Today I popped around to a friend’s house to see her new born baby. It was her third baby, a little boy, and I was dying for a cuddle. However, I’m a firm believer in the importance of the babymoon, not the rebranded babymoon –commercialized by the hotel and spa industry as trip away before baby is born with your partner – but the time after the birth when mum and baby really bond.
Once I’d sent a congratulatory text, I dropped out of contact for a couple of weeks aware that she and her husband and her other two boys needed time to bond and settle in their own little post birth bubble, not only with their new addition but with the new family dynamics.
After a couple of weeks I sent a text, rather than phoning to joking that ”I was getting impatient and needed a cuddle”! Popping around the next day with a small gift and card, I noticed that I was the last to bring a card round and probably the last of her friends locally to get a cuddle.
While I was there another couple dropped by unexpectedly to say hello, and as I was in the kitchen making tea and coffee my friend mentioned that other people had dropped round unannounced, while she was trying to feed the little one or settle him to sleep, and that it seemed to me that she felt pressured by this.
Has everyone forgotten what the real meaning of babymoon is? The gentle introduction of the baby into their new family surroundings and the slow unstressful adjustment to different sounds, smells, handling. It’s such an important time, when the baby discovers a new weightiness to their body, the sharpness of sounds around them, unfamiliar smells of brothers, sisters and father.
Mother, father and siblings are discovering the character of this new individual who is now a new member of their established family dynamic, and routines.
Mum is adjusting to feeding her new baby, finding a comfortable rhythm and perhaps slightly different pace at which their family now needs to move to. She is also dealing with changes in her hormones that can be making her tearful or unsettled, certainly not conducive to being a social butterfly.
The babymoon is a time for reflection, enjoying those precious first few weeks with baby, without interruption apart from a few who may come in to help support mum by cooking and cleaning.
Imagine what it is like for baby, handed round to all these unfamiliar people or for mum, whose natural need to host, worries about whether everybody has tea or if there are enough biscuits in the house to offer her guests. Thankfully there is normally enough chocolate to go around!
So if you want to spend time afterwards with just you and the baby, how do you do it without offending anyone?
Here are our tips for a relaxing babymoon:
- Be firm with potential visitors. Remember this is YOUR time, an important time that allows you to slowly adjust to being parents. You will not get this time back.
- Have a sign to put on the door saying that you are feeding/baby is sleeping please come back later. Or even “We are having a week alone with baby please feel free to visit next week.”
- Take your phone off the hook, or switch it off for long periods during the day
- Make sure that your fridge is stocked with meals.
- If you do choose to take visitors limit them as much as possible or perhaps have your own set ‘visiting hours’.
- Don’t feel bad about lying in bed until midday with baby!
- Book a post natal doula to come in and help with cleaning, washing and cooking.