We’ve been new parents for a whole 8 days, but the biggest tip we can share is to schedule “visitation hours” and stick to them. While everyone outside your household is used to a routine with work, sleep, eat, etc, it’s tough for new parents to establish the same sort of routine with a newborn who barely has any concept of night and day.
Everyone tells new moms to sleep when your baby sleeps, but it’s difficult to do when visitors want to come over all the time. It’s tough to schedule visitors on anybody else’s schedule but the newborn’s. Lola sleeps when she’s sleepy and eats when she’s hungry. That can be anywhere from every half hour or so during a cluster feeding, or up to 3 hours with a good nap. We still can’t schedule those things as they are always on-demand. The best we can seem to do is allot a block of time each day for visitors. That way, we can wake Lola beforehand and feed her so she’s not crying to be fed while people are over. Otherwise, Amy has to nurse with a bunch of people in the room. Amy is not particularly modest about it, but it is awkward for others.
Be sure to schedule visitors like appointments. You don’t want 10 people in your house and have to worry about cleaning up for people to move around or find places to sit. We try to keep our visitors from 2-4 people per day to maintain peace and order to an otherwise chaotic living space. Our living room has become our newborn nursery for the time being since it’s closer to the master bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom than the real nursery. We have a changing area on the dining table (don’t worry, it’s protected with all sorts of pads, towels, and burp cloths), an activity time blanket on the floor (for Lola to do her “exercises” such as stretching, tummy time, and “swimming”), a nursing station, a boppy lounger for sleeping on the couch, and all sorts of other stuff scattered throughout the room. We do have some order to the chaos and has worked out pretty well for us, but it’s not so inviting and convenient for guests. We do have to balance visitors so that one person or couple sees her every day and gives everyone equal opportunity to see her.
It’s also helpful for people to announce when they are ready to visit. This is particularly helpful for family and friends you don’t mind asking favors from. If someone is on their way over, you may see if they don’t mind picking up a prescription, bananas, or diapers. Grandmothers are particularly well suited to in-house babysitting to watch Lola and keep her busy while Amy and I try to do housework, eat, or shower. Our preferred method of communication is via text message. It may be inconvenient for some, but it keeps things a little quieter when anyone is trying to sleep or a response can be put off while changing a diaper or holding a fussy infant. It’s not always easy to talk on the phone when there is a crying baby in your arms!
With all that being said, our personal visitation hours are roughly between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM every day. Of course, that is just a general guideline. It may float around a bit as we all know what Lola wants, Lola gets!