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Sibling Hospital Bag

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Updated March 20, 2011

Ever wonder how you're going to entertain your older child while they wait for their sibling? Here is a hospital bag to pack for them or ways to entertain them where ever they are while their new baby is being born...

1. Mama's Little Book of Tricks

Mama's Little Book of Tricks
Photo (c) PriceGrabber
When I saw this book, I knew just where I'd use it - at births! This is the perfect tool to help entertain children from 2-7. It's got some tips that required "stuff" you may not have like lemon juice, but many of the items require nothing but your mind and body. It also has some great cheat sheets like songs, jokes, riddles and other games. This book will be a great asset to any doula's birth bag or anyone who will be caring for a child during a labor.
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2. Books

Reading is a great way to pass the time. If the child is old enough to read alone, I'd suggest some of their favorite authors, maybe with a new book out that they haven't read. If they are new readers or don't read yet, picture books often work well too. I'd even say that there is something to be said for reading children's pregnancy books during this time to help them stay connected.

3. Games

Small games are a really great idea to keep little ones busy. You can go for compact card games or dominoes for almost any age. You might even find that something like cards or Chutes and Ladders comes in handy. Hand held electronic games are great for older kids, but only if you have volume control otherwise it might be more annoying than worth it.

4. Toys

Small, quiet toys are great for keeping little ones entertained at a birth. A mix of familiar and new works really well. A toy I've recently found that was a lot of fun and is perfect for a sibling is the Peek-a-Boo Bag. This kept my kids busy for hours, they even played together with it. This is also a good time to pull out toys you've saved from cereal boxes or fast food meal toys. One mom I knew left her son with a labor kit with 15 small toys tied up in brown bags that she had colored. Each bag had a small note from her and a really inexpensive gift or present in it (crayons, plastic figure, etc.). He was able to open it up one per hour. Thankfully she pegged the length of her labor just right and didn't run out of gifts!

5. Puzzles

Puzzles come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small as in 12-24 pieces and fit nicely into a small bag, filling up only a small part of a book when completed. Remember there may not be a place to lay out a huge puzzle, and you're probably not going to be some place that has a floor you'd like to sit on or play on. There are also hand held puzzle like the Rubik's Cube. They also make these with other symbols.

6. The Practical Stuff

As with anyone at a birth, a child will need clothes, snacks and even a pillow and blanket. If you're at a hospital or birth center remember to look for a place to nap. At a home birth it's a bit easier to entertain a child because they are in their own surroundings. Talk with mom and dad before the big day and make sure you've got any info you need, including medications and allergies, so that you don't have to bother them while they are busy unless it is a true emergency. It's also a good idea to know if they want their child in during the actual birth or just after the birth.
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