Childcare for Siblings during Birth
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Childcare for Siblings during Birth
We are expecting our second child in May, and our first will be about 2 years old by
then. We don't have family nearby and all of our friends have toddlers of their own,
so there really is no one who could take care of our first child while we are at the
hospital. Is it reasonable to ask a doula to step in as an babysitter, or are there
such service as on-call babysitting? We have never had a babysitter for our first
child, so we are quite apprehensive about finding someone whom we trust enough to
leave our child with. Any advice/recommendations/anecdotes would be greatly
appreciated. Thank you.
When my second child was born, we had a friend with another toddler who watched my
older child during the day. It was really nice for our daughter to be able to play
with the other child and have a special day while her younger sib was being born.
Another friend with a toddler watched our older daughter the 2nd day while I was
still in the hospital and baby 2 was in the NICU. My partner was home at night with
our older child. Our plan for middle of the night coverage if necessary was for our
next door neighbor to come over to our house so that we wouldn't have to wake up
the older child. I made sure that our various back-up childcare friends all had one
another's phone numbers so they could coordinate with one another as needed. I was
pleasantly surprised that my daughter was not phased by waking up to a friend of
the family there at the house the morning younger sib was being born. Best of luck!
mama to two
I think it depends on how much you want to spend. I did go through the effort of
hiring a doula to stay with me if I needed to if we were unable to secure childcare
for my children. In addition to the doula, I had a small list of babysitters that
I had casually used and knew which days they were available and created a
spreadsheet. I also had 2 friends (with their own children)who were willing to
step in for a few hours with my kids to help out. THIS is what I recommend. On
the day I went into labor, it was thankfully a day that my part time nanny was
working anyways. I regret that I hired a doula because, frankly, she did nothing
for the $500 that I spent. She arrived at the hospital when I was pushing although
we had contacted her in the morning to tell her that I was in labor. She held my
hand but the labor nurses ''did all the work'' in offering support and feedback on
I think 1) friends with children of their own and 2) childcare professionals are
more reliable choices. Even if a friend with a child of their own was only able to
commit for 6 hours on a specific day/evening, I would use them for that time and
then create a nanny/sitter list for the missing hours. If you have time, I would
contact flexible nannies/sitters who state they are looking for more hours on a
mon/tues/wed etc. Have them come for 2 hrs or so while you are home so you can get
a feel for them with your child. Then, put them on a spreadsheet with the hours
they are available and you'll know who to call on which day.
I feel that your friends will be more than happy to be help you. Think of it as an
extended play date. However, if you have money to spend, an ''on call'' nanny
service would be the easiest route.
No need for a doula
Some doulas offer Childcare services during labor. I am fairly new to the area but
I know this is an option.
Doulas for all!
I would ask a friend. Even if all of your friends have kids, I am sure someone
would be happy to pitch in! If not at your place, then maybe your child could stay
at their house.
don't over think this!
I was recently looking into this for my family, and then our situation changed, so
I don't need it anymore, but I would check out the Swiss Cheese Childcare
Collective (http://swisscheesechildcare.com/). They are available on an as-needed
basis, including last minute and emergency situations. Their sitters are Trustline
certified, maintain current CPR certification and have passed an extensive
screening process. They meet a once month for collaboration, training and
discussion and have a code of ethics they all follow. I was in contact with the
founder, who said that she is working on putting together a comprehensive package
for this (I don't think there's info about it on their website, yet, but they
definitely offer it). She said that she has provided this kind of care for second
time moms and mostly she just ends up being on call, but is not actually called.
Hope that helps
My husband and I are expecting our second baby and our families
live too far to come and stay with our first child while we are
at the hospital. We just moved here not long ago so we don't
have anyone we feel comfortable with (neighbors, etc) either -
has anyone else had to have their toddler with them at the
hospital while delivering? What could you share about your
experience? We certainly don't want our child traumatized but
we have run out of options and are concerned how this will go.
If there is truly no one with whom you can leave your toddler, I
recommend hiring a doula for your birth. She can focus on helping you
while you labor, so that your husband will be more free to care for the
older child. Alta Bates -- and I'm sure most hospitals -- strongly
recommends that if you bring a child into the LDR room, you also bring
an adult who is primarily responsible for that child (IOW, not your sole
person) and can leave the room with the child as needed.
