People visiting my preemie(86 Posts)
Our daughter was born at 28+6 and is finally coming towards the end of her nicu journey, she may be home in the next fortnight, which is absolutely amazing!
DH's work have allowed him to save his official paternity leave for when she's home and he's been juggling hours to be with us as much as possible. Whilst she's been in hospital we've allowed our parents to come and see her a couple of times and each time, we asked them not to touch her due to infection control, this is also a rule on the ward. They didn't respect this and tried to touch her etc.
Now she's getting to the point of coming home, we're inundated with messages along the lines of 'can't wait for a cuddle' etc, and people are already asking to come and visit, but this is our first baby, I'm having a nightmare BFing and expressing and I'm still not 100% from a very, very dangerous pregnancy. What do we do?!
We don't mind visitors coming to see her, but she's so fragile, and still very prone to infection, and I feel like the second we step through the door, we'll be beating off visitors with a stick. We only get 2 weeks of being together as a family without monitors, nurses and other parents and I can't bear the thought of having to constantly pass my precious girl to all and sundry for the expected 'cuddles'
Am I being a miserable cow? How do we tell visitors they're welcome to come over but they're not guaranteed a cuddle?
Congratulations! And how exciting to be able to bring her home at last!
You just say exactly what you put in your last line: you would love to see visitors, but she is still very fragile and prone to infection so she can't have cuddles just yet until she is bigger and stronger.
Be prepared to smile and repeat: "No, she isn't strong enough yet"
Thank you, I'm a bit timid around DH's family as they're very loud and overbearing, I can't imagine SIL backing down without 'a snuggle', and I can see me being labelled ridiculous and precious
You are not being a miserable cow, I would be exactly the same in your situation. May not be the best way to go about it but if it were me I'd probably just make some excuses to all but close family for a few weeks til I felt she was a bit stronger and you've been able to enjoy some alone time together congratulations
No I don't think you're being unreasonable. Often with these "visiting new baby" posts I think people are really OTT but in your circumstances I really don't think it would be unreasonable to put boundaries in place.
I would let the grandparents visit maybe once or twice in that two weeks and then firmly say to everyone else that you will be taking your partners paternity leave as time to recover and get to grips with everything. See how you feel after that.
No, you are not being a "miserable cow". You've been through trauma, your parents have demonstrated they won't follow procedures to save your babies health, you have ever right to feel this way. Plus it's cold and flu season.
Even with a full term delivery you have the right to have visits when you choose and when it suits you.
Lots of people will be excited to meet your baby but you can manage them how you wish and how it suits your family.
I have no experience with a premie but I'm sure others can advise you of what worked for them x
Could you delay telling them that you are home?
Can you ask your partner to have a word with his sister?
Also, put a clear time limit on your visitors: "It would be lovely to see you tomorrow afternoon - are you free between 2pm and 3.30pm?"
And develop a polite but firm way of moving them along: "Thank you so much for coming. I'm going to have to put her down / feed her / start sorting out bath time in a few minutes. Hopefully you can come again soon!" <stand up and start finding their coats etc>
You are going to have to grow a bit of a thick skin about being labelled precious, TBH, because there are likely to be quite few "normal" things that you won't be able to or want to do.
Hopefully when SiL visits she will be asleep in her cot (and therefore can't be picked up) or you or DH will be holding her and simply don't hand her over
Of course you're not being unreasonable. Stand firm. There are good medical reasons to keep visitors to a minimum, and certainly no handing the baby about like a new toy. Surely anyone with half a brain would realise this, especially given just how early she was born? DS was a fortnight overdue and we didn't have any visitors for three weeks because we didn't want them yet, and all both families were coming from abroad and staying for a minimum of four or five days.
Could you get a stretchy wrap or vijia kangaroo care top? It'll keep her close and stop people swooping her off. It's also one of the few times I'd suggest a nursing cover. That way you can hold her and give a sweet oh she's still nursing catching up on all her growing to anyone who wants to hold her.
