In the world of birth photos, one of my favorite genres is pictures of siblings meeting, most likely because of my personal experience with that particular type of shot. There's an infamous family photo of me seeing my sister for the first time, and the range of emotions on my toddler face is impressive: there's a grin, but my eyebrows are knitted in confusion. My mom swears there's a sense of betrayal in my eyes as I look at the baby on her chest, unsure of how to proceed with this "intruder" taking up my favorite cuddle spot.
Despite the complex feelings, I came to be totally enamored with my sister just a few days after the photo in question was taken. But the shot lingers on in our family lore because of how well it captures the wide range of feelings I had at the moment, not yet able to fully grasp how much having a sibling was going to change my life. The look on my face is one most parents of multiple kids will recognize, as the adjustment period a new baby brings undeniably impacts the whole family.
My reaction is just one example of a child's response to meeting their built-in pal-for-life for the first time; the range of responses kids can have is actually quite fascinating to see. Scroll down to take a look at 34 photos, which were submitted to the 2019 Birth Becomes Her Photo Contest, that capture the magic moment of a child meeting their baby sibling for the first time.
1. Eyes On You
Tenderness and curiosity define this photo, captured by Amy of Beckling Photography. A big sister holds her new sibling, one hand cradling their head and the other resting on their chest. The newborn touches their older sister's hands, and their face turns towards her. They're taking each other in.
2. Three Amigos
Two big brothers get to know their family's latest addition in this shot by C. Daisy Documentary and Lifestyle Photography. One boy holds his new sibling, his hands wrapped gently around the baby, and the other brother looks on. Both seem totally focused on this brand new person.
This big sister has one hand pressed to her mouth in a look of surprise as she spots her younger sibling for the first time. Her "Big Sister" t-shirt and a baby doll resting in the bottom frame of show us she's been preparing for this moment. The image is by Jade Howard.
4. Look At You
In this photo by Jessica Samyn, the newborn is in the middle of the frame, eyes towards the camera. Behind them, you see their older sibling with an openmouthed smile, reaching an arm forward as she looks at her brother or sister. Her joy at the new person in her life is clear.
5. Meet And Greet
In Isabell Steinert's photo, the new baby is in the center of the shot, and the baby's brother and sister frame them. A girl wearing a tiara reaches down to stroke the baby's head from the left side of the shot, and a big brother gazes at the baby from the other side of the image, with an adult holding him up so he can have a good view.
6. Through The Looking Glass
Captured by Christy Morgan, a mother and infant sit inside in this photo, with the newborn resting on mom's chest. The older sibling watches them through a window, and mom looks back at them, smiling as her eldest takes it all in. The older sibling's breath fogging up the window gives the photo even more life.
7. Buddy System
This image is stunning in its simplicity, as viewers watch a pair of siblings having one of their earliest moments together. A big sister sits on a ledge so she is level with her little sibling's bassinet, and she reaches a hand down to touch the baby's cheek. The newborn has her head turned their sister's hand. Photo by Christy Morgan.
8. Five's A Crowd
In this photo by Hanna Hill, a band of brothers add a fifth child to their mix. The boys are gathered on a bed, the newborn rests in one brother's arms, and they all gaze at the baby, investigating the new life. They seem relaxed and relieved in the shot, as if they've been waiting for the littlest to join them all this time.
9. The Whole Gang
This new family of four explodes with joy as mom and dad introduce their children to each other. Mom sits in a hospital bed with their baby on her chest, and dad sits in a chair nearby with their toddler in his arms. Mom and dad both seem to be laughing as they look at each other, and their older daughter looks at the baby with a smile on her face. Photo by Tasia Johnson.
10. Flowers For Baby
In this photo by Jody Deijnen, the viewer looks down at a family from above, seeing the back of mom as she holds the baby up to her other children from inside a birthing tub. The girls kneel by the rim of the tub with other family members, and they place flower buds into the pool in a moment of quiet welcome of their new family member.
11. Sister, Sister
A big brother studies his new sister in this photo taken by Jessica Michelle. The baby yawns from her hospital bassinet, and the boy peers at her behind the plastic. He seems curious, but a little timid.
12. Thanks, Mom
A big brother is in the hospital bed with mom in this shot, and he rests a hand on his new sibling's head. Mom presses a kiss to big brother's head as the baby breastfeeds. New baby bliss envelops them all. Photo by Amy of Blessed Touch Photography.
13. Taking A Look
Twins come to greet the fifth member of their family in this picture by Norma Hess. Mom sits in the bottom left of the frame with her newborn on her chest, lying back on a bed. Dad sits across from mom and baby, and the twins stand on the mattress, walking towards their mom. Dad has his arms wrapped around one of the girls, and both of the older siblings are totally focused on the new bundle. Their matching outfits make the moment even sweeter.
14. You Guys Were Serious About This?
In this shot captured by DeeAnn Stack, a father holds a newborn on his lap, while his older child leans over to get a good look at the baby, touching his sibling's hand. The child has an inquisitive expression on his face, and the infant's face is similarly wrinkled as they snooze.
15. That Special Smile
The shared look between a father and son in this picture, taken by Marine Hardy, embodies the older sibling's giddiness about the new addition to their family. The newborn looks at the camera, but dad and big bro instead stare at each other with bright smiles.
16. Group Hug
In this photo by Jaydene of Cradled Creations, mom, dad, their daughter, and their new baby sit in bed together. As the baby breastfeeds, the older child sits tucked between her parents. She hugs her mom's head, and mom has an arm pressed over her to bring her partner into the embrace. They're all connected by mom's touch, physically and metaphorically.
