post partum expectations and family visits - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I've been lurking on two other threads in the "I'm Pregnant" board- "WHAT?!?!" Those Things Nobody Warns You About.... and Scheduling family visits - how recovered will I be 6-8w PP? and as a first time mama, they have me very nervous about what to expect after the baby comes!

What are your plans about family visiting to meet the baby? My mom will be coming up pre-birth, she'll attend the birth, and stay a few weeks after. She's VERY helpful. My dad and step-mom live within 30 minutes, and will probably come by as soon as we call them to meet the babe. My in-laws live 2 hours away, and also will hop in the car right away.

All of my family gets along, and it won't be a problem having them around at the same time. They are also all pretty helpful people. Aside from the overload of motherly advice I am not too worried to have them all just hanging out with us. My MIL is the biggest concern only because I know that she will get jelous of my other family having more time with us, and since it's a longer drive for them, they will probably stay for a few days, as opposed to just stop by for a few hours.

So those of you who have done this before... how bad did you really feel after? They're (the other thread) talking blood clots, leaking from every orifice, etc. yikes! Our midwifes literature says bedrest for 5 days. I'm ok with that. If baby is sleeping, is it bad for DH to take her/him out to the livingroom and let the new grandparents hold her/him?

We want to have clear expectations set up with all our parents before the baby comes. I'm just now thinking about it a bit more and trying to figure out what is realistic.
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#2 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 03:29 PM
 
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It's great that all these family members get along, but my 2 cents is not to have them all come at once. It's one thing when it's just a family gathering, but when there's a new baby, all of them are going to be so excited and wanting to hold it, that it's bound to become somewhat of a circus with someone getting offended that someone else is getting too much time with the baby.

Also, much as the idea of all the family being there may not sound like a big deal now, post-partum your outlook may be very different. You will be sleep-deprived, hormonal, and the least little thing may send you around the bend. And an overload of motherly advice may just be that little thing!

You are so lucky that your mom will be there to take care of you (and it sounds like that's what she'll be doing, as opposed to several friends of mine whose mothers came to "help" and ended up wanting to be waited on). So it sounds like during those first few weeks when what you really need is rest and the time to establish nursing, you'll be fine.

But I would strongly advise you against having anyone "hop in the car right away." Wait and see how you feel. Let them know up front that you will be taking this one day at a time and that you will tell them when it would be best for them to visit.

Congratulations and good luck.
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#3 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 03:40 PM
 
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I agree.. being that I live a whole ocean away from my family, i don't have this to worry about and my husband's family lives far away too.. BUT.. my mom was there for 3 months.. and it was wonderful to have her help.

I've always thought that the first 2 weeks are all about babymoon.. same as a "honeymoon" while the family adjusts. If your mom is good at staying out of the way, cooking, and cleaning.. and only taking baby when asked, then she will be a great help. But for the first 2 weeks you may really think about having it just be you guys. Or.. You could a week after baby is born, do an Open House on a Saturday for 3 hours and let every one know that they must leave after this.

It doesn't really matter how great your family gets together.. this is a HUGE change for you and your lil family and it's a good idea to set aside the time for adjustment and healing and BONDING.

But those are my "out there" views.. take what you want.

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#4 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 03:47 PM
 
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Hmm, i didn't talk about leaking and adjusting to nursing etc.. Unfortunately, you can't know ahead of time if your lil one is going to nurse wonderfully or have problems. The first two weeks were spent with bloody and cracked nipples as I had to relearn to latch my boy on (despite being told his latch looked "fine" ugh.. ), pump every 2.5 hours on one side while making sure baby latched perfectly on the other... and then a week later I had to switch the side I pumped on while my nipples healed.

You do leak everywhere, lol.. as long as you stay PUT in bed or laying back and not doing much physical activity outside of going to the bathroom, your postpartum bleeding time will shorten drastically (some say after 2 weeks it was over, and they were very adamant about staying in bed) Others start doing more and more as they feel up to it and will bleed the whole 6-8 week period.

