The world is about to change for your child — there's a baby on the way! Whether he's an only child or he has other siblings, he's always been the youngest of the family. However, that's not the case anymore. It's time to prepare him for that change, and a class at an area hospital could be just the thing, too. “A sibling class is a way to prepare your child for the adjustment of having a newborn around," says Beth Bleecker, M.D., OB/GYN at TriStar Centennial Women’s Hospital. "It can help set their expectations for what a newborn is really like." She says that since kids love to be helpful, participating in such a class can show them a safe way to be involved that is both beneficial to them and the new baby. "My daughter really enjoyed seeing the hospital where I was going to deliver, and it made her less anxious when it came time for me to be away," adds Bleecker. "It also sets the stage for the all-important first meeting of siblings!”

Moms Share Experiences

"Our little guy loved the siblings class at Williamson Medical," says local mom Amanda Rudolph Spiehler. "And the tour I felt was helpful for when the time came and he had to visit Mommy in the hospital. New baby is 4 months and he still references things he heard that day." "We did the one at Midtown six years ago, and it was a great experience for our then 4-year-old daughter," recalls local mom Rachel Clark Zook. "And the tour helps them to not be so scared when they come to visit mom and baby. She was also super proud of her shirt that said big sister." "We signed our 4-year-old up for the class at St. Thomas Midtown," says Laura Whitford Flores. "He loved it and it relieved some of his anxiety. They discussed newborns, practiced holding a baby, changing a diaper and toured the hospital. He saw the waiting room, delivery room and postpartum room. It was a great class and was less than an hour, so it kept his attention. Highly recommend!"

Local Sibling Classes

Note: Other hospitals may have once offered sibling classes, but at the time of this round-up, they were not available as they may have already happened or may not be offered anymore. Check their sites often as they may update them and add more dates.

Maury Regional Medical Center 1224 Trotwood Ave., Columbia 931-490-7046 Just for Siblings Saturday, Oct. 28 (9 - 11 a.m.) Ages 3 and older enjoy activities while they learn about the new sibling on the way. In addition, kids also tour the women’s floor to become familiar with where they will see their new brother or sister for the first time. An adult must attend with the child; pre-registration is required, too.

Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital 2000 Church St., Nashville 615-284-2229 Brothers- & Sisters-to-Be Saturday, Aug. 26 (9 - 9:45 a.m. or 10 - 10:45 a.m.) Cost: $30 per family Emphasizes the sibling's new role as a big brother or sister, for families (ages 3 - 10 and parents) expecting a new baby. The class gives tips to make the transition easier for everyone and includes a tour of the OB department, too.

Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital 1700 Medical Center Pkwy., Murfreesboro 615-396-5376 Brothers- & Sisters-to-Be Saturday, Aug 12 (1:30 - 2:30 p.m.) Cost: $10 per child Emphasizes the sibling's new role as a big brother or sister, for families (ages 3 - 10 and parents) expecting a new baby. The class gives tips to make the transition easier for everyone and includes a tour of the OB department, too. Please register each child individually.

TriStar Centennial Women's and Children's 2221 Murphy Ave., Nashville 615-342-1919 Sibling Stroll - Tour and Class Saturday, Aug. 12 (9 - 11 a.m.) and Saturday, Oct. 14 (9 - 11 a.m.) Cost: $15 per child Tours of the labor and delivery, postpartum and nursery units allow kids to see where their new sibling will be born. The class fee includes a T-shirt, too. In addition, there will be a brief hands-on class and video presentation with the siblings prior to the tour.

TriStar Summit Medical Center 5655 Frist Blvd., Hermitage 615-342-1919 Just For Me Sibling Class Saturday, Sept. 16 (9:30 - 10:30 a.m.) Cost: $20 This class for children ages 2 - 10 promotes family bonding and prepares your child for the new arrival. The child will learn about newborn characteristics, behavior and what family changes to expect when the new baby comes home. A tour of the labor and delivery unit is included, too. Please bring a doll or teddy bear to class if you have one.

Williamson Medical Center 4321 Carothers Pkwy., Franklin 615-435-5121 Brothers- and Sisters-to-Be Second Saturday Each Month (8:30 - 10 a.m.) Cost: $20 This class, designed for children ages 3 - 10 in families expecting a new baby, emphasizes the sibling’s new role as a big brother or sister. In addition, there will be a group discussion, tour of the facility, T-shirt and refreshments. Children must be accompanied by an adult and are encouraged to bring a doll or stuffed animal, too.