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When is best for in-laws to visit post partum?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

My husband and I reluctantly currently live in the Midwest. We don't have much of a support system here. So, we are trying to plan when our parents should come visit us and the baby. My due date is end August. My mother can come for 2 weeks, and can probably come again, if needed. My in-laws would be coming from overseas, so they ought to start looking for tickets sooner rather than later. When is it most useful to have help? We are not yet sure how much time off my husband can take for the birth as it will most likely happen during term time. I assume no more than a week. He teaches 3 days a week, and will hopefully be teaching courses he has taught before.

 

I love my in-laws dearly, but am anxious of having them at ours for an extended period for time. They are probably better at the cooking/cleaning that I anticipate us needing, but they aren't my mother who knows exactly how I like my tea, and what kind of food to feed me if I get bratty. Part of me thinks that if they came for Thanksgiving, then my husband could be around to mitigate/translate for them.

post #2 of 21

Someone who is going to be a lot of help and understand that you won't be a good host (sounds like your mom?) you should get right away to help out.

 

Someone is means to be helpful but actually requires some work on your part to host, needs attention, doesn't know how to help, etc. (maybe your inlaws?) you should put off until after at least the first 6 weeks which are generally the roughest.

 

Depending on your mom's schedule, you might also look into a postpartum doula, someone who can come to your house after the birth and help you.  Especially if your husband cannot take off that much time.

 

Some other thoughts - cook and freeze meals before the baby comes.  Everyone advised this last time, but we didn't have room in our freezer, so we figured we'd be ok, but afterward we really wished we had done it.  We are going to get an extra freezer this time (we wanted one anyway) so we will be able to do this.  With cleaning, just do the bare minimum, let things go for a bit, and/or plan on hiring a cleaning service for your sanity.

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by somegirl99 View Post

Someone who is going to be a lot of help and understand that you won't be a good host (sounds like your mom?) you should get right away to help out.

 

Someone is means to be helpful but actually requires some work on your part to host, needs attention, doesn't know how to help, etc. (maybe your inlaws?) you should put off until after at least the first 6 weeks which are generally the roughest.

 

Depending on your mom's schedule, you might also look into a postpartum doula, someone who can come to your house after the birth and help you.  Especially if your husband cannot take off that much time.

 

Some other thoughts - cook and freeze meals before the baby comes.  Everyone advised this last time, but we didn't have room in our freezer, so we figured we'd be ok, but afterward we really wished we had done it.  We are going to get an extra freezer this time (we wanted one anyway) so we will be able to do this.  With cleaning, just do the bare minimum, let things go for a bit, and/or plan on hiring a cleaning service for your sanity.

yeahthat.gif Paula said it exactly right. We let some pushy relatives show up when we were still veeeeery new parents and it traumatized us. Not just wore us out. Not just made us cranky and hungry, but seriously traumatized us. I'll spare you the details, but yes, only have the people over right away that can take care of you and don't need you to get their room ready and do their laundry and prepare meals. You need someone to do this for you!

 

And you know all those people that say: "let us know if we can help" but don't really know what to do and so end up doing nothing? Put them to work. Let people come over your house to do specific jobs--have people sign up to load/unload the dishwasher at your house each day, to run your laundry a few times a week, to watch baby while you take a nice bath, etc. It's so easy for non-new parents to do, but it will be hard for you and people will honestly be glad to help. And you'll get to see them in a way that doesn't drag your energy down. And then when they're done doing the thing they signed up for, they can leave you in peace to watch tv or take a nap or eat some more.

 

There is a really good web site called mealbaby.com where people can sign up to bring you meals. There is another one (or maybe it's a feature of mealbaby now) where people can sign up to do chores, which is awesome. People really do want to help, but they don't know how, and before your baby is here, you don't realize how much help you need.

