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How long after the birth did you have parents and PILs visit from abroad?

(34 Posts)
HardCheese Wed 14-Dec-11 18:54:26

I read the other thread on post-birth visits with interest, but most of the posters had parents and ILs living comparatively nearby, or at least within the same country. We're expecting our first baby in the spring, and both my parents and my partner's live outside the UK (short-haul flight). I can't quite decide how we should juggle our desire to have all four grandparents meet our baby with having some time to get used to being first-time parents, establish breast-feeding etc.

I would love to hear thoughts and experiences from other people with parents and ILs flying in from elsewhere in Europe to meet a newborn, especially on things like - how long after the birth did you have them come, and how long did you suggest they stay? Did you have both sets of grandparents visit at the same time, or separately, and - if the latter, how did you choose who came first? (My partner's parents already have lots of grandchildren, but this baby is my parents' first grandchild, if that makes a difference. Also, they would have to stay in a hotel or B and B, as we don't have spare space to put them up.)

bigbadbarry Wed 14-Dec-11 19:03:39

I was living in Japan when I had DD1. My parents arrived the day I came home (6 days after her birth) although that wasn't quite how we had planned it as she was very overdue. It was lovely (but we got in well). They stayed a couple of weeks. In laws came a week or so after they left. It just depends on your relationships and personalities though - impossible to tell you what you should do!

QTPie Wed 14-Dec-11 19:31:49

My in-laws live in Hong Kong (not quite short haul), but have a house in London. We stayed in their house (in London) from 37 weeks because I was booked for an ELCS (footling breech/transverse) at 39w 1d at a nearby London hospital (we actually live in Bath). We didn't tell them about the CS or the date UNTIL they arrived from HK at 38w 6d. Then we told them "unless baby turns, you will meet your grandson in 2 days!". I was in hospital for 5 days (they popped in, short visits, twice a day) and then we stayed with them for two days before driving back to Bath. That worked out well and, in truth, we would stay with them longer (post-birth) - or have them in Bath - if/when we have another one. HOWEVER that is because they are AMAZINGLY helpful, but (surprisingly!) step away if we need space and get on with their own things (i.e. they keep out of our way).

My mum is much more local (45 minutes drive from us in Bath), but I see her much more occassionally. To be honest, she isn't "easy going", expects everyone to "sit together and do things together" and isn't really a baby person. Sad, but true: I just find things much more natural and easy-going with my MIL! We tend to mix my Mum/in-laws on a lunch/dinner basis, but not for much longer durations.

It really depends on you and your in-laws. Only have "useful" people to stay with you: don't be afraid to ask any or all of them to stay in a local hotel/B&B. You really don't want to be looking after or entertaining anyone or even feel uncomfortable around people. You want people to be cooking for you, maybe helping with the baby so that you can have a shower, doing washing, tidying up, but giving you plenty of "alone time" too....


Cinquefoil Wed 14-Dec-11 19:38:34

My MIL is from Italy, and announced that she would be coming to stay 3 weeks after DS was born. I was fine with her visiting, but not with her staying at ours - we don't really have the room, and I didn't really want anyone staying at ours so soon after the birth.

Had words with DH, who asked her to stay at a nearby hotel (we offered to pay - were refused), and she was happy with that.

I still found it a bit much, to be honest. She came over every day for a week and talked about how crazy I was to be ebf and co-sleeping. She's still going on about it now, nine months later. But I am more chilled. At the time, I found it very difficult to deal with and was furious at my husband, although it wasn't really his fault.

Fresh01 Wed 14-Dec-11 19:40:49

As PP's have said, it all depends on everyones personalities and type of visitor ie. helpful or not. We lived in Australia when we had DC1 and everyone else was back here in the UK. My mum (dad passed away) came over when DD1 was 3 to 5 weeks old then we had a 2 week break then in-laws came for 2 weeks. My mum got to come first as it was her first grandchild and my in-laws 7th. All stayed with us.

My mum was good for watching the baby so I could go rest or sleep in those early weeks as DH only had the first 2 weeks off work. I found the in-laws good for building my confidence when going out and having to breast-feed. I had troubles feeding for the first month but we got there so while they were here I found it good to get use to breatfeeding whilst out and about with some moral support with me.

