Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

Now that the wedding planning craziness has passed and the sand has settled, Ben and I are ready to expand our family, and Whistler couldn’t be more on board. His cousins and many of his schoolmates have younger siblings and Whistler has begun dropping not-so-subtle hints at home – family drawings include a fourth “baby” member or he will ask to go to the baby brother store to pick one out.

I had the pleasure of attending an American Doll event at BlogHer this year and discovered the Bitty Baby line. It has been a classic children’s doll since the early 90s, and they were generous enough to allow me to pick out a style to keep!

bitty baby

Though she’s not Iron Man or Buzz Lightyear, bringing a baby doll home for wasn’t what Whistler (or dad) was expecting, but it was exactly what I was looking for. Whistler immediately fell in love with his “baby sister”, promptly named her “George” and then took on the instinctual big brother duties like reading her books and tucking her into bed at night. I couldn’t have been more thrilled! 

The simple and genius idea behind American Doll is that girls really enjoy having a mini twin. Many different versions of the dolls are made so that you can choose eye, hair and skin color. Encouraging imaginative play, there is a wide variety of accessories, and thus “likes/dislikes” so that every girl can truly create and personalize the doll of their dreams. Without even having to explain this concept to Whistler, he “got it” right away. The very first thing he said when he saw his Bitty Baby was “Look mom – she looks JUST LIKE ME!!” Pretty incredible, right?

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My idea that Bitty Baby would help to teach him how to be gentle and care for a younger sibling worked like a charm. Some of his assignments include “baby sitting”, feeding, burping, diaper changing and getting the baby ready for the day. Last week American Girl sent me a new outfit for George and Whistler discovered that dressing his baby sister in cute “daytime” clothes wasn’t as easy as putting her jammies on and off. 

bitty baby 1

bitty baby 2

bitty baby 3

As I laughed and giggled as he tried all the typical anti-instinctual “boy” ways of dressing a doll, I also realized that we were in the midst of another lesson, one of patience and practice. In the end, he was so incredibly proud of himself for dressing George in her new outfit and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s obvious in his smile.

bitty baby 4

Knowing my son is ready for a sibling makes it easier and more comforting for me to bring on baby #2! Plus, as the mom to a boy, it’s fun to get a taste of playing with dolls instead of stepping on the corners of a Lego again.

With Christmas around the corner, American Girl dolls are a favorite gift and thanks to Shutterfly, you can get a FREE 8×8 hardcover photo book when you order by December 31, 2013! Your doll will come with the Shutterfly code in the box to be redeemed by February 15, 2014, so you can start out your photo book with the memories of the doll’s present opening, and include 20 pages of your American Girl doll and its new best friend through Valentine’s Day. Breaking outside of the gender lines has been a very positive experience for us, but if playing with a girl doll is a problem, American Girl makes it easy with boy doll options in the Bitty Twins. Here’s to hoping for a new member of the family!

Also read:  How We Almost Missed The First Day of School

Thank you to American Doll for providing a Bitty Baby doll and outfit. All opinions remain my own.

36 thoughts on “Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby”

  1. People often don’t think about the importance of preparing children for the arrival of siblings. It is important and will make the future relationship better.

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  2. I love that he named his baby doll sister George. That make me smile. What cute pictures of Whistler in “brother” training.

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  3. Cuteness overload! Love it! It’s not only teaching him how to be a good sibling, but a great future dad! Kudos to you!

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  4. I love to see this. Just today another parent and I discussed the need for more gender neutral toys. From the looks of the pictures he’s going to make quite the Dad :)

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  5. Aw, Whistler is so adorable and he’s going to make a great big brother one day! My nephew actually loves baby dolls! He’s five and plays with his own dolls and his sister’s just as much as he does his trucks and action figures :)

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  6. That’s so sweet! I hope you’re also teaching him babies are gentle and he probably wont’ get to help dress your new baby right away. ;)

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  7. These are great tips and I worked with my grandson when my daughter was pregnant with his new sister. I think this is a necessary step instead of just thinking they will adjust when the baby comes home.

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  8. This is adorable & such a great idea. Good luck with expanding your family. I hope to do the same. I will use this for sure.

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  9. This is a GREAT idea! I wish that I had known about this when my sister-in-law was pregnant with my nephew. While my niece LOVES her little brother, if they could have prepped her with ways she could help it would have been even better :)

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  10. So cute! What a precious little boy you have. It’s so exciting to expand the family. Fun times ahead for you all!

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  11. What an awesome way for him to explore what being a big brother will be like. George is a great name for a baby sister. :)

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  12. OMG How cute!! Your son is just precious!! I wonder if I got a Bitty girl baby if my 7 year old would be good for another baby? He told me he didn’t want any more babies..

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  13. so sweet. although i totally thought you were pregnant!!

    my son’s lovey is actually a bitty baby (an older one) named jacob. he also has a bitty twin, named dayvon the hairy baby (the bitty twins were our first dolls in the house with hair, hence the name)

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  14. This is a great post! Having a toddler take care of a baby doll is a good idea to prepare him for a new baby. Big brother seems to be ready now for baby number 2!

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  15. I love this – and I love the fact that there is hope for my little boy, should we ever have a second baby. He would get a kick out of “helping”.

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  16. My daughter was so welcoming to our son when we brought him home. They’ve been inseparable ever since. This is a great idea though; I bet it works really well.

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  17. Fabulous post. As a teacher to 2 and 3 year olds, they have no conception of gender toys. Boys want to play and learn to care for babes, too!! Good luck with your planning for baby #2, it sounds like you are getting everything straight.

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  18. I love this! My oldest was 2.5 when the baby arrived. We talked about getting a baby doll for him, but never followed through. The pics are adorable btw

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  19. My daughter was almost 5 before she had a sibling, and I wish I would have had a Bitty Baby to prep her for the arrival! I love how involved your son is in the care of the doll. He will make an awesome big brother!

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  20. This is such a great post. My oldest was 3 when his little brother was born. We tried to prepare him as much as possible and I think it helped because he was much more accepting of his brother than I would have expected.

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