Care for older baby while I’m in labor - no family in the area

Hi! I’m looking for some advice on what to do when I go into labor with my 2nd baby this December. Our son will only be 14 months old at the time and our current part time nanny isn’t available to be “on-call” for round the clock care as she has another job outside of nannying. I also found it difficult to approach the subject with any potential candidates given that someone might have to rapidly clear their schedule at a moments notice once I go into labor. We would be willing to potentially pay someone to be “on call” given that we would be taking up their time - maybe work 9-5 on those days until I go into labor and then more around the clock care for 2 or 3 days until we get home from the hospital? But not sure what is the best method here and wanted to see if anyone else has been in the same situation? 

We don’t have family in the area and though my in-laws offered to come during this time they are not great with kids - I really don’t want them being the sole provider for my son (possibly just at night as he usually sleeps through the night now, but even then I have some reservations). What did those of you do who didn’t have family in the area? We are somewhat new to the Bay Area and feel it’s a lot to ask of friends given our 1st babe is so young. 

Please help stop my nightmare where I am in labor and my first born is screaming because he’s awake in the hospital room with us at 2 am with all the noises and lights. 

[Note from moderator] This is a popular question and there is past advice about it here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/advice/pregnancy/sibcare

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Find a post partum doula to help you out

I would suggest reaching out to Roots of Labor Birth Collective which can connect you to many doulas who can probably tag team to get you the care that you need. In their line of work they already need to have back ups for birth doula support, it’s not a stretch to imagine that they could handle this for childcare (very similar to postpartum doula support).

I can vouch for Michi Arguedas and Rebecca Orozco, my amazing birth doula team who also tag teamed to provide me with postpartum support for many months after birth. They are great with my older kid as well.  

We are in a somewhat similar situation (although my parents plan to fly up from LA when I go into labor). For now, if I go into labor during the day, my daughter will be at school, she is a bit older than your son (she is 19 months). But this reminded me: I have actually used a company, based in the East Bay, that provides temporary nannies (they do full time care too but I have only used the temp service). One of the temp nannies I used did exactly this! She stayed with the older kids while the parents were at the hospital. They are on the expensive side but the nannies are vetted and every nanny we have used from them has been great. It's called Town and Country - might be worthwhile checking them out. 

I was in this exact same position a few years ago. I got in touch with some doulas who posted to a doula network listserve on my behalf and I think I also posted it to the "care needed" section of BPN. I ended up getting several responses (I think via BPN) and interviewed several capable people who were willing to be on-call around the due date. I also suggest having this person babysit and get to know your child over the course of several visits as you get close to the due date so that the child can feel comfortable. In the end, we had a neighbor and friend who was able to take our child for the first few hours (dropped him off on the way to the hospital) and then the on-call sitter took him from there, then later he went to a friend's and then back to the sitter. It's probably best to double up on the help - for example with your in-laws and an on-call sitter because even an on-call sitter might be delayed for one reason or another, or if you are in the hospital for several days for any reason, you want to have backup for your sitter. Good luck.

Have you looked at hiring a doula? We hired a postpartum doula, we used Harmony Doulas. Thet can help you with taking care of the newborn as well as the older child, and they have overnight hours.

It can feel a lot to ask your favor regarding to unknown time frame childcare to your friends or neighbors at first conceptually. But I always find it helpful to ask favors and return their favor when I’m available.

I highly recommend to find a doula who can support you whatever you need during your labor. Also I suggest to post to find a babysitter who can be flexible about time. I know it is not easy to find. But you may have a luck!

I also do not have family around here, and I’m expecting a third one on December 25. If you couldn’t find any help and the time frame (baby due) works between us, we can help each other. ;)

best,

Mihyun

I think you can find a doula that would help with that and allow you to totally surrender to your labor. 

Oh my goodness I can relate! Have you thought about a doula? I have been heard of some doulas that specifically focus on the sibling. Or, your in-laws could come and help with your son during that time until your partner can get back home. 

What ended up happening for us is that I went into labor, a friend from work ended up coming over to be with my daughter, my husband came to the hospital with me and our doula and he went home a few hours after the baby was born, out my daughter to sleep, etc. With baby number two and not much outside support I found it was just much different and I was solo at the hospital most of the time and was ok with it, it gave me lots of time to start bonding with the baby.

I wanted to mention too that my friend/co worker still talks about what an honor it was to help. I honestly think there are people who love to help in this way and accepting that help not only is ok, but they are truly happy to help. 

Hi There...

I completely empathize with your concerns!

You can reach out to Michi Arguedas - she is an incredible woman who does post-partum care as well as being very involved with a variety of doula programs within the East Bay.

She is very knowledgeable and would be a great point of contact for you to see if there might be a post-partum doula would be be available and free to work with your family while you labor.

See her information and websites below.

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Full Spectrum Doula Services & Placenta Encapsulation | www.quetzaldoula.com 

Doula Coordinator | www.rootsoflaborbc.com  ---I wish you nothing but the best.  Good luck and I hope that everything will work out in a way that feels right for you & your family.Best,
Carolyn

Have you tried Swiss Cheese Collective? They provide “in a pinch” childcare. I have used them and have known others to use them and the sitters who came were excellent. They might be enough to cover the days when you are in the hospital. As for immediate and overnight care, I think you will have to trust your in laws. They raised your spouse right? Surely they can watch a 14 year old for a few hours. Just relax and enjoy the new baby when he or she comes! Good luck!

Hi there,

We were in the exact same boat because we moved to a new area right before my second one was due. My mother-in-law came out, but could only come right when I was due and I was having a lot of early contractions. It was a stressful time. 

My best suggestion is to change your full-time care situation immediately to one that can handle this. Part of the advantage of paying the premium to have a nanny is that they have some flexibility in availability. Since yours does not, I'd strongly recommend finding one who can accommodate you. It is definitely *not at all too much to ask* that you have someone available for any kind of emergency, and especially going into labor. Plus, you want a nanny who is part of and invested in your family to the point that they'd really want to make this work! I personally think it's a red flag if they do not. 

You could also look into in-home daycares for your current kid. I used to have a nanny but switched to an in-home and I've found that not only have they been fantastic, but every one I've been a part of (I have experience with three for my two kids) has been a great emergency resource, and feels like part of my extended family. Your child can spend the night at a house they know with someone they love and someone who loves them. You might have to visit a few before finding one you feel great about, but they can be awesome. 

I wish I could recommend specific people/places to you, but I just moved to Corte Madera from the East Coast and am working on building my community too. Best of luck -- you will find people who not only can, but will want to help you through this.