We then came back to the UK when DD1 was 4.5 months old so she could meet the rest of the families. Is you going to visit them when the baby is 2-3 months old another option?

Pudgy2011 Wed 14-Dec-11 23:57:30

I live in the Caribbean and gave birth to DS late September at 38 weeks. My parents flew out from London for 2 weeks when baby was 3 1/2 weeks old, three days after they left MIL and her friend arrived for 2 weeks and four days after they left FIL arrived for 2 weeks. We dropped him off at the airport last Tuesday evening and I'm finally able to be completely selfish and hog DS to myself every day!
DH and I wanted at least 2 weeks after the birth to bond with baby just the three of us, especially as DH doesn't get paternity leave and I'm so glad we did.
Having said that, it was lovely having everyone here but man alive is it good to have the house back to ourselves as they all stayed with us. On the up side, they have all been here before so know the island pretty well and entertained themselves when I wanted to go and meet my friends for lunch. Having a gorgeous beach and plenty of rum helps get rid of visitors for a few hours!
I would definitely wait at least a couple of weeks so you can enjoy baby all to yourselves without having to share, and then you won't feel guilty about staying in bed until mid-morning :-) And I think your in-laws will understand if you want your parents there first.
Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

lisaro Thu 15-Dec-11 00:14:13

My parents came to Cyprus for 1. A month old. I was in Germany for no 2. They arrived 2 days later, but he was a week late and they'd already booked. They were helpful and also gave us space. Under no circumstances would I have had my ex MIL visit so soon.

claireinmodena Thu 15-Dec-11 01:39:45

My mum arrived a week before due sate and stayed 3 weeks. Then my Mil arrived on the same day my mum left to stay for another 3 weeks. I still regret it 10 years on, it was sll too soon too much.
Being from an italian family there was this assumption that I needed help to cope, especially since dh hardly took any time off. I caved in to his requests, but now convinced it really delayed my bonding with dd, and dis not feel like a proper mum until the day I was left on my own. Mil always on holding dd did not help the process.

They were slao staying with us, no english, so were faiy dependent on us too. It was very full on

madwomanintheattic Thu 15-Dec-11 02:37:28

um, with dd1 we sent them all on holiday together to a third country long haul. blush

with ds1 we fancied a bit of childcare for dd1 during labour, but ds was conveniently due on 4 Jan, so everyone flew over for Christmas. they had all gone except my mum by the time he arrived, but the ils came back a week later (they hadn't flown home, just gone off travelling).

with dd2 we needed some free childcare blush and dh was flying here and there for work, so there was always the possibility we would be caught out, so we arragned a two weeks before and two weeks after due date stint with first mil and then my mum. obligingly, dd2 put in a very dramatic entrance on her due date (the changeover day) but buggered it all up by being spectacularly crap at the whole breathing thing so was whisked to scbu and no-one was allowed to see her. i spent the next 2 weeks in the hospital, she spent the next 5 weeks in the hospital, so with 2 other toddlers and dh having to go back to work at some point we had to beg everyone to keep coming back/ stay longer to help us.

in the event, mil and my mum had gone home, but dsis came to stay the weekend dd2 was finally allowed home.

so, um. stay flexible, i think is my message. blush

madwomanintheattic Thu 15-Dec-11 02:38:37

oh, and then she was readmitted a week later and we had to call mil again. blush

esselle Thu 15-Dec-11 03:11:17

I am in Oz. When I had DS1 MIL booked her flights here from the Uk to arrive 3 days after he was due and planned to stay for 10 days. In the end I was 13 days overdue and DS1 was born 6hrs before her flight left to go home. She managed a quick cuddle with him on the way to the airport.

It was a truly shitty visit as I was hot and pissed off at everything and everyone.

When I had DS2 MIL came and stayed when he was about 5 weeks old for a couple of weeks. Also GMIL (MIL Mum) stayed for 6 weeks too! We all got along wonderfully! I reckon thousands of cups of tea were consumed - my kettle never cooled down!

DC4 is due in March and MIL has booked flights to come and visit us over Easter begining of April, for a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to seeing her.

