June 2012 Moms

Help after the baby's born?

A bit of background: My husband and I are having a home birth with just us, our midwives, and our doula.  We're not planning on telling people when I'm in labor (because I'm very private and weird, so the thought that people are waiting for me gives me a lot of anxiety), but we'll announce immediately afterward that the baby has arrived.  Also, in order to have private time with our new family, only immediate family will be invited to visit on the first day -- and even then, only for a couple of predetermined "visiting" hours.  

After the first few days, should we arrange for people to stay over and help out?  My mother is really unreliable so I'm not going to ask her to stay.  And, while my MIL is very sweet and very helpful, she tends to be very pushy and bossy.  I've experienced this first-hand after my husband had surgery a few years ago.  I don't really want either of them to stay over for long periods of time, although I would certainly appreciate them dropping by for a few hours to cook, clean, or hold the baby while I shower.  

Is it unreasonable to ask them to just drop in, rather than stay over?  What are all of you ladies doing? 

 

Re: Help after the baby's born?

  • image missBIGV:

    A bit of background: My husband and I are having a home birth with just us, our midwives, and our doula.  We're not planning on telling people when I'm in labor (because I'm very private and weird, so the thought that people are waiting for me gives me a lot of anxiety), but we'll announce immediately afterward that the baby has arrived.  Also, in order to have private time with our new family, only immediate family will be invited to visit on the first day -- and even then, only for a couple of predetermined "visiting" hours.  

    After the first few days, should we arrange for people to stay over and help out?  My mother is really unreliable so I'm not going to ask her to stay.  And, while my MIL is very sweet and very helpful, she tends to be very pushy and bossy.  I've experienced this first-hand after my husband had surgery a few years ago.  I don't really want either of them to stay over for long periods of time, although I would certainly appreciate them dropping by for a few hours to cook, clean, or hold the baby while I shower.  

    Is it unreasonable to ask them to just drop in, rather than stay over?  What are all of you ladies doing? 

     

    Personally, I don't find it unreasonable at all.  Some women love to have their Moms/MIL spend the night to help with night time feedings/changing, but in my opinion that is what DH is for.  I would not hesistate to keep a list of things that need to be done (i.e. cook, clean) to let you have time to bond with your baby. This is the best kind of help they can offer at that time. Your MIL,Mom and others may be a little miffed, but those first few weeks are all about getting your feet under you, bonding with LO and surviving, not about entertaining house guests.  As much as I love my and DH's family, if they were to stay with us I would feel the need to play hostess when I need to be mommy.  Just my 2 cents.  GL.

  • if they are nearby I would have a talk with them seperately and ask f they would help you a few hours a day for the first week. Be specific, but a list of things you need done..it'll make them feel useful. Of course let them hold baby etc, but mainly tell them you REALLY need laundry, cooking and cleaning done so you can focus on nursing and resting. 

    If they are far away be specific about how long they are welcomed to stay. Tell them you would love them for 3 days and then your mom is coming...whatever it is.  

    believe me, the more specific you are,the better. make it sound like you would LOVE the help. You also need to make sure you and dh are on the same page.

     Plus this is their grandbaby, so make time for them (even a few hours here and there).  

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  • Are they local? If your mom & MIL live nearby, I think it's better to have them come visit during the day. No need to stay over; that just seems unnecessary.

    My mom lives in the next town and is taking some days off work to help me in the beginning. She's not staying over though due to our lack of space and the fact that she lives nearby.

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  • both my inlaws are staying for 2 months .. they will come around 37 weeks and stay . i love them both and they are very helpful .. so it will be a nice family time for us plus i really appreciate the help i will be getting. my MIL is a great cook..  that being said there is no right or wrong.. u can do whatever u feel comfortable with .
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  • Maybe I'm the odd ball, but I absolutely do not expect anyody to do my chores for me. Yes, I may not be super mobile for a couple days, but I'm not going to use my family/friends as servants, especially on the times I find most convenient for myself. Hire a maid. With that said, I'm sure you can imagine I won't be having anybody over to "help out". I think it reflects very bad taste so many women around her expect this. Yes, you've given birth. No, you're not the first person to do so. Maybe I should double this as my uo for today.

