Tell me about your experiences of visitors in the first days of breastfeeding

(48 Posts)
Msbluesky32 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:19:25

It's playing on my mind a bit - visitors coming when the milk comes in. Ive read everywhere that it happens three to five days after giving birth and of course this is when people will probably want to start visiting. In an ideal world I'd prefer it if we could have at least a week by ourselves to just get our heads around it, but this is our first and i have no knowledge of what it is going to be like. While i am really excited at the prospect of introducing our little one i don't want to create a stressful situation for the both of us. What have your experiences been of dealing with this? Is it difficult to juggle people visiting and feeding baby when the milk comes in? Is it always three to five days after giving birth?

SanneSannes Mon 11-Feb-13 12:16:01

Msbluesky if you prefer having at least 1 week to yourself after birth, then tell people-wont kill them and it helps you prevent any unnecessary stress.

With both my children I asked friends and family not to visit in the first two weeks. Im sure i pissed a couple of them off, but I'm also sure they got over it pretty quickly! I found these first days absolutely magical and loved being in my little baby bubble without any distraction from the outside world.

Whilst milk only comes in on day 3-5, both my children spent hours sucking right after birth, in fact DC2 never really let go of my boob in the first week. It is difficult to predict how your baby will establish nursing, but the last thing i would want to have on my mind in these days is a visiting schedule.

Maybe I am particularly disorganised, but I remember after birth of DC1, I was so incredibly busy trying to find my feet as a mum (plus VERY tired) that when DC1 was asleep, i was facing the choices of either taking a shower, eating or sleeping. Serving tea to visitors was definitely not on the list-and having a nap myself was usually the first choice.

The only "social" activity i did in these first days was going to a bf group. DC1 and DC2 both latched on very easily and i have enjoyed bf-ing, but it was important to me to have a lactation consultant check whether latch is indeed ok as it really makes things difficult if it is not. I also got great advice on different bf-ing positions there, plus it was great to chat to other new mums.

I also second the advice to get as much information as possible on bf-ing via eg kellymom to beef up your arguments when your MIL is giving you a hard time. Or just to gain confidence so that you are not run down by the (I'm sure well-meant) advice from "experienced mums" who did things differently when they had their children. It is your baby, and you know best how you want to feed and raise your child. Good luck!!

