It’s a good idea to get the introduction of your older child to your new baby done as soon as possible after you give birth. If your child is old enough, and understands, then you could get your partner or his or her caregiver to give your child a gift (such as a toy or blanket) to give to your baby.
 
It’s a good idea to bear in mind, however, that hospitals can be scary places and that your toddler may be frightened, so keep visits short, and if your child is unhappy or scared, let him or her leave. Always make sure that your child visits with an adult that he or she is familiar and comfortable with and make sure that that person plans a special outing or treat for after the visit.
 
Try to plan that your child visits after you have fed your baby, but if he or she does arrive while you’re breastfeeding, allow your child to look at your baby’s hands and feet.
 
It’s hard for one year olds to grasp what a baby means to his or her family, so you might find that your child is completely un-phased by the new arrival. On the other hand, your child may be worried that he or she is being replaced by the new baby. If you’re worried about that, there are a few things you can do. Keep a picture of your older child by the bed, for instance, take photos of him or her with the new baby or discuss the baby with him or her. Involving your older child is very important, so make a point of it right from the start.
 
The older your child is the more likely he or she will understand what you tell him or her about the new baby. Remember that a child who has just turned one is still a baby themselves, while a child who is close to two is almost a preschooler. Take the time to listen to what your child has to say about the new baby, and empathise with his or her feelings. Don’t expect your child to be well adjusted to the idea immediately and understand that over time, everything will settle into a pattern in your family. As long as you continue to make time for your older child, and to reassure him or her, everything should go fine.

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