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Grandparents wanting to stay in my house with the newborn...

(52 Posts)
MyDogHatesMe Fri 17-Jun-11 10:33:30

Hi All,
This is a bit of a WWYD really.
We live in the South and my parents live in the North, so when they come down they stay with us for a few days to make the journey worthwhile. We don't have children at the moment but are expecting DC1 later this year.

We've got a relatively small house - a 3 bed semi with 1 bathroom upstairs and a cloakroom downstairs. The box room is currently empty (well, filled with baby stuff) and our 2nd bedroom is still a large double guest room and will stay that way til if and when we have a second child.

My mum and dad obviously want to see their new (and first) grandchild as soon as possible after the birth which is fine, but I'm a bit hmm about them staying with us. I feel really mean about this but I just think it's going to be too much for all of us - my parents included - as the baby will be keeping them awake and they both work, not to mention I am planning on BF and there is no way on earth I can do that in front of my dad. I know we'll be in a mess the first few days and not in any sort of routine, and I will find it a struggle to get dressed never mind be entertaining and worrying about guests. My DH is really helpful but I wouldn't feel right just sitting with the baby while he runs around after 'my' guests IYKWIM. My mum is great but my dad can wind me up at the best of times so during this unstable period I think I will be even more sensitive towards it.

I've mooted the idea of them staying in a local hotel (there are loads really nearby) but they are a bit offended by this since we have a double bedroom spare and going begging. Also they want to come down literally the minute the baby arrives - drop everything, leave work etc - so I think they're worried they won't get booked into one. My mum wants to come down on her own for a couple of weeks later on, which will be great as we will be more settled and I can be myself in front of my mum... my dad can't do that because of work. I think my mum will be fine, but I know I am setting myself up for some sort of passive aggressive showdown with my dad (he has a tendency to write me nasty letters/emails about what a bad daughter I am, which he leaves around for me to find and we never discuss it in person) and I don't think I'll be able to deal with that again, I lost sleep for 3 months last time.

Should I just cave and let them stay with us, and go BF upstairs or whatever. Or stick to my guns? What are you doing, or what would you do?

Thanks for listening!

mrsravelstein Fri 17-Jun-11 10:36:54

my inlaws wanted to see us as soon as ds2 and dd were born - they lived 5 hours drive away and we have a pretty big house, and at any other time they have been more than welcome.... but we did exactly what you're suggesting just for those 2 visits... they stayed 5 mins up the road in a nice b&b and it was much better... quite frankly with only 1 bathroom, you are not going to want to be sharing it with anyone other than your dh in the first week or so after birth...

RitaMorgan Fri 17-Jun-11 10:38:43

No, stick to your guns. You won't be able to just go and breastfeed upstairs every now and again anyway, you might find you are breastfeeding for hours at a time grin

You need to be able to relax and enjoy your baby at first - don't have anyone round who will be more of a hindrance than a help.

They can stay in a hotel and come round for a couple of hours each day to make you cups of tea/cook/do some housework/hold baby while you shower.

captainbarnacle Fri 17-Jun-11 10:39:53

You have a 3 bed house for just the two of you and a newborn? Your house is not small.

MyDogHatesMe Fri 17-Jun-11 10:42:09

"with only 1 bathroom, you are not going to want to be sharing it with anyone other than your dh in the first week or so after birth..."

My thoughts exactly. My parents don't have any frame of reference as they had us at a time when everyone lived close to each other so it wasn't an issue. They seem to think I am being really precious not wanting to share my house with them and have a "we're your parents, we've seen you naked" sort of attitude, but the reality is we're not really that close any more even if they try to pretend we are. They're really welcome normally and I'm upset they don't understand that just this once I have very real reasons for wanting some distance, at least during the newborn nighttime mania.

snailoon Fri 17-Jun-11 10:42:32

What ever else you do, get over the breastfeeding embarrassment. You will make life SO much easier and happier for yourself. As soon as you get used to it, you can bf and no one will see your breasts, you can bf with baby in a pouch as you walk down the street and no one will even know.

FoxyRevenger Fri 17-Jun-11 10:44:51

You know, after I had my daughter I felt quite...phobic, I suppose about people being in the house all the time. I just felt trapped by it and stressed, as if we were in a zoo being watched or something.

