“Hello Bump, pleased to meet you!”

Welcoming a new addition to your family is always an exciting time for parents however how and when to break the news to your first child may be a bit unnerving. There may never be a perfect time to tell your child you are expecting. Some Parents may wait until they are well into their second trimester, as the risk of miscarriage after this point is considerably lower. Others may wish to tell their child as soon as they find out in order to include their child from the very beginning. As a rule of thumb it is ideal to tell your child when you are ready to share your news with others around you, as a child cannot keep a secret (it is just not in their nature). Whenever you decide to break the news to your child has to be right for you. Children over the age of two may be able to conceptualise the idea of a new baby on the way, whilst younger children may not fully understand what is to come, without seeing a picture, physical pregnancy bump or the actual baby.   


It is essential that parents do all the preliminary work before informing their toddler of the joyous news. Toddlers are unpredictable and their reaction cannot be envisaged, it is an idea to gauge your toddlers thoughts on the concept of having a new baby join the family, before actually informing them. This will give you an indication on how to broach the topic at a later stage. Illustrated Books are a very useful tool when trying to convey the message of a new baby. Many children’s books refer to the first child as an older brother or sister, this term may help your toddler view their new role in a positive light. Giving your toddlers real life examples of family and friends that have welcomed new babies into their family/ visiting them will give your toddler a better understanding and practical experience.


Some toddlers may tell you point blank they do not like babies and do not want a new baby in the house, this may be a bit disheartening however, it may also be the perfect opportunity to sit your toddler down and find out why they have such feelings, you should also spend this time going through all the benefits of having a sibling, for instance someone to play and share their toys with. On the other hand some toddlers may be unfazed by the news (especially children under two). Take time to explain to your toddler that the new baby is not coming to replace them however they are coming to keep them company and be their friend.  Try to answer all the questions your toddler may have regarding the new baby in a positive manner, without going into too much depth or overloading them with information. Placing the birth of the new baby around an event or specific time of year will give your toddler something to look forward to, for instance ‘your baby brother/ sister will be here just after Christmas’. A top tip would be to get a family calendar, which you could all use as a countdown till baby arrives.


Including your toddler in the unique journey of pregnancy will ease the transition of being an only child to an expectant sibling. There are various activities you can engage your toddler in prior to the birth, such as shopping for the baby, decorating the nursery, packing your hospital bag, choosing baby’s name, singing for baby, feeling for kicks and movement and kissing your bump. These activities will help your toddler become familiar with the idea of having a new sibling. If your toddler has no interest in the preparation stage do not be discouraged just let them lead you on how much or little they want to know and engage. Lastly make it a daily point to remind your toddler how much you love them and how much the baby growing inside your tummy loves them too.