When I had DD in the Uk my parents came to stay with us and it was great. They gave us plenty of space although I know Mum didn't want to.

My Mum has also stayed with us here in Oz when I had the 2 boys - SHe lives here in Oz too, as all my family do. She is very helpful looking after the kids while I have been in hospital. She is happy to take DD to school, cook, tidy up etc - take over from me for a few days basically!

Anyway I am not sure what my point is but I have found that what I have needed from these visits is help to keep the house running, take a load off of my back and to make lots of tea. Oh and to cuddle baby (when I feel like sharing!).

cravingcake Thu 15-Dec-11 07:36:27

My parents live in NZ and we decided that the best thig was for mum to arrive 16 days after my due date. We based this on it being our first baby & thought that if i was late then this would be the most helpful time as i would be home then. (Our hospital will induce of 40+12). As it turned out my DS was born 2 weeks early, i was in hospital for 5 days & mum offered to change her flights to come earlier but i said no. It was nice to have that time to ourselves to find our feet.

I love my mum to bits & am very close to her but i did find it hard some days and was quite snappy but her help with baby & around the house was great.

BebeBelge Thu 15-Dec-11 08:00:49

I have had 2 dcs both overseas, and both times we have had both sets of parents either same day dd was born (shorthaul) or when ds was 2 weeks old. TBH I hated it, especially with no.2 as I felt I just wanted a chance to get on with things my way and try and find my own rythymn/routine. BUT I have never been close to my parents or MIL so a visit from them would always bring a little apprehension. I have said since that next time, I would not want anybody until the baby was a least 8 weeks old. That way I would have the chance to get to know him and find my feet, establish BF etc.

I think it totally depends on your visitors - will they be helpful or intrusive, supportive or critical, are you comfortable bf in front of them 24 hrs a day, will your tiredness make you snap at them, do they normally irritate you after a day or two etc. etc.?

PS. I am pregnant with DC3 but haven't told anyone yet. Mainly because I am dreading the whole 'when should we book our flights for then?' conversation. But I am a spineless wonder grin

abeautifulbutterfly Thu 15-Dec-11 08:20:03

With my DD1 my mum came over 6 wks after she was born (she was born in early Nov, and we booked a post-Christmas christening, so mum could be here for her first Christmas and the christening in one fell swoop - her 1st GC). I suppose she must have been here about 2 wks.

With DD2 she came 3 wks after birth, presumably for the same time.

DD3 is due in a month (mid-Jan) and mum has booked flights for mid-Feb, so even if I go overdue, which I'm likely to, given track record, we will still get 2weeks' bonding time. Also the older girls have their winter holidays in late Feb so will have extra help around the house and their beloved Grandma to play with them while I'm bfing smile.

She always stays with us as she can't really afford hotels/B&B and neither can we, and anyway we live in the middle of nowhere, but apart from having her own childrearing theories which are mostly at odds with mine, she is very helpful.

PILs are fairly local but don't drive so have to wait to be invited. Last time I had a hormonal meltdown the day they arrived and spent most of the day crying in the bedroom, but it was only the second day we were home, so we will be leaving it longer this time grin. Luckily they don't like us much, we don't really like them, they don't like where we live, and this is GC no. 7 for them so it will all be rather pro forma anyway.

ChrisTingleTeaspoon Thu 15-Dec-11 08:29:16

My ILs live in France. They came over when dd was a week old, but they stayed in a guest house a few houses up from ours, we've only got 2 bedrooms and they (unintentionally) seem to take up a lot of space with all their stuff! They were understanding about it though. They always used to stay with us when visiting, but now that dd is in the second bedroom they tend to bring their campervan apart from in deepest winter when they rent somewhere.

My parents live 2 hours away, they came to visit me in hospital and then about a week later, but didn't stay overnight.

The only 'annoying incident' I can recall was when dd was a week old, both sets of parents came over for a takeaway. My parents paid, which was lovely, but then as soon as we'd finished eating everyone left and left us with all the tidying, even though I had an emcs and dd was a screamer! angry

Ciske Thu 15-Dec-11 08:39:31

Parents live in the Netherlands and booked the ferry to come across as soon as DD arrived. They were on our doorstep about 48 hours after the birth, and stayed for 3 days.

