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Inviting Your Older Kids To Your Upcoming Homebirth

Updated: Jun 11, 2019





So, you're pregnant. Again! Hooray!!


As you walk through this season of pregnancy, it is only naturally at some point to wonder, "What are we going to do with our {toddler, kiddo, etc} when I go into labor?!"


Thankfully, if you are choosing homebirth you have every choice under the sun- and since you know your family, your child(ren) the best, we trust your instinct regarding their readiness and willingness to attend the birth of their younger sibling.


As homebirth midwives, we talk about this aspect of birth planning quite a bit with our clients. As clients think about their options, begin to prepare their older children, or want to gameplan for plan A, B, and C, here are some pieces of conversations we have most often:


- Even if you aren't intending on including the older siblings, you never know how your labor and birth may go, so communication and education for them is important. Birth videos (we find water birth videos to be a good beginning space for most kiddos), mimicking noises you may make during labor (practice deep moaning with your toddler, "Mommy may sound like a dinosaur, can you make a sound like a dinosaur with me?" Discussing discomfort and the hard but good nature of the work you have ahead of you is important.


- There are plenty of books about pregnancy and birth, normalizing the process, discussing blood and the placenta and how those things are part of that normal process. These types of books can also help them understand the shift in family dynamics that is ahead for them.


- We say that your kids are *always* welcome at your birth if you want them there. We love love love when siblings are present, but we also recognize it can pull mom out of her birthing space emotionally and mentally. What we find to work best is to dedicate a certain person to tend to the older kid(s), someone who is not your partner (think: mom, best friend, nanny, etc). That dedicated person can be present to help bring stability for your child's experience, give them space to be present with you if they want to be- but the freedom to step away if they feel a bit overwhelmed by it all (or bored! it's usually boredom that sets in for them while mama labors), or if it feels like too much for *you* to have them there. We have had grandmas baking birthday cakes with older siblings in the kitchen, taking them out to run errands, to the park, watching shows, and bringing them in and out of the room as they desired. You can make their involvement as much or as little as you want.


- We sometimes tend to think things are going to be "too much" for kids, but what is beautiful about homebirth is that you believe an underlying truth about birth: that it is normal. When we normalize these experiences, kids tend to respond in kind. Many kids turn into mini doulas during labor, some of the sweetest, encouraging words we've heard have come from the mouths of babes spoken to their mamas in labor.


- Involve them in the preparations! Have them help prepare your birth supplies, or help do a trial run with your birth tub. Talk to them about their births. Create a culture of open discussion.


- Maybe the older sibling(s) will be sleeping through the labor and birth. Do you want to let them keep sleeping? They can wake in the morning and crawl into bed to a pretty amazing new surprise. Would you like them to be woken up to be there at the very end? Not anything you *have* to decide beforehand, but it may help you to communicate a mental gameplan because when you are in the moment of labor, you may not be thinking clearly about your desires for anything except the work you are doing.


- At the end of the day, you get to decide: if you want nothing to do with having your kids at home while you birth their baby sibling- great! We support you and love you! If you want them there with you every step of the way- great! We support you and love you! Putting plans into place for both of those options will be important to make everyone's experience as positive as possible.


Here are a couple great links to help prepare your older children for the birth. As always, we recommend you watch/read any of these in order to see if you feel like they would be appropriate for your particular kiddo(s).


Some Birth Videos to Help Prepare Siblings:

Here

Here

and Here


Homebirth-Specific Books for Siblings: Hello Baby by Jenni Overend

Runa's Birth by Uwe Spillmann

We're Having a Homebirth by Kelly Moche

lMama, Talk About When Max Was Born by Toni Olson

I Watched my Brother Being Born! by Anne Vondruska


As you can see, like everything else in the entirety of your care, this is up to you and what is best for you and your family.


Birth on, mamas!



We are located in North County San Diego, CA

904 W San Marcos Blvd

San Marcos, 92078

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