There is something about a new baby that sends friends and family flocking in your direction. Of course, they all want to come at the same time, when you are trying to settle in with your new addition and getting to know them. Instead, you have Aunt Gladys telling you how to rock them properly, Great Aunt Meg telling you how she used to parent and Uncle Alfred making it awkward for you to get your boob out for a feed. It can be overwhelming.
It’s important to set clear expectations for guests in that beginning period and to stick to it. Here’s how:
- Ask them the bring something: I know, someone offers to bring something and you tell them it’s ok – that’s the polite thing to do. Well, now you have a small human being dependant on you, guests in and out of your home, and chores to do, so take advantage! Ask them to bring a dinner dish, or some morning tea to share and take the load off yourself. People will love feeling useful as well.
- Put them to work: once again, if they ask how they can help, don’t hesitate to put them to work! You might find the biggest help is being able to hand the baby over so you can get some things done around the home. Don’t feel like you have to entertain your guests – excuse yourself and go do what you need to, because once they leave your bub will be back in your arms and you may find yourself stuck there for a while.
- Set a 5pm rule: you will find very early on that as the sun goes down and you get ready for the night, your little one becomes particularly unsettled. They call this witching hour. It is much easier to have all guests gone by this stage, so you aren’t over-stimulating your little one and can calm them down for bed.
- Say no: if you don’t feel up to it or have a particularly bad night, say no! It’s not about them, it’s about you and your new baby and you need to put yourselves first, even if it means cancelling on the day.
- Take advice like a pinch of salt: you will be offered lots of it by (mostly) well-meaning friends and relatives. Let it brush over you and do what works for you, no matter what anyone says. They don’t know your baby like you do, so they can’t possibly know what will work for you.
Enjoy it! It’s a special time having a new baby in the home and it does bring out the excitement in friends and relatives. Make sure you enjoy the time – just on your own terms. Or you could always tell them to come over at 3am when the baby needs to be settled and see if that works?