 

By the way, my in-laws are not coming from very far away (3 hour drive) and will probably come as soon as baby is born, but even as nice as they are, we are asking them to stay at a hotel. And they understand and said it's no prob. You know what they say--those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter. :)

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Genius, Crafty, Genius! A hotel is a solution that I did not think of. Thank you! Even if it is just for part of the time. I can't imagine them coming for less than 10 days, and 2 weeks is far more likely. They are German and highly skilled in the cooking and cleaning department. Far superior to my mother's skills in this department, but I can be an ungrateful, cranky wretch to my mother.  And, maybe we should sell the not staying at ours as "You don't want to stay in an apartment with a screaming newborn, do you?"

post #5 of 21

I had my MIL stay for 3 weeks when dd was born, and it was awesome. She was in the NICU and we were trying to be with her as much as possible while keeping routine with our 3 year old. MIL eats like we do and did all the cooking and shopping and lots of cleaning. My mom came after and she did a lot of cleaning and buying take out, but she eats differently than we do and did not cook for us. My dad and his wife- who require attention- did not come until dd was 2 months old. Which was perfect. We had integrated her into our lives by then, and we were able to go out to eat, and take them sightseeing a bit. They were very sweet and tried to be very conscious of our needs, but still treated the trip like a vacation for them. They stayed in a hotel too, and the moms stayed with us. So I say know your guest, and only have people the first month that will truly help, not just want to. 

post #6 of 21

Just a few questions to ponder:

 

You say they are skilled cooks/cleaners.  Will they:

 

- Actually plan on cooking/cleaning or want to play pass the baby all day when they stay?

- Will they need assistance getting everything together (i.e., will you need to take them food shopping, or do more work than just letting them know where your spice drawer, pantry and fridge are?

- Will their idea of cleaning be rearranging your sock drawer or any other location previously arranged to your liking that will need to be fixed after they leave, or give you a hard time locating items during their stay?

 

There's a bit of a language barrier:

- Can you communicate with each other well enough that you can easily ask for help (like a glass of water or a snack while nursing?)

- If they plan on helping without needing prompting from you, will you know what they plan on doing (like rearranging your sock drawer)?

- Will you have a lot of awkward silences because of lack of communication that will make you all uncomfortable?

- Do they know you and your personality well enough to know if you're being a little snippy because of PP issues and not take offense?

 

A few other things to consider:

- Will you be comfortable nursing in front of/around them?

- How much time will your husband be able to spend at home with you all?  If not much, will he plan activities/itineraries for your ILs so you get a day (or even a half day) here and there to yourself?  Would your ILs be comfortable doing a little touring by themselves?

 

My own experience - my ILs were a great help.  My SIL came and helped with nursing (plus I wasn't comfortable being along yet), and my FIL & MIL came and helped out (doing laundry, cleaning out the extra fridge, taking me to PP doctor appointments).  Plus, I had no fear nursing in front of my FIL.  Well, I had no fear nursing in front of anybody in my home, but that's me and my comfort level with my ILs.  I don't think they asked once whether they could hold my son.

 

My family, though, I didn't invite over much.  I find them stressful, and more inclined to want to play pass the baby, so I kept them away.  They were butt-hurt, but too bad.  It's what I needed to survive the post-partum period.

 

If you are concerned with your support system, you could look into hiring a post partum doula.  They do light housework, and help with baby stuff (like nursing issues - many are certified breastfeeding counselors).  DONA's website has a search function that you could use to look up doulas in your area, and you could ask your OB/Midwife for recommendations.

 

In my opinion, the main things you need are 1) Freezer meals and snacks 2) A huge water bottle 3) 1 support person to help you out during the day and 4) The phone # to a lactation consultant and a list of breastfeeding support meetings in your area.  That's until you get the hang of BFing (took me 2 weeks).  I found that once I got that figured out, most of everything else fell into place.

post #7 of 21
After 3 kids, I welcome anyone into my home who will do something helpful for me. I don't mind if you don't cook the way I do, or clean the way I do. The first month or two pp is survival mode. I will take help where I can get it. I would second What NotYourBuddy said. Really consider what they are offering and what what your hesitations are. If it really is that they are going to be helpful, but youre picky, it's possible that you may find that you need help so much that you can let go of some of the things you are particular about. If your mom comes first, you will be more comfortable and still be able to figure out how much help is necessary or desireable for you. When the time comes for their visit, you may decide that you want the help they offer.

