@annakooiman at Bondi Beach
You might have been the centre of attention when pregnant, but guess what Queen, your time is over! It’s all about the baby now!
Okay, we’re teasing. You are just as much a Queen today as you were when you were expecting. In fact, with every breastfeed, rise in the night, and soothing song you sing, your crown shines all the more bright. When people say they are coming to visit the baby, they are also saying you have their support. Even so, you’ll need to manage these visits well.
Home, but not alone
Now that you’re home with your baby, you might have noticed the phone ringing a whole lot more. You may also have noticed a lot more doorbell rings, knocks on the door, or texts requesting to visit. This is great and perfectly normal, but if it’s getting too much, be sure to say so.
There is nothing wrong with wanting alone time with your baby, so don’t ever feel afraid to say no to someone wanting to come for a cuddle. Saying no might cause a touch of disappointment for the person turned away, but we’re sure you will never be judged on your desire for private bonding. You’re not turning them away completely, you’re simply asking for time.
Taking care of yourself
As the demands of sleep deprivation increase, it’s important you take care of yourself. Remember, you’ve been through an arduous journey and getting to grips with breastfeeding and lack of sleep will only add to your exhaustion. ‘Sleep when your baby sleeps’ is a rule you really should try to stick to when possible, and this isn’t easy when you have a constant stream of visitors.
Taking it easy also applies to your baby, who’s trying to find a natural sleeping pattern. Being passed from arm cradle to arm cradle won’t help them do this and they’ll end up getting restless and agitated. If baby is sleeping, let him or her be. Guests should be told to look from afar and keep their voice low.
Scheduling visiting hours
Any friends or family wanting to come and say hi to your new arrival should be willing to be flexible. You can’t possibly know your baby’s routine yet, so schedule a morning or and afternoon in with your guest and then tell them you will send a text with a time on the day. This will help you keep visiting hour outside of your and your baby’s sleep time. If the person can’t be flexible, they’ll just have to wait until you have a more established routine.
The last thing you should be worrying about when you have a newborn baby is keeping the house looking tidy for your friends and family coming to visit. Even if your house is a mess, relax! Consider having just one room to entertain in or if you have parents or in-laws hanging around, make tidying and tea-making their job, not yours.
As for what you look like, it’s okay not to look your best when you’re rising four times in the night and limited to a 30 second shower. That said, you’ll feel much more comfortable if you’ve dressed in something that’s stylish. Queen Bee offers an extensive range of post-pregnancy tops, dresses and shapewear, so keep some clothes handy and just before your friends come round, slip them on to feel nice and fresh.
Time spent wisely
Establishing early bonding is crucial for a baby’s development, and this requires lots of cuddles with mum. A baby who’s been held often and lovingly by mum will grow up feeling secure and emotionally capable.
With this in mind, try to ensure that you are the one doing the holding and the cooing, not your guests. It’s not fair to you or your baby if you manage the feeds, rocking to sleep and crying times while your mother-in-law gets to coo and relax during settled time. If baby is relaxed, simply sit and enjoy them. Refrain from passing them over so you can tidy the kitchen or fold washing - that can be your guest’s job. Delegate and make yourself the priority.
If your visitors want to touch the baby and give it a cuddle, make sure they sanitise their hands first. If you think this sound rude, slip in that it is ‘the advice of your baby’s doctor’. Keep a non-alcohol-based bottle of sanitiser at the ready and if anyone shows signs of sickness, send them away! Your baby has a very low immune system in the first few weeks, so you can never be too careful.
Asking for what you need
If you have guests coming to your house, make the most of it and ask them for what you need. Perhaps you’ve run out of bread and they could stop at the bakery for you? Maybe you’ve made no plans for dinner and they could bring with them a casserole? Maybe you need more washing powder or some letters dropped to the post office. Your friends and family will be happy to be able to help you.
Listening to your body
If your best friend is coming over for the first time but you feel a headache coming on, don’t push through it. Consider postponing her visit or if you feel comfortable enough, ask her to watch baby while you have a quick nap. There’s no need to put on a brave face if you’re feeling tired and not up to entertaining.
The best way to manage visitors is to be honest with both yourself and them. Let them know ahead of time that you are only scheduling them 30 minutes and that after that you’d like some alone time. Schedule the visit 30 minutes before it’s time for a feed and then use that excuse to tell them to go. They can’t be offended - you have them a heads up!
The bottom line is that while the flowers, cards, presents and casseroles are appreciated, showing off baby shouldn’t be your number one priority. If your days are filled with congratulations, phone calls and door knocks, start prioritising. Make visits as stress-free as possible and give your baby the best start to life - you.