lcdaff Mon 11-Feb-13 10:44:01

Breast feeding really worried me before my little one was born. Husband's family were very hurt when they found out I wasn't planning to bottle feed as the fantasy of baby sleeping over from birth was shattered.
We were aware mother in law was always going to be a nightmare on an epic scale. (She once told people I was expecting as if I would magically decide to get pregnant to please her. I found this out at work in front of my boss when a parent asked when I was planning to leave and to see the scans!).
It was made very clear no visits would be planed until after the birth
I ended up having an elective c-section and needing to stay in hospital a few days, not our original plan. But a fantastic help, lots of support with early feeding on tap and visitors removed swiftly by midwives if needed. It was a blessing getting first visits out the way in a controlled environment.
The rule was supposed to be no visits unless invited when we got home. This was trampled on with my mother in law turning up as and when she pleased and bringing extended family in tow! My husband had trouble saying no to her to begin with and if that word wasn't said she felt she had the right to come over any way.
On day five my lovely midwife removed her and the rest of them from the house very sharply saying it was vital she see the new parent's alone and nanny was not important! Loved her for it.
At that stage the only people I wanted around were my mum, husband, dad and one of my brother in laws. Anyone else brought too much stress.
If we could go back to those early days with my husband's new found ability to be firm we wouldn't have anyone around until we were ready on an hour by hour basis. At 14 weeks we work on a day by day plan, I have no idea what the day will hold until baby and I are both up and dressed.
I've been really lucky and had very little problems with breast feeding, baby wanted to feed from the moment she came out.
Feeding around people was no problem at all. The baby covers much more than you think they would and if I think about my position in a room I can easily feed with no one noticing.
Once I was comfortable and confident with getting baby positioned and latched on I started to use an apron style cover up. I just keep it in the change bag and use as I feel I need to, baby doesn't mind it and I can still easily see her.
If you do hit any issues with un supportive family members you'll find your way around them. After all my worrying the only people I find it uncomfortable to feed around are my mother in law and her mother. They cause any number of issues and don't listen, touching me or baby while we're feeding, prodding, poking, making comments and even trying to lift feeding baby out of my arms and following me around when I leave to feed in private even behind a locked door. My solutions: lock fitted to upstairs landing door so I can feed in any number of bedrooms away from knocking and talking through the door. When out visiting them I attempt to feed with my husband acting as a physical block between us. If that fails we've made it clear we will just leave and have done so. Mother in law thinks I'm the wicked witch of the west keeping her granddaughter away from her as I'd rather feed in the park in the rain under an umbrella than around her when she's acting out.
You'll learn what's best for you and baby and get on with it.
At the end of the day it is lovely to show off your new arrival but the only person in the world that will matter to your baby is you in the first few weeks of life. You and your partner are the parents, no one else, everything is your dession!
As for milk coming in, I had a very emotional day and a half when mine came in with very leaky and hard boobs. I went through pads and bras like you wouldn't believe. When I gave up on that and went topless, I almost called an ambulance after picking the baby up and thinking I'd popped a stitch, there was just so much milk running down my front! I worked out what happened just in time...
The best advice I can give you is not to make any promises at this stage, you'll know what's best for you once your at home with the baby.
Good luck, enjoy your baby and trust yourself.

I told everyone I didn't want visitors for at least a week.
I only had my mum, auntie, sister and 1 close friend.
Tough luck if they don't like it.

I was pretty much topless a lot lol when my milk came in it was so painful even walking (get a good bra) I was dripping like a tap.

The first week was very hard for me, I'm glad I didn't have a lot of visitors. Sore nipples, emotional, topless - not a good sight.

Take it easy and see how u feel - DO NOT feel pressured into allowing visitors until u feel ready!!!
You might find it all very easy and you might struggle, I would say take one day at a time

I feel uncomfortable with visitors at the best of times, so for me it was best to visit people - especially as everyone lived near. That way I could cut short the visit on my terms. It wasn't ideal in that I had quite traumatic births both times, but it still suited me best.

I found, for me, that I was best feeding whenever the baby cried - demand feeding is best in terms of sorting out your supply, so I was clear from the outset that as soon as the baby cried, he came back to me. It didn't matter who had him, or if they'd only just got him, he was to be returned. I'm sure it didn't make me popular sometimes, but as I said, that was my feeding plan.

I made sure that DH was fully aware of it, and it was his job to announce "ooh, he must be hungry" and whip him away in order to stop people going "aaaaah" and trying to put him back to sleep without a feed.

Weissdorn Sat 09-Feb-13 21:14:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rainand Sat 09-Feb-13 13:52:48

This has been an interesting read. I'm expecting too and have no idea how to manage this. MIL who has never been to stay with us wants to come and stay for a week post-birth (probably as soon as)! I'm not comfortable with that at all, so told her ill be having my birth at my mums and staying there, which she is fine with. But I don't want to do that anymore, and would much prefer to stay in my own home. I just don't want an influx of visitors and I certainly don't want her to come and stay - this is our time to bond with our little one and as its my 1st there really isn't much else to do that she could do to help out anyways. I'm also expecting to have issues with BF so certainly do not want that extra pressure! I'm just not sure how I'm going to tell her that I'd rather she came to stay a month or two later without offending her?

She also can be quite judgemental towards DH, even though he doesn't think so, and I don't want her getting in the way things or dishing out advice.

By the sounds of it, it's best to get visitors out of the way when you are in hospital, but if all goes well they only keep you in for 24 hours, so I doubt that'll be happening.