Alternatively, you could try a nanny service. Pricey, but because the
people they send are screened, bonded, etc., you may feel more
comfortable with that than with trying to find a sitter yourself, and
because the services have a number of sitters on call, it's easier to be
sure you'll have coverage no matter what day or time you head for the
We just had our second baby born at home. Our first child is 2 1/2
years old. We introduced him to books and videos on birth (''Welcome
with Love'' is an EXCELLENT
book) early on. He knew what a placenta was and he knew what kinds of
sounds I may make and we practiced them. He watched birth videos
homebirth mostly) and saw how the baby came out. My mother was
concerned that it would be traumatic for him to witness the birth of his
sibling. But, the important thing is this - LISTEN to your child.
Children know what they want, esp. about this. If on the day of your
labor, he/she says he/she does not want to be there, LISTEN to him/her.
There may be a point that he/she is concerned about you if you are in
pain but if he/she says he/she does not want to leave, then don't force
them to leave the room (if you are ok with it). BUt, if they say they
want to leave, you need to honor this. So, you need a backup plan. It
can't be your partner who is with your child because he will be busy
helping you. Our son slept through my labor at home and woke up just
when the baby's head was crowning. It was early morning and we decided
we wouldn't wake him for it but if he woke up, it'd be great. He got to
see his baby brother being born and later, he was the one who told us
the baby was a boy (we all thought we were going to have a girl!), and
he also cut the baby's cord with his Papa. It was a wonderful,
wonderful experience. He even knew what the placenta was when he saw
it. Good luck, and congratulations to you!!
I have heard that the basic rule of thumb is definitely NOT to do it
unless you have someone who is there for the sole purpose of caring for
your toddler. I don't think that any hospital/facility would even allow
it w/out another adult for your toddler.
Ask for recommendations for a babysitter who has a flexible schedule
(maybe a nanny who's between jobs) then check references. Have the
sitter come over a few times beforehand for your child to become
somewhat familiar w/ her. Then maybe she could even bring your toddler
where you're giving birth and see if it works out.
I know it's easier said than done, but do yourself and your child a
favor! You don't want your husband to have to leave mid-labor to
console your toddler when you also need his help. Also, wouldn't you
help one of your neighbors in a similar situation if you were able?
Start talking to them. They might surprise you.
Smooth delivery to you!
Can you buy a plane ticket for a family member or close friend to come
out and stay with your child? Honestly, I cannot imagine anything worse
than having my daughter who was then 23-months in the delivery room with
me when I was delivering my second daughter. A new sibling show up is
traumatic enough without having to watch you mother screaming in pain
while it is showing up. Toddlers remember stuff. Just my 2-cents
-wouldn't do it
I'm due to give birth to my third child any day now. My best
friend and my niece had promised that they would care for my two
children while my husband and I are at the hospital during my
labor and delivery. We reside in Oakland and will be having the
baby at Alta Bates in Berkeley. She resides in El Sobrante. My
best friend called me recently from work and told me she cannot
keep her word b/c my niece cannot interrupt her finals schedule
and that she personally cannot because of her work schedule.
She asked if it was possible if I could have the baby over the
weekend and she might be able to drop the kids off in San
Francisco to the home of my elderly parents. If that's not
feasible, she can't do it. I'm stuck without a sitter and am
hesitant to have the boys with me during the labor and
delivery. I'm extremely disappointed. My best friend calls me
now only during the week from work and doesn't call over the
weekend, which makes me a little resentful. I know it's not her
obligation but I guess she shouldn't have promised in the first
place. I'm trying not to let this ruin our friendship but it's
kind of hard. Any suggestions? Soon to be due mom
It's a bummer that your friend and niece have reneged on their promise
to babysit during your labor & birth process, but absolutely ludicrous
to hear the suggestion that you schedule the birth during the weekend
when she/they is/are free to ''drop off'' the kids at your parents home!
That doesn't even compute.
