Siblings Visiting New Baby at the Hospital

Archived Q&A and Reviews

OK for 3 year old to visit hospital?

August 2003

I am due in a couple of months with baby number 2 and seeking advice about having my first child (who will be just shy of 3) visit me and the baby during our stay in the hospital. I believe it is fairly common for the older child to visit, but I have also heard some folks say that seeing mom in a different environment, in a hospital, and not being able to go home with mom could be too stressful. Would love ideas about value of the hospital visit and/or tips on making that time when mom is at the hospital more manageable for the older child. Thanks Margaret

My daughter had just turend two when her sister came along. My father brought her to the hospital. She was in awe of her baby sister. We were worried she'd have a tough time leaving so my husband walked her down to the playground next to Alta Bates to play for awhile, and then put her in my father's car. We'd also purchased a gift to give her from her baby sister...plastic food/ plates set. We had ''kitchen parties'' in the doctors office. best of luck-

My son was 2.5 years old when I had my daughter. When he first visited me at the hospital, he was accompanied by my husband's parents, who had watched him while we were delivering and whom he adores, and my husband, who had gone home to spend a little time with my son before returning to the hospital. My in-laws had him get a balloon for his baby sister, which he really enjoyed doing. We also wrapped up a train toy (he loves trains) to give him as a present from his sister. We had a photo session, where he was the star ''holding'' his baby sister. This first visit went really well. He enjoyed the new surroundings and all the attention.

The next visit the next day was not as successful. My in-laws had left town, and my son was upset that I wasn't leaving with my husband and him. Furthermore, he wanted us to put the baby away so we could leave. He also pooped in his pull-up when he hadn't been dong that for a few months.

My daughter is almost 9 months and he bounces back and forth between really liking her and wishing she were gone. The visits were like that, but if you make him the ''center of attention'', this might make the hospital visit much smoother. Good luck! Patty

When my mother went to the hospital to have my little brother (lo these many years ago) she asked for no visitors...of course, my aunts and uncles and cousins all trooped over to see her, while I got stuck at home.

If there is any chance that your older kid will find out that his or her cousins, etc. got to see you when your kid didn't...believe me, I still remember how sad and hurt I felt that not only was Mommy away but everyone else got to meet my baby brother first (and I was barely 4 at the don't think your eldest is still too young to remember!)

I know you'll be coping with a lot, but believe me, you can make a wonderful memory for your eldest about going to the hospital and seeing Mommy and the new baby...or you can leave your eldest at home for three days (or whatever) freaking out and imagining what's happening and feeling jealous of anyone who does get to see you. Which isn't maybe the best start for bringing someone new into the family.... Sara

When I gave birth to my son, I was lucky enough to have my Mom and sister watch my then just turned 3 year old daughter. We made arrangements in advance for my daughter to stay with my Mom the nights that I was expected to be in the hospital; my husband stayed with my son and I. My daughter did not visit her new little brother until after he was born; I was concerned over the effects of the labor and delivery process etc. We brought my daughter to many of my appointments so she was accustomed to seeing me in a 'hospital' room, on a bed, with a doctor etc. We also prepared my daughter for the impending delivery and my stay at the hospital and explained to her that her mommy, daddy and new baby would need to stay in the hospital for a couple of nights. She was with my husband, son and me during the days & at my Mom's only at night. I think my daughter would have felt alienated if we did not have her visit (I would have missed her terribly too; is that selfish on my part?)

If your family is not close by to stay with your older child, ask a really close friend (even if it's for the first night of your delivery). I've done this for a friend and it really helps out! Good luck to you! eileen

If I had it to do over again, I would not have had my daughter visit at the hospital. It was heart breaking for both of us when she had to leave. She was 3 years 3 months when her brother was born as was staying with my mother-in-law whom she is very close to and sees several time a week. She was very excited about having a baby sibling. We had really prepared that it would be short visit, that mommy would sleep in the hospital with the baby and we even had her baby brother give her a gift. However, she screamed and cried and my mother-in-law had to carry her out and apparently she cried for 2 hours after she left. I only stayed in the hospital one night after the birth (but was away from my daughter for 2 nights as I spend the first night laboring) which was good as I had lots of help for the first 3 weeks home. However, my daugher came to the hospital with daddy to bring home the baby and me and that too was a mistake. The discharge was too slow, she got tired and bored and it was all too hard. Again, if I could do it over, I would have called my mother-in-law to bring her home once the baby and I were settled at home. Lisa

When my second was born 4 months ago, my first (just shy of three) came to visit a few hours after he was born (grandma brought her). She was delighted to meet her baby brother and had a great time at the hospital (the nurse gave her a popsicle, she played on the bed with mom and baby, she ran around etc.) And we got some lovely photos of the whole family. She had no problem going home with daddy that night, even though she had never been away from mom for the whole night. She seemed to really understood that something very special was going on. Gen