I just got the best sibling prep book for any sibling and/or parent who is interested in attending a birth. My Brother Jimi Jazz follows the story of Trinity as she prepares for the birth of her new baby brother. It’s frank and honest, but still very beautiful. It has the laboring mom in all these great, active positions like hands and knees and squatting. It talks about making birth noises, the crowning, umbilical cord, how the placenta looks like a tree, everything! The book has great illustrations that are both realistic and beautiful. I think this book is essential to anyone planing to have a child attend a birth! Of course, it is a part of my lending library. You can view the author/illustrator/mama/doula’s website here. You can purchase it from Attachments Catalog and it’s a little cheaper. She also has a new book on breastfeeding that I’m interested in buying.
I’m so excited, I just ordered a new book/dvd set entitled “I Watched My Brother Being Born.” I think it’ll be great to add to my list of kids books and a resource for my Sibling Doula niche.
Here is a synopsis for the book:
This book by mother and daughter team Anne and Katarina makes a great compliment to the DVD by the same title. Katarina and her five year old brother Magnus watch their baby brother being born and tell about it in this charming and fact-filled book. The book takes on the voice of Katarina but also has an introduction for parents.
“My goal with this book is to teach our children that giving birth is a natural, safe and fulfilling process. Unless the birthing mother has an illness that needs special medical attention, it need not be treated like a disease. By including our children at birth they can see that it is a normal and healthy physical event…”
Illustrative photos from Anne’s third childs actual birth at home in a birthing tub make this book a rare find.
Here is a synopsis for the dvd:
I’m really excited about this great DVD that shows home water birth with children present. This is a great tool you can use to get your child(ren) ready to experience the birth of a sibling. This 21 minute movie is about two siblings ages five and seven who are present for their brother’s home water birth. Partially told in the voice of seven year old Katarina, this is an excellent resource for expectant parents and birth professionals who are wanting to prepare children for the arrival of a new baby. A paperback book version seen above is also available which is a great accompaniment to watching the video. 21 minutes long.
Congratulations on adding to your family! A sibling is a blessing, but can come with it’s own challenges. Like how to occupy the older kid when you’re wracked with morning sickness! I have a friend who actually conditioned her body to feel nausea whenever she watched Finding Nemo because her older son watched it so much during her first trimester.
Good preparation prenatally and inclusion of the sibling postpartum can really smooth the transition
Here are some ideas…
- Depending on age, read them books such as listed here
- Have them go to prenatal appointments and/or classes (where appropriate)
- See if your care provider can involve them, such as letting them press the button on the doppler and measuring your belly
- Have them help you set up the baby’s room, the car seat, the co-sleeper, take out the baby clothes, etc. Know also that this may trigger the older child to become upset and resist change. Comfort them and let them know you still love them.
- Have them help pack the hospital/birth center bag. Let them choose a special toy for themselves to bring and maybe one for the baby too.
- Especially if you plan to have them at the birth with you, show them a few birth videos if you think it would be appropriate and they would handle them well. A great resource in my lending library is “I Watched My Brother Being Born” book and DVD for parents and kids. You can check it out here.
- Give them a realistic doll to change, dress, bathe, etc. Put the doll in the infant car seat in the car
- Show them pictures in books like A Child Is Born, which has photographs taken in the womb. Have them see how the baby develops, explain the different parts and what they do like placenta, umbilical cord, etc. Gauge how interested they are, you don’t have to force them
- Take a sibling preparation class at a hospital, birthing center, or play class
- Have them make a card and/or present to give to the new baby when he/she is born
- Depending on age, have them help think of names for the baby
- Show them pictures of them when they were a newborn
- Practice patience: If your child asks for something, say “in two minutes”, and then follow through. This will help when the new baby comes and you can’t be everywhere at once!
- After Baby is born include the sibling in basic baby tasks, like having them pour water on Baby’s tummy during bath time, brushing Baby’s hair with a soft brush, getting diapers and burp cloths, etc. This helps the older child to fee included and important.
If you have any other ideas on how to prepare an older sibling, please share them by posting a comment!
Just a disclaimer, some of these books have bottle-feeding content which may or may not be how you want to portray life with a new baby. Also some books have references to hospitals or birthing centers, etc. and may be like what you’re planning or not. I haven’t read all these books myself, but the ones I like the best are starred and are also in my library for clients to borrow.
- * Hello Baby, Lizzy Rockwell, ages 1-8
- * Baby on the Way, Dr. Sears, ages 1-8
- * What Baby Needs, Dr. Sears, ages 1-8
- * I watched My Brother Being Born, Book and DVD
- * My Brother Jimi Jazz, all ages
- * Waiting for the Sun, ages 1-8
- * Being Born, The Doula’s Role, all ages
- * We Have A Baby, Cathryn Falwell, ages 4-8
- * My New Baby, Annie Kubler, ages 1-5
- Usborne New Experiences The New Baby, Anne Civardi, ages 1-5
- The New Baby at Our House, Joanna Cole, ages 1-5
- The New Baby, Fred Rogers, ages 4-8
- What to Expect When the New Baby Comes Home, Heidi Murkoff, ages 4-8
- Sophie and the New Baby, Lawrence Anholt, ages 4-8
- Waiting for Baby, Annie Kubler, ages 1-5
- Kids Book to Welcome a New Baby, Barbara J Collman, ages 4-8
- Little Rabbit’s New Baby, Harry Horse, ages 4-8
- Froggy’s Baby Sister, Jonathan London, ages 4-8
- Hi New Baby!, Robie H. Harris, ages 4-8
- That New Animal, Emily Jenkins, ages 4-8
- That Night Before the New Baby, Natasha Wing, ages 4-8
- The Berenstain Bears New Baby, Stan and Jan Berenstain, ages 4-8
- I’m a Big Sister, Joanna Cole, ages 1-6
- I’m Going to be a Big Sister, Brenda Bercun, ages ages 1-5
- How to be a Baby…By Me, the Big Sister, Sally Lloyd-Jones, ages 4-8
- Big Sister Dora, Alison Inches, ages 4-8
- Best Ever Big Sister, Karen Katz, ages 1-5
- The New Baby, Mercer Mayer, ages 1-5
- I’m a Big Brother, Joanna Cole, ages 1-6
- I’m Going to be a Big Brother, Brenda Bercun, ages 1-5
- There’s a Brand-New Baby at Our House…And I’m the Big Brother!, Susan Ligon, ages 4-8
- I Used to be the Baby, Robin Ballard, ages 4-8
- Best-Ever Big Brother, Karen Katz, ages 1-5
- Dear Baby: Letters from Your Big Brother, Sarah Sullivan, ages 4-8