Mum insisted they stay in a hotel instead of ours as we needed 'family time', so that was no issue. They visited morning and afternoon each day.

My advice is to keep the first visit fairly short (3-5 days), be generous with allowing them to cuddle and bond with the new one, but also agree on times and make sure they don't stay too long in the evening. Further, put all these grandparents to work: ask if they can help make dinner, coffee, take your baby out for little walks so you can sleep, do some housework etc. Take them shopping for all the baby bits you forgot to buy. The mothers especially should know exactly how you feel and be very keen to make themselves useful.

If you have both sets of GPs over at the same time, you could agree that one set visits in the morning, another in the afternoon, and then you have dinner together in the evening. Mainly to avoid everyone having to play Pass The Parcel with baby all day and feeling they have to compete for time.

cory Thu 15-Dec-11 09:05:26

My parents are in Sweden and ILs were living a few counties off at the time.

The first time, I arranged for my mum to arrive shortly before the birth and stay with us, whilst my dad and my brother arrived on the due date but were told they had to stay in a B&B. Dad and db left after a few days, mum stayed until I was recovered.

ILs visited a few weeks later after my lot had gone home; they were only supposed to come for the weekend and be staying in a B&B, but FIL had a heart attack while visiting us so we ended up hosting MIL for several weeks while he was in hospital (MIL was very apologetic about this, bless her).

The principle here was that my mother would be able to offer more support, partly as my mother, partly because of being younger and more fit.

The second time, I needed my mum for childcare so she turned up a few weeks early, my dad closer to the time, and I let them both stay with us fir a couple of weeks after the birth; they were very helpful and it would have been far harder without them.

ILs were not fit to travel this time, but FIL had another heart attack when ds was about a month old, so dh did a mad cross country dash with baby to show him off to granddad in case he didn't pull through.

StuckInTheFensAwayFromHome Thu 15-Dec-11 09:08:34

Ok am not yet a mother and not even TTC yet :O so this could all change when/if I get pregnant but its good to have a plan :O
My mum is overseas and I've always thought I'd like her around. Will prob book flights for 3/4 days before due date and hopefully have her here for a month - which should give some time even if baby goes overdue...
I know my mum will be of the helpful variety doing food and cleaning up and I think I would also appreciate her help with the baby and any raggedy bits I end up with!
(I'm an only child so its the only possible grandchild for her and even though she lives abroad I'd like her to be really involved - we are going to keep Ryanair in business!)

seeker Thu 15-Dec-11 09:09:39

If they aren't going to stay with you then as soon as they want to!

HardCheese Thu 15-Dec-11 10:06:45

Thanks, everyone - very helpful to have a lot of different experiences. I should probably have said earlier - only it didn't occur to me till people emphasised the help given by parents and in-laws - that we don't anticipate either my parents or my partner's being helpful in any practical way. We are not young first-time parents, and my ILs are elderly and in poor health and will literally sit on the sofa and need to be waited on down to the last cup of tea, while my parents, though a bit younger and stronger, are pretty helpless outside their own domestic space, and very timid about being in London. Both sets will need to be amused and ferried back and forth between wherever they are staying and here - ILs can't handle the tube or buses any more, and mine get lost - and our flat is so tiny that it really isn't possible for us to do our own thing while any visitors are around.

I do want both sets to meet the baby - especially my parents, who never anticipated having a grandchild at all and are thrilled - but there's definitely no practical help to be anticipated by having them visit, just having them get some contact with the little one, especially as ILs are in such poor health. I'm very fond of my very frail FIL, find my MIL very difficult (endless stupid remarks so far about how 'an only is a lonely' - which is an insanely tactless thing to keep saying to someone of my age having a first baby), and while I'm very touched by my mother's excitement at finally having a prospective grandchild, my father is on the Asperger's spectrum, with all the unintended insensitivity that can imply.

All of which complicates things endlessly.

MiauMau Fri 16-Dec-11 10:41:05

I've left to my mum and MIL to decide who's coming first smile
They'll be staying with us around a couple of weeks each. To be honest, I'm glad that they're coming as this is DS1 and any help is welcome!

