Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hosting Company Post Portum - The baby meet&greet / open house solution for your endless family and friend visit

It's enviable.  You get home from the hospital after delivering a newborn baby. Your a hormonal mess, your husbands exhausted, toddler is still adjusting to the fact that life no longer revolves just him and your house is a little better looking than a war zone.  Everything you read will tell you to "take your time". ....."Wait to have visitors" etc etc.  However the fact of the matter is that people are going to eventually wanna come visit you and your new addition.  You can only keep grandparents and immediate family away for so long, let alone your dear friends who wanna meet your bundle of joy too.  Truthfully it's kind of good for you (and baby too!) to have a little (good) company and get adjusted to life. Isolation is no good for any of you.

Once you've taken the time to adjust and feel a little "ready" to start taking some visits (for me it was the second week but I was anxious to get it out of the way ;), here are some tips that worked for me in managing

1. The open house / meet n greet concept

Pick 1 or 2 days (or afternoons).  Specific time slots that work for YOU (for us that was between 12-3 in the afternoon when my toddler was occupied by nap or after 8pm when he was asleep. Invite you family and friends that your ready to see to pick an "hour" that works for them to come for a "little visit" or "coffee".  Your gracious email tone and choice of words will give them the hint that your looking forward to seeing them but that an hour is probably all you can manage at the moment :)

What to serve?  Should you serve anything?   The choice is totally up to you.  No pressure. Have a look at what I did in 5 mins with a nursing baby in my arms and a toddler occupied by Toopey and Binoo for a sec :)

- SMALL mugs for coffee/tea (disposables would be even easier!)
- drinking glasses
- water
- my tea assortment chest (hot water in my kettle ready to go)
- a small tray of cookies
- napkins

All of this set out in the kitchen on the counter (hot drinks away from the baby) and for guests to HELP THEMSELVES.  I told them too :)

The guests can catch up on all their questions / how labour went and have their snack while you nurse/feed baby and then they have a turn to hold baby (if you are ok with that of course!) when you are done and baby is content.   Don't be afraid to tidy up from snack if you like or get something done/enjoy your hands while they are free as your guests are goggling over your new bundle of joy :).  They don't mind. :)

Some other tips:

- put a baby sleeping sign on your front door permanently.  Cover your door bell even. This will automatically lower people's voices and prevent unwanted door knocking.  

- Turn your phones down to low or off and don't feel bad to only check voicemails and return your calls when you can.   Once a day! while you nurse on speaker phone was a great time for me.  Don't feel like you need to run to every call.  Most people calling are really just wanting to leave you a congrats message anyhow :)

- send out mass email updates/Facebook status updates/thank you's (if you are into that :).   If you keep people informed with how your doing it keeps tons of people from contacting you and you having to respond to so many calls/emails/inquiries on the same deal

- don't be afraid to ask for help while you got them!    When people asked what I needed for baby #2, I didn't hesitate to change things up and request ready made/freezer meals in lieu of another stuffed animal to collect dust :) (see my blog post on "what a new mom really wants"

Other handy tips:

Worried about others holding your baby / germs / smokers?   Have a receiving or other late blanket ready to go.  Place that in everyone's arms before placing baby into that blanket and then into their arms :).   Also keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your door with a cute little note "your germs are too big for my newborn immune system. Please use me ;)"

2 days.  10 visits.  Happy and informed family and friends.  Happy mom :).  Do what's best for your family and what YOU are comfortable with mom.    To me, "getting the visits over with" for lack of better phrasing was better than dreading how to manage for months on end.  



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