Should 2 yo visit hospital? — The Bump
Toddlers: 24 Months+

Should 2 yo visit hospital?

I have a scheduled C-section for our second child, and am wondering what everyone's experience is with their older child visiting mommy in the hospital after surgery.  Our DD will be just over 2 when her baby brother is born, and I will be hooked up to tubes and unable to hold her/pick her up while in the hospital.  Should she come visit anyway?  Or will it be too traumatizing?  Thoughts?


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Re: Should 2 yo visit hospital?

  • I think if you explain what's going on to your DD really well, and start doing that well in advance, she could likely be okay.  Just make sure she understands what's happening and what kind of limitations there are about picking her up and getting out of bed and everything.  DD will have just turned 3 when DS is born, and she will definitely be coming to the hospital to meet him, whether I have another c/s or vbac.

    Different situation, but I had my almost-3 year old come and visit DH in the hospital over the weekend.  He had surgery on his ankle, so also couldn't pick her up or hold her, or get out of bed.  He also had IVs, his leg was all bandaged and propped up and he had the big frame with a handle and everything over his bed.  I had been at the hospital all day with him, and my ILs brought her up when they were coming to visit and I was getting ready to leave.  So she wasn't there for too long, but she was cool with all of it.  As background, DH has had this broken ankle for almost a month now, and this was his second surgery.  Before this he had an external fixator on it, with the pins and bars and all of that, so I figured if DD could handle robo-daddy with the bars on his leg, she'd be fine coming to the hospital this time.  I did not bring her to the hospital when he had the last surgery to put the ex-fix on, because i was afraid that might weird her out.  We did facetime with him instead.
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    blu-eyedwife
  • My rcs is scheduled for Sept 29 and lo will be roughly 2.5.  He will be staying with my parents and they will bring him to see us a couple hours after the surgery.  I hadn't really thought about being hooked up and all that but, he's usually a Daddy's boy, so I'm hoping he won't really notice/freak out.
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  • Do you know how long you'll be staying? I would definitely let her visit if it was going to be more than 2 days. She'll miss you and, although you'll be tired, you aren't going to look super ill or broken so I don't think even an IV would be scary. I don't know if you have a different situation medically, but I had my c-section in the morning and had the tubes out by later that evening so it might be easier than you think.
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  • I'm due with baby #2 in October, but planning for a short stay and vaginal birth. I am not having DS come to the hospital 1) because I'm hoping to be home soon, and 2) because I'm worried that he would want me to come home when he leaves...I don't want to upset him or to be stressed out anticipating his melt down.

    But if I was going to be in the hospital for several days for a c/s, I might reconsider. I would ask his caregiver to plan somewhere super fun to go after visiting, so that they could be like "hey, DS! Let's let mommy rest a bit and go get some ice cream!" He might go for that. ;)
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    SusieBW
  • DD was only 19.5 mos when DS was born but I definitely wanted to see her.  I had DS at 3 in the morning and my parents brought her to the hospital around 11 or so.  By that time I had showered and was dressed and in my own clothes.  She only stayed 30 mins or so because there wasn't much for her to do there and she didn't like the hospital.  She was indifferent to DS.  
  • I had a csection with my second as well and DS has turned 2 two weeks before the second came. He only came to visit for an hour at night the second night and an hour the night after. It was too stressful for me because he wanted me to pick him up which I couldn't and honestly he was bored in a tiny room. So I think if anything just do a short visit. As far as being traumatized I don't think anything phased him.

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  • DD will be 3 months shy of turning 3 when her baby brother is born and I do plan on having her visit.  In my hospital it's a 2 nights stay even for a vaginal birth (3 or more for a c/s) so I will probably have DH bring her on the second day rather than on the day I give birth.

    She's a big momma's girl but I'm going to have my parents plan a special outing with her after the hospital.  She adores her grandparents and I'm sure she will be ok leaving if she knows they are taking her out to do something fun.
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  • I think it's more about knowing your child.  For DD we knew we did not want her visiting us in the hospital and I had a vaginal birth, nothing hooked up to me.  But she used to cry at my MW appointments (not sure exactly why), she would get upset if I or DH would lay down on the couch (up, up) she would say.  She was/is a very sensitive kid and I knew the hospital setting would be upsetting to her. I loved the way it worked out for us.  We called her the next morning to tell her she had a baby brother and spoke with her briefly on the phone.  When we arrived home the second night she was already asleep, so the next morning we went in and got her, left DS asleep in his basinette, greeted her first, spent time with her, then brought DS in so she could meet him.  

    Not sure what we will do if there's a next time.
    jcrising
  • I had an RCS 4 weeks ago, dd was 22 months. I had her come to the hospital the second day once I was no longer hooked up to stuff and able to walk around. There was so much going on and so many people there that she did not notice at all that I couldn't pick her up. I was worried about her coming but I also missed her and wanted to see her; it ended up being just fine when she came.
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    jcrising
  • Maybe not the first day but by the second you won't be hooked up to anything.
    Formerly known as elmoali :)

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  • My RCS was 9 weeks ago and DS was 22 months.  The surgery was in the morning so DH brought him over after DC for an hour or 2.  If it had been a mid-day surgery we would have waited to bring DS the following day.  I don't think there would be anything "traumatizing" about being hooked up to things because the atmosphere (presumably) is a happy one with the new baby.  You just explain that it's to help mommy feel better and move on.
  • Thinking about my DD and her behavior, I would have her visit, only if you have confidence in your DH or whoever will be bringing her in.  They will need to be confident and completely able to handle her and whatever she needs so that it doesn't fall to you.

