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How can others 'help' when baby arrives?

(31 Posts)
moonamay Tue 31-Oct-17 10:47:52

Pregnant with DC2 and after a shoddy time after having DC1, I'm trying to better plan and prepare for after the birth.
One of the things I struggled with hugely after DC1 arrived was other people! Well meaning parents wanting to 'help' but not really helping at all. My DM stayed for us for 2 weeks after DC1 was born and I just couldn't wait for her to leave. She had no interest in doing anything other than holding the baby whilst he slept! I then felt guilty asking her to help me tidy/clean because I could tell that she really didn't want to. At one point I asked her if she would mind dusting around and she did it whilst huffing and puffing. I guess she was excited about having her first grandchild, but I really could have done without her constant presence. Whilst MIL took it upon herself to rearrange my entire kitchen/drawers whenever she was 'helping'.
DH has to take less time off work this time around, maybe just a few days, so DM has offered to take 2 weeks off work when DH returns to 'help' me again. I wonder if I'd be better off on my own as opposed to her staying with me sitting around holding my new baby all day. She did cook a few meals, but again, at my expense as she doesn't eat until 9pm, at which point I was ready for bed and having to pin my eyes open just to eat!
Maybe I'm being too critical?
what things did you find most helpful after your babies were born? What can I do to get DM (and others) to be more helpful?

Caterina99 Tue 31-Oct-17 14:43:21

I just had DD and DS is 2. My parents stayed for nearly 3 weeks (we live abroad). Their main role was looking after DS so I could concentrate on the baby. My mum also cooked meals for us, did washing and generally ran my house. My dad drove me to appointments and played with DS a lot. They took him to nursery on his days. I did have a c section though so I knew I would need the help. It was amazing to have them, but also nice to see them go and get my house to myself again. Maybe you just need to be extremely specific with your mum

moonamay Wed 01-Nov-17 06:41:26

Thanks Cat. I guess the difference is that DC1 will want their attention this time around which would occupy their time much better.

mindutopia Wed 01-Nov-17 11:57:32

We have a no visitors policy for at least a week (first visitors last time were at 10 days) and absolutely no houseguests. My mum lives overseas. When she comes to visit, she gets a holiday cottage nearby and she goes back there in the evenings and comes to see us again mid-morning. If you have people coming over, then I would ask them to prepare a meal for you to bring and you can all eat together and then ask them to tidy up the kitchen, do washing up, put things away after. No one should just be loitering around and re-arranging rooms. Alternatively, give them a shopping list and money and send them out to do the shopping for you. Or ask them to put on the washing, hang it up, put away dry washing before they go. I think concrete tasks and being direct, but also just not allowing people to stay and hang around for hours or days. I would say no to having her come and stay. I personally don't find it helpful and it's more for my mum's benefit than for ours when she comes. Or ask her to come and stay later, not right after baby is born. Mine is coming during the half term to help when I have two at home all day every day and my dh is away for work for a week.

MrsBriteSide Wed 01-Nov-17 12:04:09

It sounds like people could help by leaving you alone! I had to tell people not to visit after the first wave of family as it was just too tiring sitting there talking to them when I just needed to lie down. After the first two weeks when my DH went back to work, my sister would come over to keep me company. She would tidy up, make me cups of tea and would hold the baby while I went upstairs for a nap. That was amazing.

She'd also hold baby while I had a shower and later down the line while I got ready for us to leave the house for a walk etc.

Could they look after DC1 out of the house for you? That would surely be a big help.

Appuskidu Wed 01-Nov-17 12:09:46

I wouldn't want anyone to stay for two weeks- especially someone who isn't vaguely helpful! Just say, no thanks-no need, we'll be fine.

moonamay Wed 01-Nov-17 13:25:10

Thanks all, lots of ideas. DM could actually stay at her sister's as opposed to our house and visit for a few hours during the day/cook meals/shop/see to DS. I'm not sure she'll respond particularly well to direct tasks mind you... she like to 'help' in 'her own way' and turns her nose up at anything specific she's asked to do... a control issue I think. I guess she will just have to turn her nose up.
I think a strict no visitors rule for the first week would be a Godsend... the first time around, my house was flooded with visitors for weeks and I never got chance to nap. It was horrendous. I've told DH under no circumstances is he to open those flood gates again!

Appuskidu Wed 01-Nov-17 13:43:00

Why doesn't she just not come and stay at alll?! How far away does she live?

chipscheeseandgravy Wed 01-Nov-17 13:56:07

Depending on how old dc1 is could she take him out for a few hours in the morning/play with him whilst you have a nap, shower etc?

If she can stay elsewhere then she’s not under your feet all day. And you can control how much contact she has, based on how useful she becomes.

FGSholdthedoor Wed 01-Nov-17 14:04:32

The no visitors rule is something we will be doing this time around! (Apart from immediate family: my DM,DF,DB and my PiLs which I don't mind)

First time around I think DH got too excited and overwhelmed about the prospect of everyone meeting DS and it ended up with first visitors coming the day after I came home from the hospital confused
I was too shell shocked to think about what I wanted until weeks down the line TBH but we just had a stream of visitors coming in and out for the first 2 weeks watching me sit on the sofa looking like a jellyfish and playing pass the baby.
At one point we had my MiL, her NDN and her NDNs house guest turn up!!!

This time I've told DH under no circumstances are we arranging anything until we are all at home and settled, and then we both decide what, who, how and when.

moonamay Wed 01-Nov-17 14:31:39

I'm with you FGS! Much the same here... far too shell shocked to realise what I did or didn't want and DH was proud as punch so invited every bugger he knows! I know now how it impacted v negatively on my MH so it won't be happening again.

