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Preparing a sibling for birth?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Maybe I started a little too early.  I realise not everybody is for it, but our daughter will hopefully be present at the birth of her little sister, so I decided it's best to give her an idea what to expect.  The whole time she's been talking to my belly and we told her the name so she actually uses it when talking to her. 


About to hit the halfway point, and this week we started looking at some water birth videos on youtube.  I figured why not actual videos rather than cartoon like drawings in books that I've only found in English.  She understands English, but only speaks French.  We are sticking with French books for her because she will learn to read French first and English later.


She was completely fascinated by these birth videos.  She wanted to hang out and watch them as long as I was willing to keep playing them.  I don't think she'll have any problem at the actual birth.


Now she constantly wants to stick her doll in my shirt with me sitting down and pull it out like it's coming out between my legs.  This isn't so bad really.  She even turns the doll as its coming out.  Maybe she'll grow up to be a midwife.


Today she came up in front of someone else and said « belle bébé » (beautiful baby) to my stomach and then said « a besoin de sortir là » (needs to get out there) and thrust her hand between my legs.  Hilarious, but also embarrassing.


I did actually realise I was probably setting myself up for some embarrassing situations with the birth videos, I just didn't realise how quickly they would start.


What are other people doing to prepare siblings who they want to attend the birth ?

post #2 of 9

Your story is so precious! How old is your DD? I am planning a homebirth and my DDs will be present. In fact, if you talk to my 6 yo, you would think she is catching this baby herself. They come to all of my midwife appointments and they suggested I also show them birth videos, even of animals too, to prepare them for it. We have talked about how the baby is coming out, how labor will be hard and not to worry about mommy even if it hurts, and all that. I think it will be a wonderful experience. Two of my midwives had siblings present at their sibling's birth and they said it was pretty awesome.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

She's just turned 4.  I hadn't thought about videos of animals birthing.  That is a really good idea even without her attending the birth.  I think it's so important to introduce children to the cycles of life because death is not a bad thing.  Birth and death are both big transitions, but not a bad thing !


My daughter comes to the midwife appointments, also.  She loves to talk to my belly and hug and kiss it, so I think her little sister will recognise her voice after she is born.  My daughter definitely recognised my husband's voice from his daily talks with her.


I also hope the birth will be a really awesome bonding experience for them.  My family has a tradition of sisters not having anything to do with each other.  My mother has nothing to do with her younger sister.  I have nothing to do with my older sister.  Since these girls have a HUGE age difference from their half-brother and half-sister, I hope they can be close and we can break this goofy pattern.  No control over whether they will get along or not, but can at least try to make the conditions right for it to be more likely.


Thanks CrunchyMama and all the best with your upcoming arrival.  :)

post #4 of 9

My son, at 4 or 5 years, acted out a birth with a stuffed bunny in his shirt, complete with moaning and squeezing his belly with his hands, then birthed the bunny while side lying. Not in public though! Et j'adore ta fille, so sweet! Seems she understands well, now the only trouble may be her excitement when the time comes, I hope she can sleep if it's at night (mine couldn't).

post #5 of 9

Just wanted to chime in -- I vividly remember being 4 years old and present at the birth of my next-younger sister!! It was a positive experience for me, even though it turns out that the hospital birth was a bit traumatic for my mom. I remember loving to have things I could do to help my mama, like feeding her ice chips, wiping her forehead, etc. (it made me feel oh so important!), so talking about specific things your daughter can do to help might be good. Also, I remember my mom prepping me before the birth about the kinds of 'big sounds' she might make, and we pretended/practiced them together, which made the  actual sounds in labor much less scary to me!


I can't wait to have my own daughter at the homebirth of her sibling this December, although she will only be barely two, so my sister will be there as her support person in case she needs more attention.


Best of luck!

post #6 of 9
I did exactly the same thing with my daughter. She was 2.5-3 years old during my pregnancy. We watched birth videos and breastfeeding videos all throughout my pregnancy. It really helped her understand everything. She'd ask questions about what frightened her (why is the mommy screaming/bleeding?) and I'd have the opportunity to make it less scary for her. I'd ask her what all the mommies do as soon as the baby comes out, when she said "they smile" it was like a lightbulb went off for her that birth was a happy thing and not a scary one. It was a really great opportunity to start a dialogue around birth.

She also came to all my midwife appointments with me. The way my midwife handled things with her helped A LOT. At every appointment my daughter would have a chance to look for the heartbeat by Doppler before the midwife did. It was also her job to do the fundal measurements too. Now she wants to be a midwife when she grows up. At one point she asked me if she could deliver her brother!

Being an open book with pregnancy/delivery/nursing can create embarrassing moments (like last week when someone at a dinner party remarked on her mosquito bites and she said "no, those are just my other nipples". Yikes!) but in my experience it was totally worth it. We've had basically zero fear or jealousy. She wants to help with everything and has been just awesome through the whole process. It sounds to me like you're doing everything right. Transparency is really beneficial and you're doing a great job.
post #7 of 9

My son's are 8 and 10. I've shown them both birth videos as well as talking about the natural process of birth. My oldest son, who was at his little brother's birth wants to attend. My youngest who is easily embarrassed by nudity does not want to be there. I've told them that either choice is fine. :)

post #8 of 9

I had both of  my sons at my last birth. They were 4 and 1. They found it really exciting. I showed them birth videos (including my own) and Babies and Birth On the Farm. My midwife said it was one of the most relaxed and happy family births she's ever attended. There was a shoulder dystocia, but it was quickly resolved. Neither of them was too distressed about it, although my son is very convinced that babies come out of butts because I was on all fours for pushing. Lol

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks everybody for your replies.  It's really helped me expand my thoughts about the benefits of her being there, but not just that... How she can help out along the way so she can feel her importance.  I've started letting her oil my belly with me when she wants to, things like that. 


Love the stories.  Too funny about your son, genniemom.



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