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Childbirth & Baby Care
Childbirth

Bronwen was in the garden about to practice her guitar when her waters broke. She could have been anywhere when it happened, but the word came "The baby is coming!". Babies can be born either at home or in the hospital. As we have seen home births before with The Sims 2, I thought that we would make sure that it is done differently. Jonah took Bronwen to the hospital simply by clicking on her, getting the option "Take Bronwen to hospital" and they drove through the night to Sacred Spleen arriving at 2:22am.

We don't get to see what happens inside but would we particularly want to? Jonah stays with Bronwen throughout. She could have had the baby on her own just by clicking on the Hospital and getting "Have Baby At Hospital".

Sim labour is not long. At 3.11am, the announcement came that Bronwen had given birth to a baby girl. Everyone go "awwwww". If it had been a boy, I had thought of Miles but Miles Miles is a bit too bad a joke. I had also been thinking of an Adam & Eve choice of names but Eve Miles sounded like I'd been watching too much Torchwood, despite the surname being spelt differently. Sorry, Eve. As one of the traits had been decided, that affected the name I would give her.

A baby is born with two character trait slots. Depending upon how well pregnancy went, the player can even get to choose both traits. In this case, I only got to choose one. I don't think I gave Bronwen enough rest. Gardening and skilling might not have been the best things for her. The AI decides a skill randomly and in this case, I think our new baby girl came off very lightly. The trait of "Virtuouso" had been chosen, which was why I gave her the name of Melody.

Including the already set trait, there are 22 traits that can be chosen for babies. As I could not think of a second choice, I chose to randomise to come up with a second trait. I actually randomised a few times before I came up with a choice that I liked. Melody also now "Loves the Outdoors".

By 3.30pm, they are on their way home in a taxi ... which is odd considering that they went there by car.

I am yet to actually sit it out and let them have the baby at home. Lauren, who is one of my daughters, told me that a home delivery is very much like it was in The Sims 2. She didn't know how to send them to hospital. I should actually let a pregnant sim have their baby somewhere away from home and hospital just to see what happens.

Looking after Baby

Babies still look cute but we do not see much of them as they are permanently in a papoose, colour-coordinated for their gender. I don't know why they did this as I was quite happy with how babies looked in TS2. This is a change that I don't like but the other changes I am more positive towards, despite their veering from realism.

Babies do not have opportunities or wishes. That is not a surprise. However, we can now see a baby's needs and their moods.

Currently, baby Melody is feeling quite good although if anything needs attention, it is her hunger. Switching to Bronwen who clicks on Melody, we find quite a few choices available including "Give Bottle". Shazam! A bottle magically appears in Bronwen's hand who then goes onto feed Melody. When Melody is fed, the bottle miraculously disappears.

Diaper-changing is a two second thing. Just a spinning around of the baby, their diaper is changed and their hygiene takes a boost. No longer do sims get to bathe their baby in the sink. Actually, I miss that bit.

Although these changes may make things less realistic, they do make bringing up a baby to be a lot easier. I do have a lot of memories of floors strewn with dirty diapers and used bottles, all giving off those green gaseous clouds. Even a Cleanbot had its work cut out sorting out those messes in TS2.

This does not mean that babies can just be left to their own devices. Social contact is very important. Leaving them in their crib all day means that they get very lonely. In this case on the left, Melody is lonely, her diaper needs changing and she is hungry. If they are lonely, they get upset. If they get upset, they cry. If the crib is in the same bedroom as any other sim, any sleeping sim is woken up by the crying. In turn, they get a negative moodlet for being rudely awakened. Also, crying babies affect their moods too.

However, a quick feed, diaper change, a snuggle and a play and harmony soon returns.

Because of the ease of treatment of babies, they travel easily. A sim can take their baby with them when they visit a community lot. If the baby needs feeding or its diaper changing, that can be done without any problem at all. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Carrying a cumbersome changing bag and needing to find a suitable bathroom where a child can be changed may be realistic but it is something we do not want to bother about when playing TS3. For those who are keen on ultimate realism, then I am sure EAxis will find a way to get sims to sort out their own tax returns in a future EP.

Babysitters can still be called to look after a baby, toddler or child while the responsible adults are out. Bronwen called one when she was fulfilling an opportunity giving a guitar performance at the school. The price was ยง75 for the babysitter regardless of how many hours it took. All service personnel now seem to have flat rates. Bronwen's performance went well, she was paid for her performance and also swiped one of the benches that was outside the school as a souvenir. For the times I have booked babysitters, I have ended up with "mannies" rather than "nannies". Nevertheless, they do seem to know what they are doing. With these babysitters, the moment a parent returns, they take their money directly and are quickly running out of the door to their waiting car.

Being a baby does not last for long. Just three days. After a day, you do get somewhat bored with babies as they don't do much. Rumours have it that they are good at blocking fires and stopping them from spreading. Asbestos-lined papoose, probably. I wouldn't know anything like that, nor would I try ... so there.

Written at 03:14 on Tuesday 23 June 2009 by Andy.

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