Monday, May 19, 2014

Managing the Post-Baby Guest Parade

Once your adorable bundle of joy arrives,
you'll likely be bombarded with lots of well wishing family and friends wanting to come visit.  It can be overwhelming to manage all of these visitors when you have just delivered a baby or had surgery and are trying to recover.  It's a blessing to have the problem of too many visitors, but you can definitely manage the visits to work around you and your routines.

Visitors @ The Hospital:
My advice is to decide ahead of time if you are interested in having visitors while you are at the hospital.  Some people broadcast their information all over social media so that they get lots of visitors, others just want close family and friends and some say no visitors until they get home.  Decide what you would prefer, be sure to take into account the following things and then let your family and friends know your wishes.

1. Will you be breastfeeding?  If so, you'll likely be working with the hospital's lactation consultants and nurses to figure things out those first days.  It's hard to have lots of visitors while doing this and you won't have much privacy during your stay.
2. How are you doing??  Did you have any complications that require you to get special care or need extra time to recover?  Be aware of these things and have those who are close to you monitor your health so that you are sure you don't over do it.
3. What is your room set up?  Do you have a roommate?  Do you have the space to accommodate visitors?
4. Is your baby well enough to be passed around?
5. Always check out your hospital visitor policies - especially during flu season, visiting hours and some hospitals are more friendly to guests than others.
6. Make sure that hand washing and hand sanitizer are happening on the regular.
7. Try to keep visits short because it's exhausting enough to have a baby but you don't want to be completely worn out by meeting and greeting tons of family.
8. Designate someone to snap some pictures of guests and visitors so that you'll have pictures to put in their baby books :)  I had my husband do this job.

Visitors @ Home:
Those first few weeks at home are going to be a blurrrrrrrrrrrrrr of being awake at all hours of the day, crying (from you and the baby :), sporadic eating for everyone and your normal routines will go out the window.  You need to take time to rest when you can, let your body heal and bond with your little one.  Luckily this time doesn't last forever; the weeks will fly by and you'll have your own routine figured out in no time.
Your family and friends will likely start offering to bring meals, stop by for a visit and want to see the baby right away.  My best advice for keeping yourself sane, looking out for your baby and enjoying the visitors is:

1. You don't have to say yes to everyone.  If you aren't feeling up to visitors, people will understand.
2. When people offer to bring you a meal, say YES!  If you are really picky or have food allergies - let them know ahead of time and then sit back and let other people fix food for you.  I wrote a post about bringing new moms meals that you can reference.
3. Don't be afraid to ask people to wash their hands - although it can be awkward.  I kept a large container of hand sanitizer on my coffee table so it was a silent suggestion for people to use.
4. You won't be able to plan around baby naps, feedings or sleep schedules early on - so ideally people will be flexible with you.  Text good friends and ask them to move their planned visit up or push it back or just roll with things and have your spouse chat with the guest while you finish feeding or finish getting ready.
5. Keep visits short.  No more than an hour or so for your initial visit.  Lots of ewwwww and ahhhhh can take place within that time frame.  If you are feeling tired or ready to have alone time, stand up and thank your guests for coming and then mention how you've got to eat dinner, or feed the baby to let them know it's time for them to go.  Your spouse can also be helpful with ushering guests in and out. 
6.  You can schedule lunch dates or meet ups out and about but I'd recommend waiting a few weeks until you are feeling better and have a good handle on things. It's easy to think you'll just hop in the car and go but everything takes longer with a baby.  A compromise might be a friend stopping by with salads for lunch or bringing milkshakes for a snack.  That way you can stay home and just enjoy the visit instead of exhausting yourself by going out those first few weeks. 
7. Get out and go for short walks.  If someone wants to visit and they have little ones, a walking date might be fun but be sure not to overdo things and wear yourself out.
8. Use a calendar to schedule visits because important things tend to run together when lack of sleep is involved.  I had a master calendar sitting out that we could both reference when someone called or texted wanting to come visit.

Out of Town Guests:
You might be trying to plan for out of town visitors and I was doing the same.  We had our baby in Utah and our whole family was in Indiana.  My parents and Kevin's mom came out to meet Olive and here are the things that I'd recommend for your out of town guests:

1. Give yourself at least one week to yourself.  You don't know for sure how long you'll be in the hospital and you will want a few days to be alone at home.  My parents came one week after Olive was born and it was great.  Kevin's mom came three weeks after and I really appreciated the help.
2. Have them stay in a hotel if you are at all concerned about space or having to play host.  Be sure to recommend hotels that are close by so they can still feel like they will get to see you frequently but you aren't having to clean and take care of them.
3. Plan to eat out or get take out -
no one will want to spend time cooking or doing dishes
4.  Help them book flights if necessary and pick them up at the airport.  Meet them curbside so they can just hop into the car.
5.  Plan the visit to last 3-5 days.  You want to have a few different days to make plans and spend time with each other but you don't want them to stay forever :)
6. Be specific about what you'd like to happen with their visit and share it with them - I'd love to have your help putting together some furniture.  We would really appreciate you cooking your delicious pasta for us.  I'd love for you to see the baby's nursery and for you to give me tips on _________
7. Make all of your plans be flexible.
We'd love for you to come over at 9:00am but I'll text you in the morning to let you know how our night went and if that still works.
8. Take care of yourself during these extended visits - nap, shower, rest and relax.  Don't play host - even though you'll be tempted - and rely on your spouse to help facilitate visits or to be your advocate.  Sometimes it's easy to forget about yourself in those early days!!

I hope this was helpful when you start thinking about life with friends
and family after your sweet baby arrives!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I LOVE hearing from you!! Thanks for taking the time to leave sweet comments; I enjoy reading every one of them.