Okay, those are some more thoughts. I am trying to multi-task doing some work from home, laundry, packing, making lunch and I just hope this makes sense..

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#5 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 04:38 PM
 
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I was all set to have my mom come here and help me (and dh) the first week we were home. Honestly, once I actually had Kylie and got home, I wanted to be alone. The first night we were home my best friend and her family (dh and three kids) brought dinner for us (and stayed for dinner). It was really a lovely thing to do but I was TOTALLY overwhelmed. At one point I went back in the bedroom and cried.

I was very unprepared for the post partum sadness that I was experiencing. Luckily mine resolved itself within about three weeks post partum but for those three weeks, I was a wreck quite a bit of the time. Not to mention we were having serious issues with breastfeeding and I was absolutely determined to bf. So, the sadness I couldn't shake, the issues with bf, and the general tiredness of being a new mom made me SOOOO not want to have any company.

The physical stuff (constant bleeding, sore nipples, episiotomy recovery) was hard too but the sadness I was feeling and couldn't shake was the worst for me. I'm so lucky that I have a super supportive dh who hugged me when I needed it, took the baby when I could no longer deal with her, and just loved me. He was really all *I* needed for those first few weeks.

So, it's great to have a plan for what you'll do post partum but just be prepared to feel totally differently than you THINK you might feel. If you want help and are up to handling it, TAKE IT! If you need some space, don't be afraid to tell your family and friends to come at a later date. Maybe have some meals prepared for yourself ahead of time, be ok with the fact your house won't be very clean for a while, and just plan to relax with your new baby.

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#6 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 05:16 PM
 
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I totally agree with all that's been said so far. I would make it undoubtedly clear to everyone that they're all welcome to come, as long as they pitch in and help out with cooking, cleaning, etc. You and your partner should only worry about taking care of the baby. Also know that your partner will be bone tired too since baby will be keeping him up at night as well--he'll be changing diapers galore. Our family all wanted to come for weeks afterwards, and they expected DH to play "host." He wound up cooking for everyone while they sat and visited. Not cool!

Plan all you want to, just know that you need to be flexible in case the plans need to change.
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#7 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 07:15 PM
 
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With ds, everyone came to visit that first day at the hospital, which I really didn't mind. Ds was born at 11:31 the night before, and no one showed up until after 10 the next morning. Surprisingly, they all showed up at different times, too, so it worked out. And, there were the nurses to kick everyone out when I tried bf!

After we were home, we had visitors those first couple of weeks, but it was pretty low-key with only a few people at a time. Nobody really overstayed their boundaries. Dh was home with me the whole first two weeks, so he took care of everything, and I really didn't feel obliged to "entertain" or even get dressed! It just kind of worked itself out somehow. I think most of our visitors came that second week, though, which was probably better than getting overwhelmed that first week.

I do remember feeling fairly overwhelmed after dh went back to work after 2 weeks, though, and I was home alone. This time he's taking off a month.

I think its great to have your mom there if she's the helpful sort. Just remember that it's best if she takes care of you and the house while you take care of the baby. My SIL had her mom live with them for a few weeks afterwards, visited just about daily for a long while after that, took the baby overnight, etc. I think it really affected SIL's ability to become confident and independent as a parent.

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#8 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 07:43 PM
 
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I think it's great that you're figuring this stuff out now. We didn't, and it caused a huge rift in my relationship with the ILs...almost four years later, things are still stressed.

Everyone's had really good things to say about what's best...having someone you can count on to cook/clean/etc. while you recover is a BIG, BIG help. For me, it was my mom and then my sister. They took turns living with us for the first two weeks. Just like everyone said--my job was to nurse babies, take a lot of sitz baths (for the bleeding/tear), and sit around a lot. Mom and sis were like little tornadoes of "get it done" activity.

As far as when everyone can visit...people will be a lot less high-pressure if they get a glimpse of the babies right away. If you're planning on being in the hospital at all, the day after the baby is born is a good day for (quick)visitors. Keep the numbers small, because 7 people in a hospital room can get really overwhelming for you and the baby.