You should certainly not have your children present during your labor
unless this had been a long-term plan with much forethought and much
preparation of the boys as to what labor entails. Forget taking them as
a last-minute default, you have enough to worry about.
You must find someone else to watch the kids. How about another mom
from the kids' school? A different, more stable friend? Your niece's
mom (your sis or sis-in- law?)? Friends of your parents who are capable
of handling your kids?
If you truly can't find anyone among your friends & acquaintences,
please e-mail me and I'll see if I can help. Tell me the ages of your
boys and your due date.
Boy, poor you! That's so frustrating! I'd say you'll just have to
consider her offer an alternative but immediately try and contact
someone else to look after your kids. If she can do it, great, but don't
rely on her even over the weekend.
Find another friend or friends to step in and try (though it might be
hard!) to put aside your frustration at her. Can you have someone sit
the kids at the hospital some of the time? Or take turns even for
several hours each?
I'm not sure how long you've been friends, if she has kids or if you
were friends when your others were born, but I'd also just put the
relationship on ice because friends can be weird around pregnancy and
it's not worth letting go of the friendship in a time of so much
dramatic change. Once of my oldest and best friends became totally weird
after I was pregnant and it took about four months after my baby was
born for things to get back to normal. Some people just get overwhelmed
by the changes they fear it will mean for the two of you.
I hope things work out, and congratulations on your baby!
Sorry to hear you are feeling a bit ''stranded'' for your very important
delivery day. However, I do believe that expectant moms tend to believe
that the universe revolves around them completely when they are
expecting. I honestly think it would be wise of you to understand that
things in life do change and that your friend may have accepted this
responsibilty in completely good faith, and that things changed in the
meantime. Perhaps she is reporting to you now (better than
later) that it will not be feasible to help you out as you had hoped,
because being responsible for someone's children any day in the near
future is a huge responsibility! And from your post I don't understand
why it is important for her to call you during weekends as well? Are
you having a difficult pregnancy? Please consider your friend has a
life of her own to tend to and that we become (as I did too) very
focused on ourselves as our due date approaches. Don't take offense,
give her the benefit of the doubt. It sounds as if you need to find a
friend or relative to act as your backup childcare. Perhaps a mom's
group friend would be willing to fill in for you? Or a caring and
This story brings to memory a friend of mine who very often expected
friends to be available to her during her life transitions and
celebrations. Actually, she would become quite angry when others did
not gather and join in her celebrations.
Well, when the tables were turned and she was asked to reciprocate, she
often was absent herself, a plain no-show.
Needless to say, she lost a friend in me.
Best to you
I think it is a lot to ask of your friend, and you should respect that
she was honest with you about her inability to help you. Really, do you
want her to do this for you if it makes things really hard for her at
work? Seems to me you are asking her to make your life more difficult
so that your life can be made easier. Also seems to me that there is a
perfect candidate to help with your kids during the birth of your baby
-- the other person who helped bring them into the world in the first
place. Yes, that guy.
First and foremost, you need a Plan B here. Do you have other friends
who could watch your kids, or maybe neighbors? You do not want to have
your other kids with you during labor and delivery. I think that would
be incredibly hard on everybody - especially you. So find someone who
can take the kids - it just has to be someone who will keep the kids
safe and reasonably content while you are busy bringing a life into the
world. Your labor and delivery will probably be really fast for #3.
The second issue is your best friend. All I can say is she must not
have kids because if she did, she would get it, and she clearly doesn't.
I had a slightly similar situation where I asked my best friend to be
with me for the delivery of my first child, in the event I delivered
while my husband was out of town on business. She basically told me to
find someone else because work was too crazy for her to commit to that.
We are still best friends, but I know she'll never understand how she
hurt me until she has a baby of her own. Try not to let this ruin the
friendship. These things have a way of working out.
Best of luck to you
I guess I wouldn't make a big deal of it, or take it too personally.
Don't blow a friendship on this. Life happens. Have you considered that
she may be trying to be a friend by letting you know ahead of time that
she will be unable to fulfill her duties, and that her staying away from
you comes from her guilt for having to tell you she couldn't do what you
Perhaps she shouldn't have agreed if she couldn't do it, and perhaps you
shouldn't have asked if you were aware of her obligations.
