So, the baby’s out and you’ve made it home. Finally! But… why is there a queue of people outside your house/clogging up your phone, just desperate to meet your precious firstborn?
Of course, you want your loved ones to gaze at your perfect creation in wonder. But you’re also knackered, keen to get settled and adapt to life as a mum, without worrying about whether you’ve got enough milk in the fridge to serve tea to seven clucking aunties, 12 broody mates and one awkward father-in-law who’s looking everywhere except at your swollen boobs.
Every mum we’ve met says they regret allowing quite so many visitors round in those early weeks with a newborn. While you’re getting to grips with looking after a baby and all it entails, and trying to enjoy your first days as a family while your partner has time off, you need a bit of space. There are some people who’ll naturally require and (hopefully!) deserve priority access to your babe – grandparents and your bestest friend in the whole wide world, for instance – but the rest, with a bit of careful management, can wait. Here are a few tips to keep everyone happy – including you.
Operate strict timeslots
Visitors are inevitable – but they needn’t hang around all day. It’s hard to turf people out if they pop round on a Sunday lunchtime, but inviting people over in the evening means you can legitimately restrict their visit without looking rude. If they come round at 7pm, you can totally say you’re going up to bed at 9pm. See ya! It also means you can spend daytimes en famille, and might even be grateful for the extra company in the evening (especially if they bring food).
Avoid days 4/5
A few days after you give birth, your milk comes in and your hormones go hayfire and you might cry. A lot. And want to eat chocolate. A lot. And definitely not get out of your pyjamas. At all. This is TOTALLY NORMAL but it is not a time that you will want to be sociable. Spend this time nesting with your partner and shiny new baby and, hopefully, come out the other side feeling slightly less delicate. Also, make sure your partner is aware of the existence of the baby blues, so they don’t just think you’re being a diva.
Force people to be useful
Now is the time to make the most of people’s goodwill. If you’re (either begrudgingly or happily) expecting company, for god’s sake don’t let them turn up empty-handed. If they say “anything you’d like me to bring?” don’t say “Just your lovely self!”. Instead suggest they pick up a takeaway, or whatever else you fancy. If they’re a close enough friend or relative that they’ve been granted early days access, they won’t be offended. And when they arrive, don’t rush around after them, offering drinks – they can jolly well take the initiative and help their flipping selves.
Consider a group event
It’s not for the faint-hearted, but there’s a lot to be said for getting it over with in one go. OK, so you might not feel much like party-planning, but inviting one group of friends, or one side of the family, over en masse on, say, a Saturday afternoon, will free up the rest of your time. This is especially appealing if you’ve birthed a summer baby, as they can hang out in the garden rather than cluttering up your house. Plus, if you have lots of people over at once, it’s easier to inconspicuously slip upstairs with the baby when you need a breather – less possible when you have a lone wolf firing questions at you about your postnatal blood flow.
Learn to say no
You’re a mum now, and mums are flaky. Over the coming months, you’ll plan and cancel more outings than you thought possible, because babies have an annoying habit of sometimes being a bit socially uncooperative. If you’ve said yes to some visitors, but now the day’s here, don’t feel up to it for whatever reason, just be honest with them. If they don’t get it now, one day they probably will. Likewise, it’s OK to say no to your baby being randomly handed around the room. They’re YOUR baby and you’re quite entitled to want to hold onto them (although it’s also totally OK if you’re fine with playing pass the pooey parcel and take the opportunity for a well-earned breather/sip of your tea while it’s still hot).
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Bonus points for “jokingly” tagging any impending visitors. Hey, you’ve just had a baby, you can be as pass-agg or plain old agg as you like and put it down to hormones.