Once you get home LIMIT VISITS, and be clear over the phone about your expectations. If your family or your ILs are coming over, say something like "great...for lunch let's just order out." or "on your way, could you pick up lunch?"..that way you won't have to fuss with being a hostess. If you're getting tired or baby is getting frazzled, JUST GO TO YOUR ROOM and lie down. There's no need to sit through a long visit, and if people are overstaying their welcome, a "nap" with baby is a good way to get away.

In my opinion, and it always varies by family, the only people that need to see the baby in that first two weeks are its granparents, aunts and uncles. Your close friends, if you want, too. A huge family gathering complete with cousins, your aunts and uncles, etc. is just too much. Baby will end up getting passed around A LOT, and you'll be stuck with a lot of clean up, etc.

The problems I had were twofold. One, my MIL is very old-school and expected "visits" with the baby to be frequent and uber-polite. She would hold the babies and I would be the one fetching drinks, offering snacks, etc. Never once did she offer to help serve herself (much less do dishes, laundry, or clean up a room). Contrasted with my Mom, who worked first and then held the baby only when I needed a break, my MIL was just awful to spend time with.

The second problem was jealousy between families. My parents were really helpful and really generous--so they were over A LOT (with a new baby, you need help!). My ILs were the opposite of helpful and never offered food, diapers, etc. That sounds horribly greedy, I know, but it was just the icing on the cake. Visits with them got so tense. Plus, and maybe others have experienced this,...for some reason, I just wanted my MOM around. She was such a comfort to me, and she really pampered me, and I could ask her to do anything. My MIL couldn't understand why I didn't want her in the same way (to me it was obvious), so she got angry with me and has held a grudge for years.

If I had been thinking ahead, I would have made more of an effort to include my MIL more--even if she was a total pain the behind. Then again, it's pretty ridiculous to have to worry about someone else's petty jealousies when your'e 2 weeks postpartum and taking care of twins!

In the end, once we got through the first several weeks, we came up with a rough visit schedule...we'd see each set of grandparents roughly every two weeks. That gave us a lot of "just us" family time in the first several months, and there's nothing more precious than the time you spend together as a new family. Plus then everything was "fair" (double !!!!!)

I could talk about this stuff forever. It was such a surprise to have it be such a contentious issue! Again, good for you for giving it some thought before the babe arrives. Good luck!

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#9 of 20 Old 11-07-2005, 08:19 PM
 
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My experiences: w/#1 everyone was at the hospital so everyone got to meet and hold him when he was born.

With #2, we staggered the visits. I tend to bleed a lot after birth so I was exhausted and it does take a while to get used to having a little person outside of your body. My mom and sister were there for the birth. My brother stopped by that afternoon for a few minutes. My dad and family came down a few days later and stayed for a few. My aunt came the following week. I don't have anybody coming who was coming from very far and nobody stayed at my house. No matter how helpful people are, you will be tired and having to be "on display" all day and all night is exhausting even when you are not a brand new mama.

I would stagger the visits, especially for those stayng with you for a few days. In my opinion, having guests immediately after giving birth is not a good idea. You mom who is coming in from out of town is an exception but there is no real reason for your ILs to stay, other than for their convienience. Make sure that whatever you decide, your family's needs come first. No guilt b/c Aunt suzy didn't get to see the baby the day he was born, or MIL wasn't the one to do x. This is a very special time for your family and while it's lovely to share, make sure that your family is comfortable with things.
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#10 of 20 Old 11-08-2005, 06:14 AM
 
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Before my son was born, I thought that I'd want to spend the first week with as little interuption as possible--we'd all hang out in bed together and avoid dealing with anyone else. As a shower gift, my mom arranged for someone to deliver a week's worth of dinners when the baby arrived, so I didn't need to think about food.

