What to tell toddler about labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 07-11-2010, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is 2.5 going on 3 years old, and I want to start talking to her about what it will be like when her baby brother comes. I am going to be birthing at a hospital, but, based on what her birth was like I am anticipating/planning for a fast birth. I hope to labor at home as much as possible, but also realize that my labor might kick in very quickly, and I might not have much time to explain/resassure her that mommy is ok. Depending on whether my family/friends can arrive fast enough, she might end up coming to the hospital with us, too.

So, what do you tell your little ones? How do you explain noises, bodily fluids and events going on? What do you suggest that your LO do when mommy and daddy are busy?

Ideally, we'll be able to have someone with her as soon as possible after labor starts who will be able to attend to her needs, but I can't actually count on this, and want to do the best job I can preparing her ahead of time.

Loving being a stay at home mamma to DD 10/07, and newly arrived DS 7/26/10
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#2 of 17 Old 07-11-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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My daughter is the same age as yours and I'm due in October. So far I've read her this book by Dr. Sears (which she likes): http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Way-Sears.../dp/0316787671 I also let her watch the dvd Orgasmic Birth with me... the only parts of that which held her interest were the babies breastfeeding right after birth, big surprise.

I haven't tried to explain much more than that about the physical aspect of birth yet although I suppose I should. I don't know how your daughter is, but mine is totally "magical" still in all of her reasoning about this baby (i.e. she thinks that she is pregnant too and that one becomes pregnant via a declaration) and conversations with her get circular pretty fast.

Whether or not she'll end up at the hospital with us and/or if we'll be able to have a support person for her is currently up in the air. I'm also curious to hear from those who have BTDT...

daughter #1 10/13/07
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#3 of 17 Old 07-11-2010, 08:45 PM
 
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my dd will turn 3 at the end of october and i am due nov 30th. we have been watching lots of homebirth videos on youtube. i tell her that mamas have to work very hard to push out their babies and sometimes they make a lot of noise when they are working so hard. sometimes there is blood, but it doesn't mean that the mama is hurt.

she wants to catch the baby and cut the umbilical cord but i told her that daddy or the midwife will probably do that.

ariana, mama to beautiful redheaded girls (oct 07) and (nov 10)

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#4 of 17 Old 07-11-2010, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oooh... I didn't think about the possibilities of youtube! Are there any that you like in particular before I go hunting?

I'll have to check out the Dr. Sears book, too.

Loving being a stay at home mamma to DD 10/07, and newly arrived DS 7/26/10
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#5 of 17 Old 07-11-2010, 10:42 PM
 
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Check out mybestbirth.com there are awesome videos, including one with a toddler watching his Mama give birth (my son asks to watch that one repeatedly!). My son is going to be 3 at the end of august and I am due in November. We watch videos of natural childbirth and read books about it. He also loves looking at pictures of himself being born.

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#6 of 17 Old 07-12-2010, 08:38 PM
 
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My daughter is not yet 2 so I am having trouble with this. She still will be under 2.5 when her sister arrives. I'm sure she will be a bit more sophisticated by then but it's not the same as explaining to a 3yo.

I intended to try showing videos, and I more than likely still will.... but she actually got worried about me at the -ultrasound- appointment. I don't think that bodes well for having her at the labor... She also burst out crying when I tackled the dog who was making an escape attempt, and the same thing when daddy fell down. She's not a fearful type at all, but I guess it's scary when something "weird" happens to us I guess!

Has anyone had a toddler get more scared after looking at a video?

Do they sort of mentally skip over what they're not understanding, or is it disturbing at all?
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#7 of 17 Old 07-12-2010, 09:08 PM
 
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gah, I just posted a long reply to this, and it disappeared into the ether!

Anyway, long story short, with my little ones, I told them that there was blood inside that helped the baby be healthy while it was in my belly, and then when the baby came out it didn't need the blood any more, so it came out too. I said it was "healthy blood" and made sure that they knew it wasn't blood from a hurt.

For the noises, I told them that sometimes mamas make STRONG noises when they're having a baby. The YouTube clips were helpful for this, since they show a spectrum from very quiet birthing mamas ("See how quiiiiiiet this mama is? See, everyone is very quiet for this mama") and very noisy mamas ("Wow, that mama is making very strong noises! Her body is being very strong to push the baby out!") and we just had different conversations like that.