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  • image Samiantha101:

    Maybe I'm the odd ball, but I absolutely do not expect anyody to do my chores for me. Yes, I may not be super mobile for a couple days, but I'm not going to use my family/friends as servants, especially on the times I find most convenient for myself. Hire a maid. With that said, I'm sure you can imagine I won't be having anybody over to "help out". I think it reflects very bad taste so many women around her expect this. Yes, you've given birth. No, you're not the first person to do so. Maybe I should double this as my uo for today.

    Wow, how do you know that her mom & MIL didn't OFFER to help?

    It was actually a very unexpected surprise that my mother offered to help me when the baby comes home. I was very touched and accepted the offer. That doesn't mean I'm treating my mom like a servant.

     

     

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  • image Samiantha101:

    Maybe I'm the odd ball, but I absolutely do not expect anyody to do my chores for me. Yes, I may not be super mobile for a couple days, but I'm not going to use my family/friends as servants, especially on the times I find most convenient for myself. Hire a maid. With that said, I'm sure you can imagine I won't be having anybody over to "help out". I think it reflects very bad taste so many women around her expect this. Yes, you've given birth. No, you're not the first person to do so. Maybe I should double this as my uo for today.

    That seems really harsh and judgemental. Plus I really think that it is easy to make such comments when you have never had a baby before.

  • image Samiantha101:

    Maybe I'm the odd ball, but I absolutely do not expect anyody to do my chores for me. Yes, I may not be super mobile for a couple days, but I'm not going to use my family/friends as servants, especially on the times I find most convenient for myself. Hire a maid. With that said, I'm sure you can imagine I won't be having anybody over to "help out". I think it reflects very bad taste so many women around her expect this. Yes, you've given birth. No, you're not the first person to do so. Maybe I should double this as my uo for today.

    Ha ha.  This is actually quite funny, only because I felt similarly before DS came.  I never expect anything from anybody, however when people offer to help you it is no crime to accept their help.  As a STM, and I hope I don't sound haughty...truly, the recovery aspect of child birth was way worse than delivery for me.  Not being able to pick anything up, walk for extended periods or even function on so little sleep, was a COMPLETE shock to me.  Regardless of C/S or vaginal delivery your body is pretty much ravaged from child birth.  Add sleep deprivation to that and I was so THANKFUL for the help and support I recieved   So no, I don't feel the least bit bad about accepting help from those who offer.  And if your not careful and very specific, people will try to help you the way they think you need to be helped. (I.e. No, MIL I don't need you to hold the baby when it's time for him to eat because I am Bfing, however you can help me with xyz, if you don't mind.)  I am not saying to be demanding or expect others to do anything for you, but if someone offers to help, you should take them up on it!

  • If somebody wants to help, that's great. It really annoys me though when family & friends are expected to help or when a new mom gets butthurt that their family/friends are there to visit the baby, rather than be a slave to household chores. I would feel extremely uncomfortable having somebody doing my household work, but sometimes I do let pride get in my way. Jmo

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  • image JessieCupcake:
    image Samiantha101:

    Maybe I'm the odd ball, but I absolutely do not expect anyody to do my chores for me. Yes, I may not be super mobile for a couple days, but I'm not going to use my family/friends as servants, especially on the times I find most convenient for myself. Hire a maid. With that said, I'm sure you can imagine I won't be having anybody over to "help out". I think it reflects very bad taste so many women around her expect this. Yes, you've given birth. No, you're not the first person to do so. Maybe I should double this as my uo for today.

    Wow, how do you know that her mom & MIL didn't OFFER to help?

     

    Ummm by her initial post? 

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  • I would take their offer on helping out but not have them stay over since they live close.  My mom lives 1000 miles away and I've told her she's not allowed to come for the first week after LO is born but she'll be here two weeks after to help me with the baby and around the house.  I don't feel bad at all having her put laundry in or doing dishes or cooking.  Dont' expect her to do 100% but she's offered and wants to do it why not. 