But then my son spent his first week in the NICU and my recovery was spent traveling back and forth to visit him every day. He was healthy enough to attempt breastfeeding by day 5 and I stayed at the hospital until he was discharged on day 8. That first week we were home, things were fine for a few days, and then he went on a nursing strike (I think due to antibiotics messing up his stomach) and I just about lost my mind. We had my parents stay overnight around day 12 for moral support. Thankfully, we got the nursing straightened out, but once my husband went back to work, I felt totally helpless. I ended up having various family members come for the afternoons of week 3. They'd make sure I ate lunch and help figure out dinner, then leave when Dan got home. I think the rough start in the hospital really screwed up my initial bonding time and I didn't feel connected to the baby until he was at least a month old.

My midwives suggest staying in your pj's when visitors come to help them realize that you need to be waited on rather than the other way around. I also agree with the above posters who suggest staggering visits. It's far more helpful to have one or two people around for a couple weeks than everybody at once. All our family is in town and we knew we could call and ask if someone would pick up a few things at Target or the medical supply store (loved Depends and gauze pads for wiping for the first few weeks) so we didn't have to do those sorts of errands.

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#11 of 20 Old 11-08-2005, 09:31 AM
 
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Great thread, thanks for all the advice.

This is my first baby and i have been dreading how i am going to deal with family visitors. All the grandparents live across the country. My parents are divorced, and cannot stand eachother. I have a step mom that is borderline psycho. My IL's are very nice and understanding. I am sure they will all want to fly in right away, i will have to figure out a plan to stagger them out so i am not overwhelmed.
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#12 of 20 Old 11-09-2005, 02:18 AM
 
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just my 2cents for those having a hospital birth, coming from working in postpartum and seeing what happens.

limit visits at the hospital as well. so many moms have visitors ALL day long, in and out and they never rest when the baby is sleeping, etc. plus, baby is getting passed from relative to friend to another relative, etc and is happily sleeping all day. makes for a VERY long night for an already exhausted mom. don't be afraid to tell people not to come or to have the nurses tell them to leave if you can't. let them be the bad guy.
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#13 of 20 Old 11-09-2005, 02:21 AM
 
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my 2cents for when you are home.

feel free to nap while DP is out with baby in the living room with family and friends. don't play hostess.

i was pretty lucky that we have no family here and we pretty much alone in the hospital and at home except for a few visits from friends.
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#14 of 20 Old 11-09-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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This thread has me thinking a lot about what we will do as far as visits go.
All of our family (my parents, DH's parents, my brother & SIL, his sister & BIL) all live within a 10 minute drive of our house. They have all mentioned at one time or another that they would like to visit as much as possible.

I know that my mom will be helpful, and will do lots of errands around the house, etc. I'm pretty sure DH's mom will be the same. I expect to see a LOT of those two! My brother & SIL will likely come for short visits, as they have a near-1 year old and she is pregnant again, so I think she will know how I'm feeling and that I need rest. DH's sister will likely just come to sit and hold baby.

I'm actually a little scared about the mornings/afternoons after the birth. My DH is only able to take one day off, so I imagine that will be spent at the hospital. After that, he's back to work. Our parents and siblings all have regular full time monday - friday jobs as well. So I'm concerned that if I DO need help, the only time anyone can even come is in the evening when he's home anyways. I am mostly concerned that I will have issues with either post partum depression, or difficult breastfeeding, or both, and will be alone with baby from 7am - 5pm each day.
Has anyone else been alone through most of the day immediately after the birth, and did you cope alright? Do I even have anything to worry about?

winn

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#15 of 20 Old 11-09-2005, 05:16 PM
 
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#16 of 20 Old 11-10-2005, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for adding your thoughts and experiences! It is excellent food for thought.
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#17 of 20 Old 11-10-2005, 01:20 PM
 
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I really like those first few days alone with just our new family. I think if you are at the hospital it is great to get those first visits over with there, strangers come in all day and night anyway. And then tell everyone next week they can come visit, or the week after. I think the hardest time is that couple of days when your milk comes in, but that is usually over by a week later. With my 1st we did go to my inlaws for a party about a week later and that was nice, I didn't have to clean, I could go back home when I was done, and my inlaws got to meet the new baby.

