Preparing Siblings for Birth

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Preparing Siblings for Birth

Every other time I've given birth the children were too young to truly understand or want to be there.

But this time my 5.5 year old daughter is set on being there. She's excited and kind of hardcore about it. I said there is blood, and there might be yelling. LOL. She's thrilled.

What did you do to prepare your children? I was thinking of watching some animal births on youtube...ideas?

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DD's stepson was 8 and 10 when Reed and Ivy were born. He attended MW appointments, listened to heartbeats, and watched films that the MW provided about home births and installing car seats etc....

I found a few children's books about families having new babies which he enjoyed but most of all a detailed scientific photography book from the library interested him. It had those gorgeous month by month photos of baby's development.

When the time came for Reed's birth though, computer games in the basement seemed most interesting. He joined everyone in the hot tub immediately upon his brother's birth though and he remains very proud of that. He was afraid to cut the cord, worried he'd hurt Sarah or baby. For Ivy's birth, his Mom had other plans and only told him much later in the day about her birth. He came over that evening to meet her for a little while.

This time he is still super excited. He and his Dad have a bet: DGS says "boy", DSIL says "girl". It's funny because neither has his heart set either way. Wink His biggest worry is that his mother won't tell him when the time comes and he'll miss the birth. Unfortunately, that is a distinct possibility. Sad So keep your fingers crossed that surprise baby comes during his time with his Dad! We're almost down to counting weeks in the single digits:yahoo:!

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I don't have personal experience with this but my DH does. He was present for the birth of his 4 younger siblings and old enough to remember the latter 2. He says his parents didn't do much more than tell him that mommy's OK if she's yelling. He said he was still scared so he'd leave the room. I'd personally want to do more to prepare my own children.

Your daughter sounds naturally inquisitive about the birth. I think animal birth videos are a good idea. I think there are some good books you can read to smaller kids to prepare them.

Here's a webpage with a list of books and DVDs for preparing siblings for birth.

http://pregnancy.more4kids.info/127/should-siblings-be-present-at-childbirth/

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I'm so glad you asked this question! My 5 year old boy will be present for our home birth as well and I'm starting to feel the need to prepare him more than just what we have talked about. I've had no luck with finding any good books at our local library or bookstore so I'm going to have to check out that link. Also never thought of letting him watch animal births. That might be a good intro into it.

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You can see kittens being born in the movie "Milo and Otis" too...I'd forgotten about that.

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Not to mention it's one of the greatest movies of all time! Blum 3

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My 6yo stepdaughter wants to be at the birth and I was wondering the same thing. I borrowed a couple of books from my midwives. One is called "Welcome With Love" by Jenni Overend. It has great illustrations of a woman in labor and giving birth - not too graphic or anything. DSD really liked it. We have another one called "Sophie and the New Baby, by Catherine and Laurence Anholt, but it's not quite what I was looking for. It's more about adjusting to a new sibling, rather than about birth. If anyone has any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

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This is from the Resource sticky:

Books for Children about homebirth and natural birth:

Runa’s Birth: The Day My Sister Was Born, by Uwe and Inga Kamieth Spillmann

Mom and Dad and I are Having a Baby, by Maryanne Malecki

Welcome with Love, by Jenni Overend and Julie Vivas

Being Born, by Sheila Kitzinger

I don't have any personal experience with this. DD was too young and since we were having a hospital birth, it was kind of easier for her to not be there, though it was her first time being away from us overnight and was very difficult for her...hopefully none of my other kids will go through that. I think we'll probably plan a homebirth next time, and DD should be old enough to possibly be interested in it.

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I get that, Brittany. Our plans have always included sending the children to my ILs if our homebirth turns into a hospital birth. I'm just not comfortable having them there, particularly because if we transfer it's because there is a complication.

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DS is too young, but he's already watching youtube births with me Smile I say go ahead and find/censor youtube births of ladies that would help and go ahead and show her that. I think animals are good too, but I've seen several great videos that I love watching that I would show my son and my two nieces anytime!

I would love to have DS at our next birth, but given the screaming I did last time, I don't want to scare him! Smile

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DD will be 3 years old when this LO comes and since we're doing HB she will be here. Whether or not she sees the giving birth part is all on her, because if she's sleeping she probably won't want to wake up, and who knows, maybe all her toys will be more fun than watching her sister be born.