An older child may require more detailed, accurate information, but for the littles this sort of thing seems to be very helpful in helping them. It's helpful that many toddlers just sort of take birth in stride anyway. Not all do, of course, which is where good preparation (and a back-up plan!) come into play. Really playing up the healthfulness and using positive language is key with sensitive children, IMO, as is accepting their fears.

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#8 of 17 Old 07-12-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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i found a really good birth center birth video on youtube that we let dd watch. she's a bit older (4.5 and will be 5 give or take when the baby comes). i just had ds last june, so she's a pro at the pregnancy stuff this time around. she's asked to be at the birth, so we've been preparing her for that. we've had lots of talks about how things might go. she knows that mama likes things on the quiet and low light side while having babies. i explained that while i'm usually pretty quiet while in labor, that sometimes i might make louder noises because of all thehard work my body is doing to have the baby. i also explained to her that while it does hurt, it's a good kind of hurt because it helps the baby be born. i don't look at it as an all at once preparation, but rather we have little discussions about it all the time. she knows that she can ask dh or i any questions she has and that we'll answer her honestly. she wants to cut the cord (well really she wants to catch the baby since she knows dh caught ds , lol, but we didn't think she was quite ready for that yet) and we explained that dh will help her but that it can be her job if she wants. i let her know that the cord will have a littl ebit of blood in it and also explained the clamps to her so she wouldn't wonder what they were.
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#9 of 17 Old 07-12-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonjunio View Post
My daughter is not yet 2 so I am having trouble with this. She still will be under 2.5 when her sister arrives. I'm sure she will be a bit more sophisticated by then but it's not the same as explaining to a 3yo.

I intended to try showing videos, and I more than likely still will.... but she actually got worried about me at the -ultrasound- appointment. I don't think that bodes well for having her at the labor... She also burst out crying when I tackled the dog who was making an escape attempt, and the same thing when daddy fell down. She's not a fearful type at all, but I guess it's scary when something "weird" happens to us I guess!

Has anyone had a toddler get more scared after looking at a video?

Do they sort of mentally skip over what they're not understanding, or is it disturbing at all?
I am replying to this because that was totallly me as a child. I remember going to one of my mom's appointments when she was pregnant with my sister. It TOTALLY freaked me out. The thing that freaked me out (and she didn't know this until a few years ago when i told her and she was like why on earth didn't you tell me this???) was the gel they put on her belly!! LOL when i saw them put on the gel, i thought they were going to CUT INTO HER BELLY to "look at the baby" like they said they were doing (looking at the baby). I covered my eyes and acted all weird. My mom thought i was just exhibiting bad behavior (rudeness) and i didn't tell her until years later and she felt terrible and wished i had said why i was covering my eyes and not being "rude". LOL

i guess i'm telling you this because i can identify with your child, and whenever "weird" or "unexpected" things happened to adults, i really didn't like it but never knew how to explain what i didn't like about it!!

me, dh and 2 boys = our family (oh and a cat...who is also a male...lol)
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#10 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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Thanks for the perspective - maybe it was the weird gel that set her off! Or maybe the simple fact of being at a doctor with mommy as the patient, she doesn't come to that stuff usually.
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#11 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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I haven't started much preparation with my son (who will be 3y9m at the birth). The one thing I've been able to talk to him about with confidence, though, is the noises! He gets constipated, and when he's trying to poop, he can be very loud. I've told him a couple of times that when the baby is coming out, Mommy will make noises like that; that getting a baby to come out is kind of like getting a poop to come out, it can be hard work, and noises make it easier

Where on the mybestbirth.com site do you find the birth videos?? I'm not having much luck (except a link to a google site).

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#12 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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My DD is three, and we are planning a homebirth. Her favorite video on YouTube is the homebirth of baby Isaac. I like that way pretty well too because it doesn't go for a vaginal closeup, and it shows the progression of labor. We've watched a few other videos as well, and I've explained that the baby will come out of mommy's yoni, and that since the hole is sort of small compared to the baby, mommy might make some strange noises because mommy has to push hard to get baby out and sometimes it hurts a bit and sometimes there is blood, but that mommy will be fine after it is all over.

