Just when you’ve got your head around about giving birth, there are loads of things you might start to think about once you reach home. How will we know what to do to care for our baby? Will the baby feed ok? Are they going to sleep enough? Another thing that might be on your mind is how you’re going to organise the numerous visitors who are desperate to come and meet the new arrival. So, here’s seven tips that might help dealing with visitors.
- Think about who you really want to see in the first week after having baby…You may not feel like you have a choice about who comes round to see you all, but you do have some say. We can be physically and emotionally fragile after we have given birth. We can be exhausted from the experience as well as running on the lovely adrenalin as we fall in love with our baby more and more every minute. Before your due date, think about the main people you and your partner really want to see when you’re back home. Let them know that you’d love to see them and you’ll be in touch about when it’s a good time to come round.As my dearest cousin S was over here from Melbourne around my induction date, I knew I wanted her to be one of the first people to meet Baby Munch.
- Don’t plan too many visits in advance for the first few weeks…With our first baby’s arrival we wanted to be open about people visiting us in the first few weeks. So many people were happy to hear that I was pregnant, especially if they knew about our IVF journey. We wanted them to enjoy some of the newborness with us. People will be ok if you arrange a day for them to visit at short notice. Most people who are parents may understand that you need time to yourself as a little family first. All of your visitors don’t have to be crammed into the first week at home. People will also love meeting babies at any stage. People enjoy seeing babies as they’re approaching one or a few months’ old, especially as they’re working on baby tricks like smiling. Some people will have other commitments which means they will come and visit later on anyway.If Daddy is only taking normal paternity leave this will fly by. Make sure you have your own time together as a little family. It’s also a good idea to plan dates for visitors when Daddy has gone back to work. It can suddenly feel a bit daunting or lonely when you don’t have your partner around during the day.
- You can talk about how long they can stay…It’s lovely to have visitors who you enjoy hanging out with anyway. You may want certain people there all day to help out especially if you’ve had a C-section. But as the days can be unpredictable with a newborn, you can suggest a timeframe for them to visit. Most people will be considerate and won’t want to outstay their welcome. Others will be oblivious to when you need visitors to head off to their own homes! When you agree a time and date, you can also mention that when you need some quiet time. Ideas of what to say could be “I’ll probably need to have a nap with baby around X time, so please don’t be offended if we can’t have your round for long” or “things can get a bit chaotic in the evenings so we’ve agreed we’ll have our friends and family around until X time but it will be nice for you to come back another time too”. It may be the case that you need your partner to explain how long people can stay for.
- It’s ok to have your own private space when visitors are there…Whether your baby is breast-fed or bottle-fed, you may want space to focus on feeding them away from visitors or any distractions. Politely excuse yourself and let me people know you might be popping into another room for a while, especially if baby is due for a nap. Not all babies will nap easily so follow their lead if you think they need some one-to-one mummy or daddy time. Newborns may just want to rest on their mummy or daddy. Changing baby is another chance for you to have a bit of quiet time from visitors.
- Welcome the offer of food and treats!….Although you may enjoy hosting and looking after others when they visit your home, let them look after you! Welcome the offer of any food, meals or cakes. You won’t regret it. Hopefully your visitors won’t expect to be fed properly when they visit. Tell them they can help themselves to a cuppa. Leave out cups, sugar and the tea caddy by the kettle and some biscuits in the lounge for them to enjoy if they’re peckish. People love to help out when a baby has arrived. If people offer to bring something when they visit, don’t be afraid to ask them to make one of your favourite dishes or cakes if that’s what they would normally do for you. I loved the deliveries of my mum’s home-cooked Mauritian chicken stew (complimented with lots of carbs of course!) People may also offer help with other things like playing with your other children or helping to do the dishwasher. Don’t be proud, accept the offers of help you can focus on baby.
- Would you like to wash your hands?…I know when my babies arrived I was super precious about them being exposed to germs and bugs especially in their first few weeks. I’d leave out a pump bacterial spray in the lounge and in the toilet as a hint to use some. When people asked if they could give baby a cuddle I tried to say as nicely as possible “are you ok to wash your hands as baby is still so delicate” or “I know what it’s like being on the tube/train, would it be ok to quickly wash your hands?” or “would you like a quick squirt of this hand gel, we’ve been using it lots!” I was quite bold about this and Mr H probably thought I was being anal. But hey it’s my new little baby and it’s their germs from outside. If you don’t feel like passing baby round for cuddles that’s ok too. You can always explain that baby has just settled and needs to stay in one place for now but baby will look forward to their cuddles another time.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to visitors in the first few weeks…This can feel awkward as the last thing you want to do is offend family or friends. It can also be a bit political if there’s someone you’d prefer not to see in the early days. “No” doesn’t have to be a flat no, but you can always agree a time for them to visit in a few weeks’ time when things are more settled. People can forget that it can be stressful once a baby has arrived home. You or your partner or another family member may need to be upfront if mummy and baby need a lot of rest in the early days. You can also let them know you’ll be in touch nearer the time you’re both up for more visitors.
What are your tips for managing visitors after baby’s arrival? What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone when you’ve visited them and their baby? What’s the one thing you appreciated when your loved ones came to visit you and your baby? If you have any tips, share the blog love and leave a comment below…