Labour & Delivery

Siblings at Birth? Why Mums are Inviting their Older Children to their Births, Thanks to a Sibling Doula

As homebirths become more popular, parents are turning to sibling doulas to help them achieve their dream family delivery and having the siblings at birth.

Essentially, a sibling doula acts as a birth support person for mum as well as older siblings and provides siblings with a chance to experience the birth of a baby sibling.

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Source: Crowned Photography

For labouring mums, having a sibling doula on hand means they can focus on bringing a baby into the world – most often in a water birth – without having to tend to the needs of the kids.

Because, let’s be honest, even if you’re in labour, the kids are still going to demand that you make them a snack and wipe their bums. Never mind the fact that you’re keeled over in a pool in the middle of the living room…

siblings at birth
Source: Instagram @NurturedNest

A family event

There are a lot of pluses to labouring and birthing at home. It can be a beautiful experience and one that allows you to share with your older kids.

Hilary Duff recently gave us a glimpse into her home birth with her third child, Mae. Her older two kids were front and centre, with middle child, Banks, in the birthing bath with her mum.

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Source: Instagram

A sibling doula’s job is to help out with the older kids and get them involved as much as possible. They show children different ways they can support their mum during labour, such as holding her hand or pouring warm water over her back.

They also tend to the children’s needs during the labour – whether that’s meals, bathtime, a story or a nap.

siblings at birth
Source: Instagram @NurturedNest

But, most importantly, they monitor the children’s emotions to make sure they feel comfortable and safe during the process. If it all gets a bit too much or they need a bit of downtime, a sibling doula is there to provide this for them.

If the birth is going well and everything is going to plan then [having siblings at birth] can be a fantastic experience,” Child and family psychologist, Dr Mair Edwards said.

The problem is if it isn’t a smooth birth there can be panic and that can be really traumatic.”

The good news about having a sibling doula there is that, if things don’t go to plan, they can easily escort the children away, distract them, reassure them and stay with them.

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Source: Instagram @EllenCovey

There are qualified doulas that have trained as siblings doulas but many parents are also using family members to play this important role in their birth.

Inviting your mum or sister, for example, into your home is a smart way to allow them to share this experience but also play the nanny role to the children. It really can be a beautiful experience, if you feel comfortable with this. Of course, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay too.

Siblings at birth 

We’ve shared several stories on family births in the past, including this beautiful story of nine-year-old Charlie who opted to act as his mum’s birth partner when she was in labour with his little sister.

Milk and Hannah Charlie birth partner
Source: Milk and Hanna

Charlie went to the hospital with his mum and played an incredibly active role in the birth, even helping to deliver his sister.

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Charlie was ready to catch his little sister. Source: Milk and Hannah

12-year-old Jacee did the same thing. Her mum’s doctor actually suggested she scrub up and help with the delivery after seeing how calm and in control she was.

Would You Let Your Children Watch You Give Birth

We also love this story of a grandpa who took on the role of her daughter’s support person during her home birth. We don’t know many grandparents that would be comfortable with this situation but this granddad wanted to be one of the first to meet his grandson!

granddad helps deliver grandson - family home birth
Source: Instagram

In some cases, siblings become part of the birthing experience unexpectedly. Take this mum’s birth, for example. She was en route to the hospital to deliver her fifth child when she knew she wouldn’t make it.

mum car birth video family

With her four kids in the back seat, her husband driving (and filming), she delivered baby #5 in the front seat. The kids got a front-row ticket to the show. No sibling doula needed.

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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