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Giving Birth: Who Takes Care of Your Older Child?

July 12, 2011

Most of us don’t live near family, so what do you do when you give birth and have an older child at home that needs to be watched? I wondered that when we were faced with that question. I knew my MIL would not come down to help out in the middle of the night, and I didn’t really want my older daughter at the hospital with us until someone could come to pick her up. We ended up asking another parent that we were really comfortable with if they could watch her during our baby’s birth. What did you do or what do you plan on doing?

  1. Family. Ideally you’ll want your family to help you out. If they don’t live nearby you will have figure out when they will arrive based on your due date and their schedule. You will also have to plan where they will sleep (if you don’t have enough room) and let them know about your toddler’s schedule including location of school, playdates, etc. You will also want them to be familiar with your neighborhood in Brooklyn like where the restaurants, grocery stores, parks and local library is.
  2. Dads. For our family we had a combination of family and my husband to watch our older daughter. During the day, my husband would drop off my daughter at her school and then he would visit me and the new baby in the hospital. My mom or sister would pick my daughter up after school and then my husband would go back home in the evening for dinner and bedtime. This worked for us because our daughter was able to have her familiar routine during the day and then still have time with her dad at night.
  3. Other Parents. Parents are another trustworthy source to watch your little one while you are giving birth. Ideally, you want to use someone that your child gets along with for a fun playdate. You also want to ask someone whose home your child is familiar with so they don’t get scared or anxious. You also want someone that is going to plan fun activities with your child, which is especially important if you don’t want them in the house all the time or watching TV, etc. Also, make sure you have all of their contact information ready in case you go into labor early. If you are part of a babysitting co-op, this is one of the best ways to use it!
  4. Neighbors. If your friends, family and other parents are not nearby you can also ask a neighbor for their help. This might be for only a few hours – but having someone that your child is familiar with will be helpful and comforting when you are away. Since this person lives in your hood they can take your child to their local spots like to the park or out for pizza.
  5. Babysitters or Nannies. If you have a regular sitter, ask them if they can take care of your older child for a few days (or a night or two) while you are away. Make sure that you use a sitter that has put your child to sleep before – you don’t want to try a new bedtime routine with someone who isn’t familiar with what your child is used to. A few months before your due date work out a plan with your sitter or nanny – making sure they can help you during the dates needed. If you don’t have a regular sitter ask someone in your babysitting cooperative or locate some help through our complete listing of sitters and nannies here.