Would you wake up a sleeping toddler? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 09-29-2011, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,


Just shy of 36 weeks pregnant and I am preparing my 2.5 year old for the arrival of his little brother or sister.


I know a lot of babies are born in the night. When I ask him if he wants to watch the baby he born, he says yes.  But is waking him up a bad idea? On the rare occasions I wake him up from a nap he is usually kind of grumpy, but other times he's done well. (Early early flights, and New Years Even when I woke him up so we could go see fireworks come to mind.) It seems like it could be a pretty cool experience for him and I'd hate for him to miss it if he wants to be there.


So, would you wake up a toddler in the night to witness the birth of a sibling?




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#2 of 16 Old 10-01-2011, 12:46 PM
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I elected not to wake up my 2y this last birth. For the reasons you mentioned, I didn't know if he would wake up in a good mood in the middle of the night, and we really didn't want to deal with a grumpy toddler in the wee hours of the morning. If he would of woke up by himself then we would of kept him up but he didn't. The baby was born at 3am and the 2y old woke up at 4am, DH actually just put him back to bed and didn't say anything about the new baby because by then we were still hoping to catch a couple hours of sleep since we had not slept all night. If DS1 would of fully woke up then he would of been up for the day. We woke up DD1 who was 8 and she went right back to sleep afterwards. 


With DS1's birth, DD2 was 2 and was awake but missed the actual birth because it happened too fast. They were downstairs and couldn't get upstairs fast enough.. With DD2's birth i went into labor the early morning and baby was born during the daytime when everyone was awake. I have no regrets only having the oldest kid watch this time (the other DD missed it as well), it ended up being really quiet and peaceful, that would not of been the case if DS1 had been up!

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#3 of 16 Old 10-01-2011, 01:20 PM
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no. my dd was 2 years 2 mos, and i did not wake her. waking her up still isn't a great idea if i can avoid it (she is 4.5).

mama to one '07 and one '09
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#4 of 16 Old 10-01-2011, 06:11 PM
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I have been thinking about this. All my babies have been born during the day, so I am thinking this one probably will as well, but you never know! I would love to have all three of my little ones there (at birth will be 4, almost 3, and 20ish months) but I can't decide if I would wake them. I think if I have a night birth, I will just play it by ear and see what feels right. I would like to at least have my oldest two there, since I know they would love to be present.

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#5 of 16 Old 10-02-2011, 07:19 PM
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Nope. DS was 21 months when we had our homebirth. Baby was born at 11:30pm and we didn't wake our toddler. He woke up about 5am to come snuggle and was awake for a bit then but went back to sleep and slept. 

I didn't want to deal with a cranky toddler while trying to have a baby or do the after baby stuff. 

Wife to a wonderful husband, mom to 5 amazing boys, 2 m/c and Knox Cornelius our 5th son born at 15weeks 12/3/2011, Lillian Faith our 1st daughter, born at 14 weeks May 19, 2012 (Turner Syndrome). 

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#6 of 16 Old 10-02-2011, 10:39 PM
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I didn't plan to, though he did wake up from my labor groaning and my husband put him back to bed. And, since he had stirred awake again when my DD was born, we brought him in about a minute afterwards to see her. If he hadn't woken up at all though, I would not have gotten him up.


That said, he does remember it, 6 months later. He was just under 2 at the time and occasionally mentions "baby born" by the bathtub, and how our doula was standing there "Sharon stand there". So, I'm sorta glad he did get to see it right after the fact (right during would have been too intense for him), and he went back to sleep after that (she was born at 4:30a).

Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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#7 of 16 Old 10-04-2011, 06:00 PM
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Good question!  My little one arrive first thing in the morning while my DD (4) awoke early and played with Daddy in the other room, and my DS (2) was still sleeping.  I decided that, for me, I didn't want the kids there for the actual birth, but my DD cut the cord shortly thereafter and both were very much snuggled in with me after the baby's arrival.  


I can certainly see the benefits of having the kids there for the birth, though, and if I were to have another homebirth, I think I would consider having at least my older ones there.  


-Kerry @ City Kids Homeschooling

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#8 of 16 Old 10-05-2011, 04:45 PM
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My first three were born during the day, and my then-10 and almost-4-yo saw the third child's birth. My last baby came at 2 am, and we didn't wake the 3-year-old. I will always remember him coming into our room the next morning and saying to him, "Guess who's here?" and the look on his face as he peered into our bed and saw his sister. Sibling greetings can be very special even when they come a few hours later. :-)



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#9 of 16 Old 10-07-2011, 07:13 AM
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We tried, big brother came in bleary eyed and complained the baby's crying was too loud and went back to sleep. He was so sweet in the morning though, checking out  his little ears and little toes, and saying what he would teach him to do.

