Help them help you- new baby sign with ways for visitors to help

Sugarbaby, minutes old. Photo by Debra Parker

For my last 2 babies, my midwife had a piece of paper she taped to my front door before she left after the birth.  Announcing to visitors that there was a new baby in the house, it shared birth facts such as weight, length, name, date, etc.  That part was nice but what I really loved was the part about what visitors could do.  Informing them that a new baby means help is needed and that their visit should be brief, this little piece of paper taped to my front door encouraged those that loved us and wanted to celebrate with us to keep their voices low, limit their time, understand if we needed to be alone, and give them ideas of how to help such as offering to do the dishes, sweep a floor, run the vacuum, or take the bigger kids to the park.  In short, it helped our visitors figure out how to be the best kind of visitors and I discovered that I didn’t mind having people stop by as much as I did with my older kids simply because they helped more and were more understanding of our needs.  Knowing they already saw a notice of sorts on the front door before they came in made it easier for me to respect my own boundaries, excusing myself to rest or not feeling awkward about them asking if they could help with something around the house.

There are far too many expectations on families when they have a new baby.  Respecting the postpartum recovery and the important bonding that needs to happen with the new family member sets up families to continue on well for the long haul.  If you’re breastfeeding, this time is crucial to establishing your breastfeeding relationship and focusing on that will have a long term pay off.  Pushing for too much too soon, other people interfering with the bonding, can leave moms feeling burnt out and unwell months, maybe even years later.  Having true support and help to take the time to really heal leads to endurance in the parenting journey.  That, and knowing we’re not alone along the way.

So my gift to you is my version of this life-saving piece of paper.  Ask your care provider to sign it complete with the appropriate initials behind their name then stick it on your front door when your little one arrives and leave it there for at least 6 weeks (8 if you birth via c-section).  Be a good friend and print it off to give others that are expecting for them to put on their front door.  Don’t hesitate to point out the note, referring to it by asking if they saw how much baby weighed or how long she was and if they didn’t notice, encourage them to go check out the info posted on the front door.  It can be hard to ask for help yet not allowing others to help ends up creating isolation and robbing others of the joy of offering support and encouragement by helping. This little bit of guidance can help not only the new mom and family but the friends and family that want to offer quality support but just aren’t sure what is needed.  Take the guess work out of the picture and everyone wins.

new baby help sign for front door

 new baby sign and help list for front door

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Comments

  1. Amy Phillips says:

    What a great idea! Wish I’d have had this for my little ones. If I have another, this is certainly going on the door! Thanks, Jessica, and your midwife for the great idea!

  2. Danielle H. says:

    I love this. Especially for the sit with baby/children so that mom can shower. That part was always hard because I wanted to shower but kept forgetting until I was the only one home.

  3. McAidenleigh says:

    I think this is a great idea! It shows just how pretentious and annoying you are before anyone has to come in and actually be exposed to it first hand. The droves of well wishers that it will drive away will certainly always remember you and your little sign! Good luck cleaning your own toilet and feeling crushing waves of loneliness those first few weeks. You have certainly earned it.

    • Crushing loneliness: 6 weeks of meals, volunteers helping with big kids (i.e. taking them to the park, driving them to play practice, etc.), my house looking cleaner than ever thanks to help, the right amount of company that understood us needing rest, regular showers. Maybe my friends and family don’t interpret honesty and boundaries as pretentious and annoying? Or at least the ones that do stay away during that time and don’t say anything to my face? Oh well, I’ve recovered well, have my health, bounded with my baby, and have an incredible community around me, pretentious and annoying and all. Dear friends that are ok with me not being perfect, respecting my boundaries, and asking for help. If it helps weed out friends that aren’t able to do that then great, I don’t have the time for high maintenance people that may be disappointed with me needing help now and then and me being there to help them when they need help too.

      Obviously you and I wouldn’t be good friends. No worries, I’m not crushed. ~Jessica

      • kathleen says:

        You are awesome Jessica. =) I am so useing this sign if I ever have another baby

      • Well…McAidenleigh… if u think that its annoying to let ppl know that the baby u just carried in your womb & the family already in the home coping with a new baby is more important than appealing to the wants/needs of outside family and friends, then I’d almost bet you are not a mom of multiples nor do u have an extended support system of wonderful family and friends. 1st of all, anyone there to visit would be there bc they care for the wellbeing of my family,myself, and the new bundle of joy. So they would WANT to help anyway they could, even if that means simply not overstaying your welcome and allowing the newby’s to bond. So annoying it is not and I think I’m not the only believer in this! I would do it in an instant if I had another baby and I’d bet it would be wat smoother sailing from then on!!!

