Friday, May 31, 2019

A Labor Of Love: Looking After Your Family During Childbirth

Going into labor is a stressful experience at the best of times. It involves extensive plans, whether it’s your first or fifth or pregnancy. The trouble is that the more children you have at home, the harder labor can be to manage.

For obvious reasons, taking your children to the hospital while you give birth is NEVER a good idea. As well as being traumatic for them, labor can be a long process. The last thing you want to be worrying about is your kids out in the waiting room. Not to mention that the midwives on your maternity warn won’t be best pleased if you turn birth into a family outing.

The question is, then, how exactly can you manage your family when labor finally comes? Too often, second or third-time parents fail to consider this. As well as adding stress, that fact can make your existing children feel forgotten even before the new baby arrives. Make sure it doesn’t happen by taking the following precautions for your family both before and after birth.

Put childcare plans in place ahead of time

When your contractions start, you’ll have a lot to think about. Calling around friends to ask who can care for your existing children is the last thing you’ll want to do. Not to mention that many women go into labor at night time. That means you may struggle to find anyone available at the last minute. But, that needn’t be a problem if you just put childcare plans in place ahead of time. This can, of course, be tricky considering that birth is unpredictable. It isn’t as though you can arrange childcare on your due date and be done with it. It’s more likely that you’ll need it at three in the morning a week sooner than you predict.

Your best bet for pre-arranging childcare, then, would be to turn to family members. Given their investment in your new baby, they’re more likely to take your entire due date week off work. Failing that, neighbors who you’re friendly with are a good bet as they’re close by. It may even be worth arranging at least two or three childcare possibilities. That way, you can rest easy that your children will have somewhere to go no matter when your contractions start.

Get your kids sorted as soon as your contractions start

It’s no secret to mothers that there’s rarely a need to rush to hospital the moment contractions start. If you try that, there’s a good chance the midwives will send you home to wait until you’re further along. This is why it’s vital that you learn how to time contractions beforehand, as well as learning the 5-1-1 rule. But, despite this extended labor process, it's vital to get your kids sorted as soon as you experience your first contraction.

Even if you don't need to rush to hospital straight away, getting your kids out of the house is vital. For one, your ability to consider childcare will decrease as your pain levels rise. Plus, it can be traumatic for children to see their mom in pain. If your kids are around for your contractions, they'll become unnecessarily worried about what's happening. Don't stress them out like that. Instead, be sure that they're in a safe and caring space straight away. You may not need to head to hospital straight off but sooner is better where labor and existing children are concerned.

Make sure your partner keeps in contact

As much as waiting to head to the hospital can take a while, so too can labor itself. In rare cases, women are in labor for a whole two days before actually giving birth. Even average labor rates come in at around eight hours. And, after childbirth both parents tend to hang around for days in the hospital. Undeniably, skin-to-skin contact with mom and dad is invaluable during these first days. But, it's also crucial you spare a thought for your existing children during this time. Suddenly being out of contact with their parents for extended periods will be distressing. In extreme cases, this absence can even damage future sibling relationships.

Make sure that doesn't happen by putting plans in place for your partner to keep contact throughout childbirth. This could mean them popping out to phone your kids every few hours, or even heading home if your labor is slow. It's also vital that your partner leaves to see the children for at least a few hours in the days following the birth. This can help ease your children's worries, as well as keeping them informed.

Think twice before bringing them to the hospital

It’s natural to want to introduce your newborn baby to their brothers and sisters. As much as it's vital for you and your partner to bond with the baby, it's also essential for your children to bond. That said, you may want to think twice before bringing children to the hospital. If you bring your children to meet the new baby in the aftermath of birth, you may cause inadvertent distress. You won't be in your best health, after all, and the baby may not even be cleaned up yet. Instead, you might find it best to save your children from the hospital environment and introduce them to the baby at home. That way they'll feel safe, and you'll look better.

If your hospital stay is extended for any reason, you will want to get your kids in. Even then, it's worth waiting until you feel strong enough to put on a brave face. It's also worth keeping visits short. That way, your children are more liable to enjoy the experience.

It isn't easy considering the family you have when you're about to extend it. Still, going about this in the right way could make all the difference to sibling relationships later. Not to mention that putting proper plans in place can ensure your children never see the more stressful aspects of your birth.

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