On-Call Childcare for Siblings During Your Birth – Can a Doula help?
Your new little life is almost here! The day you’ve waited so long for! But if this isn’t your first time, you’ll likely be starting to wonder what to do with your other children when the birthing time comes. Sometimes you have family or a trusted friend close by to help out, but there are many circumstances where you don’t. Registering your child at daycare is a great option, but what if labor starts in the night? or on the weekend? Especially in military life with frequent moves and family far away, it’s time to explore other options.
“I’ll just take them with me to the hospital.”
I love seeing siblings at birth! I think it’s great for kids to see such a natural part of life and turn the experience of adding a family member into an intimate family event. (Here are some tips and tricks for preparing your child to attend your birth) The problem arises when you’re bringing your little one not because you want them there, but because you have no other option. This scenario (even with a partner there to help you) often ends in anxiety and frustration. You’re either waking your toddler up in the middle of the night and dragging a sleepy, crying child to a new, frightening place where mom isn’t available to help them or your partner has to take them out so often that you’re left alone most of the time. All this while you’re trying to cope through the intensities of labor. Fun for NO one.
Sibling support is a service that some birth/postpartum doulas offer.
This is ideal if you have another child(ren) at home and are unsure of what to do with them during your upcoming birth. A sibling support doula usually schedules time beforehand to get to know you and your child. They are then on-call for you anytime and will come to your home or meet you at the hospital if you’d rather have your little one close by. A sibling support doula is comfortable around birth and can even help talk to your child about what’s happening in a way they can understand. They LOVE supporting families and will be available whenever labor starts and willing to do whatever makes your experience most comfortable.
Sibling support doulas can be more expensive than you might think, but they are very worth it! You’re paying for them to be on-call for you for weeks, which means only taking a few clients at a time and scheduling their own life events accordingly. They’ve promised to be available any time day or night, and often have some training that makes them extra qualified to help in this unique situation. They aren’t your typical babysitter service, and thus should be paid for their time and expertise. The cost is often worth the peace of mind it brings and the worry that can be avoided as your birthing time approaches.
Sibling support doulas can be hard to find, so another option to consider is hiring a birth doula!
You will NEVER regret having an extra set of hands for both your kids AND yourself. I’ve done this many times as a birth doula and between the partner and I, we often take turns managing the laboring woman and the sibling(s). Sometimes you need peace and quiet with your partner, and that’s when I’d take the kids for snack time or a walk around the building. And sometimes things get intense and you need the kids entertained while the doula provides expert support. It often takes a worry off the woman when she knows the kids are safe with dad, who they’re already comfortable with. Another benefit of this is you don’t have to decide right now! If you’re not sure whether you’ll want more help with you or the kids, a birth doula is flexible and trained to help in all ways!
Have a conversation with your partner/support person and see what’s important to them too. Do they want to be your main support during your labor and birth? Or would they rather handle the kids and just be there for the really important parts. Decide what you both want, and then consider these options to help you get there. Having a trained professional on-call and ready to go is worth the investment and can help you have the wonderful experience you want!
Check out this review video on some books to help siblings understand pregnancy, birth, and life with a newborn!
~ All things for you and your new little life ~