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From how to avoid clingy behaviour, to what to do if your older child starts showing resentment towards a new baby’s arrival, we hear from Munchkin’s official parenting expert, Sophie Pickles, who reveals all her new sibling secrets.


With late September being the most popular time for babies to be born in the UK, it naturally means November is filled with lots of new siblings, all getting to know each other and forming those special early bonds.

But dealing with a new sibling can be a tricky time for toddlers and young children as a newborn baby receives lots of attention from family and friends. From having feelings of resentment as the little one is getting all the attention, to being hostile towards the baby, it’s a big emotional shift, and it can be difficult for the whole family.

To help parents of newborns create household harmony in those early days, Sophie Pickles, Munchkin’s official parenting expert, has revealed her new sibling secrets:

Talking and Listening

Communication is key when it comes to helping a new sibling slot into the family. It doesn’t matter how young your child is, it’s essential to talk to them as much as possible about their new brother or sister’s arrival.  Speak to them about what may change, how it might feel and, importantly, listen to any worries they may have. It seems so simple, yet parents or caregivers often hold back on communication for fear that it will worry or upset their children. Rest assured, it’s best to talk, and listen, as much as possible.

Gentle Hands

Toddlers can often react in a hostile way towards their new sibling. Sometimes, this can spill over into physical reactions, such as pinching, pulling or even hitting. A good way to try and nip this in the bud, is to role play with dolls before and after the baby comes along. Practise using gentle touch, caring for the doll baby and involving your little toddler as much as possible. They will enjoy looking after their 'baby' alongside you when the real thing arrives - remember to praise them and acknowledge when they use gentle hands too.

A Nurturing Approach To Regression

It’s common for a toddler to suddenly want to be a baby again, they may ask you to rock them, give them milk, or interact with them the same way you do the baby. This is completely normal and it’s ok that they feel this way. Support them through these feelings, and let them mourn the loss of babyhood. Avoid saying things such as “You’re not a baby anymore” or “You’re a big boy/girl now” Remember, their world has turned upside down overnight, and pushing them to suddenly grow up can be jarring and unhelpful.

Don’t Blame the Baby

There’ll often be times during pregnancy or after having a new baby, when you can’t do things for your toddler as you usually would. This idea of having to wait or do things differently will be new to them, especially if they are your first-born. With this in mind, it’s important not to use the baby or pregnancy as a reason for why you can't do things. For example, instead of saying "I can't play on the floor, I have a baby in my tummy" try "It hurts my legs to sit on the floor for a long time. Let’s move your toys onto the table and play together there".  Of course, it’s ok to be honest, but you don’t want your child to start associating the fact that they can't do things with their new sibling.

Making Time For Quality Time

It can be difficult to dedicate one-on-one time to  your toddler, especially when you have a new baby in tow. However, building in quality time for your toddler, where nothing is about the new brother or sister, will make them feel important, secure and loved. It’s important to find a safe space for your baby, such as Munchkin's swing, a moses basket or play mat, then turn all your attention to your older child. Perhaps read a book or play a game that you know they love. Getting out and about works too, be it on a little walk or visiting a toddler class, just put your baby in a sling or carrier ensuring that you have both your hands free to play and explore with your older child.

Sharing Stories

There are plenty of books out there that are geared towards having a new brother or sister. Research, and find some that you’d like to share with your toddler. Reading books will help you to talk about some of the things that babies do, such as crying, needing milk and napping. This doesn’t just have to be done pre-baby, you can use books afterwards too to tackle some new feelings, emotions or behaviours that you have noticed in your child.  It’s also a lovely opportunity to enjoy some quiet time together.

My Little Helper

There’s a lot to be done before a new baby arrives, which is the perfect excuse to involve a little helper.  Getting your older child to support you can really help them to feel comfortable with the change that is about to happen. Whether it's washing baby clothes, building the cot or setting up a new pushchair, this preparation stage will create an understanding that they are an important part of the family and alleviate any worries.


Munchkin has a range of nursery items that are helpful for newborns and small babies.

Editorial by Sophie Pickles, Munchkin’s official parenting expert

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