After you have your baby family and friends will want to come to meet your new family member.
It is an exciting time for everyone. Accepting help can be a hard thing to do. It is important to learn how to accept help so your family and friends can feel part of your inner community. Imagine if your friend had a baby you would love to bring them some food and help where you can.
In the first few weeks after birth, you will be in an altered state. Learning to take care of your newborn, learning to breastfeed and having a mixed-up sleep schedule can be a big change. Having some meals cooked for you or having some company can be fantastic. It can also be work if you are not careful and don't set boundaries.
Here are some points to help you create a structure for your family and friends to follow so they can be the best support for your new family.
Announce that your little one has arrived
Send a quick email or text announcing that your baby has been born. This usually includes your baby's name (if you have one), birth date and time, weight, and length. Send a picture or two. Make sure you look closely at the image to make sure there is nothing peaking out that you wouldn't want to share. Be specific if you are not wanting the group to share widely. Often people will take this message as a go-ahead to share the news far and wide.
Set h boundaries with friends and family
You have been waiting longer than anyone else to meet your baby. Other people can wait a few days to visit. Healing from your birth, learning to breastfeed, and transitioning into being a parent is difficult. Anyone you let into your house in the first week or two should be comfortable seeing you in any state. If you can not cry, breastfeed or ignore the visitor, wait a couple of weeks to schedule their visit.
Often, it is the job of the partner to be the boundary setter. If someone is hanging out too long, it is your job to let them know. It is also good to give people a time when they can visit, 'please come visit from 1 pm-2 pm.' Schedule visitors for after you return to work, so there are people coming over to help when you are not around. It is ok for people to wait a few weeks to meet your new baby.
Do not clean your house for visitors. You should be in your sweats with a sink full of dishes. This is not the time to entertain guests. People need to know what life is like with a new baby. Let's keep the expectations real.
Create an auto-response so you don't have to respond to every email or text message. “Thanks for your message. We’re just getting the hang of parenting. It might take a little longer to get back to you. Don’t worry, we are all doing fantastic. We are enjoying getting to know our new baby."
Some people use a website like Meal Train or Give in Kind. You can outline dietary suggestions and add other requests. Maybe you need help with walking your dog, doing laundry, or picking up your other kids. Let your community help. It won't be forever.
Learn to say YES! This is not a simple thing to do. Imagine if your friend had a baby you would want to bring them food, pick up supplies or clean their house. So take them up on their offer. Have a plan. Write an email that outlines how people can support you. Layout the ground rules.
Dear Family and Friends. Dancing Star Birth gave me this message to send to all my family and friends. We are excited to have you as part of our family's community. After our baby is born, we want you to follow these simple rules. We are hoping for a smooth recovery so we can get back to our community and show our new baby the world.
Keep the visit short. Please message us before you come so we can make sure the time still works for us. We hear babies don't know the difference between day and night.
If you are sick, please stay away. We will set another date when you are better. When you arrive, we will have hand sanitizer or soap ready for you to use.
We would love to have you visit. To help support our family, please bring a meal, fold some laundry, vacuum, do the dishes, run an errand, or ask us what we need before you come. This new parenting gig is rocking our world!
Keep your advice to yourself. I am sure you know all the tricks. If I am struggling or want advice, I will ask for it. Don't ask if the baby is sleeping through the night or if I have taken a shower. Just tell me I am doing a great job and my baby is cute.
Do not kiss my baby on the face, mouth, or hands. This is self-explanatory.
If I ask you to hold the baby, consider it a big compliment. I might ask you to hold the baby so I can shower, nap or eat. If I don't give you the baby to hold, please understand.
If you want to bring your kids or partner, please ask first. We are keeping visitors to a minimum.
If I reschedule, don't take it personally. This parenting business is very unpredictable.
Know when it is time to leave. A 30-minute visit is long enough unless we ask you to stay longer.
Please don't wear any strong perfumes or smoke before you visit. Our little person is very sensitive to smells.
Thank you for being part of our family. We appreciate your patience and help as we navigate this magic time.
Adjusting to life with a new baby is such a cozy, wild time. We often refer it to this period in time as the 'babymoon.' This is because it is such a special time in life. Try to keep things simple so you can enjoy all the moments and heal your body. Life will pick up again soon enough.
Here is another article you might find interesting. Tips for partners during labour.
Join one of our Vancouver prenatal classes to learn more about baby care, breastfeeding, labour, birth, medication options and cesareans. Our team is knowledgeable and community-focused to help our clients have the best start when beginning their journey into parenthood.