Monday, June 2, 2014

How to Prepare Your Family & Friends For Your Baby's Arrival

After you've given birth, family and friends can be a great support for your transition into parenthood. It's a great idea to prompt your loved ones before your birth so they know how to best support you. 

Here are the things in which you can do prior to birth:

  • Don't be afraid to tell your family & friends how you really feel. Do you want your family &/or friends at the hospital or birth centre while you are in labor? If not, set a clear boundary that you will contact them when you're ready for them to come. The last thing you want is an unwanted guest popping in and out of your labor room. If you have a birth doula, she can help you to set these boundaries if an unwanted guest does come. 

  • Write down useful ways that family & friends can help you after you've given birth. Some visitors will know exactly what to do when they come over, while others will sit and want to talk. Some helpful things on your list could include: folding laundry while they are over, making a meal and bringing it over, cleaning up your house, or taking your other children out for a couple of hours. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and don't be afraid to ask people to leave if you've had enough. 

  • Your birth is your day. Honour yourself and set clear boundaries if needed. As you can see above, setting boundaries before you go into labour will help your family & friends know what you want and don't want. These boundaries include who you want at the hospital or birth centre, who you want to visit you in the first few days postpartum, telling people that it's time to go (maybe you're feeling exhausted...and rightly so - you just gave birth!), and setting "max visitation times". 

  • Having a baby shower? Ask for help then. Some women make a creative "wants & needs" list prior to their baby shower. Some of the items listed include: frozen meals for the new family after the baby's birth, time slots for people to come and pick up laundry & drop it off (no visiting though.. just pick up and drop off!), time slots for people to come and help tidy your house, if you have other children - time slots to take your other children to a fun activity. Don't be afraid to ask for support.

  • Consider having a gathering to introduce your baby. Invite all of your family & friends that want to see your new baby. This will get the visit done in a short period of time, instead of people constantly coming in and out of your home. Don't do it too early though, you want to make sure you are mostly healed following your birth. 

  • Consider sending out a letter or email before you've given birth. The letter can go something like this:
"Dear Family & Friends,
We can't wait to introduce our new baby to you. Please keep the following things in mind when visiting:
  • Wait for an invitation. We may not be up to having visitors right away. It's really important for mommy, daddy and baby to have some good bonding and healing time. Know that we love you and are thinking about you, and will invite you when we are ready. 
  • Short visits are better. One hour is best. As our baby grows and we feel more rested, we may be able to handle longer visits. But in the beginning, please keep the visits to a 2 hour max.  
  • You may not be able to hold the baby. We know - babies are so cute and cuddly, but you'll get lots of time to hold him/her when he/she is a bit older. 
  • We would love if it you brought us some food! We may not be in the mood for cooking, and it would be helpful to have some healthy prepared meals. 
Thank you for your support during this huge transition. We love you and can't wait to introduce our baby to you. 
Soon-to-be Mom & Dad 

I really hope you enjoy this article as this information has proved invaluable for my birth doula clients in Montreal, Canada. Remember, it's your day and you should feel totally comfortable.

Natural birth Montreal doula