I want to get some books for her to read, we did that with a potty book and she was really into it. For a while now though, we'll watch movies/youtube together of homebirths -- mostly water births since that's what I'm hoping for. She enjoys watching them too and always comments on how the baby is "swimming." I'm planning on doing HypnoBabies so I try to watch more of those, but the few that we've watched that show the moms making more noise she comments how "she's sad" but I have to explain that she's okay. Overall, she knows the body parts and knows that a baby comes out (or at least doesn't question what's happening). I think the only thing for her will be the noise factor, so I just need to practice, practice, practice and hopefully I'll be able to relax enough to not "be sad."

I'm hoping to have my MIL come up to watch her and if we have to transfer she'll stay at home, since they don't allow children under the age of 7 or something like that (maybe older) in the delivery room -- but after all, we'd only transfer if it was an emergency anyway.

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Daniel won't be around for our homebirth, for a couple reasons-
1) I wouldn't be able to relax with him around. I'd be worried too much about how he was reacting or what he was getting into.
2) Definitely too young to know or care what's going on (2 years and a few months).
3) He's an empathetic little bugger, just like his momma. If he saw me in pain he would probably either start crying, start trying to kiss or hug me non-stop, or start grabbing toys from his toy bin and bringing them to me one by one to see if they'd help me feel better (he does this whenever he catches me sad).

I'm really hoping to labor at night so he can be home but not awake. If not, he'll go to my brother's house.

He might be old enough for the next homebirth, though- we're thinking it'll probably be when he's 5 or 6. If he's like me, then it won't be a problem- I have a medical fascination and don't get grossed out too easily. We'll watch youtube videos of births and look at pics from his birth and this birth and talk about how the pain is followed by a lot of joy.
If he's like his daddy, he'd just be passed out on the floor...

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We've had our children at our 2 homebirths-- at the last one they were just shy of 4 and 6. And they remember it vividly.

We prepared by reading books and talking about it. We also did some dry runs with the birth pool and supplies and such. We also had backup plans for them to be taken out should something go wrong....

There is a book called "I Watched My Brother Being Born"-- and my kids still like to read it over and over. They also adore Welcome with Love.....I adore that book, too! So sweet....

I"m also writing a book about this and hope to have it finished by the end of the summer (wishful thinking!) We just couldn't find exactly what we were looking for when it came to siblings and home birth-- the selection is pretty slim. The best we found is "I Watched My Brother Being Born" and it is too dense and has tons of typos/mispellings in it IMO-- but it is great for kids and has real pictures of birth. I'm hoping to finish something that is more age appropriate for the under 5 crowd, but has real pictures and information....I'll keep you posted Wink

You are getting so close!

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:wavehello: hi, Audra! good to see you.

I actually wanted to make a book myself for DD telling all about my pregnancy with her and her birth and use it to try to help her understand what was happening when I was pregnant with baby #2, but I forgot about it with the move and everything and it never happened. I wanted to put pictures of her as a baby in it. It was going to be called "When Tehani Was In Mommy's Womb" or something like that. Maybe I will make them for both kids when we have #3. It would be really awesome if I had pictures of their actual births, but I don't...maybe I'll get some with #3, though...

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Audra, that is fantastic news! I bet that every midwife around will want a copy and then recommend it to clients. I just love books!!! I hope you'll keep us posted. Biggrin

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Tiven had just turned 5 before Weston was born, and we told her that labor is really hard work & that Mama might make noises or cry or scream, but it's all OK, and she doesn't have to stay if she doesn't want to, Grammie will be there to take care of her. And besides the usual books about siblings at birth & how babies grow, etc. we also watched all the babies being born in "The Business of Being Born," again & again, even the c-section birth because that's how she was born. I'd seen the movie so I knew they were all pretty graphic but none of them lasted too long... 5yo attention span & all... When it came down to it on Weston's birthday, she wanted to go to preschool instead of stay home, and that was fine.

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I'm so glad this was posted.

DD is going to be almost 4.5 when this one is born. I was debating whether to have her at the birth center or not. I asked the midwife about it and she said they highly recomend NOT having them there during the labor. She says moms have a much harder time focusing on their labor instead of their child in the room. She says the birth is a personal decision. I think in the end it will come down to who is watching DD, what time it is, how quickly labor progresses, etc.