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Discussion Starter #1
Is it outside the scope of a birth doula's practice to babysit the laboring woman's older child at the hospital, but possibly (probably) outside of the mother's L&D room? The child in question would be 3 and the child's father would also be at the hospital but in the L&D room with the mother.<br><br>
I'd like to know if this is totally insulting or falls under the realm of accepted "labor support" before approaching any doulas in my area. Thanks in advance!
 

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I think it would be a bit of waste of money since doulas around here cost $300 and up--that's a pretty pricey babysitter!
 

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It would depend on the doula of course, but generally speaking, no. They are there to support the family through birth, not babysit children.
 

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We hired a doula to care for our two-year-old for the homebirth of our second child, because we needed someone who could be on-call to babysit for whenever I might go into labor, and who also wouldn't be freaked out by the birth stuff. We hired her specifically to do this, she knew that was her responsibility and was ok with it, and she did a good job. Yes, it was expensive, but it worked out well for us.<br><br>
Personally I think there is a great need for more people who are willing to do this kind of work in labor support. Everyone in my social network either lives far, far away, or is captive to a work or school schedule. Very few of them would I feel comfortable having present at a birth.
 

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In general, it is outside the scope of practice for a doula. However, just be clear on what your expectations are and the doulas can either accept or decline. When you call to set up a consultation with he doula, tell her then that you want a birth knowledgable/on-call baby sitter rather than a birth doula so you don't waste her time for the consult if she isn't interested.<br><br>
I think this is a great idea and that you will find the right doula for you and your child.
 

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I think that a three year old (if you don't want them in the L&D room) would be better off at home than at the hospital. There's not anything for children to do there, and a lot of "don't touch that" to be said.
 

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I had a doula for my third birth mainly to help with the children. It was a homebirth, though, and I expected that my children would be with us. I was very upfront with everyone I spoke with before scheduling an interview. Everyone was more than happy to support our family however we needed it. My dh and the doula ended up swapping places several times, so I was very glad to have a doula and not just a babysitter. And then after the kids went to sleep I had both of them to take care of me.<br><br>
I know I have a few friends who work as "sibling doulas" as well as birth doulas and their job is to support the other children while mom is giving birth.
 

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I agree that, as long as you are totally upfront with the doulas whom you interview, you will probably find someone more than willing to support you in this way.<br><br>
However, I also agree with a previous poster's opinion that a hospital is a difficult place for a three-year-old. I recently had to spend a night (with my family present) in labor and delivery, due to dehydration. This was VERY tough for my nearly 4-year-old. This past winter, we also spent several hours at the hospital with my father, and she just did not do very well, even though they had a "family room," for her to hang out in.<br><br>
I fully support children being present at the birth of siblings, but you might want to rethink in this situation. I think it would be different if you were having a home birth... just my humble opinion!
 

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I didn't pay much attention to the hopsital part of it. I have attended a birth at a hospital with a 3 yo present. I was there as the birth doula and her mom was there for the 3 yo. It was stressful for all of us, including the kid. It was lots of shh, you need to be quiet, don't touch that!, no, you can't run up and down the hall, please don't climb on mommy right now, mommy's fine, but we need to be quiet, etc. He was basically just bored out of his mind. He was there when the baby came out and he handled that pretty well, but he really should have been somewhere else for most of the labor.<br><br>
I am all for kids being involved in birth, my 2 yo was at her brother's birth and I plan on both of them being there when this one is born. But, it's very different when you are at home and they can got play in their room, watch a cartoon, and check in as they please. Being at a hospital is stressful, you may be best off to have someone stay home with the 3 yo and then bring them up at the very end.<br><br>
I still think a doula can provide this if you want, just be clear of your expectations.
 

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There's no way that even with someone watching I would have my 3 year old at the hospital...Just thinking..middle of the night cranky child quiet hospital BAD NEWS! I would get someone in the family to babysit if possible at home, then bring ds to the hospital..and as a doula in training I dont think I would be willing to do.
 

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If your intention is for the child not to be involved in the birth, then yes, I believe it is outside the typical practice, and honestly, I would be a little insulted.<br><br>
I was a doula at a birth where half my duty was to look after a three year old, however her parents wanted her involved in the birth. As her little sister was born, she was in a rocking chair pulled up to the side of the bed, literally leaned forward staring at the new baby emerging. Within seconds of baby being put to mom's chest, the older child was popped up onto the bed too, for cuddle and new family time. To me this is very different that just someone babysitting the child in a different room. As others said, a hospital isn't a place for a child to hang out, and I think you'll encounter much resistance from staff.<br><br>
If you want your daughter to be involved, then I'm sure many doulas would be willing to be with her and help support her and you through the process as she becomes a sister, and also as she watches and is involved with what's happening to you. But as a babysitter, you're better off finding someone else.
 

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I'd hire a babysitter.. not a doula.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This is just one option I'm considering out of several (none of them that great). Thanks to all who've responded. It really helps to get so many different perspectives.
 

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Some doulas might be okay with that. I wouldn't have taken a client who just wanted me to babysit when I was attending births. But I think as long as you're up front about it, the doula would have the opportunity to decide for herself. I agree that it would be better to have the 3 year old at home though. Besides the boredom factor, there's the nasty killer germ factor, and 3 year olds touch everything and stick stuff in their mouths.
 
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