In addition to the nitty gritty of labor, I've explained that when it is time for mommy to push baby out, I won't be able to pay attention to her because I will need to focus on what I'm doing. So leaving mommy alone during labor is important.

CD'ing, homebirthing, milk making school teacher. Supporting my family on my income and trying to get out of debt in 2013!
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#13 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonjunio View Post
My daughter is not yet 2 so I am having trouble with this. She still will be under 2.5 when her sister arrives. I'm sure she will be a bit more sophisticated by then but it's not the same as explaining to a 3yo.

I intended to try showing videos, and I more than likely still will.... but she actually got worried about me at the -ultrasound- appointment. I don't think that bodes well for having her at the labor... She also burst out crying when I tackled the dog who was making an escape attempt, and the same thing when daddy fell down. She's not a fearful type at all, but I guess it's scary when something "weird" happens to us I guess!

Has anyone had a toddler get more scared after looking at a video?

Do they sort of mentally skip over what they're not understanding, or is it disturbing at all?
My daughter gets upset very easily and she is 3, so I am going to have to gloss over a lot. She will be almost 4 when the baby comes. I had really bad stomach cramps and was in the bathroom and she brought in 50 stuffed animals and asked if I should call daddy or go to the doctor. She cries when she sees her cousins fighting and they are 10 and 11. She went to one u/s with me and saw the baby, but I think she would get scared no matter how well I explain it. I mean if she hears another child crying she wants me to go make him better - right then. So she doesn't deal well with outside norm circumstances, so I am not sure how I am going to explain anything to her. This is something that I am not sure how I am going to deal with.

She herself had a sonogram for some kidney/bladder issues, and cried and screamed and hung off me during the whole exam.

Mommy to 2 beautiful girls dust.gif4/07 and babyf.gif1/11
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#14 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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I know I'm in the minority but I'm not allowing DS to be present at the birth, for my sake. He's in an extremely demanding stage, and I can just see him wanting to be held while I'm trying to push the baby out, then screaming because he can't get his way. Then the other night he saw blood coming out of my foot that I cut, and he pretty much FREAKED. That more or less put the icing on the cake.
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#15 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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My dd was not quite 3 when ds was born. One thing we did was watch videos with the sound very low or off the first couple times. Then after we'd talked about it and she knew what to expect I would put the volume up a bit. I think I found that tip on MDC.

I also describe labor in similar terms to exercise-- so I'll talk about how the muscles are working hard, the mom's body is strong, sometimes it hurts but it's just because the body is doing a big job (i.e. not because of an injury-- like falling down or when daddy broke his leg) They've seen me run in road races and Daddy often does pushups or weights while watching TV-- so I compare labor sounds to those "hard working muscle" noises.

I'm planning a hospital birth again but my last labor was rather short and ramped up quickly. I'll prepare the kids again in case the early part of labor is intense again this time.
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#16 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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I don't know! I have to go back and read all of the responses, but DD is soooo annoyed with my frequent prelabor discomforts that I just don't think actively laboring with her around is going to be all that productive or magical. I'm hoping that the real deal happens either while she's asleep or my mom's staying over or... something.

We're having a hospital birth, so DD won't actually be seeing that, but I do intend to labor at home for as long as possible, and it's probably not going to be a picnic. Like a pp said about her toddler, she's very demanding of my time and attention.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
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#17 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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I'm planning a homebirth and DS will be 2.5 - 3 at the time. We've asked a friend of the family who birthed her 4 yo and her baby at home to "doula" for DS.

He's very connected to me right now -- basically has to go with me when I go to the grocery store and so forth and if I make any expression of discomfort he asks "Mommy okay?" and tries to comfort me. We're planning on keeping DS's routine as much as possible so far as sending him to daycare during the day and possibly take him to his best friend's house a few blocks away in the evening if he needs to be away for a little while. And we're prepared for my friend to take over as my doula if DH needs to take DS away for a little while.

So far we've talked about baby being in mommy's tummy and that baby needs to grow more before he or she comes out but we've not really talked about labor too much. I have shown DS parts of some videos and really appreciate the links people post on here.

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