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A baby in the family

baby; family; youngest; crying; playing; brother; sister ;


Have you just heard that mum's having a babyquestion mark
Are you excited about itquestion mark
Are you a bit worried about itquestion mark
Maybe you haven't thought about it muchquestion mark

What are babies like?

When you see the new baby, these are some things that you may notice first...

  • babiesShe is incredibly small!!
  • Her head may be a bit uneven. Don't worry - this will look OK soon.
  • You can see a soft bit on top of her head moving up and down. This is called the fontanelle (fon-tan-elle) and is quite normal.
  • When a baby is borh her skull has five pieces of bone joined together by strong membranes. The bones grow along the edges of these pieces and when the skull is fully grown the bones join together. The skull makes a kind of 'safety helmet' to protect the brain.
  • She will do some things straight away like holding on to your finger (or hair if you get too close) and suck your finger if you put it into her mouth (make sure your finger is clean before you try this).
  • She may get hiccups after her feed.
  • She may bring back up some of her food.
  • She may do lots of poos at first.
  • She may cry a lot at first.
  • She is incredibly cute!

Getting to know your baby

When babies first come into the world, they don't know anything. They don't know where they are, who are their family, or how they will be fed and looked after. You can help the baby by getting to know him and letting him get to know you.

holding a baby
  • Talk to him about what you are doing when you pick him up, stroke him, play with him or cuddle him.
  • Learn his little ways of letting you know what he needs.
  • Move slowly and speak gently to him so that he feels safe.
  • Hold him and rock him gently on your lap if he is crying and your mum or dad says it is OK.
  • Smile at him and soon he will be smiling back at you.

Why babies cry

Babies can't tell you what they want - the only way they can get your attention is to cry.

They cry if they are hungry.

They cry if they are wet and need changing.

They cry if they are too hot or too cold.

playing with babyThey cry if they are thirsty.

They cry if they are tired.

They cry if they have a pain.

They cry if they are scared.

They cry if they want a cuddle.

They cry if they are not sure what they want!

The crying is not always the same. As you get to know the baby, you will be able to tell what she is crying for.

What you can do to help with the baby

How big are youquestion mark

If you are big enough or old enough, you may be able to help mum a lot with looking after the baby.

baby sleeping in a cotYou may be allowed to hold the baby, help to bath her, help to fasten her in her pram or car seat, even walk her around the house or garden to give her something to look at if she is upset.

You could play with her, help to feed her as she gets bigger, wash her dummy and give it back to her if she has dropped it. Mum or Dad will show you how.

If you are very small yourself, you may only be able to do a few of these things and only when Mum or Dad is there.

After all, it is important to keep you and the baby safe and happy.

How to play with babies

Sing little songs and rhymes to the baby, the sort of songs you learned when you were a little kid.

Make the baby laugh by clapping your hands or poking out your tongue and let baby copy you.

playing with babyPlay games like Peek-a-Boo, hiding your face then smiling when you say, "Boo" gently.

Wave goodbye when you or the baby are going out of the room, or outside, and wait until she waves back to you.

Show her how to play with her toys. Babies can see when they are born, but it takes a few weeks for them to be able to start watching things that are around them, such as toys and people. Make sure that the toys are soft so that she does not hurt herself.

Kiss her goodnight when she is going to sleep.

Did you know?

  • Babies can see when they are born but they don't understand what they are seeing.
  • The things they see most clearly are things that are about 25 to 30 cm from them - like your face when you hold them.
  • They do not have much control of where their eyes are looking when they are born, but in a few weeks they will look at people and watch where they are going. Your baby will look at you as you go past.
  • playing with babyBabies seem to like really bright colours.
  • Babies' eyes may change colour after a few months.
  • Babies can hear sounds but they don't know what they are hearing at first.
  • Babies are scared by loud sudden noise, so turn down the volume when you play your music.
  • Babies like high, soft voices, so she will definitely like to hear your voice if you are her bigger brother or sister.
  • Babies like to be touched gently - it makes them feel happy and loved.
  • Babies can smell things and will turn their faces away from nasty smells.
  • Babies are a lot of fun.

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate"Having a new baby in your family is really special. If everyone in the family helps to take care of the baby, then she will be very happy to be part of such a happy family.

Babies can taste sweet and sour - they don't need sugar or salt on their food, so don't give them salty or sweet things to suck - they are not good for babies, or you.

Always ask Mum or Dad before you do anything for the baby, and they will show you how to help look after your new little brother or sister. Your Mum is likely to be very tired if your new baby wakes a lot during the night. You might be able to help your Mum by doing something nice for her, like bringing a drink for her while she is feeding your baby."

You may feel a bit jealous of the baby at times.  Don't think that you are a 'bad person' if you get those feelings. Look at the topic Brothers and sisters - being the oldest for some help on understanding how you feel and what you can do about it.

What kids say about babies

  • "Always wash your hands before you pick the baby up." - Maya
  • "I'm the eldest in the family and I have 4 younger brothers and sisters. I help mum with the baby by taking her for a walk, cuddling her when she's tired and getting mum fresh nappies when baby needs a clean-up."Rachelle
  • "I was 12 when our new baby came and I was a bit scared about it. Now I think she is so cute and I like being her big brother." - Daniel.
  • "I help mum by fastening the baby into his car seat and helping mum carry all the stuff. Babies need a lot of stuff when you are going anywhere." - Tim
  • "You have to be careful about holding the baby's head at first. You should always be gentle with babies." - Tan

How do you help with your baby?
baby animals

A new baby!

A baby in the family
Whether girl or boy,
Can bring much laughter
And so much joy.
Having a baby sister or brother
Brings the family closer together.
Babies are sweet, when they're not smelly!
Much better to watch them than the telly.
Babies are cute and lots of fun.
Soon they will walk and then they'll run!
Listening to them gurgle and coo.
Babies are special, they think you are too.


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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