Unfortunately, even in the best situations, unexpected problems can
arise that make it impossible to keep our obligations. I haven't used
the term ''best'' friend since high school, so I don't know how you mean
its definition, but I assume you don't ascribe to it unrealistic
requirements. Surely there's room for some things to take precedence
In short, while it is certainly inconvenient to not have someone there
to take your kids, what you were asking for was free childcare, not a
kidney. In other words, the problem is remedial. Hire a midwife, or if
you cannot afford it, do what many mothers in your position do: keep
the kids with you. Your husband won't be pushing or being sliced open.
Maybe he can man that ship? It's not the delivery you dreamed of, but
don't blame her for that. Just hire someone and invite her to the Brith.
Good luck and a smooth delivery
Get a babysitter (sorry it has to be that way) and maybe a better best
friend. Why do you think she's such a good friend?
There are better friends out there, seriously. Make a better plan for
your labor & delivery.
it is *not* a small favor to ask someone to be on call for your labor
and birth; and while your friend and niece had both said they would, it
should still be OK for them to say they now can't for whatever reason.
it's unfortunate for you, but it was a FAVOR that you were asking of
them and they are telling you they can't fulfill it.
better that they tell you now rather than on the day you go into labor.
what about having your parents stay with you for a while? or as soon as
you even think you are in labor, have your husband drive the kids to
your parents. or - have them stay in school (are they school age?)
longer if your birth is during the day. not sure from your post whether
you are already intending on a planned induction or your friend was just
asking that you have one. if you are already planning one, then you can
also plan for a sitter, etc. there are mothers who ask their friends to
be at the birth and then they later change their minds - this is no
reason for their friend to be bitter that they couldn't be at the birth;
the same way you shouldn't be bitter because your friend has changed her
mind about being able to help you.
We are expecting our second child in a few months. Our first
child will be 19 months around the time her sibling is born. A
relative is generous enough to stay with us for two weeks
starting the day before my due date in anticipation of tending
to our toddler during labor/delivery. Our concern is that I
will go into delivery early (even by two days!) and we won't
have anyone to watch big-sister. We have many friends but they
all work. We have no relatives nearby. We don't currently have
a nanny or sitter. I really don't want our eldest to come to the
hospital with us. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you!
Ask your friends. We had two sets of neighbors who generously
did this for us, even though they had jobs and kids of their
own. They each had ''assigned'' nights that they were on call,
and I think -- I hope -- it helped them that it wasn't
completely open-ended. As it turned out, our baby did arrive
two days before my mother, and we had to call upon the friends
on call that night. The husband was over in ten minutes (good
thing, given how fast my labor turned out to be!), and we were
completely comfortable that our daughter was in good hands, with
someone she knew well. I look forward one day to returning the
favor, if not to them, then to some other friend.
Hi - I was looking for this same advice several months ago - we
are relatively new to the area and don't have any family
nearby. My mother was coming from out of town for the birth of
my second child but if I went into labor early, we were not
sure what would happen. I'll share the advice I got with you,
because although I didn't need it, I think it was helpful. Ask
your friends!!! Even though they work and they need their
sleep. Even though it might inconvenience them. The birth of
a child is such a momentous occasion, most people would be
flattered to be asked. And most people will go out of their
way in this kind of situation. I was touched by the people I
felt I didn't know well enough to ask a favor of who offered to
help my family out.
It is a tough situation. I hope you find a solution that you
feel comfortable with, because I know you don't want to be in
labor and worrying about the care of your older child!
Good heavens, ask your friends. You never know, maybe one would be willing to
day off. Also, have them get used to the toddler prior. I don't know, maybe I
friends, but there are at least a few who would gladly take a day if something
happens. If you could at least get overnight care, there are some day cares
that do take
drop ins so you can go to Bananas and find out. Or, call a nanny or
We also didn't have family nearby when I went into labor with #2
(#1 being 24 mo old). We had neighbors watch our daughter in the
evening (she was very comfortable around them already) and during
the day mothers from my mom's group helped out, and my husband
took FMLA time also, which was wonderful. Just don't hesitate to
ask for help. In my opinion, people are more than happy to do
whatever they can.
