5 Tips When Older Sibling Meets the New Baby

One of the most anxious moments for a new family is when older sibling meets the new baby for the first time.

It’s a big transition for everyone.

As a former Labor and Delivery nurse for over twenty-five years, and now a Birth Photographer, I can say I love the magic that happens when a new life comes into this world.  I especially love documenting all the dynamics when older sibling meets new baby. And yet, I’ve walked enough families through this process to know there will be a wide range of emotions!  Here are five of my favorite tips that will help you prepare older siblings to meet their new baby.

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1.Take the Tour with Your Little One

Consider taking your children on a tour of the hospital before the baby is born. Show them the rooms, especially the nursery. Let them meet nurses who will be taking care of Mom and the new baby until they can come home. As a Labor and Delivery nurse for over thirty years, I loved the opportunity to make kids feel welcome.  Hospitals are so foreign to kids and can feel scary.  But if the child knows mom and baby are being loved and cared for, it will help their transition to meeting new baby too!

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2. Time to Respond

Give siblings TIME to respond. Environment and time work together here. The hospital environment may be a new situation for them, and kids need time to process it. Be near them to encourage and support. Talk to them and listen to what they have to say. Don’t rush them. Mom has had a bit of time alone in the hospital with the new baby. Time to bond, time to eat, time to rest (hopefully!). What the siblings have had is time away from Mom.

tips for parents. birth photography

This little girl was not ready to hold the baby; there was an entire room to investigate first! Do what is best for your family. You know your children and how they respond to new people, places and things. Sometimes kids want to jump up on the bed with mom or grab a quick hug from dad before greeting the new baby. Be ready for whatever their response will be. Uniqueness is what makes children special. Try not to  stress over the initial reactions your children may have.

Don’t be offended if the sibling(s) don’t rush to see the new baby. Depending on your relationship with your child/children, they may need time with you right away. Or, they may rush to see the baby who’s been hiding out in Mommy’s belly for so long! If your children needs time with you, the newborn will not remember going to the nursery or you putting baby down so that you can love on the older sibling and talk about the new addition.  So, don’t feel guilty whatever you and your family decide. It’s your special time!

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3.  Reminisce Outloud

This little girl was watching everything closely, especially the baby, from the safety of her daddy’s embrace.

tips for parents.  birth photography

As parents relax, the kids will follow, eventually. Reminisce out loud-talking to the older sibling about memories you had when they were born, and how much you loved that special time.  Talk about how glad you are to share it with them now!  Talking about these things helps show the reality of the new connection and giving them ownership in it. And that is one of the most special things about siblings–it will be a connection that lasts forever.

4. Relax

As you RELAX and enjoy this time, the kids will also begin to relax. A sibling means a forever friend, a confidant, a partner, and a cheerleader. Relax and take in the these beautiful first  moments.

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5. Fill in the Blanks

Be prepared as a parent for some real emotion and heart-felt interactions during these first visits. Keep the baby close to mom or dad during this time in case the baby is startled, cries, or poops and the kids are uncertain of what to do. It’s okay to “fill in the blanks” on behalf of baby, as long as it’s not pushy. For example, if the baby is sleeping, it’s okay to say, “See, the baby is dreaming of all the fun he/she will have with you!”

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The end of the hospital bed with mom or on the couch with dad nearby, are good places to start. Mom or Dad’s lap is okay too.

tips for parents.  birth photography

I love the emotional responses and different interactions of children to the new baby. The moment of this first meeting, waiting and watching for interaction, is always filled with surprise and wonder.

tips for parents.  birth photography

This little boy is looking at dad and grinning from ear to ear at being able to hold his new brother.  His face says it all. I love his excitement and how proud he is. Don’t forget to document this too.  I wonder if this little boy is thinking about how he will no longer be the baby in the house. This little guy is trying to grasp all this new information.  His dad is filling in the blanks which helps the mental process for the older sibling “Yes, this is your new baby brother.  Yes, he is coming home with us.”  I have witnessed responses from tears, giddiness, excitement, and overwhelming love.

Final thoughts.

Remember to take photos.  Any camera will work.  The best camera to use is the one you have with you, or contact me about having me photograph your new birth! You’ll get a retired Labor and Delivery Nurse AND Birth Photographer all in one!  🙂

This time of memory making is priceless!

~laura, a grammie with a giggle.