     Like PP's menteioned I would be specific and don't hesitate to kick them out once they've been there for a few hours and you want your time.  Your body will appreciate the help and getting those few things done around the house will probably help you out too so you don't feel so overwhelmed.

  • image Samiantha101:

    If somebody wants to help, that's great. It really annoys me though when family & friends are expected to help or when a new mom gets butthurt that their family/friends are there to visit the baby, rather than be a slave to household chores. I would feel extremely uncomfortable having somebody doing my household work, but sometimes I do let pride get in my way. Jmo

    No, I think your opinion is all well and good.  I would go beyond that.  There are women out there (I might even know a few) that expect to be totally catered to after they give birth.  Which is ridiculous.

    A little bit of pride and independence isn't a bad thing, but I would caution you...accept the help you are offered.  Do not be too prideful if you can't do it all.  I am a pretty high functioning tough cookie and I certainly struggled with some aspects of being a new mom and keeping up with house work, etc.  PPD is very real and often strikes the least suspecting of moms.  Largely because they get overwhelmed and are totally exhausted.  Although I didn't struggle with PPD, I certainly had a few bouts of crying and hormone crashes.  Just my experience.

  • Just to clarify, both my mother and MIL have offered to help.  My mother can't take time off of work (and she's a bit kooky), so she hasn't offered to stay over, but has made plans to stop by every few days and help out with anything we need.  My MIL, on the other hand, has offered to stay over and help for "the first week or so". 

    I'm not necessarily opposed to this, except for the fact that 1) I've dealt with her before when she's come over to "help" after her son had surgery (in that case, she literally kicked me out of the house, and told me that "she'd take care of him for the next few days") and 2) she doesn't agree with most of our decisions (regarding circumcision, to cloth diaper, to have a home birth, to breastfeed, etc).  

    I'm certainly not expecting her (or anyone else) to wait on me.  However, since she's offered to help, I'm trying to make her feel as included as possible without having to play hostess.  All I want to do is focus on being a mother to my son, learning how to breastfeed, and bonding with my husband/baby.

    This whole post was just to see what everyone else was doing regarding the many generous offers from friends and family who want to help in the first few days/weeks.  

  • parents live 1500 miles from me and they are coming 2 weeks after my EDD to meet baby and help me and DH. My mom has said time and again that their purpose is to be there for us and help when needed, and that she fully expects to do laundry, dishes, etc while DH and I figuring out our new life with a baby. My grandparents did that for her and my dad, and she said it was nice not having to stress about breastfeeding and dealing with no sleep and then still have to keep up the house. I have no plans to use them as "servants" and I actually have housekeepers that come already on a regular basis so really they won't be cleaning. Some parents/families just want to be a support system and find that to be a great way to be supportive.

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  • image missBIGV:

    Just to clarify, both my mother and MIL have offered to help.  My mother can't take time off of work (and she's a bit kooky), so she hasn't offered to stay over, but has made plans to stop by every few days and help out with anything we need.  My MIL, on the other hand, has offered to stay over and help for "the first week or so". 

    I'm not necessarily opposed to this, except for the fact that 1) I've dealt with her before when she's come over to "help" after her son had surgery (in that case, she literally kicked me out of the house, and told me that "she'd take care of him for the next few days") and 2) she doesn't agree with most of our decisions (regarding circumcision, to cloth diaper, to have a home birth, to breastfeed, etc).  

    I'm certainly not expecting her (or anyone else) to wait on me.  However, since she's offered to help, I'm trying to make her feel as included as possible without having to play hostess.  All I want to do is focus on being a mother to my son, learning how to breastfeed, and bonding with my husband/baby.

    This whole post was just to see what everyone else was doing regarding the many generous offers from friends and family who want to help in the first few days/weeks.  

    I'm sorry.  Your thread kind of got high jacked.  You did not sound like you expected anything and the above in bold, is exactly what you should be focused on.  Accept as much or as little help as you are comfortable with.  With extremely "helpful" people like your MIL, sometimes it is easier to say thanks but no thanks before anyone gets their feelings hurt.  You will make the right decision for you.