Good luck and congratulations!
ABS Childcare located in Oakland (510-430-1701)
Hi- We were in this position when #2 was due to arrive, but #1
was just turning 3 at that time and went to part time daycare.
Mom was scheduled to come on the due date. In the end #2 arrived
a week after his due date, right in the middle of Mom's two week
We worked it out by asking friends to be ''on call'' for specific
periods to help, the closest friends covering the two weeks
before the due date. This was a couple with no kids who work
flexible jobs - I found it harder to ask friends with kids since
their lives are already so busy. We gave them elaborate written
instructions, knew how to reach them day and night, etc. The
fact that they were just the ''backup team'' helped - it would
have been hard for me to impose on them as being our main plan.
Our first son was going to daycare 3 days/week. The week before
the due date I signed him up to be at school 5 days, since that
was the most likely time the baby would arrive before Mom did.
This was intended to allow the ''backup team'' above to +/- go
about their normal schedule if #2 came early, OR to give me a
break during the last weeks if I was still pregnant. You say you
don't use a nanny, but maybe you could hire someone to do
daytime childcare the week or two before the due date even if
you're still pregnant then?
To cover the roughly two weeks before the plan above started, we
asked other friends (who do have a child near #1's age) to be
our next layer backup plan. This was easy to do since baby was
unlikely to come that early, and they could ask the ''backup
team'' above for help if they needed. I didn't bother with
written instructions and needing to know how to reach all the
time, but I did make sure that everyone ''on call'' had each
other's numbers, the daycare info, etc.
And to calm my nerves, even earlier on I asked busy friends who
have kids who live near the hospital if we could bring #1 in the
middle of the night if we had some unexpected emergency during
the pregnancy and I had to rush to the hospital. This made me
In the end we didn't need any of these backup plans, but it
really helped my worry level to have something in place.
- I hope this helps! And good luck!
My family recently moved to the Bay Area from the east coast and
don't have any family here and only a few acquaintances. I am
pregnant with my second child and due this summer. My mother
has offered to come to stay with our almost 2 year old while I
am delivering baby #2, but she isn't able to stay an indefinite
period of time. We've asked her to get her plane tickets to
arrive a few days ahead of my due date (my first was a week
late), as I am anticipating needing her most after the new baby
comes home, but I am worried about what will happen if I go into
labor and she's not here yet. What do people do who have older
children and no family in town in this situation? We have a few
friends, but they either work and wouldn't be available during
the week, or have kids of their own and have their hands full.
Also, we don't know them well enough for me to feel comfortable
leaving our daughter with them for longer than a few hours. Any
advice on how to handle this? We don't have a budget for a
nanny for the month of July. Thanks.
I feel for you. We just had our second and were lucky to have family
around. I'd say first off, get to know some of your friends with kids
better and talk to them about it. If they have kids the same age, it's
often not that much harder to watch another. They'll also understand
the situation adn want to be there to help. A second option is to talk
to friends that have a nanny already and see if the nanny would be
available and interested in being an emergency fill in...this way
they're trusted through your friends adn you'll only pay if you need
them. You can pay for a couple of ''get to know'' sessions with
your oldest and go out on a date at the same time.
PS...we found it was nice to have some little presents on hand for the
oldest since all the attention is on the baby once they come. Remind
peopel to say hi to the oldest first since the baby doesn't care, but
the oldest will.
PPS Don't assume you'll be late...I was 4 days late on the first and 4
days early on the second.
mother of two
If you go into labor before your mother arrives, first, call her and
have her get here as soon as she can. She should be able to change her
flight date easily enough. Then, if you have to leave for the hospital
before your mom can get to you (you didn't say how far away she is),
leave your older child with a nearby friend for a few hours until she
arrives. You will probably be pleasantly suprised by the willingness of
your friends with children to take on another kid for a few hours or
even overnight in a situation like this.
