Reassure Soon-to-be Siblings with a Simple Video

Lara & Bump

How do you take care of your eldest child(ren) when you are about to have a baby?

Well, I recently ran into a local mum. She is due with her second child and asked me what I experienced differently while pregnant the second time. And my answer, without even thinking twice, was that I worried more about my eldest than I worried about myself or even the new baby. I worried that my daughter, whose whole world was this family of three, would feel left out and confused by this big change in our lives. And I didn’t want the experience of a new baby in our family to start out on a bad note, the very minute I went into labour, especially if we had to quickly leave in the middle of the night (which we did), and leave without time to explain what was happening. I kept picturing our eldest waking up disoriented that her parents were gone, without her, to have a new baby and instead she would be with friends or neighbours. Abandoned, (albeit temporarily), is not a good thing to feel.

How do you prepare your eldest child for this big change? Well it is the question every family of three has…But one practical, and very useful tip to help with this transition, is… VIDEO. I decided, at 34 weeks pregnant, to prepare a short and sweet 20 second video. I made it one evening, just hanging out on the sofa. My husband videoed me on my iPhone. It was just me, unscripted, calmly explaining that we were having the baby (as we discussed so many times), and that she was in good hands with our ‘friends’ (I kept it vague in case a last minute change of help happened, which it did). And I made it clear that everything would be fine, that mama and daddy were at the hospital, and that she was finally going to be a big sister! And she would meet the baby as soon as possible.

Then I saved the video for the moment we needed it.

The video was worth its weight in gold. Since my labour was quicker than I had expected, and in the middle of the night, while Beatrice was fully asleep, we transported her to the home of our kind & helpful friends. She woke up in the morning in a new home, in her friend’s bedroom, with another family taking care of her, in a sleepy and slightly confused morning haze. The parents were able to share the video we emailed them (on our way to the birth centre). She got to see her mama’s face, hear my voice, and was reminded of the exciting news of her new sibling! It put a big smile on her face. Reassurance that all was exactly as it should be. And I’d like to think it set the right tone for the big day ahead before she met her new… (surprise)… brother!

And the video also helped me to relax. I knew that while I was in the hospital focussing on, um, giving birth, that she had a little special message from me. To see me, hear me, and know that we were thinking of her (of course). Reminded of how much we care and love her.

We are so lucky to have technology which can make it seem like you are in two places at once 🙂 The video was free, easy to make, and one of the best ways to transition from one chapter to the next. And it definitely helped take away some of my worry, and probably some of hers too!

Beatrice on Autumn shoot

Lara. xx

These photos are from Maud Fontein taken during my second trimester, with my lovely daughter. I am so happy now that I took these pregnant photos. Don’t we both look excited?


Comments (8)

Esther in Amsterdam
June 28, 2016

I love this tip! Such a good and sweet idea! xxx

Courtney in London
June 28, 2016

I love this idea too. We were lucky each time a new baby was born that we had my mum in town to stay with us so that our children could wake up in their own home and feel comforted by family and everything familiar (and my mum brought the children to the hospital as soon as the baby was born!). But I remember being a little girl and waking up (in my own home) with one of my parents’ friends there and, even though I knew her and felt safe with her, it felt strange not to have my mom and dad there. A video is a perfect idea (and I can imagine it will be fun for her to watch in the future as well). x

Courtney in London
June 28, 2016

p.s. What GORGEOUS photos!! xx

Tasha Sheehan
June 28, 2016

I’m due in 2 weeks! I LOVE this idea to help comfort my two girls, especially if their sister decides to make her debut in the middle of the night. Thank you for sharing!

Alex from Bitsy
June 28, 2016

I am crying and I don’t even know you! What a beautiful idea – wish I had done this for my 1st daughter when my 2nd was en route. Tucking this one away 🙂 TY!

Lara in London
September 8, 2016

That is so sweet to hear. Thanks! And definitely an idea to save 🙂

Rachel | The Little Pip
June 29, 2016

What a lovely idea. It was a source of anxiety for me as to what would happen to my daughter as we didn’t have an obvious solution. In the end once I’d reached 40 weeks she went to stay with her grandparents for a few days and they brought her straight to the hospital after our son was born.

June 29, 2016

What a beautiful idea!! I love it and will definitely keep it in mind for when I will be having Oscar’s little brother or sister! Thanks for sharing!! xx

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