When Caelan was born, we were so excited for our family to come meet him right away. The day we had him, my parents, my sister, and her fiancee came to the hospital to meet our little bug. Seeing them with him were some of the happiest moments of my life.
Over the next two days, we had quite a few family members visit: my husband’s parents and siblings, some aunts and uncles and cousins, and one of my best friends. Andrew was really, really amazing at scheduling people so there weren’t SO MANY people in at once and keeping visitors to daytime hours. Our families were also really great when it came to visiting and staying only when it was convenient for us. And with bringing food!!
But when we brought Caelan to his first doctor’s visit, we were kind of scolded for not waiting until he was a bit older (and home) for visitors. And I admittedly see her point. During the first few days, Andrew and I were still getting used to this idea that we have a child. I was getting used to breastfeeding, which was NOT easy for me at first. Caelan also napped a lot during the day, but since we had people in and out we didn’t get to sleep when he slept.
I don’t know what the right choice is. I see how waiting even a few days might be more convenient for new parents, but I absolutely love that our families are so involved and supportive and wanted so badly to meet our little boy. I loved seeing him with each of his family members, and I’m so fortunate that our families were good visitors.
Regardless of when it’s time to meet the new baby, here’s what I’d recommend you do and don’t do during your visit. And, a huge THANK YOU to our families who didn’t need to be reminded of any of these rules!!
Wash your hands. This is a given, no?
Coordinate with dad, not mom. I honestly ignored my phone for like three weeks. My husband though, coordinated everyone and everything (with my permission, of course) and it made it so much easier to not worry about responding and typing and thinking about scheduling while taking care of a one day old.
Let feeding time be an exit. I wasn’t, and really still am not, comfortable breastfeeding in front of anyone except my husband and my mom. My family was great about exiting when it was time to feed, and it made me feel way less anxious about developing a nursing relationship with my baby.
Don’t ask to wake up or pick up the baby. First, we always believed in letting the baby sleep. Birth had to have been traumatic for him, too, so please let him rest if that’s what mom and dad want. Also, if someone wants you to hold the baby, they’ll offer. And if mom wants the baby back, hand him over.
Bring coffee. Or a meal. Or even a bottle of wine for mom to enjoy when she has a moment of quiet.
Don’t bring young kids. They have germs. Babies have no immunity. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t offer unsolicited advice. This bothered me from the day we announced that I was pregnant, and it holds true once the baby is born. Actually, this will always hold true.
Clean. The best thing ever was when my sister came over and folded my laundry, did all my dishes, and even made my bed. All without asking.
The biggest thing, and I’m so fortunate that this hasn’t been an issue for us, is to remember that this is an adjustment for two very new parents. It’s always going to be an adjustment. Caelan is two months old and I’m still figuring him out. But I still prefer that people wash their hands and that they try to find a convenient time to visit. I prefer that people let him sleep or ask before they can just grab him. It’s also still very much appreciated if you bring wine. When Caelan is 23 and out on his own, it will still be very much appreciated if you bring wine. When he’s having his own kids… well, you get it =)