At worst, bring the older child with you to the hospital, and have Daddy
take care of her. If you have a doula (some offer sliding scale fees),
this is a better solution since you won't be left alone in labor. (It
was our backup plan, though in the end I had to schedule a section so my
mom was already here.) Holly
We have family nearby, but no one was capable of helping out when our
2nd child came along. We had our neighbors look after number one when
number 2 came along (though I held off having my husband call til
6 a.m.). Since so many of us here ''make our own tribe'', and fully
understand the need for help, I would hope that the acquaintances you've
made would understand completely your need for childcare during birth!
If you fear burdening any one family, can you approach at least 3 likely
families, and ask if they can help you out, explaining to each that they
are not the only ones and give every family each other's phone numbers
and details regarding your child?
We live on a busy street, and I regret not putting myself out there more
for other neighbors with younger children, both of us probably feeling
shy and hesitant but would jump at the chance to give or receive help.
I would say just ask. Feels awkward, but you'll feel so much better for
having made the leap - you'll figure out who the real friends will be
Another Mom of Two
Congratulations on your pregnancy. Your posting stuck with me and had me
thinking of options for you. You might try posting something in the
Childcare digest, asking for a sitter who would be willing to be on-call
for the 2-3 weeks where you might deliver prior to your mother's
arrival. In the upcoming months, perhaps you can use the nanny on an
occasional basis (a date night, or just a few ''mother's helper'' hours
every so often) so everyone can get acquainted. There are a lot of
sitters out there looking for extra hours, and a lot of families who
want to help their sitters find those hours, even if it's very short-
term. Another suggestion: if you're remotely religious, find out what
your local church might be able to do to help. Ours has a lot of
resources for young families. Best of luck to you!
We are due to give birth to our second child mid-summer, and
have a 2 1/2 yr. old child as well. We have no family in the
area, and no friends who are in any position to either drop
what they're doing to take care of, or even absorb into their
own chaotic situations another toddler.
Luckily we live close to the hospital. We also have neighbors
who have a child our daughter's age, who she plays with
regularly. Our daughter is familiar and comfortable with their
house and with them and their nanny. However, my husband and I
are not particularly close with the parents. We are friendly,
but not ''pals.'' Would it be out of line to ask them if we
could drop off our daughter with them in the event of
an ''emergency,'' i.e. if I go into labor early, in the middle of
the night, etc., before my mother can arrive from the east
coast? If they asked me, I would say absolutely, no problem,
and then work it out somehow between myself, our part-time
nanny and my husband who is often working at home. If I was
particularly busy at work, or my husband was, it would
definitely be a hardship, but I don't think I would even
consider telling them no. Is it reasonable to expect the same
in return? Is there some etiquette about this??
In addition, I am now leaning toward scheduling to be induced
at a certain date around my due date, and having my mom plan to
be there starting the week before, just to give us the
most ''protection'' we can possibly plan for. I'm not thrilled
about scheduling a birth - I'd much rather let it happen when
it happens, but with our serious dirth of support I'm afraid it
may be the only way to go...
We can't afford to pay our nanny for extended care - in fact we
are about to drop her days down even further because we cannot
afford to use her so much, so it doesn't seem fair or feasible
to ask her to be ''available'' - though she has offered to help
out in an emergency. (Side question: How do people pay their
nannies for overnight help? A flat rate per 24 hours? We
certainly couldn't pay hourly around the clock!)
Hiring a doula to assist me so my husband can be with our
daughter is not an option - I want him to be with me and we
can't afford a doula anyway.
I would love to hear how others have handled this very
stressful situation. Any ideas?
When my 2nd child was due, I was induced for medical reasons. At
first I was disappointed because I also thought I wanted it to
happen on its own. It turned out to be the best thing. It was so
much easier to know exactly when I needed to go into the
hospital and be able to take care of my 1st child's needs. It
took away almost all of the stress. Although my in-laws just
live in Sausalito and could get to my house in 45 minutes, they
were constantly going to dinner parties where I knew they would
drink too much wine. I was not confident that if an emergency
did happen, they would be sober enough to respond. My advice
would be to schedule the birth and then you can have your mom on
hand to take care of your first. You should probably have back
up care in case you have an emergency before an induction date.
