How do I handle friends and family with a newborn?

How do I handle friends and family with a newborn?

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With as much patience as you can muster.

Everyone will want to share in this very exciting time in your life. And though your friends and family will mean well, they may not understand that what you need most right now is time alone with your baby. So how do you make them feel appreciated while also setting the boundaries that you need to protect your privacy and preserve your sanity?

For starters, try turning off the ringer on the phone and letting the voicemail pick up your calls. You can leave a message thanking well-wishers for calling and giving them the baby's vital stats like his birth date, weight, and length.

You can also set up a web page or use a social networking site to give your fan club quick updates on your progress: Dad changed his first diaper today! That way they'll get to feel in touch with you, but you won't be spending hours fielding calls and visits.

When you are ready for visitors, don't be afraid to ask them to do chores for you. They'll probably be happy to help out.

If you need to take a nap or shower, ask them to take the baby for a stroll. Better yet, ask them to do a load of laundry, go grocery shopping, or make dinner for you and your family.

Don't feel obligated to play the hostess. Your friends will understand that there will be time for social visits once the baby is a little older and you've had a little more sleep.

If you know that your mom or mother-in-law would be more hassle than help to have around, try to get her to put off her visit until the baby is at least a few weeks old. By then you'll have had a chance to start bonding with your new little one and establishing your own routines. That way it won't be so hard to hand over a little responsibility and let her help you out with diapering, bathing, and feeding the baby when she does arrive.

The key is to communicate your needs, rest whenever you can, and delegate as many chores as possible. Well-meaning friends and family will understand and be happy to pitch in.

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