You may be surprised, after you’ve agonised about how to break the news that you’re pregnant, that your one year old is completely unphased by the news. That is perfectly normal, and it is entirely likely that a child this age will not even understand the connotations of your arrival.
As physical changes become apparent in your body, you may notice that your child becomes more interested. He or she may want to touch your belly, or may point and say ‘baby.’ Encourage this, especially when your baby begins to move, and have your older child talk or sing to your belly while feeling his or her brother and sister moving.
Just as your one year old probably will not understand what a baby will mean to his or her life, he or she also will not be able to imagine the changes. Show your child physical changes, like the baby’s crib or car seat, and discuss what you and your child can do together with the baby. Showing your baby pictures from his or her own baby album can also help, as it makes the concept of a baby a bit more real. Try scheduling visits to friends or relatives who have new babies too. Your toddler will be able to see what babies look like, and how they behave, and be better prepared for your own new arrival.
Get your child involved in unwrapping baby presents, playing with them, and putting them away. If the baby’s arrival means a change to a big bed, or a new room, then do this as soon as possible before your child’s arrival. Make sure that you make a big deal about what a big boy or girl your older child is! Try to avoid sharing as much as possible. To a one year old, everything is extremely precious – even toys and clothes that he or she has not used in months. It is impossible for a child this age to grasp sharing, so instead avoid it by getting as much as possible new for your new baby.
As you near your due date, and get bigger, more tired, and less inclined to play games and move around fast, you will probably notice your older child getting more anxious. It is a stressful time, and a lot of love, patience and reassurance is necessary to help your child cope. Try to avoid any other major changes, like moving or changes to day care during this time, as the upheaval in your family life is probably as much as your child can handle.