Tips for Dealing with Unhelpful Family Members

Everyone gets excited to see a new baby, it is just natural. You should see the way my head whips around when a baby rolls by in a stroller. But sometimes, new parents don’t want those extra visitors coming to their home, even if it those visitors have the best intentions.

Or maybe you aren’t a huge fan of your partner’s family, but are trying to be nice. Whatever the reason for your discomfort related to their visit, make sure to acknowledge that. You just had a baby, your comfort is very important. Here are a few of our favorite tips for dealing with those less than helpful visitors:

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Set Time Limits

“Okay Grandma, we would love to see you Tuesday at 2pm, but just be aware the baby has an appointment later that day so we need to leave the house at 4:30pm.” And maybe that appointment is just a grocery shopping trip, that is fine. By making yourself available you are putting forth the effort to allow friends and family to share in your excitement of having a new baby, while also maintaining your own sanity. 

Have a Private Space

Be it your bedroom, nursery, or basement. Having a space where visitors aren’t invited can feel really nice when they get to be too much. And it doesn’t need to be a big production with a giant Do Not Enter sign on the door, just keeping the door closed is usually enough. 

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Make a Routine That Works For That Day

They don’t know how long your baby nurses or how often, and they do not need to know that. Maybe an hour long nursing session is in order every hour when your mother in law is in town. No judgement. 

But Also, Don’t Change Your Routine For Your Visitors

So what if your father in law doesn’t like breasts. You have a newborn and learning how to feed your baby. There is absolutely no reason to change how you are caring for yourself and your baby for the comfort of someone else in your living room. 

Visitors Should Not Be Entertained

We had a client tell us once that 3 days after the birth of her baby, she caught herself in the kitchen cooking hamburgers for her entire family while they relaxed in the living room, held the baby, and laughed the afternoon away. NOPE. If someone is coming to your home after your birth, there is not expectation for you to do anything for them. 

Meet Them Somewhere Outside of Your Home

This really only works for local family and if you feel comfortable leaving your home. But for local family, you can go to their home for a defined amount of time and can have a time set that the visit will be over. As an added bonus, you are rarely expected to cook in someone else’s home. 

Take Advantage of Your Visitor’s Strengths

Maybe your sister in law isn’t the best at folding laundry, but makes a mean chicken and dumpling dinner. Suggest that she makes that with you and even have the groceries delivered to the house prior to her arrival so she does not feel burden.

Get On The Same Page As Your Partner

Welcoming people that you are not as happy about seeing into your home can feel really uncomfortable. But discussing your concerns with your partner prior to their arrival will allow you both to present a unified front and hopefully deal with any potential problems as a team. 

And Most Importantly, Do What Feels Right

If asking these family members to stay at hotel and only come during visiting hours make you feel relaxed, DO THAT. This is your home, your recovery, and your baby. As doulas, we too often hear about our clients feeling forced into something only a few days after birth because it is what seems right.

UH NO. Call your postpartum doula, we will gladly be the bad guy.