Preparing Your Toddler for a New Baby

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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?

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!

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.

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

  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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