MrsHoarder Sat 09-Feb-13 11:43:24

I had infected stitches so when the inlaws came (a few different occasions) I remained upstairs until they had had time to come in, get drinks and settle themselves (no excuse given, DH handled this). Then I would limp down with DS, have a fuss made of us, if he was happy and awake the visitors would have a cuddle. When DS needed a feed, DH took everyone into another room or out into the garden so I didn't have to move (there was one cockup where they started examining something right outside the window I was in front of, but it passed quickly).

Guests generally brought food and looked after us.

Weissdorn Sat 09-Feb-13 11:33:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Msbluesky32 Fri 08-Feb-13 17:52:36

Yikes stargirl poor you.

stargirl1701 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:37:32

I stayed in the midwife unit for 4 days and had my Dad and PILs visit then. Once home, we asked for 2 weeks without visitors.

I ended up in hospital after those 2 weeks with blood poisoning from infective mastitis hmm

oscarwilde Fri 08-Feb-13 14:33:00

Personally I'd be inclined to strongly discourage any visitors in the first two weeks. If you must, squeeze in family at the back end while your DP is around to entertain them.
I had feeding issues with both DC as they were small and not too enthusiastic about the hard work of feeding so had to do lots of skin to skin, switching sides, general tickling and blowing on them to wake them up and get them started again. All of which is a total faff to do under a breast feeding burka cover or scarf.
However, if you receive visitors in your bedroom it's much easier to boot them out if there is no-where to sit down and DP is serving tea downstairs. It's also handy to have your DP do some holding as he can be relied on to hand back the baby for feeding at the first squawk rather than informing you it's just wind and bouncing the baby around for 30 mins while you try to insist its time for grub.

Msbluesky32 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:19:45

meringue sorry, I meant the loafing around with no top on, not the problems you had with latching

Msbluesky32 Fri 08-Feb-13 14:18:16

meringue sounds like heaven! I think I'm going to be a bit self conscious with some people the first few times - especially the PIL. I think I will try and go upstairs to feed -and get a break from the endless advice I know is coming-

I have pcos and have read this can cause problems with oversupply or under supply, so i imagine being and feeling relaxed is quite important.

DP will find it hard, his usual response to parents is to ignore them - but I think I'm going to need him to be more forceful, polite but firm.

I do feel very sorry for my MIL she really didnt enjoy being pregnant, suffered with terrible PND and didn't get on with bf. Unfortunately it's made her very negative about a lot of things and it can wear you down to be around her sometimes. Hence my reasons for not agreeing them to stay in our house.

All your tips are great, thank you. willsanta that's a very good way of diverting advice, I will have to remember that one! smile

WillSantaComeAgain Fri 08-Feb-13 12:54:09

Another one who had issue bf at first, and lots of visitors - including my entire family showing up when the MW was there helping with the latch on Christmas Day. Luckily DH had been briefed and shepherded the whole lot into the kitchen, where they stayed till MW left.

Best line to use in such circumstances is the following "Oh, Darling MIL. I'm so glad you're here. You can be a lifesaver and make me tea / do the laundry/ pop to the shop and get gin milk while I sit down/ sleep/ feed baby /shower. The MW said its really important that I [insert whatever it is you want to do]".

Remember, MIL/ DM will have stayed in hospital for a good week or more. They will have had different information wrt bf. So if they say anything that makes you want to strangle them you disagree with, just say "oh, I know, things have changed so much now, hasn't it. The MW says I must..."

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 08-Feb-13 12:33:08

We got initial family visits out of the way early on - either in hospital or the day we came home.

Then we had a week to ourselves and then started seeing people again and lining up support for DH going back to work.

Be welcoming, pleasant but firm about what you expect. Ask people to bring a cake or a meal depending on who they are. Point them in the direction of the kettle.

