Birth of a Baby


The birth of a new baby is a joyous time for most families. Bringing a new brother or sister home has wonderful feelings of anticipation and joy – as well as infant cries, dirty diapers, and sleepless nights.

There are a number of books about bringing a sibling into the home. Reading and talking about what is about to happen can help prepare children for the big event. Social Stories™ can be written to make it more personal, segments from Sesame Street™ and other TV shows can be viewed over and over again to help with comfort and familiarity, baby dolls can be purchased, and scenarios can be acted out, but nothing will quite be the same as the real thing!

So, it’s best to be prepared. Before the baby is born, you might consider visits to friends or family members who have babies and see how you child reacts to the infant. Consider your child’s sensitivities….. Does an infant’s cry upset him or her? Does the smell of dirty diapers put him or her off? Do you think your child will be upset when Mom and/or Dad’s time is so consumed with baby things?

As appropriate and according to your child’s interest level, involve your child in the planning for the new baby. Perhaps your child would like to pick out an outfit or soft toy for the baby. Maybe your child can even help narrow down a list of names. Many families buy a special gift for their child to give the new baby when he or she is born (and perhaps even one for the parents to give to the new older sibling).

Over time, as your infant grows to be a toddler and young child, different issues will arise. One main concern of your older child may relate to the baby getting into the older child’s stuff. Some of this needs to be considered for safety. Perhaps the older child has toys that are “hazardous for those 3 and younger.” Or the older child may have special toys that are precious to him or her that he or she does not want to share. Provisions can be put into place to protect the older child’s possessions from the curiosity of the younger – and the reverse. Consider giving your child a special box or other location for his or her special things that can be kept and played with in his or her room when the door is closed, or consider putting a lock on your older child’s drawer to protect special possessions. Each family will need to figure out what will work best for them.

As in any situation, a child on the autism spectrum often needs direct, precise, and explicit instruction as to what he or she can or cannot do. There is nothing to replace direct supervision and vigilance. Keep your eyes open and ears alert to be prepared for anything that may occur, and enjoy the positive, quiet, loving times with your family.

Related Articles:

Additional Reading:

I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole

I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole

I'm a Big Sister by Joanna Cole

I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole

The New Baby by Mercer Mayer

The New Baby by Mercer Mayer

Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller

Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller

Last Updated: June 3, 2020

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.

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