How to Involve Your Toddler in Your Pregnancy Journey
When you were expecting your first baby, you were probably excited to share the news with someone special to you – your partner, your parents, or maybe your siblings. But now that you're expecting again, there's someone else whose reaction you're particularly excited for: your child!
Depending on your older child's age, they may or may not be fully aware of what pregnancy means or just how much their world is about to change. But there are many ways that you can make this time special for them too, by involving them in your pregnancy journey and preparing them for their new role as an older sibling!
Take Them to Your Appointments
Consider taking your toddler along to your prenatal appointments. Your excitement about things like measuring your belly and listening to the baby's heartbeat can be contagious to your little one! If it's too stressful, at least bring them to your ultrasound appointments. Seeing the baby on the screen makes it all so much more real – and your ultrasound tech should be happy to point out the baby's body parts and make it a fun experience.
Read Stories About Babies
There are many books available on Amazon or your local library which talk about expecting a new baby brother or sister. If you do a little digging, you can even find books which fit in well with your exact family situation – whether it's about two moms, or visiting the midwife instead of the doctor, or having twins, etc.
Baby Sister: Franklin’s Baby Sister
Baby Brother: Lola Reads to Leo
Midwife-Assisted Birth: Baby on the Way
You can also get your little big kid interested in a pregnancy week-by-week book or app which shows the new developments the baby undergoes each week and month. Hello, baby avocado!
Pick Out a Baby Gift
Your toddler might enjoy going together to pick out a special gift for the new baby, whether it's a new lovey, blanket, board book, or something else. Wrap the gift to create a little excitement – big sis or bro can unwrap it and “give” it to the baby on the big day. Some parents have also found success in wrapping a gift to the older sibling - “from” the new baby!
Sort Baby Items Together
Junior can also “help” you sort old baby clothes and choose new outfits or blankets to dress the new baby in. Getting out items like newborn diapers, bouncers, and burp cloths and explaining their uses paints a picture for your toddler of a much-smaller family member to use them.
Practice on a Doll
A realistic-looking baby doll can be a fantastic way to include your toddler in some baby prep. Both little girls and little boys will rock and sing to a baby doll, and you can let them practice changing diapers, supporting the neck, giving bottles, and using “gentle hands” on their baby.
Our postpartum doulas are also a great tool to help the whole family enjoy a peaceful transition to a new baby - including the older siblings, who have an increased need for attention and security during this sensitive time! Have you gone through helping a toddler adjust to being a big brother or sister? What tactics did you find the most helpful? Leave a comment below and tell us.