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Our daughter is almost 11 months old. I am pregnant with our second child, who'll be born by the time our first is year and seven months.

Is there a way to prepare a child so young for a sibling or to convey the idea of pregnancy once I become visible?

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The birthdays of my daughter and her little brother are one year and nine months apart.

We bought a baby boy doll for my daughter early on. This doll became very helpful in explaining to our girl what would happen if we have another child: It is very hard to describe the abstract concept of "another baby"; It is much easier to point to the doll and ask our girl "what if mommy has to feed the baby and cannot hold you for a while?"

We also find it helpful to teach our girl how to "take care" of the baby doll, such as pretending to feed the baby, changing diapers, baby proofing a playroom. I'd like to think these activities gave her an understanding of what we will be doing once the baby is here, and this level of understanding eased the anxiety a little bit whenever we have to focus on the baby.

Another thing I believe helpful was that we treated mommy's bell as a family member for the last few months of the pregnancy. We will go for a walk with the "baby" (i.e., with mommy and her belly). We will read nighttime stories with the "baby", and we will give the "baby" a goodnight kiss when we are done. I believe all these made the transition less jarring.

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