When you’re about to have your second (or third, or fourth) baby, it’s a good idea to have a plan (and a backup plan) in place as far as what to do with older siblings when you go into labor. There are lots of different options, and I promise that having a plan in place for your older kids as soon as you hit the third trimester will alleviate some of the anxiety and stress that comes from preparing for childbirth.
This is a very personal decision, and while it might be hard for family members to accept it, it is your decision. With our second baby, we had family come out immediately, and with our third baby, they didn’t come out for a few weeks. That was hard for them, but it made things easier for us because we were able to adjust to our new life in a way that was better for us. You really just have to know yourself.
That being said, there are a few different choices for what to do with older siblings when you go into labor.
1. If your family lives close, drop your older children off with their grandparent, aunt, or uncle (or whoever lives close that you feel comfortable with). We’ve never had this luxury, but it’s what a lot of people decide to do when they have their baby! It’s also nice because you typically don’t feel as obligated to pay them back for watching your kids.
2. If your family doesn’t live close, you can have them fly in before your due date so they will be there to watch your older children when you have your baby. This can be tough (unless you’re getting induced or having a scheduled C-section) because you might have family in town for a week or two before your baby is even born, or they might miss your baby’s birth if your baby is late and they had already purchased plane tickets home. It’s an option, though, so keep it in mind! It’s also good because they can watch your kid the whole time (especially if they are close enough that they can drive or if they have a plane ticket with a date they can adjust!).
3. Have friends watch your older children when you go into labor, and then while you’re at the hospital until you’re discharged. If you’re going with this option, make sure you have people ready during the night, too, just in case you go into labor at night. And having several different families willing to help out is important. When our third was born, we had friends watch our older two when we went to the hospital and that first night, and then set up two playdates for the kids while we were in the hospital. That way, it’s not all on the same person! My husband also went and stayed with them at home the second and third nights while I was still at the hospital so we didn’t have to have more than one family watch them at night.
Regardless of what you decide, it’s helpful to have a written list of any information about your kids, including allergies, a typical schedule (especially if they nap), and a bag for each child packed (just in case, especially if you’re planning on having family fly in or having friends watch your kids).
The most important thing when deciding what to do with older siblings when you go into labor is that it needs to be YOUR decision. Not your mom’s, not your mother-in-law’s, but yours. You might ruffle a few feathers if what you decide isn’t what they want, but you’ll be happy you did what you wanted when the time comes!
Make sure that you make the right decision for your family and make it before you get to the end of your pregnancy, especially if it’s something that’s stressing you out! The sooner you decide, the more relaxed you’ll be when preparing for childbirth!