I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant with my second child and am planning my first home birth. My son will be 3 1/2 when this baby's born, and the current plan is to have him stay at home with us with someone here specifically to care for him--in the room with me, in the basement playing, whatever he and I need at the time. I've been thinking of putting together a Kid Kit for him (maybe I'm the only person who still remember those from the Babysitter's Club books?) to use during the birth and in the first few days postpartum, when I assume I'll be mostly preoccupied with the new baby. It will be put away until I'm in labor and have some special treats for him to help keep him entertained and hopefully less likely to be in my face whining or throwing a fit. He hit a pretty demanding phase just before he turned three and hasn't yet emerged from it.
Has anyone else done this? Recommendations? The baby will be born in March, so his ability to go outside and play will be dictated by the weather and his caregiver's inclinations toward going out with him.
Here's what I've been thinking so far:
- Crayons and coloring books
- Play dough
- New books
- A new train (he's obsessed with trains and loves Thomas)
- A new DVD (we're not big on screen time here and don't have TV, but I'm not about to ban movies when I'm trying to give birth)
- Balloons and streamers to decorate the house for the new arrival
- Bagged dry ingredients to make a "birth day" cake
Any other ideas? I don't just want to go out and buy a bunch of cheap plastic junk to throw in there, but I also don't want to spend a fortune. When he's not being...well, three, he's a sweet little man who loves to be helpful. I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to be in the room with me at least part of the time, fetching drinks or cool rags. He's been pretty calm when I had my wisdom teeth removed or have been sick in the past, and he thinks the relatively graphic birth videos we've watched on YouTube are amazing, so I mostly anticipate an issue of keeping him occupied if I have a long labor and while I'm nursing.
I totally remember kid kits :)
My daughter was a month shy of 3 when my son was born, also in March. My parents and sisters and niece ended up being there with her during the birth and the morning after, so we had lots of help and she did great. He was born at 3 a.m., (laboring since around noon the previous day) so she was back and forth between everyone and fell asleep until about an hour before he was born and then came and watched the birth and cut the cord (she still talks about that!) It was awesome. Seriously, I loved having her there!
I think your list is great! We had a small present (a puzzle, if I remember correctly) for her to play with while I was in labor. We also had a big sister t-shirt and little brother onesie and fabric markers for her to decorate while she was waiting, and then to wear aftewards, which she loved! They also baked the birthday cake, which again she was thrilled about :) I love the idea of including streamers and balloons, so much fun!
I think she also watched a movie for a while and maybe played outside but I honestly don't really know! Dp, she and I took a walk together right in the beginning of my labor, so between hanging out with her then and her sleeping for a while, it wasn't really that many hours that she had to be kept busy. When she wanted to come in with me, I let her, even in active labor-I have such a funny sweet picture of me laying in bed with my eyes closed, concentrating so hard during a contraction and her just all curled up next to me holding my hand :)
For the first few days, I would try to plan some activities that you can still do with him while laying down and/or nursing-a special new book or movie is the obvious choice, but even things like blowing bubbles while you lay in bed would be exciting for him, or looking at photos of him as a baby (maybe include a mini-album or scrapbook of his baby photos?)
We never got around to putting something like this together for DC but I did manage to get her a lovely baby book type thing for siblings to record things about the baby. It was a pretty nice one (spiral bound if you want to search for it at a book store). You could also make your own. Our favorite way that DC got involved after the birth (she was afraid of the actually labor and birth and wasn't around much) was when she helped the MW do first prenatal exam. She recorded the weight and helped wrap the baby and etc. It was really, really sweet.
Those are good ideas! Puzzles are a good idea. Do bubbles stain much? I was wondering about them, but was afraid they'd leave big stains on our walls or furniture. We live in a log cabin, so we can't exactly paint over any blemishes. (Well, we could, but I'd die a little inside to paint our lovely pine walls.) Our midwife is great and has let him participate in my appointments, so I'm sure she'll be happy to let him help during or after the birth. He's already assigned himself the task of putting on the baby's first socks, and heaven help anyone who stands in his way. :)
I never made a kid kit for mine. I have three now. They seemed entertained just by all the activity in the house. I did buy a kid sized moby wrap for my DD and would recommend one for a boy as well. (my DS loves dolls) Happy birthing!
Wow, our stories are close! DS will be just over 3 and 1/2 when our new baby arrives in April and we're thinking the same thing. However, the best way to keep him around is to have my parents around and though they are extremely helpful with him, they emanate a great degree of anxiety that I cannot even begin to imagine having around while in labor. All I can think is to charge them with entertaining him and maybe having one of the midwives call my parents when I am pushing so he can be nearby close to birth. Not sure...hmmm
Good luck to you!