      • I really wish I had this sign after my son was born. I kept feeling that I had to entertain the droves of well-wishers when they came to visit. I am also very bad at asking for help, to the point that I was overwhelmed by everything I still had to do around the house, especially after my husband went back to work.

        Thank you Jessica for your honesty! I don’t find it annoying at all

    • Stephanie says:

      Perhaps there should be a sign on this page that takes a stance on trolling. It is in no way helpful for you to be so downright negative. Perhaps you do not like the idea of a sign on the door. Perhaps you had a bad experience wherein nobody helped you out. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, as your immediate and harsh sarcastic response is, rather it is a sign of intelligence. This type of sign ensured the best for Jessica and her baby and her family for that time, and it could help other mothers whereas your attitude I can only imagine is only a hindrance to everyone all the time.

  4. Strangers will most likely not be visiting, and friends and family will know the love behind this lovely sign. I can’t imagine being offended by this…selfish much!?

  5. This is awesome! You can vary the tasks or the visit time as needed, but overall it gives those who care about you a specific way to be supportive! If you don’t let people know in some way you need help, or at the least would appreciate the help if offered, then they may do something THEY would think is helpful (because maybe it was for them) but it actually is unsupportive for you. I know I would love some ideas on what help people could use in situations like this!

    If someone does not want to do any of the suggested tasks, they don’t have to. They are simply asked to be mindful of what the new family needs.

  6. I think it’s a great and gently humorous way of reminding people that there’s a Mama who has just given birth, is tired, hormonal, needs her space and sleep, and that it’s not all about the visitors, but about helping and supporting a family in those early days with what they need. I’m very blessed to be in a community that provides meals for 2-3 weeks after baby arrives, and friends who helped me by doing school runs, a bit of shopping, playdates out for my toddler, and helping me get to checkups etc (I don’t drive) I myself am off next week to spend the day with a friend who is recovering from a c-section, with 2 lively boys plus newborn. She has asked her friends to come and visit, keep her company, to help with the boys, and maybe let her get an hour or two of sleep. I’d rather be asked to do something useful and helpful, than nothing, and I’m repaying the kindness shown to me.

  7. Mama4Ever says:

    Everyone’ s family is different. Only useful if you want people to do that stuff for you. I did not want family and friends to clean for me, i arranged for a cleanig person beforehand. We all know what is right for our family and ourselves, and this sign would be weird and off putting message to my loved ones. I guess they are good at having bounderies. I have an adoring family that is smart and generous and great cooks and I wanted their presence and company, and they all knew just want to do for me.

  8. McAidenleigh says:

    I’ve had two babies, both of them preemies, and I’m pregnant with my third child. I have never, ever demanded that visitors and family clean my house for me. You say you “don’t have the time for high maintenance people” but you clearly are ignoring the biggest one in the room. You.

    • CullenMommy says:

      Here’s an idea, if you don’t like the idea behind what Jessica is saying with her door note don’t use it. It’s as simple as that. You may be super woman and be able to do everything but Jessica is just a normal mom with 5 kids and a newborn who needs a little help. I honestly don’t know what I would have done had it not been for the help I got after my son was born. Living in a 3 story house after a C-Section left me not able to do very much. Especially since my DH worked 7 days a week 11 hrs a day. Stop being a troll

      • McAidenleigh says:

        Really? It’s being a troll to disagree with somebody? Have you even looked at the language on the sign? There are a million ways to say, “Please limit your visit at this time. Mommy and baby are very tired and trying to bond.” and “If you stay more than ten minutes here’s your chore list.” That sign is so incredibly rude that the core message it’s trying to get across is completely lost.

        • kathleen says:

          Did you even read the sign? It is addressed to visitors FROM THE CARE PROVIDER, not from the mother. Like a doctors note. Do you consider doctors notes rude? And no, you are not a troll because you disagree, you are a troll because you are calling names and being rude.

        • Astolat says:

          McAidenleigh, this kind of “list” is used in other situations, such as for cancer patients (like me) and people who have have major surgeries or been in the hospital for other serious reasons.

          While I don’t have children, it seems to me from seeing my friends go through childbirth that the experience is not much different. You are tired, you are weak, you are recovering and adjusting to a new way of living.

          People ALWAYS want to help, they often aren’t sure how. And when you’re recovering from a major medical event, you don’t have the immediate mental clarity to be directing people around.

          There are also some people who don’t think about how exhausting it is for a patient (or mother and newborn) to have them lingering around — for these people, the event is all about THEM, and not the patient/mother/newborn.

          If those people are offended, so be it — they really weren’t there for you anyway. You learn as you go through cancer treatment who your REAL friends are, and who you can REALLY trust in your family. It doesn’t seem any different to me with mothers and newborns.

