Tell me about your experiences of visitors in the first days of breastfeeding

(48 Posts)
Msbluesky32 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:19:25

It's playing on my mind a bit - visitors coming when the milk comes in. Ive read everywhere that it happens three to five days after giving birth and of course this is when people will probably want to start visiting. In an ideal world I'd prefer it if we could have at least a week by ourselves to just get our heads around it, but this is our first and i have no knowledge of what it is going to be like. While i am really excited at the prospect of introducing our little one i don't want to create a stressful situation for the both of us. What have your experiences been of dealing with this? Is it difficult to juggle people visiting and feeding baby when the milk comes in? Is it always three to five days after giving birth?

MiconiumHappens Thu 07-Feb-13 19:24:16

I can only say how it was for me and totally respect that many people do things differently. Horses for courses smile ....... This really was not an issue for me with either of my DC and was happy to have visitors as and when. But I would say you really won't know until the baby is here so it really is up to you how you handle it.

Good luck

ipswichwitch Thu 07-Feb-13 19:31:05

Best thing is not to make promises regarding visitors until baby is here. That way nobody gets the hump when you decide it's too stressful and want to cancel.
Take each day as it comes and inform people that you may need a few days to help get feeding established, and you'll let them know when you're ready. Nowt worse than dealing with a horde of visitors when you're trying to get sorted with feeding, especially if (like me) you end up with boobs out most of the time (took a little while before I got the hang of discreet feeding!)

HappyAsASandboy Thu 07-Feb-13 19:32:35

I didn't mind having visitors, I liked it. I either fed where I was or went upstairs, depending on how eager i was to avoid specific visitors what felt right at the time.

The best kind of visitors come for about an hour, make tea and sandwiches for everyone during their visit and bring cake. Ones that need waiting on should be ignored and left to figure it out, or left to DH to sort out.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Thu 07-Feb-13 19:38:10

2 dc,
with dc1 my milk "came-in" at night, the day i came home from hospital. So day 3 I think. I woke up shivery with boobs like rock hard melons. Dc was already suckling well on the colostrum by that stage, so short of feeding her more to relieve the pressure, things were much the same. And settled quickly.
With dc2, I don't remember my milk coming in. I didnt have that "hello boys" moment with melon boobs.

Visitors should be okay with you feeding, put your feeding first and visitors can make their own cuppa. (This seems to be an unspoken rule)
Baby will have been feeding regularly since birth by the time your milk comes in, so you don't need to worry about feeding suddenly changing when it does.

If you feel that you need a week to get your head around feeding (and having a baby) before you have visitors, then don't accept visitors before then. And make sure your DH knows how strongly you feel, so that he can support you and dissuade visitors.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:43:04

I've worried about this too. I'm a bit anti-social at the best of times, but I think if I'm stressed out and knackered and haven't had a shower, and I haven't figured out bfing or I'm having problems with it, then I may end up just telling everybody "no" and shutting myself in for a few months days until I get the hang of everything. I think people should understand this.

Msbluesky32 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:47:05

Thank you ladies, all good advice thanks

I think I'm worrying most about the relatives I know who don't support bf at all and they happen to be the neediest visitors aswell.

frustrated I hadn't thought about the colostrum - of course! I feel less nervous now.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:55:09

Msbluesky my in-laws are like that. I told them I was planning to breastfeed and they were horrified! They told me I would be starving the baby, that she wouldn't thrive, that she'd be needy and clingy, all that crap. Then they bought me a set of bottles with a powder dispenser and a bottle warmer... hmm. They also expect to be made a cup of tea and engaged with conversation if they visit... Doesn't sound like much to ask, I know, but I'm sure it is when you've just given birth and haven't slept for days!

PuffPants Thu 07-Feb-13 19:55:30

Who do you expect will visit do early on? Only our parents and siblings came in the first week, friends waited a good few weeks. Personally I give people 4 weeks before I text/email and start arranging a short visit. Other than my siblings that is.

Anyway, your not a floor show. When baby needs feeding you stand up and say "Just off to feed the baby" and you go to your bedroom or wherever you feel comfortable. I was lucky in that DS was a fast feeder so it never took long. Eventually you'll get the hang of it and will start to feel better about feeding in front of people. But in the first few days you need to concentrate and be alone really to think about the latch etc.

You'll be fine - enjoy the visitors but make sure nobody turns up unannounced or overstays their welcome.