17. Teary Hello
Mom has just given birth in the shot captured by JB Photography, her legs still raised in the stirrups of the hospital bed. The baby lays on her chest, and she looks over at her sons who stand next to the bed. They're both looking at the baby, their faces full of emotion.
Heather Sears snapped this photo of big brothers exuding happiness in one of their first encounters with their new sibling. Mom holds the newborn up to the boys while she lies on a bed, and dad stands nearby with a hand on the baby's head. One of the boys has his arms wrapped around the infant, grinning, and the other looks down at her with his hands cupped near his face, seeming to be playing with the baby already.
19. Holding On
The joy of a big brother gently holding his new sibling is so pure in this photo taken by Anabel Acuña. A toddler sits crosslegged with the newborn in his lap. An adult hand can be seen in the bottom left of the frame, helping the boy support the baby. A wondrous smile takes up his whole face as he looks at his forever friend.
20. Girl Gang
Here, you see two sisters welcoming the newest member of their family. The oldest girl holds the baby on her lap, with her mother sitting next to her. She smiles as she gazes at the baby. The middle kid is on her other side, and she reaches a finger towards the baby with an equally enamored expression on her face. Photo by Eva Diana.
21. Reaching Out
Four kids crowd around a birthing tub to meet their youngest sibling in this photo by Nicole of Living Body Works Photography. The newborn sits on mom's chest in the tub, and you can see the others looking down at the little one, eager to see their first moments in the world.
22. Make Room
A big sister has joined her new sibling on mom's chest following birth in this picture. Mom is propped up in her hospital bed, with the newborn dozing on her chest for skin to skin contact. The older sibling is tucked onto mom's chest as well, looking towards the camera with a startlingly steady gaze. Mom eyes her elder daughter, as if to gauge her reaction to the baby. Alyssa Kapnik Samuel has captured a family in transition.
23. Snuggled Up
Nikki Williams gives us a glimpse into the view this new mom has of her children. The newborn sleeps on mom's chest, and the older sibling rests their head gently on the baby, putting themselves close to both mom and baby. The shot is a preview of the many days these three will spend together.
24. Big Brother Status
Laura Dove caught an older brother mid-smile as he looks at his new sibling, and his mouth is open in glee as he looks at the baby in his mother's arms. Mom has her mouth open in a matching grin, and the group's joy that their family has grown couldn't be clearer.
25. First Hug
A big brother has pulled his younger sibling in for one of their first hugs in this photo taken by Alyssa Kapnik Samuel. An emotional mom has the baby in the crook of her arm, and the little boy has leaned in to wrap an arm around both mom and the baby.
26. Getting A Good Look
Big sister leans in for a look at her new sibling in this photo by Samantha of Sevan Photography. Mom holds the infant to her chest from the birthing tub, with the baby covered in a blanket. Dad has an arm wrapped around his partner, and their older child pokes her head into the tub from between her parents arms. She lays her hand on her sibling's, getting to know this new person in her life.
27. Viewing Party
In this picture by Sarah of Brown Eyed Photography, four gleeful big siblings take in the sight of their family's new baby. They're crowded on a bed, sandwiched between their parents. Mom holds the baby up to them, and each sports an ecstatic and disbelieving smile.
28. Can You Believe?
This big brother is overcome with bliss as he looks at his new brother or sister. Brianne Sanders captured the moment his father raised the boy to the level of the new baby, who lies on mom's chest in a hospital bed. The boy has his hands raised to his mouth as he looks at the baby, but you can still see his grin shining through. Mom and dad look at their eldest, his joy spreading to the whole family.
29. Look Mom!
You can see the family resemblance between these two thanks to big sister's choice to get cheek to cheek with her new sibling. The baby is in mom's arms with their eyes closed, where they sit in a hospital bed. The older sibling has climbed into bed with them, and she has her head tucked into the baby's shoulder with her cheek against the infant's. Photo by Kathryn J.
30. Checking In
Big sister steps up to make sure her family's latest addition is in perfect health in this shot taken by Valerie Lassek. The toddler sits on a bed, leaning over her sibling with a stethoscope in her ears. You can see the seriousness with which she takes her task.
31. Pink And Proud
Taken by Meg Brock, this image shows mom in a birthing tub, with her partner and son surrounding her. The baby lies on her chest, and big brother leans over the tub. His head presses against mom's, and he touches his sibling's little hand with a joyous smile.
32. No Time To Change
Big sis is amazed by her younger sibling in this photo captured by Hilary Dubie. A doula weighs the baby following the birth, and the older sibling looks on with her mouth open, seeming to be in shock that there's an actual person after nine long months. The baby's little feet kick up, giving the shot even more life.
33. Another One
Bella Grace documents a family of four adding one more to their bunch in this photo. Mom is in the birthing tub with the baby on her chest just moments after birth, and dad and the two older siblings look on from the edge. The eldest brother studies the baby, and the middle child has a hand on the baby's head, eager to get to know the new addition.
34. I've Got You
In this photo taken by Camille Borba, a baby lies on the floor, and big sis has laid down with them. Her arms encircle the newborn, and her chin rests on the baby's head in a moving gesture of closeness. You can tell these two will clock in many cuddle sessions in their lifetime.
Edit Note: An earlier version of this article misattributed an image. It has been corrected.