        • I can see how the verbiage of the sign can be abrupt and I initially thought that to, but I think the thought and logic behind it is so very true. I am always asking how I can help when I go to a friends house who just had a baby and sometimes they can’t think of anything. I’m a doula and I always encourage clients to be willing to ask for help when they need it, especially if it was a rough birth or they are having issues in the first few weeks.

          I took this sign and created something similar that just said that “While your visit is appreciated by the family please assist them in this critical time my limiting your visit and be understanding if the priority of the family bonding prohibits the new baby being held by anyone but the mother/father/siblings. Please DO NOT come in if you or your children are sick.
          If you are looking for ways to help this family here are a few simple things you could offer to help with:”

          It doesn’t list a time limit but does raise the awareness that long visits can be taxing on a mom who feels the need to entertain guests. And allows the guest to offer to help without the feeling of a visit longer than 10 min means you need to clean.

    • I too am preg, so I understand the hormone hell you are in right now. I will use that to excuse your unnecessarily rude comments.

      I am always open to visitors, and I am blessed that most of them come with a meal in hand. It sure does help. For me, this sign is most helpful in making visitors understand that I need to limit their time here, and that I may be too darn tired. I plan to rephrase the letter a tad, to include a notice that my attire is breastfeeding friendly- there’s a chance my boob will be exposed! lol

      I also greatly appreciate the “don’t come in if you or your kids are sick”. Can’t believe someone would love over sick, but I know it happens.

      Most of all friend, this letter is a template, to be changed to fit your needs. It wasn’t phrased as a “one size fit all” kind of deal. Take it or leave it, but it’s not your right to criticize those of use who wouldn’t mind tweaking it and benefiting from it, whatever form that comes in.

      Relax, enjoy your pregnancy. And remember to add to your note a warning about your hormones please. 🙂

      Gretchen

      • McAidenleigh says:

        My hormones are just fine, thanks. Unlike some women I am willing to own what I’ve said without having to resort to “Oh, I’m just EMOTIONAL because I have a baby in my tummy!”

        You put something up on the internet, and guess what, people have the right to criticize it. I found that sin to be incredibly rude. I said it. I meant it.

        • *bored sigh* You done yet? I’m tired of your useless comments and bad temper. Please go take it somewhere I don’t have to deal with it.

    • But she didn’t demand that people clean the house. She asked that if people stay longer than 10 minutes, they do something to help out. Don’t want to clean? Don’t stay longer than 10 minutes.

      I’m having trouble picturing someone that’s not entitled, self centered, and rude that wouldnt LOVE to help a family with a brand new baby. The only reason signs like this are even necessary is that our current society is filled with selfish people who think only about themselves. Setting boundaries for the health and well being of your own family at a sensitive time is not pretentious, it’s actually a sign of emotional health.

      • And the person who tells a guest, “Hey, if all you’re gonna do is sit here and gawk at the baby you might as well pick up a broom and sweep something. Here’s a toilet brush, be a lamb and go swab the head” is not being selfish at all.

        Not seeing the logic here.

    • I don’t understand this idea. Are people so rude that they would not call first to ask if they can visit? And they would not think to ask the new mom if she needs help? When I had both my babies, everyone called first to ask if they could visit and a sign like this was completely unnecessary. I mean, who would show up at the new mom’s door without asking? And if anyone was thoughtless enough to not think to ask if you need help, well, why be friends with them?

      I just don’t get this note at all. Maybe I just don’t know any self-centered, selfish people?

      • Yes, people are that rude, but I’m thinking (hopefully) it’s folks that don’t realize it’s rude not to give a heads up or ask if they may come for a visit. I had neighbors come in w/ out notice w/ my first baby. They aren’t selfish or rude, they just come from a different mindset. W’/ my last baby, I actually had a sign stating that if you haven’t had the Tdap shot to please come back after you have. I will never know if a ton more neighbors would have dropped in and I absolutely loved not having drop in guests, no matter how well meaning.

  9. Shannon says:

    Look, I have no problem with people asking for help when you’ve just had a baby. I have no problem with asking people to wash their hands before they handle the baby or if they’d mind holding the baby while mom has a shower. Those things are perfectly fine. It’s just this note phrases it in such a way that anyone who is asked to stay longer than 10 minutes is automatically going to be given a job to do. That reeks of entitlement and presumption. It’s just rude and I can’t believe that there are so many people out there that can’t see that.

    I know if I showed up at the home of someone who had this note on their door, I’d probably just turn around and leave even if I had planned to do something nice for them. It’s unspeakably rude.