PuffPants Thu 07-Feb-13 19:57:53

Btw OP, when you say you have relatives who don't support breast feeding - my advice is to keep these morons well out of your life until you are settled and confident with your own (wise) choice.

aimingtobeaperfectionist Thu 07-Feb-13 20:00:31

I had fecking huge tits. Ridiculous ones. It was embarrassing as nothing fitted and it was so hard learning to feed without exposing the bastards each time so I was just mortified.
We had visitors calling in all the time as I'm too bloody soft not wanting to say no. I found it frustrating when dd needed feeding and I'd say but the visitors would refuse to give her back, dd cried and I leaked. Dramatically. This happened a lot.
The feckers didn't even help with anything, expecting me to host!!!

I have since grown a pair and this will not be tolerated next time.

Msbluesky32 Thu 07-Feb-13 20:39:41

Hey catlady yikes, I hope mine don't do that! Mind you I can imagine some conversations happening a bit like yours...Mil brought dummies round the other day - which I found a bit strange. We haven't yet decided on whether we will use them and she didn't ask - just handed them to me.

puffpants tbh I had a bit of a problem with in laws. I'm the kind of person who likes planned visits - they aren't so keen and used to drop by whenever they liked, sometimes really early on a Sunday when we were still in bed. I'm a bit worried we will be railroaded. My family are so different, they will put us first and won't pile on the pressure to visit.

PuffPants Thu 07-Feb-13 20:43:07

OP, that's where your DH comes in. It is his responsibility to organise his family visits. He needs to speak to them on the day of the birth and arrange when they will come over. He needs to remind them that there must be no dropping in unannounced. It's not hard or rude. It's pretty normal. It's time for him to step up, he has his own family to look after now.

Dottiespots Thu 07-Feb-13 20:47:01

I personally didnt have visitors the first week as I just concentrated on establishing breastfeeding which really requires your full attention and it is also an amazing thing that your body can totally satisfy the food needs of your child. In the second week I had a few visitors as breastfeeding was going well. With my second child I wasnt bothered as breastfeeding was natural to me by then. I had 18 months between my two and breastfed my first up until I had my second. Hope you have a wonderful birth and try and really enjoy each moment of your experience as a mum cause it really really does go by very quick.

BrianButterfield Thu 07-Feb-13 20:52:44

We had plenty of visitors. I fed where I was - DH raised an eyebrow the first time but I said "this is baby's house too!" and he agreed I shouldn't have to leave the room if I didn't want to. Some people I made the decision to go to the other room for some/all of the feed (sometimes I got him latched on then came back through). DH was on PL so did all the teas etc. It was not too fraught except when PILs let DS sleep in their arms all afternoon so he wouldn't settle that night...but that's because they were too lazy even to talk to him (DS was sociable and liked to be talked to/played with for short periods even as a newborn but they couldn't be bothered).

byhec Thu 07-Feb-13 20:56:45

I avoided visitors in the first few days and looking back I have very fond memories of spending time with DH and DD. Anyway, I really didn't feel like seeing anyone for a few days, I think I was in shock!

PoppyWearer Thu 07-Feb-13 21:04:35

With DC1 we kept all visitors at arms' length until we were home for a night or two.

Unfortunately, this was day three. Boobs like rocks, on fire, I was hormonal, awful.

And the visitors were PILs, MIL would not be kept away any longer. So I was sat there trying to breastfeed under a blanket whilst making small talk with FIL. Took myself off to the bedroom and MIL followed me, saw me boobs-out. Awful, awful, awful.

My DPs came a day or two later, was fine.

With DC2 I played it differently. My DPs were at our house caring for DC1 anyway, so we came home the same day, they met their new grandchild, we all ate pizza and they left us to it. No bf'ing needed as DC2 slept the whole time.

We then allowed PILs to come the following day. My milk hadn't come in yet, DC2 slept, DH took DC1 and PILs out for lunch so I could rest whilst DC2 napped. Completely different.

I then did the pain and weeping on day three in private.

I would advise waiting until the baby arrives, but a quick visit very early on, on the day of the birth or day after, could be enough to keep them away for long enough to avoid the bf trauma!

It really is up to how you feel.
Personally, I was very happy to have visitors and I have never felt self conscious about feeding in front of friends and family. And both my dc didn't need to be in a "quiet" environment to be able to feed.
Also, lots of friends who came to see us in the first days were already parents nd I was eager to get as many tips as possible!