  • DD was just over 2.5. I had snacks & dollar store toys in my bag for her. She was fine. I needed to see her more than she needed me. She did need a bit of coaxing to leave. The promise of gummies in the car took care of that.
  • I had DD at the hospital with her grandparents b/c I was attempting a VBAC. She loved all the toys in the waiting area and wanted to spend more time out there than in the room visiting with me. I couldn't imagine not having my LO there to help welcome their sibling into the world. The nurses stopped in the hall with DH and let DD see her new baby brother before bringing him to the nursery. She got to watch him get his bath (she was with my parents and DH's parents) and when they brought DS to see me, she came into the room with me and DH. It was such a special moment. I love the pictures of her holding her baby brother and the pin the nurses gave her about being a new big sister. She came to visit a couple times over the 2 days I was in the hospital, and honestly even though I had a RCS, my dr let me go home early b/c DD was really starting to miss us. I couldn't wait to get her home, back into her routine and back to her school/daily life.
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  • I think it depends on your child.  Totally different circumstance, but when my oldest was 2 my grandmother had a brain tumor removed.  We took DD to the hospital and my grandmother had half her head shaved, a tube coming out to drain fluids and she was completely covered in heating tubes.  DD didn't even notice any of those things and climbed right up on the bed to get her great grandma.  Did not traumatize her in the slightest.  She tried to play with the drain tube one time and we told her no and she was fine. We just didn't make a big deal about it.  If she asked a question about any of it, she got a very simple answer.  
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  • This is my experience.

    When ds 2 was born, ds 1 was 17 months and he'd NEVER been away from me, so I wanted him there.  He was there the WHOLE days.  My mom watched him during the day at the hospital and my dh took him home at night to sleep.  He did ok, but basically he should have just visited and then stayed with my parents because he wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with me.  He would not respond to anything about me and he would even make eye contact with me, let me hold him or anything.  Now, he loved his brother, loved playing with him and seeing him.  I just wanted him there because I thought he'd need me, but he didn't, he hated me.   So, the next time I'm going to leave them at home with my mom with only a visit.  However, I don't regret him being there, but it seemed pointless.

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  • I wanted my family together ASAP, although after a full day of labor and giving birth to a 9 lb baby at 8:00 who I couldn't even see because I had a fever, I had no desire to see anyone, including either child that day.  That was the 1st time I had gone 24 hours without seeing DD, so I couldn't wait to see her the next day and introduce her to her brother.  Personally, I wouldn't be able to spend that much time away from her, but plenty of people do.  DD, and now DS, are both mommy's babies, so I also had to hold her.  When they told me I couldn't hold her for 6 weeks I just kind of though, yeah ok.  When she came to the hospital I lifted her up to see her brother in the window.  I had a vaginal birth so I probably shouldn't have lifted her as much as I did, but I did.  If I had a c-section and really couldn't I probably wouldn't have had her come because she just wouldn't have gotten why mommy couldn't hold her and it would have really killed me.  They're 25 months apart.
  • Thanks for all the advice.  DD is pretty sensitive and always wants me to pick her up, especially in strange places, so I think we will just Skype/Facetime while I am in the hospital until the day I come home and then maybe she can come with DH to pick us up and meet her baby brother.


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  • jcrising said:
    Thanks for all the advice.  DD is pretty sensitive and always wants me to pick her up, especially in strange places, so I think we will just Skype/Facetime while I am in the hospital until the day I come home and then maybe she can come with DH to pick us up and meet her baby brother.
    That sounds perfect!
  • DD#1 was 22 months old when DD#2 was born. She came to visit as soon as I was out of recovery. DH put her on the bed with me (on the side without the IV). She had no issues. She stayed with my sister while I was in the hospital, but visited every day for an hour or two.

    I did take her to a siblings class at the hospital. She got to see the hospital and they made a big deal about her being the big sister.
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  • My ds wasn't quite 2.5 yo when I had dd. He came a couple hrs after dd was born. He did awesome!!!!
    I had a gift for ds from dd. He got bored pretty quick. So maybe keep it short. I also had markers & coloring books.
    We just explained that mommy was OK but had to be careful BC I just had a baby. He understood for the most part.
    He came a couple times a day but each visit wasnt too long & usually once in the morning & in the evening.
    He got to sit in the bed with me. He did really good!!
    Good luck!!
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  • Thanks everyone!  We are still going back and forth on the issue, but this is all very helpful.  As the birth gets closer, we may be able to better gauge how DD will react.


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  • What if you sort of leave it fluid...like, on the basis of your recovery?

    I had our DD by (unplanned) C-section. She was born at 12:05 a.m. and I was up and disconnected from everything (IV, catheter etc.) by 6:30 a.m.

    I guess what I'm saying is what if you left it that LO can come meed baby #2 AFTER you are unhooked? You should still probably explain that you will maybe look different and there will be lots of medical equipment etc. but at least that way she won't be freaked out by seeing you attached to a million different things.

    And it gives you some time to recover and absorb the arrival of your new little one :)
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