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Parents staying with us when baby is born: really good or bad idea?

(30 Posts)
neuroticlady Tue 14-Aug-07 13:06:15

Hello. I need a bit of advice from those of you who've already been there and done it. I'm expecting our first baby in Feb, feeling pretty anxious about how I'll cope with the whole experience and also a bit isolated as as we're currently living overseas. (I'll never take having the family down the road for granted again.)

I feel really sad at the idea of me sitting in hospital with our bub and no family around to visit. So Mum and Dad have offered to fly out and be with us. My first reaction was that this would be great. But since talking to a few mums the general reaction has been one of horror: 'there's no way you want people staying with you while you're coping with a new baby', that kind of thing. And they would definitely have to stay with us. So, am I mad? Would it be good to have the support and help? Mum is a dab hand in the kitchen and nobody is more organised about washing/housework (hooray) but she can be pretty opinionated and bossy - can't see the point of breastfeeding etc. Also my dh is pretty worried about them staying as he wants to be able to concentrate on me and bub and not feel he has to be on 'duty' for them. Oh, help. Should we ask them to book flights a few weeks after predicted due date and cope alone or take the chance that it'll be great to have them staying with us for the birth and get them over straight away? Your honest opinions will be greatly valued! Thanks.

preggersagain Tue 14-Aug-07 13:08:12

coukld you perhaps ask them to come over but to stay somewhere nearby instaed of with you? That way you get space and daily help!

scorpio1 Tue 14-Aug-07 13:08:17

Me, personally-this would be my worst nightmare. Ask them to come a few weeks after, when your dh goes back to work, so you have constant help iyswim? Its really not as bad as you think to cope with your first baby.

flowerybeanbag Tue 14-Aug-07 13:09:44

Useful to have in terms of practical support, washing, etc, but I wouldn't if your mum can be bossy and opinionated about things that you will need support on.
I had my mum here adn my in-laws as well, but only for a couple of days, then they all went away and we had some time on our own.
They were all helpful in terms of housework, and were v supportive about everything, so I had no concerns about opinions etc.
And agree withyour DH. However helpful someone is, it's always tiring having people to stay.

soph28 Tue 14-Aug-07 13:14:01

my parents stayed with us when our first child was born and it was great. my mum shopped, cooked amazing meals, cleaned and did the washing so dh and i could concentrate completely on ds and i got lots of rest!

CatIsSleepy Tue 14-Aug-07 13:15:11

tis a tricky one. You'll have to be very bloodyminded about breast-feeding. Be prepared to stand your ground!

My mum came to stay for 3 weeks straight after dd was born. It was a bit of a mixed blessing (she can be quite annoying...)

However, good things she did were:

cooking nice meals for me and dh
baking fruitcakes
ironing
giving me a break from dd so I could nap in the day
taking dd at 3 in the morning when I'd fed her, changed her nappy, rocked her endlessly and still she wouldn't sleep...she ended up sleeping with dd in her bed sometimes (or not sleeping, too, just holding her whilst dh and I got a bit more sleep)

so all in all I was very grateful to her.
In retrospect, it might have been good to have had some time at home just the 3 of us to begin with...but it's easy to say that now! The reality is I was anaemic and very wibbly, and grateful for any help I could get. Having her there actually meant dh had less household stuff to do as well.

LIZS Tue 14-Aug-07 13:15:33

agree with Scorpio. My mum did come out in similar circumstances because we also had ds to be looked after. How long would you stay in hospital, early days at home are precious and you may well want to be exclusive for a while. Alternatviely can they come while you are in hospital to keep it ticking over, leave for a "holiday" for a week and then return when dh goes to work ? In meantime find some friends in the same boat who will happily visit you and help out.

misspiggy Tue 14-Aug-07 13:21:54

My mum came to stay when I had DS1 and although she was brilliant and I was really grateful for her help, on reflection, it rather spoiled the whole experience of becoming a family for me and ex DH. Mum was seeing to baby when I was too tired and keeping the house tidy etc and DH ended up being a bit "sidelined".

As Preggers said, can they stay in a hotel / guesthouse and come over when you want them to (I know this sounds selfish but you have to be when you've just had a baby!) then you and DH will have plenty of time to get used to being a mum and dad yourselves.

As for feeling anxious, everyone feels like that and believe me, after a short time you'll wonder what you were worried about - you'll be just fine!

iwouldgoouttonight Tue 14-Aug-07 13:25:16

From my experience I wouldn't want to have family (or anyone) staying in the first week or so, but maybe they could come out to you after that. I had trouble breastfeeding and my mum also didn't see the point of it, and having her leaning over my boob and 'trying' to be helpful by telling me it'd be easier for me if I gave him a bottle was really stressful for me.

But obviously it depends on what your relationship with your mum is like - if you can be make it clear from the start that you'd really appreciate help with housework, etc but would also like space on your own to establish feeding, etc then it would probably work out fine.