Ariel24 Fri 08-Feb-13 11:57:07

OP my advice would be do whatever is best for you and be firm. I'm lucky that our families are all lovely and understanding, and I didn't have visitors until my DD was nearly 2 weeks old. Our families don't live close, I'd have loved to see my own mum sooner for help with feeding but she had a dreadful cold that started the day DD was born! I would have only felt comfortable with my own mum being around the first few days as I was an emotional crying mess as feeding was so hard to start with (great now though, DD is ebf at 4 months and I love feeding her now). I think the best thing to do is tell people you will let them know when to visit after the baby is born. I was definitely glad of a couple of weeks just me, DH and DD. To have that time just us, to keep her for ourselves for a bit was lovely.

13Iggis Fri 08-Feb-13 11:08:26

I have 2 dcs, so did some things differently 2nd time around. I'd see people in hospital if you can (especially if you end up with a cs as you're in for a few days) as the midwives clear them out if there are too many or visiting time is up!
I found, when struggling with attachment, you really don't want to be faffing with muslins or 'discreet' feeding - sitting with your top pulled down is much easier, especially in the evening when there is often cluster feeding! Remember you are going to have visits from the midwife/health visitor (daily, in my area) and you need to be alone with them. You need to be able to play it by ear, but the most important thing is being able to speak up when you're unhappy (start practising now!) and having a dh who is willing to send people away when you 'signal' him.
It will be hard, and it will be lovely, and you'll be past the newborn stage before you know it so don't get too anxious smile

Meringue33 Fri 08-Feb-13 10:58:24

Getting comfortable with bf could take 3 minutes, 3 days or 3 months. Our LO is four weeks old now and am just about starting to feel confident, tho am less so when people are watching. When born he was v sleepy and would not latch which was v stressful. Luckily he was early so no visitors expected and I was able to loaf around the house topless for days, drinking fennel tea, looking at advice online and trying to relax into bf. Be as bold as you can - limit visits to 20 mins unless it's people you feel super relaxed around. And defo no overnight visitors for at least a month - ask them to stay in a nearby hotel.

Msbluesky32 Fri 08-Feb-13 09:13:11

P.s queenoftheholly how terrible, sounds like the worst Christmas Day

Msbluesky32 Fri 08-Feb-13 09:07:55

Thanks so much for sharing your stories. Tbh I might be over thinking it all, but I witnessed MIL 'in action' with my DPs cousin when their little one arrived and it was frightening. She was very very clingy with the baby and followed her around a lot. DPs cousin excused herself and left - I think because it was too much. At the time I made a mental note of this because I think she would probably be even more full on with us.

DW123, i feel for you, i really do. I can only imagine what it must have been like. A month ago the PIL asked if they could stay at ours when the baby was born - I said no. They've never stayed at our home and I think I would find it very stressful and of no help ... tbh I just want it to be the three of us.

It's interesting because I think that most of the people we know will wait to be invited and I know my family would leave it for months if they thought it was helping us out. There are just those few who do whatever suits them.

I think I'll see how I feel on our little ones birthing day but will be prepared to be firm if I have to be. You're advice has really helped. I really can't wait to meet her, the weeks are going so slowly now smile

DW123 Fri 08-Feb-13 08:24:53

Agree with so much on here. I was in hospital for 5 days with one twin in SCBU. Because of timing etc PILs stayed for 5 days. It was dreadful as I couldn't feed in front of them so was isolated in our bedroom most of the time apart from when I had to prepare meals for all of us. My Mum was great - supports bfing and got on with all jobs. So it depends who it is and what your circumstances are.

It is DH's job to negotiate it all. I labelled all our tea clearly and moved things in kitchen so mugs and sugar etc were all next to kettle. After that I just directed people to the kitchen to help themselves. I fed in front of most people as well, but went to a quiet room when there were lots of people - for the boys sake rather than theirs.

