1) Let them come to you
“Think of the first few days and weeks with your baby a bit like a honeymoon,” says Lucy Symons, birth and postnatal doula (www.lucysymons.squarespace.com). “You use this occasion to spend quality time together at the start of your married relationship, so do the same with the bond you’re forming with your new baby.” Sit back, relax, and let people come to you. You can even see people from bed if you’re still feeling a bit tired.
2) Set visiting hours
If you’re not keen on people coming and going the whole time, why not suggest specific visiting times? “Telling family and friends it’s an open house for two hours on a particular day means you’ll be prepared, and will have had time to make yourself up and get the house ready,” says Lucy.
3) Don’t go to any trouble
People are coming to see you and your baby, not for a five-star afternoon tea. Make more time for chatting by keeping entertainment simple – tea, coffee, squash, and some biccies is all anyone needs. “You could even ask them to bring a takeaway coffee around for you,” suggests Lucy.
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4) Accept all gifts…
‘What can I bring?’ is a common question so use it wisely. If you’re already surrounded by fabulous flowers, think outside the box. “Instead, ask for vouchers, or if family and friends are insistent on sending flowers, ask them to get ones that come in a vase,” says Lucy. Getting a cheap teapot makes tea-making a doddle when people are constantly coming round.
5) …and all offers of help
Guests will also offer to help, and you’re bound to say ‘No, it’s fine!’ but do you mean it? Probably not! If they’re another mum, why not let them change your little one? “Ask them to hold the baby for as long as it takes you to have a shower or, if you need a nap, suggest they take the baby out for a walk in the buggy,” suggests Lucy.
6) Get a secret signal
If you find yourself waning when the house is full of well-wishers it’s handy to use a pre-agreed special signal with your partner. “You could have a secret word, or action, so that your partner can make an excuse for people to leave,” says Lucy
“When Evie was born a visitor came round wearing heavy perfume and even after a bath I couldn’t get rid of the smell on Evie. After reading about baby senses I discovered a newborn’s sense of smell is vital to feeding so a nose full of heavy perfume must be confusing and maybe even headache-inducing. This prompted me, with my second baby, to tell family and friends to promise not to douse themselves in perfume or aftershave just before they visited.”
Louise Turnbull, 36, from Cleveland, mum to Evie, 2, and Freya, 6 months.