Survival tips for when your relatives come to visit the new baby

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After I gave birth for the first time, all I really wanted to do was sleep for a week. I was bone tired in a way that I didn’t know was possible. My husband was no better. After a sleepless, anxious night waiting up with me in the operating room, we were a perfectly matched, perfectly frazzled pair. I would have loved to have gone into hiding from the world and spent some very relaxing time just getting to know this new, tiny person that we had created.
Unfortunately, the universe had other plans.

Of course, I can’t really resent my parents for wanting to come see their grandchild. Or my sister, for wanting to meet her new niece… or my aunt and uncle… or my husband’s parents… you get the idea. Before we knew it we had a small army of well-meaning relatives all descending on our modestly-sized Bangkok apartment carrying gifts, gripes and loads of unsolicited advice.

Now, my family is lovely. My husband’s family is lovely. But more than a dozen people flying in internationally can be a whole lot of hassle, especially for a couple that just welcomed a brand new bundle of trouble (ahem, joy). So here are a few of our tips for how to get through the experience unscathed and without any hurt family feelings.

Wait a week

Of course your mother-in-law wants to see her grandchild right now, but the odds are high that you’ll feel a whole lot better if she lets things settle down just a bit first. If moms and dads absolutely must be there from day one, just make sure the rest of the pack doesn’t come with them. Politely but firmly explain that you need a ‘minute’ to pull yourselves together and that you are only allowing a very small number of people to see the baby at the beginning. How big that number is should only be determined by you. Your friends and relatives (especially those with children) will understand.

Get a hotel

Yes, everyone wants to be as near the new baby as possible. No, the birth of your baby does not entitle them to a room in your home. Unless you have guest bedrooms and patience to spare, politely propose a list of hotels near public transportation and within easy range of your home.. Bangkok has a wealth of options for every budget and style preference, so finding something for everyone shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

Plan activities

If you are an expat, there’s a good chance that many of your relatives have never been to the City of Angels before, or perhaps have only visited briefly. After flying all this way, they’re probably going to want to squeeze in a little vacation time. They may want to see temples, elephants, floating markets and other typical tourist spots. They can; but don’t think that means you are always obligated to accompany them. Instead of schlepping past golden Buddhas and the Grand Palace, send your family members on a couple of organized excursions around the city. They’ll appreciate the sights and you’ll appreciate five minutes of peace and quiet. Some possible options include a khlong tour of the city’s old waterways by boat, such as this one by Pandan Tours (http://www.thaicanaltour.com). You can also send them on a cycling tour (http://www.followmebiketour.com) provided the weather isn’t too hot. And for those rainy/steamy afternoons where nothing outside will do, a cooking class like the ones offered at Issaya Cooking Studio (http://www.issayastudio.com) are just the ticket.

Let Samitivej Help

Samitivej Hospital offers Thailand’s first ever Virtual Baby Visit. With “Look At My Baby”, your relatives can share in the joy of your new baby without having to continuously visit the hospital! Your family and friends from far away can see the baby in real time with just one click of their tablet, mobile phone or computer. Online baby visit means less interruption to the newborn and more bonding time with your child. It is safe, private and password-protected – ideal for your first few weeks as busy new parents! For more information, visit the hospital’s website (http://www.samitivejhospitals.com/en/events/lookmybaby-by-samitivej/).

Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston via Compfight cc

ExpectingExpats.com

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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