I also think spreading out the visits is a good idea. Only so many people can see that baby at one time. Dh is staying home for a couple of weeks, then the boys are going to stay at my aunts for a week, then my MIL is coming for a week.

I imagine his grandmother will come visit too (she is the only relative within 4 hours), but I know she will bring lots of food, probably do dishes and laundry and then leave (it's pretty much what she does now,and I don't have a newborn). Probably she will be the one visitor I can't get enought of

On the other hand, with my last we moved 600 miles when he was 6 weeks old, so I can't imagine not feeling up for almost anything by that time, except even in the best of times your relatives and in-laws can get on your nerves.

My other thought for march babies, is maybe putting off certian relatives until a long weekend and a chance to spend the first easter with their new grandchild might work! (It is April 16!)
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#18 of 20 Old 11-10-2005, 01:54 PM
 
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"I am mostly concerned that I will have issues with either post partum depression, or difficult breastfeeding, or both, and will be alone with baby from 7am - 5pm each day.
Has anyone else been alone through most of the day immediately after the birth, and did you cope alright? Do I even have anything to worry about?

winn"

I think you might benefit from hiring a postpartum doula to help out for 2-4 hours during the day, or maybe find out when LLL has meetings around you, other newborn groups..

You may be fine, especially if you like and are used to being alone.. and you may not so at elast finding out where you could go or who could come to you during those day hours my be useful.

Mum to DS (8yrs), DD (6yrs), and DS(3.5yrs). kid.gif

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#19 of 20 Old 11-10-2005, 02:23 PM
 
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I second everything Mama Nurse said. For me, the biggest issue was hospital visitors...I may not be in the "norm" on this but I HATE having people come to the hospital...nothing like trying to latch a kid on with the WHOLE family there, cameras loaded!!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#20 of 20 Old 11-10-2005, 03:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winnie
Has anyone else been alone through most of the day immediately after the birth, and did you cope alright? Do I even have anything to worry about?
winn
Winn~ I think you'll be fine, but do make an effort to have visitors (just for your own sanity). If you have close friends in the area, people you can be around while nursing and in pajamas, it's actually nice to have people like that over for short visits when you're alone in the house. Not every day, maybe, but at least a little to keep you socially engaged in the world. Staying at home with a newborn can be very isolating, very boring, and very hard. It gets easier as they get older (lots easier! ), but at first you need to make sure you get some kind of outside interaction during the day.

I was home, alone all day, from about two weeks onward. We were broke, and my dh was only able to take a couple of days off work. My mom and sister came and helped for those first two weeks, but then left. I think their help was necessary mainly because of me having twins. Thinking back, I think I could have managed with one. I mean, let's face it--you can use the bathroom, take a sitz bath, and even prepare a simple meal for yourself with one.

It's important, very important, to take it as easy as possible that first couple of weeks. Even if you could manage to cook/clean/etc. with one babe, it's best not to. My dh and I had the arrangement that when he came home in the evening he spent 30-45 minutes picking up, 30 minutes to let me get a shower/sitz bath, and then he or I would prepare an easy dinner. Before he left in the morning, he made sure to have snacks and water out for me on a table next to the bed. That made it possible for me to stay in bed most of the day if I wanted to.

This time we're having one, and again--dh can't afford to take much time off. I'll have a little bit of family help, but (see above) my MIL drives me crazy so I think I'll be going it mostly alone. I think all of us (toddlers, mom, and babe) will be spending a lot of time in pajamas!

rmzbm~ I always found that "oh--it's time to nurse!" was a great way to clear out visitors and keep their stay short! I'm all for nursing in public, but in my opinion it's too much to ask of a new mom and a new baby-- nursing is kind of hit or miss that first couple of days, and I for one didn't want to be doing that in front of my brothers-in-law. (Later on, of course, nursing anywhere and everywhere became the norm...)

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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