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The First Few Days and Weeks Home with a Second Baby: What to Expect


Emily Greenberg


Your new baby is finally here, and it's time for the ultimate family moment: introducing your older child to their new sibling. Most parents have been thinking about this moment for 9 months (or more!), and it’s normal to build it up in your head as this Instagram-worthy perfect scene. It may be! And…it may not be. That’s okay. As we always recommend, do not assume anything from your older child- toddlers are unpredictable! The key is to follow your older child's lead and keep their routine as normal as possible. Let's dive into some strategies for a successful first meeting!

Reunite with your older child first

When you come home from the hospital, make sure to greet your older child before introducing the new baby. Leave your newborn baby safely in their car seat, and take a few minutes to reconnect with your older child. This will help them feel important and loved, which sets the stage for a positive sibling relationship. Try not to walk in holding the baby- this can feel hard for an older child to watch. In their mind, you’ve left without them and come back with a new child. Reunite your existing family before bringing in the new baby.

Older brother meeting his little sister for the first time

Ask if they're ready to meet their new sibling

After you've spent some one-on-one time with your older child, ask if they're ready to meet their new sibling. Remember, they might not be as excited as you are—and that's okay! Follow their lead, and let them decide if and when they want to meet the baby. Avoid as much as possible saying things like “be careful!” as that can feel too general. Instead, say things like “Can you tickle baby's feet?” Give them safe, specific things they can do, as opposed to what they can’t.

Keep routines as normal as possible

A study in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that maintaining routines and offering one-on-one time can help reduce sibling rivalry and promote positive sibling relationships.

Maintaining your older child's routine is essential during this transition period. Continue with bedtime routines, mealtimes, and other daily activities as best as you can. This will help your child feel more secure and minimize the impact of the new baby on their day-to-day life.

Spend one-on-one time with your older child

Make an effort every night to spend one-on-one time with your older child, even if it's just for a few minutes. Taking turns with your partner can help ensure both of you get to bond with your older child while still caring for the baby.

Emily spending time with her older son

Product Recommendation:

  1. Baby Brezza Formula Pro - an automatic formula dispenser that makes bottle feeding more manageable, giving you more time to spend with your older child.
  2. Baby Bjorn Mini Carrier - you'll want something easy to put your newborn in when your odler child needs/want you, and this is the perfect strcutured carrier!
  3. Baby Bjorn Bouncer - a safe place to put down your newborn is a must,
  4. Baby Doll and Bottle Set - A high-quality baby doll that can help your older child engage in pretend play and mirror what you're doing with the baby.

Create special activities for your older child during baby's feeding times

Set up a breastfeeding kit or special activity box for your older child to use while you're feeding the baby. This can include quiet art activities, baby dolls for pretend play, or even special toys that they only get to use during this time. The goal is to make them feel included and valued.

Expect regression and boundary testing

It's normal for your older child to regress and test boundaries during this time. Remember, kids test boundaries because it helps them feel safe, not because they don't like to follow rules. Stay consistent, patient, and understanding as they navigate their new role as a big sibling.

It will take time

Introducing your new baby to your older child can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By following their lead, maintaining routines, and offering one-on-one time, you can help ease the transition for everyone involved. And take a big deep breath. No, really do it. We know this is a lot- try to enjoy the moment, and hold on for a (possible) bumpy ride. You got this.

Emily and her family