For more information on birth photography, check out my “about me” page on my web site. Email me for availability. laura@lauraswiftphotography.com 

What’s the perfect gift for a new mom?

A creative day with other moms learning to use their camera!  Check out the dates for my upcoming photography workshop  You can also email me direct for 2015 dates/details!

Workshop Date for Spring 2015

May 30th,  Saturday  9:30am – 3:30pm  Christiansburg, VA   $299 includes workbook, swag, and lunch.





  1. Pingback : birth stories second baby - Laura Swift Photography

  2. by Tina on February 10, 2016  5:50 pm Reply

    Laura - this is such a great post! Just loved it...

  3. by Jamie on February 11, 2016  9:22 am Reply

    Absolutely love this tip sheet for introducing older siblings to new babies! Spot on information and lovely lifestyle birth photos. Such a special time in a young family's life!

  4. by Corey on February 11, 2016  10:35 am Reply

    Such great tips for expecting families with more than one child. A new baby is such an adjustment for everyone and these tips should definitely make it easier on big brothers and sisters!

  5. by Connie on February 11, 2016  10:42 am Reply

    These are such valuable tips for families with siblings expecting a baby. We expect everyone to react with excitement and joy but that is no aways the case. I like how your photos documented the possible reactions siblings can have when meeting baby for the first time.

  6. by Ashley S. on February 11, 2016  12:53 pm Reply

    Awesome tips for welcoming a new baby and preparing before birth! I had no idea what to think about my daughter's reaction when my son was born.. she came up to me and tandem nursed with him, held his hand, and had a single tear down her face. I'm so glad I had a birth photographer there for the occasion because it's one of my favorite photos to this day!

  7. by Melanie Painter on February 12, 2016  10:25 am Reply

    These are all great tips for introducing siblings to their new baby brother or sister! As a lifestyle birth photographer you have probably witnessed so many different tactics for this special introduction. This is a fantastic way to share those tips with your birth clients.

  8. by Dawn on February 12, 2016  12:09 pm Reply

    I love how you are willing to share your expert advice with your families. After 30 years being around newborns and children, you are the perfect person I would want as a birth photographer. I love the tip where you have the parents reminisce outloud about the siblings' birth story.

  9. by abbie on February 13, 2016  11:12 am Reply

    what helpful tips! I wish I had this when I had my 2nd. I was soooo nervous! I love that you are an ex nurse too and that makes you even more perfect for birth photography!

  10. by Christine D on February 13, 2016  1:54 pm Reply

    These are all excellent tips for introducing a newborn to a big sibling! As a mom of three, I have done that a couple of times with different reactions each time. Making sure the older child feels loved in the same way he or she always has been helps them learn to love that new baby too. If I could do it all again, I would have you photograph their reactions!

  11. by Amanda on February 13, 2016  1:57 pm Reply

    These are excellent tips. I believe after a birth we are so tired we tend to forget that the big siblings may need a bit of time. My favorite tip is reminisce out loud. Parents are so lucky to have Laura Swift Photography as a choice for their lifestyle birth photographer. Beautiful memories captured!

  12. by Alyssa on February 14, 2016  12:27 am Reply

    These tips are fantastic! These are big and exciting changes for everyone in the family. And of course those delicate little siblings need some time to understand all the changes that comes along with this new life. So what a great way to provide some insight for these newly expanding families.

  13. by Kathy on February 14, 2016  11:10 am Reply

    Oh how I wish I had this amazing post to refer to before introducing out son to his new baby sister! (but that was 2 years ago, so it didn't exist!) :) These are some amazing pointers to help a new big brother or sister get acclimated to their new family member. I love all of your tips and I am sure all of your birth photographyc clients will love them also!

  14. by Maria Martinez on February 14, 2016  1:07 pm Reply

    I never thought to have the kiddos take a tour at the hospital with us, that is a great idea! This is a perfect article for helping siblings meet their new little bundle of joy! I am sure these tips will help at a newborn session when we want to include siblings!

  15. by Esther on February 14, 2016  1:17 pm Reply

    These are really helpful tips for families. I am so glad to see that you are doing birth Photography!

  16. by Samantha on February 14, 2016  3:11 pm Reply

    Great advice for families who are having a second baby! Your photos of the new precious families are absolutely priceless.

  17. Pingback : Photo Of Young Boy Crying Hysterically When Meeting His Baby Sister For The First Time Goes Viral. - FaithPanda

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