Family Birth: Tips for Having Siblings at Births
Should children attend the birth of their siblings? The answer to this question is as personal as any other decision a family makes regarding the birth of their baby. Some will passionately respond with a flat out ‘NO’, while others will love the idea of having their children present to welcome their sibling into the world. Each family will choose what is best for them and their children.
If the idea of having your child or children attend the birth of their sibling is something that interests you, or feels like something that really fits in with your birth plan, let’s take a look at three tips to set you up for a successful family birth.
First, lay the foundation by preparing your child beforehand. Read some of the really great children’s books out there about siblings at birth (check your local library or book store). Watch videos together – YouTube has tons of beautiful videos featuring siblings at birth (I love THIS ONE). You may consider pre-watching the videos to ensure they are something you think your child can handle. Remember that communication is huge and talk to your child about the sounds, sights, and smells they might experience at birth, and how you will need them to behave during the birth (Ex: “mommy may need you to be quiet and gentle while she is birthing”).
Second, check in with them. Do they want to be there? Giving the child a choice is very important. They may know what they are comfortable with. Most children that I have witnessed at the birth of their siblings will come in and out of the birthing room as they please. When they are comfortable and curious, they come and check things out, and if it becomes a bit overwhelming or even boring, then they leave. I am always amazed at how intuitive children are about birthing and how they are usually the calmest people in the room, often watching very quietly at the edge of the room, leaving to play, and then checking back in when they are ready. It’s a beautiful thing to see.
Third, plan to have someone there to support them. Someone who can make them snacks when they need them, go outside to play, put on a movie if they want to leave the birth space and reassure them that you and baby are safe. At the birth of our son, we had pre-made “birth boxes” for our older children that included coloring books, crayons, play-dough and snacks, so that they had easy access to entertain themselves if they needed.
Lastly, when the baby is born, invite your children to come and see their new sibling! This is the fun part!!! Don’t forget to take photos (or hire a Birth Photographer)!
If you want to have your children at your birth, whether in hospital or at home, just know that many before you have done it successfully and have enjoyed really beautiful experiences. Siblings bonding from the very first moments is something you will never forget.
And of course, if you are not comfortable having your children attend the birth of your new baby, that’s ok too!
>>>> Have you had children attend the birth of their sibling? Leave us a comment to tell us about it! <<<<<