No matter how well you’ve prepared your older kids for the arrival of your new baby, you’re probably still nervous about the actual event. How are your older kids going to react? Will they like the baby? Will they know you still love them? If you’re wondering how to make this first encounter run smoothly, here are some things you can try.

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Prepare gifts

Encourage your children make some gifts for the baby before the birth. It will help them feel grown up and important, and ready for their new role as a big brother or sister. My children made a bead necklace for their new baby sister – not the most appropriate item for a new baby, but it was very cute and I still have it in my box where I keep precious memories. You can also prepare a gift from the baby to her older siblings.

Be available to greet your older children

Whether your children are coming to visit you at the hospital or you’re returning home with your new bundle, have your hands free to give cuddles and reassurance. Ask the person who’s bringing them to the hospital give you a call before they get there or have someone else carry the baby when you arrive home.

Get your older children involved

Let them hold the baby and bring you items you might need. Take lots of pictures with them and your new baby, but be careful that you have some pictures of just you and your newborn, too, or the baby might get upset once she grows up. We had to look through my daughter’s baby photos for a school project recently and she wanted a photo of the two of us together. No luck, she was either by herself in the picture or her older brother was always there!

Be prepared that your older children may get jealous and act out in the beginning, but they will soon come to accept and love their new baby brother or sister.

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