You are 38 weeks pregnant when suddenly it hits you – you have no solid plan for who will watch your older child when you go into labor!
Your family is across the country, friends have limitations, and you’re starting to panic.
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What do you do when there’s no one to call on?
This common scenario causes stress for many expecting parents.
But with some advance preparation, you can minimize the childcare chaos when delivery day arrives.
In this post, I’ll give you a few ideas on what to do if there’s no one to watch child during labor. I’ll also answer some FAQs you might have.
What To Do With Older Child When In Labor
If you can’t find a babysitter for labor and delivery, or is expensive and if your family and friends are far away and can’t help, here are some options:
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Call The Hospital
One of the best resources when facing childcare challenges for an impending labor is the social work department at the hospital where you plan to deliver.
A few weeks before your due date, call the hospital’s OB triage line or main phone number.
Explain your situation – you are seeking childcare help for when you go into labor, as you have no family nearby and limited support and request to speak with a medical social worker.
The social worker can then connect you with any local community resources the hospital partners with to provide free or low-cost emergency childcare arrangements for labor and delivery patients in need.
For example, many hospitals team up with religious groups, volunteer organizations, doula collectives, and women’s shelters who have vetted childcare volunteers on call for situations just like yours.
The social worker acts as your advocate, setting up introductions with volunteer childcare providers that you mesh well with.
When your labor begins, you simply call back the hospital social worker to dispatch the pre-arranged care for your kids.
Reach out to teachers at your child’s daycare to see if any would be willing to do after-hours emergency babysitting when you go into labor.
A loving teacher would rarely not help in a situation like this.
Offer to pay them for their extra time too.
Teachers who already know your child well could provide comforting care.
Don’t be shy about asking neighbors for help even if you don’t know them well.
Explain your situation and ask if they watch your toddler when you go into labor.
Also tell them it would mean so much to have a trusted nearby neighbor watch your kids rather than a random babysitter.
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Get their contact info and follow up as your due date approaches. It might be a good idea to ask 2 – 3 neighbors just in case something comes up on that date and they are unavailable.
When labor starts, call until you find an available good Samaritan on your list.
Parents Of Your Child’s Friends
Reach out to any parents of your child’s friends that you are on good terms with.
Explain your childcare situation for when labor hits and ask if they would be open to keeping your child overnight on short notice. Offer to pay them too.
Parents who know your kid from playdates and birthday parties already understand their personality, likes/dislikes, and routines, so this could be a comfortable fit if they are willing.
They already know your child and you can return the favor.
Emergency Childcare Services
Do some online research to see if any non-profit organizations in your area assist with emergency childcare for women going into labor with limited support.
For example, Safe Families for Children is a national network that provides volunteer host sites to temporarily care for children in crisis situations at no cost to families.
Other options include churches, shelters, or women’s organizations that recruit compassionate volunteers.
It’s best to sign up early in pregnancy to get the process started.
Doulas provide emotional, physical, and informational support during labor and delivery. Some doulas also offer overnight childcare as part of their services.
They are knowledgeable about birth, and can comfort your kids through the emotions of a new sibling arriving.
Unfortunately, the downside is cost, as most doulas charge a lot.
If you do not have reliable childcare options and do not want to leave your older child to give birth in a hospital, planning a homebirth with a midwife can be an option
When labor begins, have your partner care for your child’s needs while you focus on working through contractions.
However, not many moms like giving birth at home.
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As a very last resort, you can go into labor alone and ask your partner to stay home with your older child.
While this would be an extremely difficult situation, remember that women have been laboring and birthing babies solo since the beginning of time.
Stay focused on preparing yourself mentally and physically for the work ahead.
Can My Toddler Stay In The Hospital With Me After Birth?
Most hospitals will allow your toddler to stay with you in your hospital room after you give birth, as long as you are not in a shared room and your toddler behaves.
But your toddler will not be allowed to stay overnight.
Are Toddlers Allowed In Delivery Room?
Yes, hospitals allow children, including toddlers, to be present in the delivery room during childbirth. Yet, some hospitals prohibit children under 12 or 14 years old, so it is best to ask your hospital about it.