Your baby has arrived! You are on your way home from the hospital and everyone you know wants to meet you at home!!! What do you say? This is a big issue! I encourage you to talk about it during your pregnancy. Talk with daddy, your friends and family. Have a clear understanding of the atmosphere you want to set up in your home.
True story: I worked with a family who had just delivered their first child. They had been home for a day or two. I arrived for my evening shift only to find the house filled with people and a three year old running around the house with a dog on a leash. It was bedlam! Her family had arrived: aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and pets!!! The next morning mommy had an emotional meltdown. She did not think she could continue breastfeeding and she was beside herself. Over the next few days she began to feel better and things settled down. Daddy shared when his nephew was born he had been told “no visitors for a week”. It had seemed strange to him, but after this incident he completely understood. Coming home from the hospital and establishing the atmosphere you want in your home has major implications. Peace is important. Mommy needs to be comfortable with baby and her home.
“No visitors for a week” may be more than you need, but it is a great place to begin. Or, “one visitor a day” for a while. Until baby has arrived no invitations should be made. For a myriad of reasons mom could be recovering from surgery or baby could have had to spend time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Allowing time to recover and get your footing is important. Also, just feeling comfortable with life is a big deal.
I encourage families to set daddy up as the gatekeeper. Allow him to decide how many guests should come and when. If he is not up for the challenge enlist daytime help, grandma, aunt, uncle, or friend. Mommy can not be responsible for this one. She needs to be protected and considered vulnerable at this time. She will feel pressured to say “yes” to visitors when she shouldn’t. Care for her!!
Encourage relatives who will come from long distances to wait a few weeks. This gives your new family time to adjust to the unforeseen challenges. Remember, you are setting up your ‘New Normal’. It is exciting and wonderful and you will be doing it on less sleep than you are accustomed to after a delivery and perhaps time in the hospital. Allow yourself the time you will need to adjust.
With one coming delivery a dad asked whether or not he should take everything he needed for several days to the hospital or could he plan on coming home to get what he needed. I encouraged him to take what he thought he would need with him. Due to the unpredictable events surrounding births, one does not know ahead of time. Better to be safe than sorry. His wife had a planned Cesarean Section. She had minor complications and spent a night in the ICU. Baby was early and had minor complications and was in the NICU. Daddy was going from one unit to the other caring for his family. Going home for anything was not an option. He was grateful to have prepared accordingly!
What is the saying: Hope for the best and plan for everything? Prepare yourself for as much as possible. Babies come early. Be ready for your delivery a month in advance. Have your bag packed, make arrangements for your dog, have the nursery set up. This will set you up well incase something you are not planning for happens. Most births come off without a hitch, but better to be ready. Have someone you have asked ahead of time to be there in case the unforeseen happens. Make a list of what needs to happen at home: bring in mail, water the potted plants, feed the dog and the fish, etc…………………. This will relieve you of having to think of these things at the last minute when you are dealing with far more important issues.
I am a planner. Thinking ahead is how I am put together. This is easy for me. If this is not how you think I encourage you to enlist the help of others who do. Having these things planned for ahead of time will bring you incredible peace. Fewer things to have to consider in a hurry.
A professional doula will help you consider what needs to be arranged. Her training and experience will provide wonderful council for you. Most doulas will consult for a fee. Even just a few hours with someone trained in these matters will help you avoid many pitfalls and plan for the future.
Best Wishes in this exciting time in your life!!!