A photo of a young girl gently holding her newborn brother has been touching hearts worldwide, as it reflects the pure, unconditional love between siblings...
One of the most heartwarming sights for mums and dads is seeing their little ones getting along. In a pure display of sibling love, a three-year-old girl helps deliver her brother and was photographed holding him in a warm embrace.
Mum of two Rebecca Joseloff planned on having her daughter Hunter, three, present for the home birth of her little brother. When the day came, Hunter didn’t just observe the birth, but helped during the delivery and the postpartum process.
Girl helps deliver her brother, touches hearts worldwide!
A touching photo of Hunter holding her brother was shared over 800 times in less than a week. It was posted by Nicole Lahey, the photographer behind Ready Set Chaos Birth Services, to the Love What Matters Facebook page.
“Hunter’s parents prepared her so well for this experience. They discussed anatomy in proper terms. She knew the word ‘placenta’, and she wasn’t afraid of the blood she saw,” recalled Lahey, praising her for not cowering when her mother “roared her brother out.”
As the brave girl helps deliver her brother, she calmly entertained those present.
“(Hunter) kept us all entertained with her adorableness. She held her brother’s head as he crowned, she cheered her mom on as she pushed him out, she rubbed her mother’s hair so gently; as they both gazed lovingly at this new tiny life in front of them,” Lahey marveled.
Girl helps deliver her brother, gives him “Kangaroo Care” afterwards
The loving big sister even gave her baby brother skin-to-skin contact, or Kangaroo care, which is a practice done worldwide during the first few hours after birth.
This loving act doesn’t just promote bonding, it also helps to promote healthy weight, mental development, relaxation, and sleep. It also helps babies, usually preemies, adjust to life outside the womb through thermal regulation.
“She held him with the biggest smile as he bobbed his head around, looking for a breast. She giggled, as we told her he wanted to nurse. Birth is the most normal part of life; share it with your children and teach them from the beginning, that birth is nothing to fear. Birth is strength.”
In the post’s comments, one mum shared her own experience, writing how her three of her four sons were present at the home birth of their youngest sibling.
“They will be better husbands and fathers for witnessing the beauty that is birth,” she wrote.
More commenters have commended the sweet little girl and some even shared photos of their own home births, where their kids helped deliver their siblings.
Lahey also chronicled the powerful birth in a series of photos that you can find on her website, Ready Set Chaos.
Parents received both praise and criticism
But not everyone was pleased with the parents’ choice to involve their young daughter in the birthing process.
“Childbirth is beautiful and sharing some parts of it with older siblings is beautiful also, but not EVERYTHING,” wrote one commenter, adding that no matter how prepared or informed a kid is, they don’t have the maturity to process it yet.
“Ya know, most parents don’t let their young kiddos watch horror movies, childbirth can be just as scary as one though!” wrote another commenter.
Others responded in defense of Joseloff. They said that her daughter Hunter might be emotionally advanced, and thus equipped to handle the situation.
At the end of the day, it is the parent and their child who will decide what they can and can’t handle.
“Every child is different and every parent-child relationship is different,” Lahey told the Independent, adding that children who watch their sibling’s birth “are much more connected and compassionate with one another.”
Her advice for parents considering following a similar route would be to properly educate their kids.
“The best thing to do is prepare them with videos, talk about every aspect of birth, and speak about birth in a positive way,” she encouraged.
How to prepare your child for the arrival of a new baby
Having them present at the birth of a younger sibling is not the only way mums and dads can promote a loving bond between brothers and sisters.
The Huffington Post enumerates ways mums and dads can make the arrival of a new sibling easier for their firstborn.
1. Resume your routines ASAP
As much as possible, don’t allow this exciting milestone change too much about your life. Kids crave consistency and they can be overwhelmed when their day-to-day routine changes drastically. So make sure to resume routines quickly following the birth of a new baby.
2. Don’t overuse the terms big brother/big sister
Even if your intent is to promote closeness, some kids might not be ready to assume this “new identity.”
They may feel envious of how their younger sibling is getting all the attention. So one way to prevent jealousy is to make bonding time with them a priority.
3. Make activities a shared experience
A good example of this is breastfeeding. When your little one nurses, your older child might feel like it is an exclusive activity, that all your attention is on the baby. You can try to talk to them or watch TV and read books to them as you nurse. Make them feel included and reassure them that you value and appreciate them as an older sibling.
4. Learn positive discipline so as not to be mistaken for favouritism
Tread carefully when scolding your older child. Make sure they know that their baby sibling still doesn’t understand right from wrong and that they will grow up needing to be disciplined, too. Try to steer clear of the “punitive” approach and prioritise guidance instead of focusing on strict consequences to rule-breaking.
5. Emphasise that love is not limited
Love is inclusive; it embraces and expands without limit. Try to let your child know that your love isn’t “divided” but it simply grows when shared.
One way to help them better understand this is to light a candle. Tell them that the candle represents mummy and daddy’s love. Then light a candle that represents them, and use this candle to light their little sibling’s candle.
This will give them a clearer visual of how love can be inclusive.
How did you prepare your firstborn for the arrival of their new sibling?