Setting limits after baby


How do we go about saying “no” to our family when they ask to come visit immediately after baby is born?  We don’t want to offend or hurt anyone, but we want some space.

Of course, you don’t want to hurt your family -or even close friends- by asking them to give you some space after baby arrives, but it’s perfectly fair to ask for it!  Often times what matters most is not the message we send, but how we send it.  Here are some tips to managing some of those folks in your life:

*Be honest ~ Tell them upfront that you want some time after the baby comes to adjust as a new family.  When you’re ready for them to visit, you’ll let them know.  Your baby isn’t going anywhere and their presence in your baby’s life is important to you.  You just need a little space.

*Tell them how they can be helpful ~ Whether they are at your home, live nearby, or are miles away, tell them what they can do!  People who care about you are going to want to make this transition easier.  It feels good to know you’ve “helped” someone.  Make a list of chores that need to be done, send them to run errands, let them stay with baby while you run out, have them make you some meals, etc.  If someone offers you a hand, take it!  One of my doula clients had a list on the kitchen table of what needed to be done…so any visitor could take a peak and assist her where needed.  A great idea!

*Set limits ~ You might be nursing or pumping every couple of hours…laying in bed recovering from a c-section…trying to learn how to soothe your baby.  It’s ok to want to do that without the eyes of everyone watching.  Acknowledge that the grandparents are excited and explain what limits you’re comfortable with.  Maybe you’ll enjoy help during the “witching hours” or on a weekend morning.  It’s fair to invite people for a short visit and they ask them to leave.  People are less likely to be offended if you talk about your needs upfront.  And, please remember, people can’t read your mind…so SPEAK UP!

The more people who love your baby the luckier he/she is!  It’s natural to need a little space while figuring out the new normal.  Hopefully your friends & family will understand this!  If not, they’ll get over it 😉


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