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Ask Dr. Sears: Jealous 5-Year-Old

Make friends before birth. Show and tell your child about the new baby while you're still pregnant. Encourage her to be involved in getting ready for her little brother or sister by helping you to buy clothing, select baby toys, and choose a name. Let the big sib talk to and pat the soon-to-be brother or sister and feel Baby kick.

Replay your child's babyhood. Get out the photo album from your older child's baby days and show and talk about what she looked like. Show her pictures of how she was nursed and carried in your arms. Talk about the presents she got when she was a baby and the visitors that came to meet her. Talking about the older sibling's baby days prepares her for what babies are like and reminds her that she, too, got a lot of attention when she was tiny. Tell her, "Visitors will bring baby presents," and "Tiny babies really need their mommies, so mommy will carry Baby a lot, just like I did with you." Take her along with you on your prenatal checkups so she can hear Baby's heartbeat and see the ultrasound pictures. Some hospitals even have classes for expectant siblings.

Include gifts for your older child. Since your friends will lavish gifts on the new baby, the older child may feel left out. Before you go to the hospital, wrap several gifts for your older child and stash them away for when people come to visit the new baby. When friends bring presents for the new baby but not for the sibling, surprise her with one of your "big sister gifts."

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