Preparing Your Child to Attend Birth – Books, Videos, and Links!
Adding new little life into your family is exciting, especially when you want to share it with your little ones too! Having the whole family present to welcome a new addition creates an atmosphere where birth is a normal, natural process. There is no shame or secrets, just love and family.
But just like you don’t enter childbirth with no preparation, it’s not really fair to expect your toddler or other young children to handle the intensities of birth with grace and understanding if they haven’t been prepared for what to expect.
These suggestions are geared toward helping a child who will be attending and witnessing the birth understand the process, not really the occasional innocent questions about “where babies come from”.
Here are a few ways you might help little ones understand what’s going to happen in a natural, normal way.
— Talk about birth in day to day life
You’ll likely be telling them how excited you are to meet their new brother or sister, so why not include the occasional detail of how the process happens! For young children, you can be vague but still truthful. I encourage parents to use correct anatomical terms for body parts (if you don’t know these yourself, it’s time to learn!) but use your discretion on how much you share. You don’t necessarily want your 3 year old telling his friends at a play date about the mom’s cervix dilating so the baby can come out her vagina… but your 8 year old may be ready for more detail and understand the concept of privacy and appropriate times to share. Here’s a couple of age appropriate ways to explain where a baby comes from to get you started.
Toddlers – You could say the doctor/midwife helps “move” the baby out of moms belly. Try this easy explanation first and that might be all they need!
A baby grows in moms belly and when it’s ready it comes out between a woman’s legs. A lot of times kids ask if you poop the baby out. You could explain woman have another special hole that’s for birthing a baby.
For young kids, you don’t need to answer questions they aren’t asking. Short, honest, and sometimes vague answers are enough if they’re satisfied.
Young kids – Children are naturally curious so just answer questions as they come! If you’re open in talking about the new baby, how it grows in mommy’s tummy, and where and how you plan to give birth, children will naturally ask questions. Just answer them naturally! Kids can sense if you’re embarrassed or uncomfortable so just discuss it like the natural part of life it is.
–Books (affiliate links)
There are many great books out there to teach your child about pregnancy, birth, and newborns! Here are a couple of my personal favorites. (Make sure you subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss updates! I’ll be doing a video review on many of these books soon)
While you may enjoy watching birth videos on YouTube (here’s a link with my personal favorites!), you may not want the full graphic version for your little ones. Here’s a few educational or mild birthing video options that may be appropriate for younger viewers.
This is one of my favorites suitable for children: Ewan’s Hypnobirth. It’s a water birth at home, using Hypnobabies techniques. It’s a little long but it shows several good things that are good to talk through with your child!
Consider these topics:
~ She has a toddler with her “helping”. Discuss ways your child could help, or things you don’t want them to do
~ She’s vocal during contractions and happy between! Mommy may make noises, but everything is ok. Bringing a baby into the world is hard work!
~ There are many people around making sure her and baby are safe.. Discuss who will be at your birth so your child knows who to expect
~ The dad is sometimes helping mom, sometimes helping the child. Tell you child who can help them during the birthing time when mommy can’t.
~ The actual birth is not graphic, and you can explain the technical process however you’d like!
~ The baby is covered in vernix and you see the first attempt at breastfeeding
~ The placenta and sac are shown, you can explain this is where the baby lived and how it gets food from mom through the umbilical cord or just skip this part 🙂
Also maybe consider animal birth videos! It’s the same concept and children may relate to that in an easier way. (Don’t be upset if they compare you to the Cow they saw give birth in a video… take it as a compliment!)
–10 Minute compilation video of lots of animals!
–Gorillas are very similar to humans, so naturally they are great ones to watch as well!
Some mothers choose to prepare their children very little and just let them learn and enjoy during the experience! So I’d encourage to find the right balance for your family. Every child is different, just like every birth. I hope you found some good ideas here on how to prepare your child for a new addition to the family! Post a comment below with your advice, story, or other links that mothers might find helpful!
~ All things for you and your new little life ~