Including Your Older Child In the Birth Experience
During my pregnancy I was immensely concerned about how my almost four year old would handle it. I didn’t know how to prepare him. Would he feel replaced? How do I Include him?
I really stressed about this.
Of course I started to research ways to make this process as easy as possible.
There are many techniques I used to help make the transition easier, one of my favorites was his “Big Brother Bag”.
When I packed for the hospital I packed three bags one for mommy, one for the newborn, and one for big brother.
In his bag I included anything I thought would make him feel like an important part of this process.
He WAS an important part of the process and I didn’t want him to feel left out.
He was going to stay with grandma who is arguably his favorite person in the entire universe, so I knew he wouldn’t be too sad about that part.
So I took an old “Planes” backpack and got to work.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, I am compensated for purchases made using these links. In the interest of full disclosure all affiliate links are marked in text. Unless otherwise stated these are all products that I love and use myself. Full disclosure and explanation here.
I didn’t buy this specifically for this purpose. My little photographer in training has actually had his own camera since he was two. He LOVES taking pictures and I knew he would want to take pictures of baby sister. We purchased this camera (affiliate) a couple of years ago so that I wouldn’t have to risk my DSLR on a trip to Disneyland Paris. It’s water proof, shock proof, and the pictures are okay.
I”m picky when it comes to image quality so I’m never “impressed” with the photos, but for quick snapshots and letting my son have a camera of his own. It does the job wonderfully. It also allowed me to capture memories of that trip that I would not have dared with MY camera (affiliate).
If I had a greater selection at the time I probably would have picked this one (affiliate). Mostly because I'm a Nikon girl in general :)
When baby sister arrived he COULD NOT wait to get some snapshots of her. Bonus I have some random shots of me and baby girl, taken by big brother.
His Kindle Fire
I included this in case he happened to get bored with the hospital visit. I wasn’t sure if he would LOVE the newborn or wish he could go do something else. Glad I had it because after 20 minutes he was done with her. I love the kindle fire because you can make it very kid oriented. He uses the iPad sometimes but I always feel his apps on the Kindle are more educational. We don’t let him use these constantly and when we do I want to make sure that it’s benefiting him in some way. Not simply mindless entertainment.
After a ton of research, I decided against the kids version of the kindle fire because of the overwhelming complaints about lack of storage. Instead I purchased the HD7 and this case. It's the same thing but better. I just subscribed to Freetime Unlimited separately (affiliates).
If you are considering a kindle for your child I highly recommend going this route :) As of now the HD7 seems to be phasing out in favor of and HD6 or HD8. I have an HD6 for myself and feel it's a bit small for my sons uses. I would go with the HD8 (affiliate).
You can learn more about Freetime Unlimited here (affiliate).
A present for the baby
When we were preparing for baby sister my husband and I stumbled upon a little bunny rabbit toy that had come with something of my son’s when he was a baby. It was a rattle that attached to who knows what. It’s not something he played with constantly that I can recall, but it was something of his. When I found it I asked him how he felt about giving it to baby sister when she was born. He was so excited about it that he asked me daily for the rest of my pregnancy if she was coming today because he needed to give her the present. One of my favorite images captured by our photographer after delivery was this one of him giving the present to baby sister
or two presents?
As a bonus, my mother (despite my consistent protests) insists on taking my son for a happy meal every chance she gets. On the way to the hospital, she had picked one up and the toy included happened to be a little poodle stuffed animal from the movie "The Secret Life of Pets” (affiliate) which we had recently watched at the drive-in theater.
My son instantly decided that he wanted baby sister to have this too. Unfortunately, he wanted her to have it so badly that he threw it into her bassinet three times in the hospital room. Once, actually hitting her with it. Luckily it was tiny and stuffed and we were watching.
That may be something to keep in mind when picking a toy. Your older child, depending on their age, may not realize that they can’t throw a toy into the baby's bassinet. So things that could hurt the baby will have to be treated with extra caution.
His Watch/Cell Phone (GizmoPal)
I realize most kids his age don’t have these. Honestly, most kids don’t need these. We use it very rarely.
I purchased this for my four-year-old because he spends some time with my in-laws every couple of months without me.
Even though daddy is always with him, I tend to be cautious.
He wears this on those visits, and whenever we are somewhere big like a theme park, long road trip, or mall.
It lets him call four preprogrammed people and allows me to track him by GPS.
It gives me peace of mind.
Why did I include it? I wanted my SON to be the one we called when his baby sister was born.
Yes, I could have just called my mom and had her hand him the phone, but being able to call him specifically made him feel really special.
I wouldn't go out and buy a Gizmopal or anything similar just for this purpose.
Another option if your child doesn’t have something like this would be to ask whoever has them to let them answer the phone when you call.
His big brother bag made my son really feel a part of a very special day.
Although at first, he was still a little apprehensive and confused when he met his tiny baby sister, he quickly came around.
Also, this probably goes without being said but...
Don’t be like me and get so caught up on how to include your older child in your delivery that you forget to pack him an actual overnight bag. I was last minute scrambling for clothes for the kid….pregnancy brain?