A couple of weeks ago I took Simon to the Sibling Preparation class at Great Starts. This is a class designed specifically for toddlers who are about to become big brothers and sisters. I was really impressed with the curriculum and how everything was explained at an age appropriate level.Simon’s class was taught by the Penny Simkin. If you are not familiar with the name Penny Simkin was and is one of the pioneers in childbirth education and labor support. She has been a doula since 1968 and is quite a well-known author. One of her most famous books is “Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: the Complete Guide”
The kids were shown pictures of a cutaway of a pregnant belly, it showed a a full term baby, the placenta, and umbilical cord. They talked about the umbilical cord being the “food hose” too the baby. Penny asked the kids how babies got their food after they come out of the mommies tummy and one little boy shouted out “babies drink milk from mommy’s bobbies!” (kids crack me up!)
They discussed what a baby does and can do inside the mommy’s tummy. Penny told the kids something that had never occurred to me to tell Simon, that the baby can hear and knows his voice. She encouraged the kids to talk to their babies. About 15 min into the discussion Simon pipped up really loud “My mommy has a baby in her tummy!!” like he had just made the connection – lots of discussion about babies and hey this was happening in his family too! It was pretty funny.
Then Penny introduced the kids to Anna, a pregnant doll. She asked the kids if they knew why Anna had a big round belly, they did! She had a baby in there too. Then they talked about what happens when a baby comes out. How the baby gets tight hugs called contractions and how this sometimes hurts the mommy’s tummy. Mommy’s do special breathing to help, and she had the kids practice slow deliberate breathing to show Anna. Then Anna proceeded to birth her doll baby for the class. Once the head emerged one of the little girls sitting in the front yelled out “JUST PULL IT OUT!” Penny said “well we have a little OB right here in the class!” and all the adults had a good laugh. Then she explained that no, you don’t pull the baby out, the mommy has to do the work of pushing out the baby.
They also had a story about a little girl who became a big sister and how she felt about that (not always happy). And then the kids got to see a real live newborn. They brought in a 6 week old baby and let the kids compare their hands and feet to the newborns hands and see how tiny the baby is in comparison to them. Then they watched him have a diaper change and then they washed their hands and each took a turn holding the baby. Only when it was Simon’s turn to hold the baby he had a mini freak out and decided he did not want to hold him.
It’s hard to tell what a 2.5 year old takes away from a class like this but he did retain some information because a few days later he was shining a flash light on my belly and asking about the food blood (what the baby eats). I think it was a good experience and I would do it again and recommend it to others.Portfolio | Contact Me | Book a Session
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