OhFraktiousTree Fri 16-Dec-11 10:49:40

Long haul - ILs came when DS was 4 weeks old (I built in margin of error, 2 weeks after latest possible date with potential for a CS and worst possible recovery time) and my parents when DS was 6 weeks. First grandchild for both, mine got dibs on dates because they were tied to term dates for work.

MIL was actually surprisingly helpful around the house, neither set stayed with us.

My mother would have (planned) to come over had I needed an ELCS but is a self-confessed ignoramus on natural birth and recovery and doesn't really like babies so better out of the way. She'd have been very good at looking after me and anticipating my needs though!

bunnygirl80 Fri 16-Dec-11 10:52:29

We live in Oz, with all of our family back in the UK. My PILs flew out 2 wks before my due date (they booked flights, then told us so not much we could do). In the event, they arrived at our house, MIL declared I looked nowhere near ready to give birth, so they disappeared off travelling for 2wks. I had DS 6 hrs after they left our house grin They stayed in a hotel and came to visit us a couple of times while I was in hospital, and once or twice a week when we came home. They stayed for 4mths, although they spent a lot of that travelling.

My parents could only afford to come over for 3wks, so I decided there was no point them being here for the birth as if I went overdue they could well have missed the whole thing. (I also didn't want my mum here when I was immediately post-birth as she would have fussed over me, I'd have felt suffocated and there would have been a massive row). They came out when DS was about 11wks old, so he was doing more stuff than just feeding/crying/sleeping, so they got to actually play with him rather than just watch him sleeping.

InMyChime Fri 16-Dec-11 12:55:10

I don't much in the way of positive advice unfortunately, HardCheese, but your family background sounds similar to mine so thought I'd let you know how things went for me.

My parents had to visit from abroad (short haul) are older, very unable to cope outside their own country etc, much as you describe your ILs. My mother is also very insensitive and made all kinds of remarks to me throughout my pregnancy that I won't go into here(!). My family generally has some issues in terms of social norms and are very introverted. Normally, DH and I would do everything for them when they visit, ferry them around, cook meals they like etc so we warned them that it wouldn't be like that if they visited shortly after the baby had arrived. Anyway, they decided they wanted to visit 10 days after the birth, even though initially we'd agreed a month afterwards, took offence when I asked them to stay in a guesthouse up the road and had completely unrealistic expectations of the visit, seeming to have forgotten how demanding newborns are.

My patience started to wane after 2 days and they fell out with me. I'd had a rotten delivery, was struggling with bf etc. Instead of being sympathetic, my mother just ranted at me that she had been in great form after she gave birth to my eldest brother, had never had a cross word with anyone and complained that ILs were being treated better (not true - they're just from the UK, more capable and need less support if they visit). My father really saw red and just ranted and me and DS for not paying them enough attention and - in his eyes - being rude. They were both really hurtful and blamed me for the visit going wrong, claiming that I wasn't coping with being a mother.... hmm. The long and the short of it is that the visit put pressure on the thin veneer of tolerance in my relationship with my parents to the point where I'm not sure I want to see them again for a very long time. So if you have any pressure points like this (MIL sounds like she could be a problem, for example) then wait as long as possible to have difficult guests. It is very hard to plan ahead really because if you have a tough delivery, as I had, then you'll have no reserves of energy to be as tolerant or polite as you normally would be. Equally you could have a good delivery and be on a post-birth high. Just try to be easy on yourself either way and have positive people around if you can.

StoneBaby Fri 16-Dec-11 19:44:01

My mum lives in France and came when DS was 10 days old. It was planned and very useful for us as I was recovering from an EmCS with complications. She was doing the night shifts and it permitted Dh and I to sleep (I didn't sleep for the last 2 months of pregnancy) and took over the running of the house under my supervision. So all in all it worked.

If you feel that your paprents or ILs are interfering, tell them, it's your child and your house. They are with you to meet their grandchild and to help!

When we will have a DC2, she'll be with us before the birth (we'll know the date in advance as I'll need a CS) to watch DS. I think where I'll have to put my foot down will be for how long she'll be staying but it's in the future so I'm not worried about it.

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