From One To Two - Labor and Delivery

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It has been a couple months since my last "From One To Two" post!  I apologize to you mamas who were waiting on me all this time.  Now that gender reveal and Christmas craziness is over, I'm finally getting back to this series!  Today I'm going to talk about what to do with your older child{ren} when you go into labor and right after the baby is born.

This is obviously going to be a little different for each family depending on the situation, but here are the main things to have in order before you go into labor, plus some other random tips.

Find someone to watch the older child while you are in labor or at the hospital/birthing center. 

 This is going to look different depending on what kind of birth you are planning to have, but it's best to have someone there for your older child.  I think it would be a little overwhelming, especially for younger children, to see their mama in so much pain.  Having someone take care of your older child during labor/delivery is a good thing (unless they are old enough that you want them to participate in the birth).  If you are going to a hospital/birthing center you need someone to stay with your child.  Or if you are having a home birth I think it would be good to have someone there to take care of and distract the older child (since you and your husband will be occupied with, you know, having a baby).

 Don't wait too long to call your child's care person.  

This is probably just me speaking from my crazy labor experience, but it's better to have whoever is taking care of your child come over a little early (or take your child early on if they are going to someone's house).  Especially if the care person lives more than 15 minutes away.  Play it safe so that you don't end up going from contractions-12-minutes-apart to ready-to-push in the span of an hour, leaving for the hospital too late because you didn't call your person soon enough, and having the baby on the highway.  Ahem.

Think about how you want your child to meet the new baby and plan it out.  

I think it's important to make a plan for how you want this to go, because if you just fly by the seat of your pants and the first meeting doesn't go well . . . well, postpartum hormones are flowing, my friends.  You don't want to be disappointed with something like this with those hormones raging.  For us, we planned to have my mom bring Wyatt to the hospital first thing after Gwen was born, then Derek went out into the hall and brought Wyatt in so that we could introduce him to the new baby without distractions.  It was important to us to have Wyatt be the first one to meet her.  Our plan went off without a hitch.

Make sure to give the older child some love when you see them again after delivery.  

I made sure that Gwen was safely in her hospital basinet when Wyatt came in so he could climb onto my lap and I could give him a big hug.  Derek picked Gwen up and introduced her to Wyatt while he sat with me.  I think it's important to let them know that they are still your baby too, and they haven't been replaced by the new baby -  being available to hold them right away is a good way to do that.

Don't freak out if your child doesn't want much to do with the new baby at first.  

This is no indication of what kind of relationship they will have in the future!  Wyatt didn't want to touch Gwen when she was first born.  He just kind of looked at her.  I think it took almost a week before he finally reached out one finger and touched her head!  Don't push them, and don't worry about it, just let them adjust.

Should you bring anything for your older sibling to the hospital?  

I think it's a good idea to make sure you have a movie or a few toys for your older children in your hospital bag.  We had some alone time with just the four of us in the hospital before the visitors started streaming in, and we put on one of Wyatt's movies and just snuggled in the hospital bed.  It was a special time for us, and it made it more fun for Wyatt.

I would not recommend having your older child stay the night in the hospital with you.  

I don't think most moms would want that anyway, but it's just not a good idea.  They won't sleep, you will sleep even less, and nobody will have fun.

Should you buy a big brother or big sister gift for your child?  

We didn't, but that's only because my family is really good about remembering to bring something for older siblings when a new baby is born.  Several of our relatives brought Wyatt a gift, in addition to the gift for the new baby.  I knew they would, so I didn't worry about it.  If you aren't sure if your family or friends are going to think of this, I think it would be good to have a little present on hand to give to your older child.  It's hard for a kid to watch a new baby get lots of gifts if they don't have anything to open themselves.

Bring them home together.  

This might not always work out, but after Gwen was born we met up with my mom to pick up Wyatt and then brought both the kiddos home together.  It was meaningful to me to have us all arrive home for the first time as a family.  I liked that Wyatt was a part of our ride home, instead of having him come home later with a new baby suddenly there.  It was good for family unity.  This isn't completely necessary, but I thought it was special, and I'd recommend arranging your plans this way if possible. 

Moms - anything else about labor/delivery/hospital stay that you thought was important?


Here is the itinerary for this series (so far). 

11/18/13 - It Is Not The Same

1/9/13 - Labor And Delivery (this post)

1/16/14 - Balancing Things At Home

1/23/14 - Out And About

1/30/14 - Ways To Make Your Oldest Feel Special

 If there is anything else you would be interested to see me cover, comment below! 
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Amanda said...

Thank you for posting these ideas! You mentioned several things that I had never thought of!

Alli said...

I just love this series! Thank you so much for sharing it!

Lauren said...

I love how you had Gwen & Wyatt meet for the first time...I think this is a perfect way to do it!

Natalie said...

I think the whole when to call the caregiver thing was one of the things that was looming over me my whole pregnacy. I was so worried I wouldn't make in time, or it would be the middle of the night and I couldn't get ahold of anyone, etc. But of course it all turned out alright and I'm so glad I had a plan in action!!

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