Rather than bfing I found baby handling more of an issue. After one day when they were awake half the night after lots of 'cuddles' I tried to minimise it when the boys were tiny. Again - if you have those sort of visitors, try to keep them away for a bit or ask for your baby back - people may think they are doing you a favour but it can be unsettling for a newborn. And I hated it when they smelt of perfume when they were handed back.

Good luck.

Meglet Fri 08-Feb-13 07:34:00

I banned visitors with DC2 as I'd had enough of people getting under my feet while I was trying to bf DC1 2yrs before. Although it was more to get rid of my then DP's family as they were pretty unpleasant. My family saw DC2 but I was still left in peace. I thoroughly reccommend it smile.

Loislane78 Fri 08-Feb-13 06:27:08

As everyone else has said I wouldn't make many arrangements until after the baby is here. Depends on how long you're in hospital, how you feel after the birth (physically/mentally), how easy it is to establish BF and who/what the visitors are like.

As well as BF please remember you will be bleeding heavily. Not trying to scare you but just saying some people find it painful to sit for example so there are lots of things to consider you won't know until afterwards. My DD was jaundice, who can plan for that.

Both sets of GP live 3 hrs drive so I understand people wanting to plan visits. PIL came on day 3 but stayed only an hour or so and brought loads of nice food from Marks'. They are comfortable with BF and waited until I offered the baby ie. didn't just grab a snuggle and try to keep her. My parents plus 2 sisters came the following week for 3 days but didn't stay at our house. All helped and I was comfortable with feeding, feeling ok physically so that was fine.

DHs have 2 primary jobs at this time:

- look after mum and baby ie. snacks/drinks on tap, help get you things, make you comfortable, support you in any way
- visitor administration!!! who can come when and for how long

GL, very exciting smile

QueenoftheHolly Thu 07-Feb-13 23:56:57

I have an 8 week old & he is my first. I found the first week after he was born pretty tricky as you describe- combining visitors & feeding. It was excacerbated by being over Christmas hols so of course everyone was off work. The worst is middle aged men; they go white & practically pass out if you even hint that you might need to feed the baby.
On Christmas Day at our in laws with 16 people, all family, I was basically sent upstairs to feed (in an unheated spare room) when everyone was downstairs having a nice time. An hour later I felt both sad & angry!!!

Just remember (with visitors) that feeding your baby always has to be the priority, his only job is to eat to get bigger!
Now mine is two months old, that early experience has made me feel quite strongly that at the very least, in my own house I will feed regardless of who might feel uncomfortable. Although its strangely easier in public (in a Starbucks for eg) as quite frankly who cares about what a bunch of strangers thinks?! I always wear stuff that gives abit if privacy anyway.

Logistics wise, it's your husband or visitor's responsibility to get cups of tea etc, they came to visit you (usually unasked!) to see your baby not to sample your hot drinks.

Good luck!

ShhHesAsleep Thu 07-Feb-13 21:28:16

Bluesky- bf isn't the only reason to consider when it suits to have visitors, so don't give anyone that idea, especially if they're already sceptical of bf. Get informed about the realities if looking after a newborn via Kellymom and analytical armadillo. It sounds like your in-laws will spout shite about how to feed your baby even though they know feck all about bf. I suggest being firm and setting boundaries now, they can only railroad you if you let them. Put your child first. During the first week or two you'll have MW and HV visits (my HV offered home visits to register with the surgery, saves you going out). You'll have little idea when these people will arrive which is not a bad thing. Pre-birth, my MW said that if she visits a new mum before lunchtime shed be shocked if the woman is out of pjs, merely surprised if it's after lunchtime. You won't know how you'll be til it happens so make no promises but let people know to wait til they are told to come. Unannounced visitors should be ignored. You will be recovering from childbirth while looking after a baby and the great thing is, you'll have the mama bear hormones to help you see your priorities clearly. The baby has needs that must be attended to now, visitors have wants. Also you are best napping when the baby does.

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