    My situation:  My Mom and MIL both live close by.  My Mom has offered and will be an enormous help to us.  My MIL, well she is great at buying cute baby clothes :).  My friends have offered to bring over a few meals, so that is obviously a huge help.  GL.

  • Wtf is wrong with you to think people should drop what there doing to come help you with home work etc hire people to help you or do it yourself you are delivering a child its done everyday
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  • image girlsonly:
    Wtf is wrong with you to think people should drop what there doing to come help you with home work etc hire people to help you or do it yourself you are delivering a child its done everyday

    OP clarified that they offered to help..

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  • No one has offered to help me and my DH after LO is born.  It never occurred to me until I started reading posts about it here.  When my sisters had their babies, no one went over to cook meals or do laundry- it didn't occur to me then, either- and they never asked for that kind of help.  I guess my family just kinda expects you to deal with it, which may be different if my sisters or I had been single mothers, or had had health issues or really difficult deliveries, or multiples, or something.  The only reference my mom has made to "helping" me is that she will make a couple of cassaroles for me to stash in my freezer.  When my family comes over to visit, that will be exactly what they expect to do- visit with me and the baby (and DH). 

    However, I wouldn't say no to help, either.  If someone wanted to come over and run the vacuum or clean out a litter box or run some errands for me, that would be great.  But I can't imagine asking for help, especially with only one baby and my DH there.  Yes, we will be tired.  Yes, the laundry may pile up.  Yes, we may have nothing but hotdogs in the fridge.  But I just figured that was par for the course with a newborn. 

    NOTE:  I did put my foot down about taking on more work- so no house guest for the first couple weeks/months. 

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  • image girlsonly:
    Wtf is wrong with you to think people should drop what there doing to come help you with home work etc hire people to help you or do it yourself you are delivering a child its done everyday

    Would you ever offer to help a family member or friend who has just had major surgery (like a c-section)?  Or would you help a friend who was struggling with an illness?  PPD?  In my circle of friends and my family, we help each other.  Especially in those times in life where we need it.  It's a two way street. It's not a sign of weakness or selfishness, it's a sign of love.

    As OP has stated- help was offered, she is contemplating whether or not to take it. 

  • Families help each other out. That is not at all uncommon. I really can't understand why people are making this dramatic fuss about family helping. It is weird to me. In my family we help each otehr out whenever we need to, it is one of the ways we show our love for each other.
  • image courtfsu:
    image Samiantha101:

    If somebody wants to help, that's great. It really annoys me though when family & friends are expected to help or when a new mom gets butthurt that their family/friends are there to visit the baby, rather than be a slave to household chores. I would feel extremely uncomfortable having somebody doing my household work, but sometimes I do let pride get in my way. Jmo


    A little bit of pride and independence isn't a bad thing, but I would caution you...accept the help you are offered.  Do not be too prideful if you can't do it all.  I am a pretty high functioning tough cookie and I certainly struggled with some aspects of being a new mom and keeping up with house work, etc.  PPD is very real and often strikes the least suspecting of moms.  Largely because they get overwhelmed and are totally exhausted.  Although I didn't struggle with PPD, I certainly had a few bouts of crying and hormone crashes.  Just my experience.

    I was going to say the same about being overwhelmed. I had my mom stay and I was still overwhemled. BFing was more stressful than I ever thought, and sleeping was hard to do even when I was exhausted.

    you just dont know until you have a baby, and yes I hated when people said that to me, but they were right.  

    I am a VERY independant person with a DH who works offshore for 3 wks at a time, and I have a 3 yo and 23 month old, I am 35 wks pregnant and have no family nearby....I will take help when its offered now, but it took me burning out to realize I needed it.  

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  • OP- I agree you should focus on you and the baby, and bonding/bfing etc. I wonder how many moms who dont accept or have help often quit BFing early? I know if I didnt have support from my mom and husband I would have quit and I didnt want to. 

    As for me, my husband and I have done this before and we still will have my mom come from NY to SC for a few days to help with the kids, and see the new baby. While she is here will she help? yup, because she is my mom and wants to make my life easier.