I don't think your being precious at all. I still remember how daunting it was bringing DD2 home from NICU and she was "only" a 35 weeker
Congratulations. Enjoy every moment
All fantastic suggestions olennas, thank you! I'm honestly a bit relieved I'm not being OTT, unfortunately I can't drive after my C-section so parents have been giving me lifts to the hospital, so they'll know she's out as I won't need lifts, and they'll be very upset if we've not told them ourselves that she's home. It's horrible dealing with politics when I just want the 3 of us to get to know each other
If they aren't going to respect your wishes you will be stressed the whole time they are there. Can you tell them not to come for 2 weeks and just enjoy the family time? Alternatively could you arrange for some of them to be there at the same time as your community midwife/health visitor so they can make the point about how fragile she is? Congratulations btw
iccle a wrap is a fab idea, I want to have her close anyway as she'll be fed on demand to make sure she's gaining weight
Blame the doctors or health visitor, they said no visitors for x days/weeks.
I bet one of the nicu staff would give you a phrase that includes some impressive sounding words.
Awh OP you're not a miserable cow, you're a mother who has gone through hell and is now wanting to protect her baby and recover.
Most mothers I have spoken to have joked about being over protective when their full-term babies were born, my own mother even said she used to hate people breathing over me until I was 6 months old So I can imagine that with a preemie those emotions are so much stronger and no one in their right mind would blame you for that.
You're just going to have to rehearse a line which suits your situation best, then repeat it as much as needed.
I would definitely recommend a wrap sling. Ideal way to keep her close to you and she'll likely be either feeding or asleep for many weeks yet. It's a good excuse not to have to disturb her to take her out of the sling for visitors to cuddle - easier to say that than if she's in a Moses basket and easily picked up
I would be the same op. My baby is a chunk giant 9 weeks now and I absolutely hate handing him around! I think because she is tiny and vulnerable I would minimise visitors to close family and give them the hard word...please don't visit if you are ill because this could set her back.... only a very quick cuddle has she needs her rest etc...you could also just be honest and say you are a bit overwhelmed right now and need time to heal and adapt. Time to get to know her. Good luck op and congrats!
You are totally not being unreasonable. I think blaming doctors orders might be the way to start and if people ignore/trample boundaries just lock the door/ignore calls or take the baby upstairs until they leave. It's not about them. I hope her homecoming is stress free
icclemunchy makes a good suggestion with the stretchy wrap and or during cover - basically never put her down during visits and they won't get a look in, without you having to be assertive about it.
Congratulations on surviving this far - you must be so excited to get her home and you shouldn't be afraid to tell people that you need this time as a family (of three) to settle in and bond, don't be afraid to point out that most new mums and dads are not away from their new baby, so you all now need to get to know each other and baby needs to settle into a new routine at home. Once you get her home a day or two in bed together, just a nappy on so plenty of skin to skin will help your supply (and rest!).
You tell them when ready for visitors (and when you do wear the baby if you want to, and set a timed interval e.g. 11-12 then have an appointment or something so they have to bugger off).
I would tell them all that the hospital advised no visitors for at least two weeks due to infection risk.
Get the nurses onside too in case your parents 'double check' with them.
Normally I'm a bit 'just get the visits all out the way' after dullterm deliveries and well babies but this is clearly a different situation and I don't blame youone it for wanting time just the three of you after these traumatic weeks.
Your DH needs to back you up here and be sure to tell everyone it is a joint decision and not open to negotiation.
How about planning a couple of days two weeks after she is home when you can have your side and then his side over in one fail swoop and make a fuss of them all.
Dh enforced hand washing by every visitor of our pfb. I slightly cringe now but very sweet. He kept muttering " but they've been on the TUBE"
My son was born at 27 weeks. When he came home we had a family gathering and he met close family just a few days after he had come home. He was absolutely fine and there were no issues. Everyone had been so excited to see him after the journey we had all had. He had been in hospital for over 2 months and people couldn't wait to see him! They had all been so supportive too, it was just lovely to see them being able to see him in the flesh rather than just photos in an incubator. Most people will be well aware of the situation around the birth not being 'the norm' and are considerate with hand washing, staying away if they have colds etc.
Of course it's down to how you personally feel, I just thought I would share our experience. You are not being unreasonable if that is how you feel. He is our first baby too and understand how scary it can be but friends and family will be considerate. If they're not, tell them.
Congrats to you, baby and DH
Could you say something along the lines of 'she's home and we are super excited for you all to meet but have been told by DR's that she needs a couple of weeks at home without any visits due to specialist care you will need to be giving her and risk of infections/sickness due to compromised immune system because of her being so little etc etc'
I would be making some sort of excuse to keep it just the 3 of you for the 2 weeks. It's not selfish and I imagine the best way to bond and become a unit for you, baby and DH! Friends and family can have their time a little later on she is your baby and it's ok to just take some time. Let DH deal with his family.
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