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ABSTRACT

Based on lengthy quotations from the children themselves, this article explores how they felt and what was learned from being witnesses to birth. Their advice to peers—often eloquent and protective—is quoted. Thirty-five children, age 2 1/2 to 15, were interviewed using both tape recorder and play techniques. The question of sibling bonding is considered; the critical importance of a sensitive support person for the child and of adequate preparation for the entire family is emphasized.

The research was developed at Booth Maternity Center, Philadelphia, in conjunction with the sibling program there. Begun in 1980, the program now includes a preparation sequence, formal requirements, and written guidelines.