When to start discussing pregnancy with toddler - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-27-2012, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My partner is pregnant with #2. Our DD is almost 3.

For those who have more than 1 child, when did you start talking about the "little sister or brother" with your other kids?

We told DD, and she is somewhat anxious about it. Well, not outwardly anxious, she just doesn't want to talk about it.

I am thinking that pregnancies are long enough for an adult to endure. They must be super long for a 3 yr old...and so we shouldn't really start discussing it more until 6 or 7 months in.

 

Could use some advice in this department.

 

Thanks


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#2 of 10 Old 04-27-2012, 06:44 PM
 
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I really think it depends on the kid. You've got to play it by ear.

 

I'm due with this, my third baby, on my 1st baby's 4th birthday. So, my DD was like, 3 years and 3 months when we found out we were having another one. She is a wonderful (our kids are VERY close and spend all their time together) big sister to her younger brother, our 2.5 year old...so that puts a very different spin on things for us. We told her right away...she became obsessed with birth videos, with HB and talks about the baby non-stop. Prepping diapers, sorting baby clothes...all of that stuff, she has been by my side and is so excited and happy to meet this baby, I think she is even more outwardly enthusiastic than ME! She is completely sure that she is going to be in the birth tub, catching this baby.

That being said...hearing: "You're going to be a big sister!" - is very different for a kid who doesn't know exactly what that means.

 

At 3, your DD may grasp the language..but not necessarily the RELATIONSHIP it implies. Maybe that's why she doesn't want to talk so much about it? She knows it's a big change...but maybe not how it's actually going to be for her?

I think exposing her to positive situations involving babies and talking to her during those times about what it's going to be like would help. Talking to her about her ROLE in the family after the baby comes could help her to feel like she knows what to expect.

My DD is already such a huge help that while she needed reassurance that she would still be the "top helper", she was pretty clear on what "big sister" meant and was very glad when I told her that "yes, for sure you will still be my number one helper". But she's been my helper since her brother came when she was 16/17 months old...so she doesn't know any other way.

 

Helping your DD to understand the "day to day" of having a newborn around and what that is going to entail for her will, I bet, fill her with a sense of place and purpose in this new family picture that is coming together and I think when that really starts to become planted in her mind, you'll see her start to come out of her shell a bit and own the big sister role.

 

 

So yeah. I say talk early and often about the pregnancy. My DD really enjoyed seeing developmental videos/pictures all along the way and talking to her about the biology of pregnancy and birth have been really interesting and helpful for her.

 

This was a cool site in the beginning, it shows ACTUAL footage inside the womb from very very early on in the pregnancy...so, you know, if that sort of thing would be weird to you, heads up! But we found it really cool and it helped my DD to understand the process a bit more.

http://www.ehd.org/movies-index.php

 

Good luck and congratulations!! By the end of this pregnancy, I'll bet your DD is just ACHING to meet that baby and start being an awesome big sister. <3 I loved having a girl first...she has turned into such a little mama hen. It's so funny and sweet to watch. She and her brother love each other fiercely and they are both SO excited and very busily preparing for the new baby to join us. Adding to your brood adds to your bliss...it's so nice to see them get to know each other.


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#3 of 10 Old 04-27-2012, 07:06 PM
 
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I agree with a lot of BroodyWoodsGal said. My DD was less than 2.5 years when we found out I was pregnant with this baby, and we told her right away. We told her before we told anyone else, even our parents. We felt she deserved that dignity because she is a member of our family too, and it would directly effect her for life. She didn't understand, really, at the time, but as time goes by she understands more and more. She is very excited about being "Mommy #2"! At first she didn't seem to care much, but especially after the baby started kicking, and we started getting the house ready for him to arrive, she got more and more excited. We talk about her baby brother all day long.

We also are religious and believe life begins at conception. So we had religious reasons for telling her as well. We would not have regretted telling her had we had a miscarriage. It's something we want to stress with her early and often. If you aren't comfortable with that I might not show your child pictures of early embryo development. They start to look like babies pretty quickly. My daughter loved looking at pictures of developing embryos/fetuses. And of course we always called it a "baby" regardless of whether it actually looked like one at that stage.


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#4 of 10 Old 04-27-2012, 07:21 PM
 
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I agree it depends on the child. We told our then 21mo straight away. She will refer to "baby tummy" and I've shown her pictures but I'm sure she has no real concept of what it all means and how it will impact her. If she was older I may have delayed telling her for a while just so she didn't have to wait out the whole 9 months but I'm not sure. It would be hard to not talk about it at all within her hearing so she'd know something was going on. And I think the point about respecting her part in the family and telling her early because of that is a good one.