I found the first week or so I was so happy/dazed that me, DP and DS all coped really well with just the three of us, but once the euphoria wore off and the tiredness kicked in it was a real help to have someone around to take DS out for an hour or so while I caught up on some sleep.

MarsLady Tue 14-Aug-07 13:27:33

From what I've seen most people prefer to have the first few days to themselves. They love their parents but just want the space to find themselves as a new family.

Why not get them to book their flights once the baby is born? It might be worth getting them to come out a week after the baby is born.

What breastfeeding support have you put in place? If your mum's not keen on bfing then it might be better to have a few days establishing your feeding before she comes out.

AnnieOleHouseElf Tue 14-Aug-07 13:28:41

Honestly? Bad idea.

For me, I just wanted it to be my new family, adjusting together. I know they're your parents, but those first few days are precious, and you and DH need them to yourselves to bond. Everyone else can pile in afterwards, when you're recovered a bit, and more relaxed and confident with your new baby. If you are anything like I was, you won't want to see ANYone, apart from DH and baby.



Good luck with what you decide.

Baffy Tue 14-Aug-07 13:29:47

I think you will be fine for the first couple of weeks. Especially if dh can have some time off with you. Enjoy the time bonding as a family. Ignore the house work, freeze meals beforehand, get take aways... just enjoy being a family and use that precious time to establish feeding, and let dh look after both of you and not worry about anyone else.

Then let them come out a couple of weeks later and you'll feel so much more confident and relaxed with the baby, and by then you'll be grateful for some help round the house and some home-cooked meals

I think it would be too much having them there from the start. It's precious time for the 3 of you that you'll never get back.

ghosty Tue 14-Aug-07 13:30:28

It obviously depends on how well you get on with your mum but I wouldn't have had it any other way.
When DS was born my parents stayed with us in our 2 bedroomed house ... my dad only for a couple of nights after we left hospital but my mum stayed for a week.
She was amazing, she cooked, she put flowers in vases, she made tea and coffee for visitors, she answered the phone and took messages, telling people I was resting ... she even saw off some very keen older friends who turned up unanounced and I was asleep and to make an appointment.
She was brilliant. And she is disabled so she is a bloody legend
This was in the UK.
Fast forward 4 years when I was pg with DD, we were in New Zealand and I was gutted, gutted, that she wasn't going to be there. I cried and cried about it.
Then, a week before my due date I opened the door one morning to find my parents on the doorstep . My Dad and DH had planned it for months ...
We had a bigger house then so space wasn't an issue. Mum had become more disabled, sadly. But she did really well. They had to extend their trip a bit longer than intended as DD was late but Mum cooked, dusted, baked, fed DS, my Dad took DS to kindergarten ... again, a legend.
I know it makes my mum very sad that my sister doesn't 'need' her when she has her babies ... but that is another story.

I don't know what I would have done if my mother was against breastfeeding, perhaps you need to make it clear to her what your plans are, send her information and all that (I am sure Hunker would be able to direct you to some useful links if you ask nicely ) and make sure she knows that you want to do things your way but could do with an extra pair of hands ....

My DH gets on well with my parents but yes, there was a little bit of 'duty' to be done but he could see that that was a small price to pay considering he had a good meal every night and all his washing done for 3 weeks

Had my ^MILY suggested coming to stay however, I would have refused point blank

Gemy Tue 14-Aug-07 13:30:29

I definate dilemma!

My parents came to stay when DD was 6 weeks old and they stayed for 2 weeks. It was a loooong 2 weeks. While they were there I sometimes used to feel like a spare part. I had DD in her little routine after the birth and it worked for me. Then mum turned up and just went ahead with what she wanted (when DD was yawning away she'd keep pulling faces, shaking rattles etc etc). Needless to say DD's routine was out of the window and she went from being a happy baby to being really quite whingy and very exhausting.

On the other hand, I can't complain about the housework being done, fabulous meals always available and lots of laughs (my dad kepy crying at how happy he was) so there were prescious times too.

When they left I was scared but also a little relieved. I had started to doubt my mothering skills while mum was around and when they left I got them back and my parenting confidence with it.

When I have this baby (I am 20 weeks) my parents will already be staying with us (DD due Christmas and mum and dad always visit) but this time I will have the confidence to do it my way. If this was my first, then I would want it to me just me, DH and DD for those first few prescious weeks. No one else.

Good luck with everything and if your parents are around then don't let them push you around and allow good time without them being around to get used to your new little family.

