here are some things you can do the help your older child before the new baby is born.

  • Let them tell you about their feelings about the baby. Listen without telling them they are wrong or getting angry at them.
  • Remind them they will be as loved then as they are now and that there is enough love to go around.
  • Be realistic about how things may change. They will now have to share mommy and daddy with another person.
  • Tell them that you will be away for a couple days when the baby is born. Tell them who they will be staying with and what they can expect.

Right after a new baby is born (either at the hospital or during the first couple days at home) preschoolers may be a little less "chummy" with mom than usual. Don't take this as rejection but as a sign that the child wants to be reminded that his special place has not been filled by the new baby.

Here are some things you can do the help your older child during this time:

  • Give your child some small gifts to open. Having a gift from the new baby can be a special touch.
  • Have the caregiver or Dad do some special activities with your child while you are at the hospital. A trip to the zoo or the park or seeing a movie can make your child feel extra special.
  • Give your child a nametag that identifies him as an older sibling such as "I'm Jacob, Emily's Big Brother." This helps the child feel important and identifies him for the nurses.
  • Give your child his or her very own snapshot of the new baby as soon as possible, so he or she can show the picture to friends.
  • Remind your older child that you still them as much as ever. This is something you will need to tell them often, especially in the beginning when you are having to give so much attention to the new baby.
  • Take a picture of the older child holding the baby and make sure it is put in a prominent place.
  • Tape a photo of your older child (or a picture drawn by the child) to the baby's crib in the nursery. This makes the child feel important and helps him identify "his" or "her" baby through the nursery window at the hospital.
Written by Kate Capage.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-10-16
Last reviewed: 2006-10-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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