However, if your in laws are high maintenance, if they are just going to want to hold the baby, if they are going to need you to step in to make meals and stuff, then definitely wait. By 8-12 weeks pp, help holding the baby while you cook or clean is actually helpful, so if that's the only help they can give, save it for the appropriate time.
post #8 of 21
I don't let anyone stay at my house with a baby. After all, I can't guarantee it won't be a colicky, all-night-screaming baby like my first was. Besides, I need freedom to be up at any hour, in any clothing, feeding my baby, anywhere in the house.

My FIL came in at 2 weeks after my third, my most challenging pregnancy (to date!). It was awful. The house was a wreck - and, yes, he noticed and commented on it the next time he came. irked.gif I was only barely recovering. We needed help, not a guest.

With my fourth, due in November, we knew MIL would want to come visit for thanksgiving, but it was too close to when baby might come. So we arranged a "second thanksgiving" for a weekend in December and had her come then.

Looks like lots of great advice already. Definitely make and maintain the boundaries your family needs!!
post #9 of 21

What NotYourBuddy and Some girl have covered the bases.

Only people you feel comfortable around are worth having in the beginning.  I am lucky that that is my parents, who magically wash my floor when I am not looking, make my favourite meal, and sneak natural light photos of my newborn while I take a much needed nap. My mum took the position that she was there to mummy me while I learned to mummy Monkey.

 

With Monkey we were in a one bedroom apartment. My mum stayed on the couch, then in a B&B when my dad came (the day monkey was born). Inlaws stayed the same place. With Bee we had a house with a guestroom on the main floor, and our rooms upstairs.

 

My inlaws came with babe was three weeks both times which worked. I was over my sleep deprevation, hormonal explosion baby blues and had the basics of mummying down. With Bee, Husband was back at work and the help with Monkey was great. They are really nice, and great in supporting me as a parent, they just don't help enough to make my house not a disaster when they leave.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by CraftyMcGluestick View Post

yeahthat.gif Paula said it exactly right. We let some pushy relatives show up when we were still veeeeery new parents and it traumatized us. Not just wore us out. Not just made us cranky and hungry, but seriously traumatized us. I'll spare you the details, but yes, only have the people over right away that can take care of you and don't need you to get their room ready and do their laundry and prepare meals. 

 

This! It's exactly what happened to us too! It was actually my in-laws and it was awful. I had the baby blues and was bleeding and hormonal and they were in our space and it was just not good at all. We learned and now they won't be coming for at least a month post partum. My parents live closer and my mom came over everyday and helped with cooking, cleaning, laundry and that was so important and helpful. But she is my mama so it's different than inlaws, you know?

post #11 of 21

In the first 6-8 weeks the only people you want STAYING with you are people you are comfortable with in an intimate setting. If I would be comfortable hanging out with them in my bedroom while topless and felt ok with telling them details of various bodily functions and if I felt ok with generally being being in pain/a mess/sleep deprived then they are ok. 

If you have people over to see the baby I suggest waiting until after the first 2-3 weeks if possible. It's hard for anyone to come over for anything less than dropping food off or doing a load of laundry. Actually that's the best guest ever, drop food, say hi and are you doing ok, don't touch the baby, make an exit. 

I work as a postpartum doula so I see a lot of poor mother's do entertaining and accommodating that they should NOT be doing too soon. In the same respect, if you know you need help and you would benefit from it, you should get it! Moms should not isolate themselves, that's no good either. It's all about choosing the right people at the right time - you are on the right track! 

post #12 of 21

I think a lot will depend on so many unknown factors - how well your birth goes,  any minor (or major - I hope not!) medical issues you have to deal with after,  breastfeeding issues, your baby's

personality and your adjustment to motherhood. 

 

With my first, I really didn't want or need any help right away.  I had a healthy birth and baby slept a lot, so I felt really comfortable making small meals (if needed) and doing a load of laundry each day.  DH kept the house pretty clean and took care of the rest.  I was really happy to keep it that way.