TooTicky Tue 14-Aug-07 13:32:31

I'd have at least 2 weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding and things - you don't want your confidence and ideas knocked straight away. Enjoy some time without them, then you'll be happier to see them when they do arrive.

ghosty Tue 14-Aug-07 13:32:57

My MILY? I meant my MIL

neuroticlady Tue 14-Aug-07 13:33:56

preggersagain, sadly no they would have to stay with us as it's a bit remote and no b&bs or similar nearby.

flowerybeanbag, yes having them come and go again after a couple of days would be IDEAL but as we're in Australia our visitors always stay for weeks

soph28 and catissleepy that would be my dream scenario... in fact I would love to send them a list saying 'you can come and stay but only if you agree to do all the cooking and cleaning, bugger off and leave us alone for a few hours each day, cook meals for us but don't actually expect us to spend any time with you, and be there for me if I do want a chat/shoulder to cry on - !!! But I don't think that's very realistic...

Lizs, apparently for a 'normal vaginal delivery' I'll be in hospital for four days. So quite a lot of time to be on my own (and with bub and DH of course).

scorpio1, I think I'm coming round to the notion that it might be better to get them out a few weeks after the birth. I just don't want them or me to miss out - but equally I don't want to end up feeling like I'm about to stab someone through 'guest stress'...

MarsLady Tue 14-Aug-07 13:36:26

Is that standard in Oz? A 4 day stay?

doggiesayswoof Tue 14-Aug-07 13:36:32

I would ask them to come when baby is 6 weeks or so. Here's why:

1. Although it's hard (understatement!) imo it's better in the long run if you and dh learn the ropes by yourself without others making 'helpful' suggestions - looking back we really relished the chance to get to know dd and puzzle our way through the early weeks - gave us confidence

2. You may or may not find breastfeeding tricky, and if you do, you really don't need anyone who is not 100% supportive while you're establishing it

3. Your dh is right - better to concentrate on you, rather than worrying about guests

4. It's so much easier if you allow the house to become a tip! Your parents can still help to get things back on an even keel when they do come.

5. You will (hopefully) only be in hospital for a couple of days - hospital visiting seems important at the time but looking at the bigger picture it's not that big a deal imho.

CatIsSleepy Tue 14-Aug-07 13:40:21

neuroticlady-sounds like your decision is made

my mum definitely came to look after me/dd/dh, not to be a guest...So if you think you/your dh are going to have to look after your parents at all, best leave it a bit!

also babies are unpredictable-yours could arrive well before or after your due date. if the baby's late you might not want your parents hanging about waiting for things to happen! prob safest to book flights for few weeks after due date, as you seem to be coming around to anyway...

doggiesayswoof Tue 14-Aug-07 13:40:38

Ah - only read OP, so missed the bit about the 4 day stay in hospital. That's a bit longer than is standard here, granted.

CatIsSleepy Tue 14-Aug-07 13:41:28

(oh and my mum has a real knack for 'helpful' suggestions LOL)

mixedmama Tue 14-Aug-07 14:34:24

I am very close to my mum and would love to have her come and stay when the baby is born, and she did offer last time but said she would come once dh has returned to work so that altho he would still have them there he would not be with them all day everyday, and BF with my dad around would drive me nuts. (that is a crazy issue of mine).

However, she was only 45 mins up the road and now she is jusst 5 mins away.

kyala Tue 14-Aug-07 14:58:14

It doesn't matter how good your mum is at housework etc and lending a hand normally, her eyes are going to be totally fixed on the new baby and you will find yourself running around after them making cups of tea etc!!
This time round I'm asking everyone to leave us be for a few days to get used to having a baby around, the last time was a nightmare, and my Inlaws are usually so good!!

I had a home birth, DD was born at 3 am, DH sent text messages out at about 6am and his parents were round quite early in the day. I was in the bed room the whole time, as you would expect, and they came up, just as I was BF and my FIL said "Well, let's have a look at her face then, come on!!" As though I was doing it to spite them!! So, I'm not having it this time, and besides DD has to get used to the fact that she's got to share her space with a baby too, in your situation I'd say get them to come over a week or two later, just so you can have a bit of coming down time, then hit the housework, then you wont have to worry about the house and the fact that your parent's wont even be looking at you LOL, they can have the baby as much as they want and you can just sit and drink tea (or wine LOL)

Am at it again with the essays again, sorry guys

crokky Tue 14-Aug-07 15:06:23

To the OP: It really depends. I had my mother, step mother and father staying at the time of my LO's birth and I would do it again (at the time they lived 150 miles away).

I don't mean this rudely, but is your DH adaptable and good at thinking for himself? My DH is good at his job sat at a desk. However he could not get the hang of changing a nappy, he can't cook, he really has no idea if anything needs cleaning or what it would be cleaned with. He can't drive and he can't think of solutions to 'household' type problems. This is partly why I had my divorced parents there and my stepmother.

Then you have to consider your parents - it bodes well that your mum is a great housekeeper, but you need support whilst learning to breastfeed. Either she accepts this or you need your DH to fight your battles for you in this area and not allow her to undermine your efforts.

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