Welcoming a new addition to the family is an absolute joy. But, it can also be stressful, sweaty, exhausting, and extremely painful, so setting boundaries for well-meaning visitors in those early days is key.
Overwhelmed and shattered, mum-of-three Katie Bowman, wished she’d done that after her baby was born.
In a bid to help other mums set boundaries before the masses descend, the 29-year-old Australian mum blogger recently posted a pic of her in hospital following her third baby.
Taken around 24-hours after giving birth, Katie had no idea the photo was even being taken, let alone by whom.
Shattered and bewildered, she looked on as her baby was handed round for cuddles with family.
However, what she really wanted was time to breathe and bond with her newborn babe.
So she uploaded the photo, begging excited visitors to stay away from new parents for around two days.
‘Is that too much to ask for?’ she ponders in her post.
‘Before being introduced to your new life as a mother, you have just gone through one of the most painful, exhausting, and mind blowing experiences in your life. Labour.
‘Has everyone forgotten how tolling that can be on both your emotional and physical well being? The last thing you then want, is for everyone to be bombarding your room to play pass the parcel, before you have even had a chance to recover.’ she continues.
While, of course, support is appreciated, there is a time and place for it, as Katie goes on to explain in her no-holds-barred post…
‘Learning to breastfeed is no private affair. You don’t just slip your nipple out and your baby connects to it like a magnet. You get your whole boob out, and slide your baby up and down waiting for them to latch on. The nurse comes in and helps you massage some colostrum out. Then you try the other side, so now you’ve got both boobs out.
‘Your vagina or stomach is in a world of pain. More often than not, there’s been a cut somewhere. You struggle to get comfortable in that hard hospital bed, because no position feels ok. You can barely sit, stand, lie down, or walk.
‘Honestly, my vagina still hurt for 2 or 3 weeks after that. The hospital doesn’t like you to leave until they know you have emptied your bowels without your vagina falling out too. When do you fit in trying to pass that painful lump when your room is full of visitors?’
And, living in the digital age that we do, you can barely blink for people taking pics of them with your baby.
Katie fully understands some people might well enjoy a parade of friends and family traipsing through from the get-go. She admits she was thrilled so many people wanted to meet their new child.
‘What I didn’t realise was how hard trying to ask people to stay away for a day would be.’ Katie says.
People pushed for a ‘quick visit’, and she was too tired to argue, but it was the last thing she wanted, or needed.
In hindsight, she urges friends and relatives of new parents to, ‘remember it is not your right to visit a new baby, it is a privilege.’
Having racked up 12,000 comments and 84,000 shares from mums with similar experiences, it seems she isn’t alone in her views about the importance of setting baby boundaries.
‘So true.’ many agreed, desperate for time to recover and bond with their tots. ‘100% yes.’ others gushed. ‘Exactly’.
‘Yes! I felt the same way. Let us bond as a family first and just have a moment to ourselves!’ one new mum posted.
Another lost two friends, ‘… because they wanted to hold and take pictures of my son two hours after he was born and when he had finally fallen back asleep! They never spoke to me after that night other than to say how offended they were…’
Bottom line, parenting is hard enough, so allow yourself time to bond with your baby, and to do that, don’t be afraid to set clear visitation boundaries.