TunipTheVegedude Thu 07-Feb-13 21:11:00

I was fine.
An old friend of dh's who now lives in Canada and was visiting her parents near us came over, I don't remember being in the slightest bit self-conscious about it.
If you are not expected to do anything to look after the visitors, and aren't the self-conscious type, and have a room you could disappear to if you found the distraction of the visitors got in the way of the feeding, I would have no qualms. But if any of that doesn't apply, it is entirely up to you and you mustn't feel you have to live up to anything, just do whatever you feel most comfortable with.

rootypig Thu 07-Feb-13 21:11:31

your DC will be nursing before your milk comes in, so I wouldn't make that distinction - if anything, my DD was latched constantly UNTIL my milk came in (four days), I suspect because she wasn't getting much satisfaction! then when it came in she was doing what I would describe as feeds. rather than endless furious chomping grin

she was my first too and I would say the whole of the first week or ten days was getting to grips with BFing (and trying to sit down without yelping hmm). I just had immediate family who I had no qualms about nursing in front of / doing my own thing if I needed to. but all in all I would say you can't really plan, it will all be a blur. before the birth, with good friends, I left it as don't call us, we'll call you, and that worked fine. everyone understood. HTH. and good luck with your LO, exciting times!

FrameyMcFrame Thu 07-Feb-13 21:15:23

Maybe let them visit you in hospital? Then when you get home just have a good few days to yourself with NI visitors until you feel comfortable.

LabelsGalore Thu 07-Feb-13 21:20:17

Welll I ended up staying 5 days in hospital with dc1 (issues following a forceps delivery). I tried bfing and was struggling a lot when I went back home. I wasn't up to visits tbh. we had family coming to the hospital during that time which actually worked well as none felt they could stay for very long.

dc2, I did bfed but was struggling A LOT and was in a lot of pain. Visits during the first week were completely out of question.

I would say, take it as it comes. Don't make plans yet. Just let people know that you don't know how you will feel, that you know you will be very happy to see everyone but just not sure exactly when.
Then do as it works best for you.

poppy283 Thu 07-Feb-13 21:27:16

Ime it doesn't make much difference whether your milks in or not, just keep an eye on the ol' breastpads once it is! wink

Stuff the anti breastfeeders. Perhaps have some informative leaflets or WHO literature handy?

ShhHesAsleep Thu 07-Feb-13 21:28:16

Bluesky- bf isn't the only reason to consider when it suits to have visitors, so don't give anyone that idea, especially if they're already sceptical of bf. Get informed about the realities if looking after a newborn via Kellymom and analytical armadillo. It sounds like your in-laws will spout shite about how to feed your baby even though they know feck all about bf. I suggest being firm and setting boundaries now, they can only railroad you if you let them. Put your child first. During the first week or two you'll have MW and HV visits (my HV offered home visits to register with the surgery, saves you going out). You'll have little idea when these people will arrive which is not a bad thing. Pre-birth, my MW said that if she visits a new mum before lunchtime shed be shocked if the woman is out of pjs, merely surprised if it's after lunchtime. You won't know how you'll be til it happens so make no promises but let people know to wait til they are told to come. Unannounced visitors should be ignored. You will be recovering from childbirth while looking after a baby and the great thing is, you'll have the mama bear hormones to help you see your priorities clearly. The baby has needs that must be attended to now, visitors have wants. Also you are best napping when the baby does.

QueenoftheHolly Thu 07-Feb-13 23:56:57

I have an 8 week old & he is my first. I found the first week after he was born pretty tricky as you describe- combining visitors & feeding. It was excacerbated by being over Christmas hols so of course everyone was off work. The worst is middle aged men; they go white & practically pass out if you even hint that you might need to feed the baby.
On Christmas Day at our in laws with 16 people, all family, I was basically sent upstairs to feed (in an unheated spare room) when everyone was downstairs having a nice time. An hour later I felt both sad & angry!!!

Just remember (with visitors) that feeding your baby always has to be the priority, his only job is to eat to get bigger!
Now mine is two months old, that early experience has made me feel quite strongly that at the very least, in my own house I will feed regardless of who might feel uncomfortable. Although its strangely easier in public (in a Starbucks for eg) as quite frankly who cares about what a bunch of strangers thinks?! I always wear stuff that gives abit if privacy anyway.

Logistics wise, it's your husband or visitor's responsibility to get cups of tea etc, they came to visit you (usually unasked!) to see your baby not to sample your hot drinks.

Good luck!

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