Siblings At Birth – Should Children Be Present During Childbirth?

Siblings At Birth - Should Children Be Present During Childbirth?
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  1. With the homebirth of my fifth baby, in addition to my support team, I had a support person whose whole job was to help my other kids while I birthed their brother. She was fantastic. She helped the ones who wanted to be involved to be involved in a helpful way. She comforted my younger ones who woke from mommy’s sounds and were worried. Basically, she parented them while my husband and I focused on the birth. So grateful they each got to be as much a part of the birth as they were comfortable, and so grateful for my friend for doing the mommy job I totally couldn’t do while birthing a baby. πŸ™‚

  2. My experience with the older siblings being present at the birth of the younger ones was pretty much like the second scenario. It was dreamy! I loved being able to talk about the birth with the older kids and hear their perspectives. They felt very excited and helpful during the labour, birth, and for the time afterward. I also had some extra doula friends around who are very close to our family that our kids call “auntie” and felt comfortable with them. They were helping the older siblings (who were 4 years old and 21 months) be helpful, cuddling/watching/explaining to them if they needed it, reading books, or just drawing and making welcome cards for the baby. I still look at the photos with them and tear up a little. It was a perfect day! It was a good decision for us to have the siblings there.

  3. What if you have a c-section? I really want to include my two year old and I am not really sure I want to leave him with someone else at home to spend the night etc….I have never been away from him at night and I don’t want him to feel left out and thinking we are not wanting him included. Everyone tells me that he will do better at home etc…and that I need bonding time with the new baby (which I totally agree with that…)BUT I think the new baby will be entering the world into OUR family not just my husband and I (like we did with our first). I am just not sure how to include him into the c-section part. It will be scheduled for a 7am one and he will just be getting up then etc…so my sister (his favorite aunt!)…will come over have a special breakfast then head up the the hospital….I just really don’t want to leave him out! We have been talking the baby up and how he will help feed it and change diapers etc…and he really seems excited! I don’t want to change that attitude!

    any suggestions would be great!

    1. Pam, usually hospitals only let one person in theatre, and I don’t know anyone who has been able to have a child in the room. Can your two year old have his own “doula”? Someone who can be there with him, explain, and get him involved in helping mummy and daddy organise things for baby? Maybe you could ask if he could come into recovery to meet the baby, but you may not be allowed. Good luck!

  4. I love your article! I’ll be giving birth within the next 4 weeks and have been on the fence about having my daughter with me. My question is, would age affect how a child perceives mom being in pain, etc? My daughter is 2 1/2 years old and I worry she’ll be upset seeing me in discomfort, and may have anxiety rather than excitement. I feel like a 4 year old would understand and grasp the situation better than a 2 year old. Thoughts? Or any experiences you’ve had or heard about involving 2 year olds at a birth?

    1. Good question and one only you can answer as you know your child the best. (Also, your own anxiety having her there.) She may wipe your brow and kiss you and it will be great! You should have someone there that is just for her–who can bring her in or take her out as they watch her reactions and yours! As for noises, I tell kids that moans make us feel better (true–endorphins released!) As for pushing, I don’t know if she would “get” this, but in classes I’ve taught, I have the kids try pushing the wall to make it move! I do this with them and start adding in some grunting or pushing sounds. Then we talk about those sounds meaning we’re working REALLY hard!!

  5. I would love to know more about the social, emotional, cognitive and physical developmental benefits of siblings being present for birth. I am currently in a situation where someone is trying to prevent my child being present and I would love to have some more facts to back up my fight.

    1. If you are the mother, it’s your choice and no-one elses. My children have all been at their siblings births, where possible. They don’t even remember the earlier births, just the most recent one. They are not traumatised and talk about it with excitement, not fear.

  6. What about an older child? And what about a hospital birth? My son is 12 years old. The hospital will allow 3 people in with me. I’ve reserved those slots for my partner, mother and son. I’ve offered that he can be there if he likes but doesn’t have to. Some people think it’s weird. Is it?

  7. Where can I find video of children helping mom during labor? I would love to show my daughter some πŸ™‚ she’s 8 and I’ve decided to leave it up to her if she wants to stay with me or go out into the waiting room at the hospital…

  8. This sounds lovely but what about if the child is only young? My little girl is only 17 months so I don’t think she will understand what’s happening or be able to help. It sounds lovely for older ones though xx

  9. I don’t know where I was when my sister was born I was only 2 and not in the room, I know that much.I was 4 when my mom had my brother. I was there when my brother was born. I was very scared (understandably) I wanted to leave the room but my mom insisted I stay, I was only four and very scared/confused. At first I thought she wanted me to stay because there was no one to watch me outside the room but my mom said there would have been people that could have helped if I needed to leave. We still have a video of me after the birth saying that it was scary and that I had wanted to leave the room. #parentingfailure. I think kids should be allowed to be in the room if the mom wants them and they’re comfortable being in the room. If they want to leave they should be allowed to leave.

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