After being away from home for almost a month, and waiting for ICPC for about three weeks, we were definitely ready to be home. We also couldn’t wait to see our families and let everyone meet Baby B, but it was super overwhelming. Managing a new baby and visitors was a challenge that I was not prepared for.
My husband and I were just getting used to life as parents to a newborn, and it felt like people were at our house constantly. People we hadn’t even seen or talked to in years were calling and texting to come meet her. On one hand, it was very sweet and wonderful that every one was so excited. On the other, it was a lot for me to handle.
Looking back, I should have set more boundaries for visitors, because it was a source of a lot of stress for me. And as new moms, we don’t need ANY extra stress.
What drove me crazy was…
- People coming whenever they wanted or inviting themselves over.
- People staying WAY too long.
- People not helping or offering to help (this may be asking too much, but any new parent that is going off 2 hours of sleep appreciates help of any kind)
- People just expecting to hold our new baby for hours.
1. You are in Charge
This is one that took me a while to take control of, and I am still working on it. Whenever I would get upset or frustrated with a visitor, my mom would always remind me she is my baby and I can decide what happens. If I want to hold her, I should hold her. If I want to feed her, I should feed her. Now, I am much better at this and less concerned with the feelings of others. You have to do what you want with your baby, and not worry about people taking things personally. They will get over it, or they won’t, but you shouldn’t worry about it.
2. Set a time for people to visit
Let people know when they can come visit before they ask. This will help avoid visitors at unwanted time, people just stopping in, or coming uninvited. I suggest stating a start and end time for them as well. Some of our visitors would come by and stay for hours upon hours. It was way too long for this tired mama. You could nicely say, “It’d be great to see you Thursday if you want to come from 3 to 5.”
When I first started setting time limits, I felt a little bossy. But it has made it so much better knowing when people are coming AND when they are leaving. Some people may not like it, but again, it’s about you and your baby.
3. plan one big family visit
Instead of having all the aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors come at different times, plan one set time for them to see the baby. I know some people plan a more formal Sip and See, which is a great idea, but we didn’t have time to put that together when we got home. However, we did plan one night where we invited all of my husband’s extended family to see the new baby.
My husband is from a small town about an hour from where we live, so instead of everyone coming to us at different times, we went to his parents house and let everyone know we were there. We said we would be there from 4 to 6 and if anyone wanted to stop by and meet Baby B, they could. It was a super stressful two hours for me, but so much better than everyone coming to our house. First of all, everyone got to see her at one time. Secondly, and most importantly, we could control when we left so did not have to worry about extended stay visitors.
4. plan what to say if the visit runs long
I am horrible at thinking in the moment. There were times that people where at our house, a few days after bringing Baby B home, and it felt like they would never leave. After a week or so of this, I had to create a few things that I could say nicely that meant “you need to leave now, thank you.”
Here are a few…(because you can’t use the same one every time)
- I need to go put the baby down for a nap then will probably rest too.
- Thank you for coming, I’m going to go feed Baby B. (then go to another room…hope they leave)
- Look at the time…we better start getting dinner ready. Thank you all for coming.
- It’s been so nice of you to visit. Please leave. Bye.
5. set expectations before your return
Keeping all of the above in mind, let people know what they can expect before you return home. If you want everyone, including your second cousin once removed, at your house when you get home, then let everyone know. If you want only a few people, then let everyone know. When people know ahead of time what your plan is, you will be less stressed.
Decide what you want as the baby’s parents and communicate that to everyone. We planned to go see one entire side of the family for one night after we returned. So we told everyone this and it kept them from coming to our house unless they were invited.
Like I said before, I wish I had set up some things before bring Baby B home, just so everyone would know what we wanted as new parents. In the moment, I felt rude being so strict (or I felt strict) about everything, but I should have done that from the beginning.
Throughout this time, I realized that some people just don’t have manners or know how to be respectful. They have to be flat out told what to do. Maybe that is rude and selfish. But at the end of the day, as new moms, we are allowed to be a little of both.
Thinking ahead to if we adopt again, I created a printable to share with our friends and family. It outlines common expectations when coming to visit a new baby. Most of it is common sense, but again, some people just don’t know how to give new parents some space. Download this printable from my resource library!