    After that she will come back a few weeks later when DH leaves for the rig and will stay a week to help me as I will be alone with 3 kids under 4.  

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  • image courtfsu:

    image girlsonly:
    Wtf is wrong with you to think people should drop what there doing to come help you with home work etc hire people to help you or do it yourself you are delivering a child its done everyday

    Would you ever offer to help a family member or friend who has just had major surgery (like a c-section)?  Or would you help a friend who was struggling with an illness?  PPD?  In my circle of friends and my family, we help each other.  Especially in those times in life where we need it.  It's a two way street. It's not a sign of weakness or selfishness, it's a sign of love.

    As OP has stated- help was offered, she is contemplating whether or not to take it. 

    I totally agree with Court...I'm actually pretty surprised at the amount of hostility toward accepting help in this thread (and others). Maybe it's from living outside of the US but I don't see anything wrong with letting people help you when you're recovering from something as major as childbirth. I get that women today want to stand on their own two feet as soon as possible and there's merit in that, but to me there is no shame in accepting help when it's offered. Frankly, in parts of the world where it is normal for extended family to jump in and help out after a baby is born there are much lower instances of PPD--perhaps because the women aren't overwhelmed with recovering AND taking care of a newborn AND doing everything they would normally do too. 

    To the OP, I agree with PP who suggested being clear about what will really be helpful to you. I know when my sister had her baby there were a great many things that we were able to do that were more helpful than holding a sleeping baby--like running to the store for necessities that she couldn't go get or bringing over breakfast so she wouldn't have to cook (but could eat something more than a granola bar).

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  • Oh, and as far as my situation: my Mom is flying in about a week and a half after my due date and I know for sure that she is planning to do cooking and whatever else she can to help. My SIL really wanted to come to be here for the birth and to help out after, but the flights ended up being out of their budget. MIL lives close by and DH is certain that she will be really hurt if she doesn't get to help somehow, so he's planning to suggest she help with laundry and cleaning. (It's a very big thing in the culture here for the family to kinda set up camp and do all the housework so all the new mom has to do is feed the baby and rest...if we don't let her come do something she's likely going to feel like she's offended us somehow and it'd cause all kinds of family drama.) 
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  • image Samiantha101:

    If somebody wants to help, that's great. It really annoys me though when family & friends are expected to help or when a new mom gets butthurt that their family/friends are there to visit the baby, rather than be a slave to household chores. I would feel extremely uncomfortable having somebody doing my household work, but sometimes I do let pride get in my way. Jmo

    I would just like to add that I hope you have a good recovery and a good eater/sleeper. B/c I didnt and I needed a lot of help. I was still wearing an ice pack a wk later, could barely move, and I had a bad eater & milk issues so after every feeding I had to pump afterwards for over 3 wks, inaddition we had to undress DS at every feeding. Also it greatly depends how much time DH gets off of work.

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  • image missBIGV:

    A bit of background: My husband and I are having a home birth with just us, our midwives, and our doula.  We're not planning on telling people when I'm in labor (because I'm very private and weird, so the thought that people are waiting for me gives me a lot of anxiety), but we'll announce immediately afterward that the baby has arrived.  Also, in order to have private time with our new family, only immediate family will be invited to visit on the first day -- and even then, only for a couple of predetermined "visiting" hours.  

    This is us minus the doula.

     I would definately not want someone staying over with us right after a baby. Ask people to do small tasks while they are there or bring a meal. Anything else you need just have your husband do it.

     

    Audrey is going to be a big sister!

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  • With DS, I had a c section and stayed at my in laws. Our house had way too many stairs and the bathroom was on another floor. That was interesting to say the least. My in laws were great, but FIL showed he was not used to be lung around a baby. 

    This time it will just be us in our home. DH will be home with us and my aunt who lives with us will be here in the evenings. I don't want visitors at our house for the first two weeks. Only my in laws. ONLY THE PEOPLE I AM MARRIED TO, PAYS RENT, OR CAME OUT MY BODY IS ALLOWED TO SLEEP HERE! Lol

    It is okay to have people come by to help, but there is no reason to have them stay 

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