 

I reluctantly gave in to DH's grandmother pleading with me to let her daughter (my MIL) come to "help" after about 5 days.  Nice lady, love her lots but she honestly did not have much to do and spent time rearranging my kitchen which was not so helpful. Then the rest of the in laws showed up a few days later and it was miserable - I was roasting a chicken and making pies for them for dinner and constantly having to ask their toddler to be quiet while the baby was sleeping.  and only having a small house and 1.5 baths was not helpful when new mom needs a bit more time and privacy.

 

My mom and sister came at 2 weeks pp and that was great.  They were low key, helpful and entertained themselves if I went to lay down with the baby for a few hours.

 

With the birth of DD2, I was happy to have some neighbors watch DD1 for me for the first few days.  It helped to keep her occupied so that I could sleep and get to know my new little one.  I think I would have liked to have had more help but no one offered.

 

With #3 coming and having a toddler, I think I really want some help, any help as long as it is helpful :)

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much. This collective wisdom is very helpful. I think I'm right to have my mother here for the first two weeks to take care of me while we learn how to take care of the baby.
I don't think I'd be that comfortable w my In laws visiting before 6 weeks. I also think 4 adults + 1 baby sharing our two bedroom / 1 bath apt won't be v comfortable for more than a few days. I don't think I am comfortable around them enough to breastfeed willy nilly, although my general Puritan-ness in regards to my body may have diminished by then. I can reasonably expect my in laws to cook n tidy up as they do that whenever they visit without being asked. I am not sure how independent they'd be while visiting. Their English is good, but not great. They are generally far more into "family time" than I am, as I'd rather curl up w a good book. This is all making me so anxious; I really just ought to get DH a new beer and tell him my concerns.
post #14 of 21

One of the advantages to having kids I have found, is that you can hand them off to grandparents, and go read in your room, with out anyone feeling snubbed. My inlaws were delighted to have baby sleep on their chest for a nap while I had alone time.

post #15 of 21

It sounds like you have helpful in laws that you won't mind having around, but won't want to "live with" for 2 weeks.  I'd definitely approach DH about saving the visit for some time after 6 weeks when he can take some extended time off (perhaps half days or some long weekends) so you don't have to do all of the entertaining.  Plus, they're *his* parents, so presumably he'd want to spend some extra time besides nights & weekends with them? Sheepish.gif

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
I took DH out for a beer last night, after a very pleasant afternoon and evening and explained that for everybody's comfort, his parents need to stay elsewhere when visiting. He was totally on board. I feel as if a weight is off my chest.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardigan View Post

I took DH out for a beer last night, after a very pleasant afternoon and evening and explained that for everybody's comfort, his parents need to stay elsewhere when visiting. He was totally on board. I feel as if a weight is off my chest.

woo hoo! 

post #18 of 21
Great! Help during the day that leaves! That's the best kind smile.gif
post #19 of 21

Super cool that your in-laws are staying elsewhere!

 

We had nowhere for any family to stay when DS was born (we had roommates even) so everyone stayed in hotels when they visited.  I did have a really close friend who came to check up on me every day (DH only got a couple of days off work).  She came during her lunch hour and either brought lunch for both of us, or swung by and reheated some leftovers for me/us.  It was really nice to have some company for 30-45 minutes a day, and I honestly don't know if I would have eaten anything if she hadn't brought food to me.  I was more exhausted than I could have ever imagined.  She was just the right sort of friend though, as others have said, it is important that you feel comfortable... I can't say that many have seen me in such a fine state of disarray!  And she didn't even ask to hold the baby until I told her it was okay.  Golden friend!

 

If you don't have a friend to drop in and check on you (between family visits), there are doulas as others have mentioned, or groups/agencies that offer postpartum support (Many Mothers in Santa Fe... )

post #20 of 21

Mama 505. That sounds dreamy, nice company and lunch delivery.

 

Or church was really great about setting up meal delivery. They asked us when (after my parents had left, so I did not have to start cooking yet) and all our food quirks. Pretty much everyone brought enough for at least two meals and there was one lemon cheesecake that was beyond all goodness. These were people I liked and they stayed for 15 or 20 minutes to see baby and chat. It was nice to have a little grown up conversation. They also came just before Bee was born to unpack our house.

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