My bet is that if you asked the parents of your childs friend
they would say yes, especially knowing that you will not
definitely need them, as you would if you let the birth happen
when it wants to.
induction turned out to be for the best
I think having your mom there is the only thing that will make
you feel comfortable. Its so important for your daughter to
feel safe during this time too. We just went thru this...If
you don't want to get induced, how about having your mom come
ouut 2 weeks before your due date and just hang around till you
go into labor. That way, your daughter will be comfortable
having her around. Also, I think that discussing the situation
with your neighbors is totally appropriate. If they are nice
people they will understand your situation and maybe they will
agree to be your backup...in fact, maybe you should just
mention to them how nervous you are and see if they offer. For
us, we had lots of friends who offered to let us drop our
preschooler off when I went into labor, but I began to feel it
was important for him to be able to stay in his own home,own
bed while we were away, so we had my mother in law come for 2
weeks prior...its wasn't anyone's first choice, but it worked.
And by the time I went into labor my son was very comfortable
with her and everything went smoothly. Also, its nice to have
someone help you with your older child when you are so big at
the very end. Plus, 2nd labors can go a lot faster, so you
want to have a plan in place.
I would recommend you try to get to know those neighbors
better. They might be happy to keep your child until your
mother could get there. That worked for us, we had a few back
up plans, which made me feel better. I ended up needing to be
induced suddenly, early, and the back up plans worked out. One
person stayed until my dad arrived. My dad got exhausted, but
he survived. If doing it again, I would plan on somebody to
give my dad a break, too. We didn't pay anybody, but left
adequate money to eat out or get groceries if needed. There are
risks to induction, and I think you are better off making plans
for anytime, as there are so many variations that could come
up. Sometimes, you have to be brave and ask people that you
wouldn't normally ask. Yes, it is nice to offer a trade, if
they ever need it.
mom of two
I feel your pain! We had our third child last summer (the
others were 2 and 4) and I was very concerned about short-term
childcare. My first suggestion may not work with your imminent
birth but I'll mention it anyway. We're very involved in a
babysitting coop (Lamorinda area-but I know Berkeley has one
too). We sent out an e-mail asking if anyone would be willing
to ''be on call'' for one or more evenings in case we had to rush
to the hospital. We would then offer a flat rate to spend the
night with our sleeping kids ($50). By morning our family would
take over. We had several volunteers which was great!
We also asked every close friend and neighbor about their
schedules--were they around during the day? eveing? etc. We
drew that info on a list along with each friend's address/phone
in case my family needed to pick them up somewhere.
Lastly, my Dr said ''bring the kids along'' if you are desparate
(obviously). I'd hate to impose my kids on busy L & D nurses,
but, it's better than delivering at on the highway.
I hope this helps! Now is the one time you can really ask for
those favors back.
Been There, Done That
Hi, I just went through the same thing in January, with my then
2y4mo son. Our families are all 2000 miles away, and we also
think that most of our friends have busy lives or wouldn't be
comfortable watching our son for a long period of time.
We weren't sure what we were going to do, but a number of people
that we didn't really consider close friends at the time or that
we thought of as too busy, including our usual babysitter,
offered to help out with our son if they could. We talked to a
few of the neighbors as backup, just in case we had to move more
quickly than we could get our son settled, and everyone was fine,
even flattered to be included in our big event. I think it's made
us feel closer to the people we let help us -- like extended
family, and that's a great thing for us.