If you feel like you won't be comfortable, then stick to your guns. They might be offended. They will get over it. And it sounds like your dad will be a pain in the arse regardless of what happens so I wouldn't even factor him in to your decision.

MyDogHatesMe Fri 17-Jun-11 10:45:22

OK maybe not 'small' but I think it will be total chaos all trying to share one bathroom, and our room is next to the guest room so will definitely keep mum and dad awake.

I think what I meant is we don't have one of these 3-storey town houses with 5 bedrooms and an endless array of bathrooms and en suites smile

Oh and I forgot to mention our 8-stone german shepherd grin

captainbarnacle Fri 17-Jun-11 10:46:38

I think that if they're jsut coming to see a newborn in his/her first week then they should just get a hotel for one night - but tell them they are welcome to stay once the baby is 6w old or something and you have had time to settle in smile

MyDogHatesMe Fri 17-Jun-11 10:48:25

"What ever else you do, get over the breastfeeding embarrassment" I wish sad I'm very very shy especially with my parents around. I know they'll be really uncomfortable too, it's just not 'done' in their world and they're very out of touch with any modern ways as they have no friends full stop never mind any who've been there done that and could tell them it's normal.

Ephiny Fri 17-Jun-11 10:49:49

I wouldn't have anyone to stay right after the birth, you need a bit of time to get settled. When you're trying to get bfing established you aren't going to want to worry about going upstairs all the time, you need to be able to relax and take your time. Especially if you end up needing a C-section or episiotomy/stiches, you might be sore for a while and not want to be going up and down all the time. And if your dad is 'difficult' then that's the last thing you need at such a time!

CountBapula Fri 17-Jun-11 10:52:53

My mum was the same - put a lot of pressure on me to let her come and stay right after the birth. My concerns were the same as yours. In the end I asked her to stay in a hotel. She was quite hmm about it but I am so glad I insisted. The two weeks when DH was on paternity leave were really cosy and special as we bonded as a family. My mum tried to scare me by saying how hard it is looking after a new baby and suggesting we wouldn't cope, but DS slept most of the time (he didn't for the next 8 months but that's a different story grin) and DH and I coped just fine.

Put your foot down if that's what you want. I am terrible at confrontation and dread family arguments but I told myself that I was about to become a mum and DH and DS were my family now - I had to toughen up and do the right thing for them.

All the best for the birth smile

birdofthenorth Fri 17-Jun-11 10:57:18

Stick to your guns. My in laws did a 6 hour roundtrip in a day to meet DD1 despite our perfectly good guest room. My auntie is currently staying in a hotel to meet her new granddaughter.

Bring a baby home is a lovely, mad, hectic & magical time but it is a personal time -you will probably be very sore, going to the loo will hurt, & establishing breastfeeding is not always easy (& as above -you need to do it for about a third of your day at first!!). You & DH need to bond with bubba as a family of 3 first. You don't need to worry about other people being woken in the night or whether you have anything in for dinner or anything apart from feeding, burping, cuddling & bathing your DC.

Renaissance227 Fri 17-Jun-11 11:00:30

Put your foot down and explain that you and your DH will want some time to bond with the baby alone first. A hotel for a couple of days should be no hardship.
snailoon - I'm due in October, so a long way off yet, but nervous about breastfeeding. How do you get so no-one knows you're even doing it? Does it really become that natural and unnoticed?

birdofthenorth Fri 17-Jun-11 11:03:57

PS as the owner of two huge labradoodles I speak from experience when I suggestyou might want someone else to look after the 8 stone Germann Shepherd for the first few days! You will not want to be dog walking with stitches, & will want DH close by to pass burp cloths not off in the park! Just for a few days. Honestly. So you can rest the baby down without a tail wafting in his/her face for just the first few moments!

birdofthenorth Fri 17-Jun-11 11:06:33

Renaissance to bf discreetly where two vest tops ' pull one down & one up to feed -you needn't flash at all that way- others in room just see top-baby-top & it's often mistaken just for cuddling

expatinscotland Fri 17-Jun-11 11:07:28

Stick to your guns. Send your dad an email about what a shite father he is to be sending passive aggressive letters and emails to you like that, too. Wanker.