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#5 of 10 Old 04-27-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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A side note/cute story:

In all of this preparing for the new baby, my DD was talking to me one day and she started talking about "when she's giving milkies to the baby...." and I had to stop her and explain to her that only mamas can give "milkies"....she was **DEVASTATED**. She told me that she thought she was going to grow "milkies" like mama so she could help me feed the baby and I could rest (is that the sweetest thing ever!). She was so, so so so upset at finding out she'll not being able to nurse her little sister...poor girl.

 



OP the others have had good things to add...I think the best plan is tell them straight away, talk about it often and when you talk about it always talk about how the existing child fits into the picture. Once they grasp that, they start expanding upon the idea that you've given of what it will be like and they build a picture in their head, an expectation that they can be excited about.


Me and DH ...lovin' DD dust.gif(6/08) and DS kid.gif(11/09) Plus NEW BABY!! DD baby.gif (UC-5/12) We heartbeat.gif Water Birth/Homebirth/No Vax or Circ/BF/BW/Country Livin'! chicken3.gif

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#6 of 10 Old 04-27-2012, 08:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroodyWoodsgal View Post

A side note/cute story:

In all of this preparing for the new baby, my DD was talking to me one day and she started talking about "when she's giving milkies to the baby...." and I had to stop her and explain to her that only mamas can give "milkies"....she was **DEVASTATED**. She told me that she thought she was going to grow "milkies" like mama so she could help me feed the baby and I could rest (is that the sweetest thing ever!). She was so, so so so upset at finding out she'll not being able to nurse her little sister...poor girl.

 

 

That is so sweet. Ahhhh poor girl, what a good little mama :)

 

DS was 3yrs 9 mons when we found out we were expecting again we told him with in a week or so if finding out and he was kinda indifferent for a bit and then he became really interested in reading his book "it's not the Stork" which he had showed ho interest in until then. We had to read that book over and over again and he loved the parts about how a baby is made and what a fetus does inside of a mamas womb. He has also been to most of our midwife appointments and 2 or the three ultrasounds I had. He loves going to the "Midwifes house" that is what he calls the clinic :) A cute story is after our 2nd apt with the midwifes he said "The next time we come here the midwife will take the baby out right?" I said nope not for another 6 mons. He is a bit anxious about the baby as he is worried that she will ignore him and that she will crawl into his room and mess with his stuff. he is also excited and when we told him last week that the baby was a girl he said "WooHoo" he was hoping for a little sister. He also really likes to kiss my belly and say he is kissing the baby. I like that he is involved in preparing for his little sister and it gives him lots of time to talk about his emotions around it.


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#7 of 10 Old 04-28-2012, 02:43 AM
 
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I found out I was pregnant when dd2 was about 18 months old, I think, and we told her right away. At first she really didn't get it, and we didn't expect her to, but now (she turned 2 last month, and I'm 35 weeks now) she likes to feel the baby kick and talks about how the baby is going to live in her house after it "comes out". She loves babies and is really excited about it. She knows how babies are usually born, etc. All kids are different, I think, and I wouldn't worry if yours isn't particularly excited right now. :) My first dd wasn't very excited during my pregnancy with my second dd, and she was 5, so she knew what was going on. She had her excited moments, of course, but a lot of the time she either didn't care at all or was actively unhappy about it. 

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#8 of 10 Old 04-28-2012, 06:09 AM
 
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We told our then 2.5 year old son right away.  I had been testing early, and on 11 DPO I had a *very* faint line in the morning (with him I had a very strong line at 11 DPO) so I wasn't sure.  I went to work, and came home with a digital test.  He didn't know what we were doing really, but I peed on the stick with all of us there and we waited together... when it said "pregnant" we told him that meant there was a baby in my tummy and he was SO THRILLED!  He has been excited ever since, though in the beginning when there wasn't a belly he forgot at times. 

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#9 of 10 Old 04-28-2012, 01:48 PM
 
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My 2 year old (now 2.5) came with us to the very first ultrasound (dating at 7 weeks) and that's when we started getting the ball rolling on talking about the baby.  We then brought her along with us to our gender screening.   Now she can see/feel her baby brother move and kick inside of me and I think the more physical aspect of it helps her understand even more.  


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#10 of 10 Old 04-28-2012, 09:52 PM
 
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We have an almost 3 year old and almost 4 year old. Thus far, I have had mild m/s so they probably won't notice. We'll probably wait until 16+ or weeks. I wouldn't choose to discuss a m/c with young children. 

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