I usually go with my gut on asking for help -- if I'd be
comfortable being asked for it, I'm comfortable asking for it. If
it turns out that they aren't comfortable giving you that level
of help, you really haven't lost anything. So many parents with
small children around here don't have family close by, that most
people understand your predicament and would be more than willing
finding local ''family'' where we can
We had a very similar situation around the birth of our second
child. Our daughter was slightly older (3), but we had just moved
to a new town and had no friends or family in the area. I was
very, very stressed out about this. One day a parent from my
daughter's preschool asked what we were planning to do when I went
into labor and I admitted I wasn't sure. She immediately offered
to help and I took her up on it, even though I didn't know her all
that well. (I knew her well enough to feel that it was a safe
place though.) It turned out fine--I went into labor around 4 am,
we dropped my daughter off at 5 AM, and they took her to preschool
around 8 am. She did cry for a few minutes after we left
(understandably--what a surreal thing to do in the middle of the
night!) and they let her watch a video to calm down, which she
thought was very very special, since we don't let our children
watch videos at 5 AM! To make a long story short, I think it's
perfectly acceptable to ask (I've been asked several times and was
always delighted to be involved in such an incredible event) and
it's a good idea to get your plan set up to put your mind at
peace. Remember, too, that sometimes second babies emerge much
faster than first ones do, so it's good to have someone close by
available. I was quite floored by how quickly my second labor
progressed, so it was truly a blessing to have someone within a
few blocks who could help.
Before my second child was born in January, my biggest concern
was that of my older child (he was 27 months when the baby
arrived). Like you, we have no family in the area. Our good
friends offered to be available to take our older son but they
were going out of town around my due date and couldn't be
available at the drop of a hat. Friends that we don't feel
particularly close to actually offered to help but we were
afraid that our son would feel pretty uncomfortable considering
the circumstances and not knowing them well. We ended up
setting up a safety net of visiting family for a couple of
weeks before my due date. It was stressful to have people in
and out of our house but it also was very comforting to know
they would be there for our son. I ended up going into labor a
few days after my in-laws came and everything went very
smoothly. My second son was born very quickly (comparatively
speaking) and my older child was able to see his new brother
just hours after we left for the hospital.
I'm sure you want your child to have the best and most familiar
care when youUre having your baby. WouldnUt you hate to be in
labor, going off to the hospital and your child is clinging to
your leg begging you not to go? I would recommend that you ask
your neighbors to help, don't expect them to oblige but they'll
probably be happy to help, just as you would for them. And
perhaps you can spend some extra money for piece of mind and
hire your nanny. Also, perhaps your mother can fly in a week
or so previous to your due date to ensure her availability AND
to get your older child used to being cared for by her.
Lastly, this might sound like overkill but it helped us feel
ready--we created a folder including an emergency phone list,
immunization and insurance cards, what to do during the day and
how to get places, his schedule, the foods he eats, safety
considerations, friends to call for playdates. And we also
taught the family how to use the car seat, our diapering
techniques, how to treat his diaper rashes, etc.
Best of luck to you and congratulations.
We were in the same situation when our 2nd was born, with no
family in the area, and in fact none planning to visit. And
while we were friendly with our neighbors, we were not friendly
enough that we felt we could ask them for such an enormous
However, if you just start talking about your situation and your
worries with your friends at work or living in the area, I think
you'll find that someone will step forward and gladly volunteer
to watch your child. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and people
are happy to help. That's what happened for us and we are
eternally grateful! And I didn't have to be induced.
it will work out
Together with a friend we watched two young toddlers during the birth
of their new sibling and it went very well. The children enjoyed being
with our children and the other way round. I wouldn't want to miss
any minute of this (even though they were very many minutes with
two days and nights labor). And I'll never forget this wonderful and
moving experience to see the family reunited with the children
meeting the new baby.
So, I'd encourage you to ask your neighbors and their nanny for help.
Simply do it in a way that allows them to say no. You may wonder
why they didn't offer it yet, but as you say you don't know each other
so well yet, and they may simply assume you have already lined up
someone else. As you say, you even have a nanny, and they have
one too. It's not much more work to watch two children than to
watch one, often it's even less work, especially since your child and
her friend are already over two and get along well. It may also help
your child to be with her friend during this time where none of her
parents can be reached, since it's part of her daily routine.
There may come up other childcare emergencies for you as well as
for your neighbors in the future, which you can not forsee in any way.
Since you seem to trust each other with the children, and the
children are used to playing with each other, child care arrangements
like this one could work out very conveniently for all of you.
You could further help your neighbors by having a bag packed for
you daughter with cloth, her favorite bedtime book, blanket, toys,
your picture etc. and some phone numbers in case they need help
(your mother, your nanny, the pediatrician, a friend or collegue for
Best wishes for your extending family,
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