Mom to DS 9/18/09 and DS 3/28/13
Laugh it up, fuzzball
This is such a great idea! My ds will be five when our second baby is born. I am nervous about having him there with us as he tends to be very high strung and active. I will definitely put something like this together for him. I have my first appointment with my midwife tomorrow I think Ill put together a kid kit for that too. So excited to be planning our second homebirth!
Some great ideas here!
DD will be 3 or just about when baby arrives.
MIL will be here with her.
Some ideas we have are
-t-shirt for her and new baby decorating
-picture taking, she loves taking pics and is really good with the camera
I am adding in the balloon and streamer decor idea as well as helping with the newborn exam and dressing of the little one.
Lovin my sweet babygirl 3-17-10 and expecting another in March!
My ds was just over 2 and a half at his brothers birth. We didn't have a specific person dedicated for his care, Daddy and the midwives kept him well occupied thankfully.
But he was really interested in being involved, he had a swim in the birthpool while I laboured which was fun. Favourite snacks, and an easy dinner meal are an essential that I would have better prepared next time. He had his trains out, and his favourite blanket incase he wanted to rest. A kit is a great idea. I would store it next to your homebirth gear. Ds has his own kiddie digital camera which he loves to use, I would include one in our next kit so we could review and see things from his point of view.
- maybe a few new blocks, cars or trains.....
Just another random thing I remembered (still have brain fog 2.5yrs on ) was that it was really lovely when visitors to the newborn came into the house and acknowledged ds1 first, spoke to him, engaged in an activity and then came and cuddled our new boy. I can see how easily people can get carried away absolutely unintentionally with the new babe, but i know acknowledging and making ds1 feel just as important was a really beautiful way to help him transition into brotherhood gently.
What a great thread! My son will be just over 3 when the new baby comes (also in March or April), and I've been trying to decide what I want to do with him during the birth. I think emotionally he'll be fine, but the kit is a great idea, and he loves to take photos too, so having a dedicated camera for him would be amazing.
Babysitters Club? Yes, I laughed pretty hard :)
I love this thread. I'll have a 5yo DD and 2.5yo DS at my homebirth. I think I'll get a kid kit for my son, and let my daughter take pictures. Thanks for the suggestions!
And for the throwback to my childhood reading habits!
Thank you for posting this! I am also due in March w/#2 & plan on having DS at the birth. I basically have a babysitter lined up for him, but the kids kits are a great idea. He'll be almost 3 when the baby comes, so I'm not sure how he's going to react. Something to keep him occupied should be fun.
Beth - blissfully married to Doug. DS - Liam (5/10) & Darcy (2/13). . New SAHM & Labor Doula.
Welcome baby girl! Born at home, in the water, in the caul, and caught by daddy. February 24, 2013!
We had puzzles too for the day of the birth, but the best thing we did for our almost 3 year old was to buy a trampoline for the backyard. It was great and exciting, plus it gave him a safe place to get out his energy and frustration at the big change of becoming a big brother. And now our boys use it together!
Ooh I had not thought of doing this for DS and it's an awesome idea! Thanks!
Cady, wife to Patrick (8/2/03) and mother to Bradley (11/24/09) and little bean (edd 5/31/13) . Planning our first home birth and looking for any information and advice on the subject!
Found a few great ideas on this thread.
We prepared a big box with a lot of options for our 3yo. The birth went very well and quick so we did not use everything but it was good to be ready for any situation.
Labor started during the night and DS woke up and wanted to be there and help. We had a little flashlight in the box that was a big success. It was even helpful for the midwife Since i did not want to much light in the room.
We also used the colorings books mentioned in another thread http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1194006/homebirth-coloring-book#post_17361569 it worked well since he could see all the midwife instruments etc
When i started to push things were a big to hectic for him and at that point a little movie on youtube was the most efficient thing to keep him busy. He went in another room and came back to see what was happening on our side then came back to his room to watch the end of the movie.
It is not really part of the kit but the book Welcome with love/hello baby by Jeni Overend was super helpful to prepare him. 10 minutes after the birth my DS told me that next time i should labor standing up like in the book!
We also had fabric markers to personalize a onesie for the baby, some play doo, more colorimg books and a cool t shirt for big brother.
Thanks for e great suggestins here, very helpful!
I need to get on this soon, My son was helping me unpack my birth kit and was very interested in the pushing oils and herb bath. I'm thinking about making a special "bonding oil" for him to rub on his skin before he holds the baby. Probably just coconut oil or almond oil. I might mix up some herbs for him to take a "big brother bath". I'm also planning on getting some special snacks and probably a movie too, in case we need that too. I like the Idea of a big brother t-shirt. Good luck on your birth!