Appu: Yes DM has to stay as she lives 3 hours away

user1493413286 Wed 01-Nov-17 15:28:30

My mum came to stay and while she loved holding the baby she also did washing up, hoovering, shopping and cooking. My MlL wasn’t so helpful but just her doing the big food shop was a massive help.
My sister visited and brought a load of meals for the freezer which was massively helpful.
I think if people are going to come they need to be told in advance that you need help with things and give them an idea of what to expect. When my SiL visited it was like having a guest and I found it really frustrating.
It might be helpful to ask your DM to take your DC1 out every day or something

gybegirl Wed 01-Nov-17 15:35:39

Definitely get DM to stay at her sisters.
Then at least you get a bit of time just you.

You can also then arrange visiting times to suit you. We did this after DD1 was born and being able to wave goodbye was great (as it was to say hello each morning) on our own time frame.

Flattery is key "I know you'll understand mum, some people would be not so flexible and supportive" etc.

On DD2s arrival we had moved and had a bigger house. It was nice to have my parents stay and play with DD1. My mum is super helpful though.

CranjisMcBasketball Thu 02-Nov-17 17:26:42

My mum was helpful in that she looked after my 2 dc's while I gave birth. She was unhelpful in many other ways. One example. I struggled with bf and had to ff. Dd was not sleeping unless cuddled up to me and I was like a guilt ridden zombie. I was hoping my mum would come down and entertain the older two. When she arrived she flopped onto the couch and said "Pass her here. You go make me a sandwich and coffee." I got up snatched her back and told her to do one.

MonChoufleur123 Thu 02-Nov-17 17:39:23

We had 3 rules when our little boy came back from hospital fpr the first few weeks - no visits longer than 2 hours, if people were coming at lunch time they had to bring lunch with them, and not to invite anyone without checking with each other first.
The most helpful things people did were stacking/unstacking the dish washer and taking the dog out for a walk.
When people were 'hovering' on visits I would just be very direct and say 'can you tidy up the lunch things please' etc - if you come across as rather blunt or bossy you can blame it on the sleep deprivation.
HTH!

Ven83 Thu 02-Nov-17 19:05:12

MIL is coming tomorrow to see the baby. She’s staying in a hotel nearby but will not come see us until my husband is back from work. God forbid she offers to look after the baby for 20 minutes so I can wash my hair. She’s made it clear that she’s coming as a guest only and thinks she’s being helpful by not making us host. She’s staying in a hotel and sourcing her own meals, how considerate of her hmm

Appuskidu Thu 02-Nov-17 19:14:37

When she arrived she flopped onto the couch and said "Pass her here. You go make me a sandwich and coffee." I got up snatched her back and told her to do one.

OMG!! What did she say?!

chewbacca83 Thu 02-Nov-17 22:02:31

This seems like a good thread to ask what I can get for my friend as she just had 2nd baby. I was wondering about a cleaners voucher? Ive not got a baby so want to give something useful. Or I could bring some meals in Tupperware? Any advice much appreciated.

Crunkly Thu 02-Nov-17 22:34:02

With my first my church set up a meal rota. Someone came and dropped off a meal every other day at 6pm for a few weeks after DH went back to work. Such an amazing help!
One of my friends came and stayed 1 day after the baby was born. She cleaned her room which wasn’t ready for her, planned and cooked all the meals got the shopping and was an absolute God send. The thing I struggled with more was my own expectations of myself. Wanting to host my guests well so pushed myself too much and feeling embarrassed about breast feeding at first. I wish I had

Crunkly Thu 02-Nov-17 22:35:08

Oops posted too soon
I wish I had limited the number of visitors in the first 2weeks or so.

Crunkly Thu 02-Nov-17 22:38:19

How about doing a to do list and saying to your mum that’s my to do list, hopefully she will decide to pick off the list rather than doing her own thing.

ginfizzliz Thu 02-Nov-17 22:48:57

I think I'm still a bit traumatised from my Mum's visit after my baby was born! She arrived the day after I left hospital and was just obsessed with holding the baby all the time. And because she lives five hours away I felt too guilty to deny her.

We were having latching issues so I was spending hours alone in the bedroom pumping while she and other family members held and even fed my baby. It was horrendous and has massively damaged mine and my Mum's relationship as far as I'm concerned as I feel as though she should have twigged that I needed to be with my baby more. I'll never get that first week of her life back when I felt as though I hardly saw her.

If there's a next time I'm banning anyone staying over for at least a week and not caring about who I offend!

People can help by doing ANY domestic chore and leaving you to bond with your child!

ginfizzliz Thu 02-Nov-17 22:49:32

To do list is a very good idea Crunkly!

oldlaundbooth Thu 02-Nov-17 22:53:52

Yes I noticed too that people aren't too clean on scrubbing the loo, sweeping the floor or cooking the dinner.

They all just want to sit and hold the baby which isn't really helpful.

I'd be more direct as pp's say - can you empty the dishwasher, fix lunch, fold laundry etc.

It's a massive help when people bring homemade food. Even better if they heat, serve and wash up afterwards.

oldlaundbooth Thu 02-Nov-17 22:55:35

You have to remember though that you can't expect people to just skivvy - it's great if people actually want to help but maybe save the crap jobs for when you get a minute I. E cleaning the bathroom.

Maybe in 2020 grin

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