It’s a very exciting time around your home. Soon there will be a new addition to the family! We aren’t talking about adopting a pet either!
You are about to bring your second or perhaps third child into the family. And there is a mountain of tasks you have been tending to. Everything from picking out nursery colors to packing for ‘the event.’
You have also been busy teaching your toddler about what is happening. These are some precious times. Time spent with your child preparing them for baby brother or sister is something you’ll always remember.
You have spent so much time prepping your child he or she now wants to be part of it. In the delivery room. What do you do? Is it even allowed? Is it a good idea or not?
It is a very personal decision. Some parents want their children to be able to experience the miracle of birth. Others seem to be uncomfortable with the idea. They may be worried as to how their child will react.
Whichever the case, we now explore the question can my toddler be in the delivery room?
What Age is Appropriate?
Experts seem to be divided. Some say children under five shouldn’t attend while others disagree. It has been determined there is no ‘magical age.’ All children are different, and some may be okay with the idea, while another may cringe at the thought.
If you truly want your child to be present, don’t pressure them into it. If the child is on-board with it, let them know they can change their mind.
Check With The Hospital
Perhaps the first order of business should be checking with your hospital about the presence of the toddler.
Some facilities have very progressive sibling policies. Some do not. If your hospital is reluctant to the idea, talk to the administrator. Make them aware of your decision to include the child. You also may contact your health care provider on the matter.
If none of these options work to your advantage, tell your hospital, you are going elsewhere for the delivery. Maybe there can be an agreement that suits everyone.
The Child’s Ability to Cope
You probably have a good idea of how much intensity your child can handle. Is the child in question going to be frightened by all the stuff involved with labor?
Remember, the child will be seeing you groaning, red-faced, bleeding, and seemingly unhappy. Will the child cope well with what is going on?
Let them know ahead; mommy will be in distress. Carefully explain it is part of the miracle.
Can You Focus on the Birth and Not Your Toddler?
There could come the point where you can’t focus on both. There is a child in the room and a child trying to get into the room. Mom needs to focus on the latter.
If having your child present becomes a problem, have a plan. Have a good reliable ‘point person’ your child feels comfortable with in case they need to leave the room.
You will already be physically drained. Don’t let an emotional drain fall upon you as well.
Having Help on Stand-by
More than likely, there will be several family members present. Appoint one to take care of any toddler issues. Again, make sure it is someone the child is familiar with and is not afraid of.
You probably need your mom or sister to help with the child. Don’t get your spouse to be the ‘point person.’ You will need them with you at all times. And should you have more than one child present, have a person for each child—no need to get one person overwhelmed by the experience.
Prepare for Your Child to Be Bored
Delivery can be a very lengthy ordeal. You know already what to expect, but your child does not. Prepare for long periods of nothing.
Pack the child a ‘go bag’ in the same fashion as you packed one for you. Include everything they may need. If your delivery is a very long one, be prepared.
Pack the child everything from toys to clothes. Be ready for any situation. Your ‘point person’ will thank you. And remember, too, you could be in labor for a day or more. If the child is to remain with you, pack the appropriate blankets, pillows, and pajamas.
You may want to only bring the child in for the actual delivery. But they will need to be entertained until the time arrives.
Prepare Them on What They Will Be Seeing
Again you might want to consider internet video as part of preparing the child. There are some great kid-friendly teaching tools on the subject. Then do your part as well.
Explain to them they will be seeing mom as they never have before. Let them know you are going to be making some funny noises and funny faces. Overly express the fact it is okay, mommy just has to work hard to push the new baby out of her tummy.
Take plenty of time to get your child comfortable with what they are about to witness. Tell them, mommy did the same when they were born.
When the baby does arrive, ask the child if they want to hold it. It is important to start the bonding between them as soon as possible. However, they might be a bit more enthusiastic about holding the newborn after it’s cleaned up. When they do hold the new one, be sure somebody snaps a pic!
If your doctor and hospital are okay with your child being there, then, by all means, include them. You will have plenty of time to prepare them for the miracle of birth.
After all, you are adding to the family they are already a member of. So why not include them?
Just remember, as always, lots of love and affection.