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#10 of 16 Old 10-08-2011, 02:36 PM
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With our first homebirth our DS was just 14months old.  He woke up on his own while I was pushing at around 1250am.  He was fine and went to sleep after it was all settled down.  With the 4th birth the little ones were 4, 3 and 18mo.  The 4yo fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up at all.  The other two were awake for the whole thing.  He was born at 10:33pm.  I don't think I'd wake them if they were asleep, but really want all of them to be there for this birth.  I say just let it happen all in it's own way!

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#11 of 16 Old 10-11-2011, 03:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the responses. It seems the consensus is no.  I'm still feeling a mixed. I think I might defer to my friend who will be watching him if it happens at night. I'll chime in when it is all said and done with a report!

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#12 of 16 Old 10-11-2011, 03:19 PM
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We didn't. My youngest at the time was not quite 2. And if he had gotten woken up he would have wanted mommy....and mommy was a little busy :D

And the other 2 slept through the whole thing, and we didn't really think about waking them up at the time, even though we had talked about it earlier.


I agree with an earlier poster. Watching the sibling greeting after they woke up was priceless. We did the - look who came last night while you were sleeping routine and it worked well.

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#13 of 16 Old 10-13-2011, 04:21 AM
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Really toying with it. My 6 year old is cognitively and emotionally closer to 18-24 months, and clearly doesn't quite "get" the whole pregnancy=baby thing. In our family, we have a long (27 year!) tradition of older children being at the birth of siblings, and while I can't imagine trying to labor in a close space with her, I would REALLY like her to see her brother born, because I think it's the only way it has half a chance of making any sense to her at all. 


That said, we're playing it by ear. I need things calm and quiet and I may ultimately not decide until very close to the end whether or not she should be there. It also depends on whether my teenager is playing an active labor support role or not, because she's the most obvious candidate for a support person for DD2, and I'm not willing to add more people willy nilly.

Jenrose, Mama to DD1, born 1993, DD2, born 2005, and DS1, Jan. 2012. Babywearing, cosleeping, homebirthing mom with fibromyalgia and hashimotos.  DD2 has a rare chromosome disorder. 

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#14 of 16 Old 10-13-2011, 04:19 PM
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It will likely be a game day decision, but I'm leaning towards not.  My 6 year old would do fine, she has always been one to wake up instantly and be ready to go.  Dd2 is much less of a morning person and we do not wake her if at all possible right now.  I'm sure she would do fine once she came to, but then a few hours later I worry both of them would be so excited they wouldn't want to go back to sleep.  The last thing I want is to be kept awake when I'm ready to go to sleep after giving birth (I typically give birth just after midnight) or to try and get them back on schedule for the next few days or week following the birth.

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#15 of 16 Old 11-05-2011, 07:26 PM
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If I had a very young (under 2) toddler/baby, I probably wouldn't.  Older than that, I probably would.  Our DD had just turned 2 when her brother was born, and he was born during her naptime. We woke her a few minutes after his birth to come and see the baby still attached to the cord, the birth pool, all our family who had gathered there.  We have the sweetest picture of her half asleep and slightly confused little face meeting her baby sibling.  But she was/is a very mature kid and I have no regrets about getting her out of bed.  After the birth she seemed no longer in need of a nap and got to be present for the newborn exam and first nursing sessions, etc.  I am really glad she was there for all that.


This time around she's 5 and VERY excited about the birth, and very worried she'll miss it!  We will definitely wake her up if it happens at night.  I am so excited to have her involved with the process of it all!  (Well we wouldn't wake her in early labour, but once pushing started then we'd definitely get her in there).


DS is 3 and knows the baby will come out of my belly.  I think we'll wake him too.  It would be odd to have the whole family there except him.  I feel very drawn towards having our whole family as involved as possible through the process of the birth.  Not so much the labour, but the birth and immediate moments afterwards.  And he is the type of kid who will tell us if he would rather go back to bed!  If he doesn't want to stay awake he will certainly be welcome to go back to sleep in his bed.


Hopefully this will all be a moot point as both my kids were born around 2 pm.  :)

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belly.gif due around mid-December 2011, and planning another h20homebirth.gif
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#16 of 16 Old 11-12-2011, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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So to update my son woke up about 20 minutes before the baby was born. (It was morning.) We brought him in just when I started pushing, (all of 30 seconds) and he was present for the birth. All that and we didn't even have to decide! Thanks everyone!

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