I can't even tell you how much the following points resonated with my experience. These are a few I wanted to comment on. (As usual, the highlights are mine and my notes are in maroon)
There are many more GREAT tips and reminders in the article. I HIGHLY recommend you check out the whole thing!
- Always call/message in advance to schedule the visit. Do not drop in unannounced. Be on time. YES! I was in a relatively unique situation my first weeks postpartum, in terms of both health and living arrangements. Unfortunately there was more than one occasion where someone "dropped by" and I was caught wearing nothing but a bed sheet (no, I am not even exaggerating a little bit). It was NOT OK for people that were both completely unexpected and completely unrelated to me, to just drop by (and let themselves in no less). If you are my sister- drop by, if you are my mother drop by (and never leave), if you are an acquaintance, CALL (and don't just call to tell me you are on your way- find out what time works for me).
- Very close friends/family may be invited to come for longer or more frequent visits to help in the early weeks, but should always ask the mother what type of visit — short or long — would be most helpful to her.
- If the mother will be home alone with the baby most of the time (single parent, spouse deployed or working long hours), she may wish for visitors to stay longer. Ask. It is really all about the communication. Don't assume things that you can easily check on.
- Remember that the purpose of the visit is for you to help the family, not for you to spend time with the baby. Now is the time for you – not the family — to prepare food and clean up any messes made during the visit.
- Follow the mother’s cues about how long a visit she’d like. Remember that it can be very difficult for her to ask you to leave once you are there, even if she truly needs privacy to nurse or pump or perform postpartum self-care. Once again, it is all about communication. For a visit scheduled more than an hour in advance (which is good), a mother will likely not know where it will fall in the baby's care for the early weeks (we can plan not to have a bath at that time, but napping and nursing happen on their own cycles all day long). The mother may wish to nurse in private or may just want to get it started in private but continue to have company- try to be sensitive to her cues and if you are not sure, ask her (make sure to phrase it in a way that encourages her to feel comfortable giving you an honest answer).