Renaissance227 Fri 17-Jun-11 11:09:50

Thanks Birdofthenorth!

silverangel Fri 17-Jun-11 11:12:02

My FIL lives in america, we have a 3bed house and one bathroom and we have a slightly mental puppy. I'm expecting twins (first grandchildren). I totally understand he wants to come and visit but I have put my foot down and said he is NOT staying with us for three weeks. SIL lives 20 mins from us and he can easily stay there (this is a bit of an ongoing issue, he always stays with us when he is over, not there). Its caused a bit of an argument between me and DH but I cant imagine anything worse than having someone stay with us for three weeks when trying to get grips with twins, and he is not an easy house guest, expects meals made and would be no help at all!

Stand by your guns would be my advicesmile I've been reading my baby books (all of which will probably go right out the window once babies arrive, but!) and they all seem to advocate calm in the beginning.

Good luck!

snailoon Fri 17-Jun-11 11:13:32

I didn't mean to sound abrupt and bossy OP. I just think being comfortable with bf makes a HUGE difference to your life and your baby's life too and I wanted to ask you to rethink the privacy need.
There's nothing modern about breast feeding; there didn't used to be any alternative.
Also, people can get accustomed to anything if they give themselves a chance. Having a child is a big new thing to get used to, so maybe you can also get used to the discreet public breastfeeding.

expatinscotland Fri 17-Jun-11 11:19:12

I can't abide guests who expect meals made and that sort of shite. He'd have extremely short shrift from me on that. I'd show him where the kitchen was and tell him to have at it or call for a takeaway. Or get a hotel room.

That's why BIL won't stay here.

Good riddance, as far as I'm concerned. He's a lazy sack of . . .

Playdohinthewashingmachine Fri 17-Jun-11 11:29:36

Just Say No. Actually, if they start getting all offended, tell them this is your first baby and you're going to do what is best for you and your baby. Say "I'm really sorry I can't put you first this time, but I know you will understand and put me first because you love me".

If they get offended try and be blase about it "oh never mind, if you don't want to stay in a hotel then I expect we'll see you in a few months when the baby is bigger" and watch how fast they backtrack.

If your dad tries one of those letters, write "Dad if you are going to act like this I won't feel comfortable having you to visit, and I'd hate for you not to see your grandchild" and hand it back. Or get your dh to give it back, saying "Do NOT treat My Wife like this" (if he can do Alpha Male).

You're about to have something they desperately want. You call the shots.

But discuss with dh what you will do - and what he will do - in various scenarios. Like the one where you are in still in hospital and they turn up at your house with packed bags and say there are no hotel rooms, for example. Or the one where they stay at a hotel but turn up at your house at 8am and stay till 10pm, 5 days in a row. Dh will need to be in charge of setting boundaries with them because you are likely to be shattered/exhausted/homonal/lost in babyland!

Renaissance227 Fri 17-Jun-11 11:29:37

I agree with not liking guests who expect everything done, but you're sounding very aggressive today expatinscotland!
Have you had a bad experience with the in laws staying?

expatinscotland Fri 17-Jun-11 11:35:39

Very aggressive?! Eh? No, never had negative experiences because I don't suffer fools gladly. Just a polite, let me show you where everything is, we're a 'help yourself' family is usually all that's required.

Nanny01 Fri 17-Jun-11 11:38:02

I have to say that I agree with every one else, it is simply intimacy and privacy. My dh and I insist on short stays no more than 30 mins at a time. Guests want tea and food. Unless they are well trained. If people wanted to stay for meals we asked them to bring a meal for all to share as cooking with a newborn is tricky.

Also if tempers fray due to lack of sleep only you and dh will see it and mum and dad will do the cuddles they want. Overall keep visitors short and sweet so that you don't ware yourself out. With my first child I had 12 guest over an afternoon in the hospital I was tiered and it was hard to feed ds as I wasn't a natural breast feeder so baby was grumpy and so was I.

You will want your evenings to yourselves to get baby settled to. If your parents want to pop round help with the washing fine just don't be the one who is doing the washing while they are the ones sitting with the baby and the tea

I would just be poite and say sorry mum and dad I know we have a spare room but I really feel we need the space to get our baby sorted on our own. Your welcome to come over for an hour in the am or pm but we will really need the rest.

I think at one point my parents took ds out for a short walk in the pram with the strict instructions that if they couldn't settle him to come back. I think they only made it halfway down the road. I think you will find grandparents want to do the nice stuff they forget how tiering it is and mine complain all the time that they only want short times. Be prepared if it's difficult write them a short letter as then your father can't shout at you.

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