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We have recently confirmed that my wife is pregnant with our second child. After the usual excitement, we realised that we're going to have to sort out care for our son during the birth (he'll be about two and half on the due date), as I seriously doubt he'll be a suitable bedside companion during the birth, and both my wife and I would like me to be present.

We're a bit removed from our support network, with parents being at least a couple of hours away, and even if they were up for it, they have full time jobs. So do all the friends we'd consider asking.

I imagine it would be a bit much to ask one of them to potentially book off a month of their life around the due date so they can come to our rescue, so short of organising professional childcare, I'm not sure what we can do.

What solutions have you found to get around the issue of caring for one or more children for up to a day whilst both parents are at the hospital for the arrival of a new child?

  • A lot depends on your location, where in the world are you? – GdD Nov 29 '19 at 19:20
  • We live in the UK – Kyyshak Nov 29 '19 at 19:41
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The birth of a child is an occasion where family often will pull out the stops to help, my mother and sister each came from NYC to London for a week and a half after my second was born, giving my wife and I 3 weeks of help, which was great. So you might want to have that conversation with them, there may be someone who would be happy to take the time.

Alternately there are short term nanny services who will come to your house and look after your first one while you are at the hospital, and help out your wife for the first few weeks. They aren't cheap but they can really make it easier!

Last there are plenty of child care providers out there who take kids of all ages during the day while their parents are at work, typically they cover between 8am-6pm or even later, you could see about getting your son into one of those. Good ones often have long waiting lists, but it's worth looking into.

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  • 3
    My parents are only 20 minutes away but are still working. My in-laws are retired but live 2 hours away. When our 2nd child was born, my in-laws came down to watch our daughter so I was able to be with my wife. I know "a couple of hours" is somewhat relative depending on location and available transportation, but this answer is absolutely correct. Families will pull out all available stops to help with the child birth – psubsee2003 Nov 29 '19 at 22:44
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This will depend on location, but some things you can try:

  • There are many daycares that offer emergency overnight services for things like this. Ask your current daycare. If you don't have a daycare this is a perfect example of why you should have one, even if you choose not to use it often. You have time, find a daycare that offers this service.
  • With your child being two, have you used a baby sitter before? If so ask them. For a few extra dollars, most would be willing to help out.
  • Family is a great resource for this. Grandma or grandpa may be willing to take a few days off of work to watch kid #1 while kid #2 is being born.
  • Check the hospital or birthing center. Many offer some kind of in house daycare that would be more than willing to attend to kid #1's needs for the "few hours" your wife is in labor.
  • IMHO You should include them in the "family activity" not exclude them. You're right, the delivery room may not be appropriate, but most women are in the actual delivery room for a very short time and spend large amount of time in a "labor" room. Give your 2-year-old a job, include them in the delivery. Make it their job to bring the speaker for the music or the lotion. Make it their job to rub mama's belly or some other task that they can do, that is easy for them to do.

Personally, that last one is my favorite. Why exclude them? Why do you "seriously doubt he'll be a suitable bedside companion during the birth"? You are growing your family and he is part of it. Go over what to expect, give him a task he can do, and have a backup plan if things get out of hand. Honestly, except for the actually popping out of the baby from the vagina (honestly I would be ok with that too, but many hospitals would not allow it due to germs), I would be totally fine with my son being there and my wife would fight to have him there. Go over the birthing plan with the delivery doctor, make sure you're not breaking any rule of where your giving birth, and then go for it.

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