02 December 2010

Could we pop over? Dealing with visitors at home

This post is both for new and expectant parents as well as all the well meaning friends/family who ask to drop in to see you and the new baby.

If, like me, you restricted the number of visitors you had in hospital following the birth of your baby, then once you go home, people will want to come over to see you. Having visitors can be a bitter sweet experience. While on one hand you want to show off your bub and see your friends, you also would like to be sleeping when the baby is sleeping rather than entertaining. Here are a few tips on having visitors over once you go home from hospital.

  • Picking a time can be difficult as initially you won't know when the baby will be awake or asleep. Pick a time but don't be afraid to change the time if it does not suit;
  • If you've had a bad nights sleep, there is no harm in rescheduling visitors;
  • Don't be shy to excuse yourself in order to go to sleep while your visitors are over. If your partner is there, he/she can keep entertaining the guests. If you are alone, don't be embarrassed to ask them to leave (in the nicest possible way);
  • Try to keep visits short where possible;
  • There should be no pressure to hand the baby around for cuddles. Especially with your first baby you may not feel comfortable in playing pass the parcel. If someone asks and you would rather not, just tell them that the baby is due for a feed shortly and is likely to get grumpy if passed around;
  • Ask all visitors to wash their hands when they arrive in order to minimise germs being passed onto your little bundle;
  • If someone arrives to visit and they are unwell in any way, don't feel shy to ask them to come back when they are better. The last thing you need is a sick baby.
Here are a few tips for visitors:
  • Don't come empty handed. While a gift for the baby is always welcomed, bring some food for the parents. This may be dinner, lunch, a snack. You may even wish to bring a bag of fruit and veges. Bring some sushi or fruit salad and yoghurt, some nuts or cake;
  • Don't come and expect to be entertained. If you see something that needs to be done, do it! Wash some dishes, fold some washing, hang out wet washing, take out the garbage;
  • Don't stay long. Limit your visit to 1/2 hour in order to avoid being asked to leave or overstaying your welcome;
  • Make a meal and drop it off to the new family without staying. A call or SMS to notify that you have dropped dinner at their front door is normally enough;
  • Call before you come to visit. Even if plans have been set, a quick call before you leave home will help;
  • If the new parents make you food (coffee, tea, cake) wash your own dishes or offer to help tidy up. I always said no when people offered but secretly wished they would have done so;
  • Call or SMS to check how the new parents are going. Don't expect them to answer the phone, return the message or SMS. Just knowing people are checking up on you is the nicest thing.
I'm sure there are more things I could add but I'll leave it to you to add your thoughts and comments. Just remember that a cute little baby is a handful of work. Entertaining visitors once your baby arrives can be a difficult task. Be kind to yourself and remember that your health and well being come first. As for well meaning friends/family, think of how your visit can help the family in order to make the experience a good one.

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