Being a big sister or brother is for life is so important and the first visit has a lasting impression on young children. I encourage you to talk to your child about being a sibling and to introduce the new baby as soon as possible. The older child will miss mum while she is in hospital, even if it is for a few hours, or days and will be aware of all the excitement that is going on in the house so careful and be inclusive.

Hospital visits work best in the mornings when the young child is rested and keep the visits to about 10-15 minutes.  A toddler / young child will find it hard to be contained in a hospital room and if they become vocal and active (which is definatly on the cards) it can make everyone feel anxious.

Include the older child in the care of the baby…e.g. ‘can you please get a nappy for mummy and lets change our baby’s nappy together’.  Inclusion is important.  When you go home you may find the older sibling changes behaviour, as they really don’t know how to put the change in their family unit into words so they change their behaviour…and it’s usually not sitting quietly!!!

I heard a three-year say to his parents when they introduced their new baby to him “ who is this baby’s mummy and daddy?” A very mindful approach I thought from someone so young!