  10. Samantha says:

    Whoa lady. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this note. Those are suggestions and not demands. Obviously you should know that you need help when you have a newborn, let alone other children on top of that. This note is great way to let everyone know they can help if they want. And if they don’t want, they won’t. You can’t be too prideful to ask for help when you need it.

  11. People do things for you because they WANT to, not because you TELL them too. I find the sign a little rude, but that’s just my personal opinion. I would never say no to help if it was offered, but I would definitely take offense to someone saying, “you can visit me but you have to do housework if you’re going to stay.”

  12. Agree with Samantha.

    This is my 4th child coming next month, and it is the first time in 13 yrs that I am finally realizing I am not super mom, and with 4 kids and a husband with 2 jobs, I could sure use an extra hand when it’s offered. My hardest thing to get over is asking for help, and accepting when it’s offered. This not helps me to answer the question (what can i do for you?) and not make me feel like less of a mom for doing so.

    Maybe you are not as insecure as myself, maybe you have no problem saying “yea sure, the mop is in the closet… or don’t mind the tighty whities…” but I sure do. This helps little ole’ me. 🙂

    I hope this helps my recovery time too, not feeling the insane pressure to nurse, bond and clean at the same time.

    Gretchen

  13. Jillian says:

    We live in a culture that has forgotten the need of mothering the mother. After the birth of a baby, the job of the mother is to nurse her baby and heal her body – NOT ENTERTAIN GUESTS! This sign simply allows those visiting to know how they can help the family and mother the new mother. If a visitor is not their to help, then why are they there?

    This is clearly a case of perception differences. I would see this as a family protecting their autonomy needs, and those offended by such a sign may lack awareness of their imposition on others.

  14. I think this is a wonderful idea. In those early days, most of the visitor’s are close family friends and relatives, who would never be offended by this type of note. As a matter of fact, after a baby is born, so many people show up to help, and I think this would give them the ability to help out and not feel like they are being too intrusive. Lovely idea!

  15. With my first baby, I had a LOT of people come over to see my baby in the first two weeks. Like a LOT. Most visitors stayed too long. Some washed dishes. Many brought meals. I was extremely thankful to those who brought food or helped out. However, after having a C-section and breastfeeding problems, I needed REST. I was up for hours and hours and night feeding my baby. And I felt helpless to stop the people who stayed too long AND didn’t help. So, I didn’t say anything. There would have been no way for me to ask them to leave that would NOT have seemed rude to them, because all they were thinking about was how they wanted to see and hold our new baby. But *I* was exhausted, and I needed space and privacy to rest and learn how to feed my baby. A sign like this could have done a load of good for me! 🙂

    • Been there says:

      THIS! Oh my God, so this! I didn’t have a c-section, but I did have a protracted, physically and emotionally traumatic birth (bub was posterior and got very stuck, cue forceps, haemorrhaging, you name it), and there were certain people (largely family!) who had no blessed idea that they were actually… dare I say it? Unwelcome.

      Why? Because my son did not sleep for longer than two hours at a stretch, day or night, and took 45+ minutes to feed every time he woke. Because I was recovering physically (it was three and a half months before I could have a bowel movement without crying) and emotionally (I had a lot of baggage about the birth and about my fitness as a parent because of it – stupid, I know, but I was dealing with a lot of self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy because the birth was completely unlike what I’d hoped for). I was shellshocked from the complete 180 my life had taken in bringing this little boy home, and the true nature of 24/7 parenting.

      So I was mentally, physically and emotionally drained, and in the first three weeks of my son’s life, we had (I kid you not) THREE DAYS in which we did NOT have at least one visitor. They would stay for hours, sometimes. There was one occasion in which I had just crashed on the bed after putting my son down for a sleep, and had barely had my eyes closed for ten minutes when my husband woke me, apologising profusely, to say that my grandparents had just arrived. Then my grandmother had the audacity to tell me that I seemed ‘a bit flat’! Well geez, let me think! Maybe because you woke me from a desperately needed nap, because I haven’t had more than two hours’ consecutive sleep for over a fortnight! A bit flat! What do you expect me to do, throw a bloody parade because you’ve come for a visit?

      Sadly, most of the visitors were like that, with the notable exception of my mother, who always came with a pre-prepared meal and did something (even just tidying the kitchen) before she left. Everyone else just came in, squished my son and riled him up, expected my husband and I to wait on them with cups of tea and coffee, nattered on about crap for two or three hours, and then left us to wash up and calm the baby down.

      We’re expecting baby #2, and I won’t be tolerating that this time. Not with a toddler in the mix as well. This sign is blunt, but if blunt is what is needed to get the point across that my new baby isn’t about other people’s desires, then so be it.

      • I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. Sometimes it also helps just to put a sign on the door saying mom and baby napping. Please call and try back another time.

  16. This is such a great idea! I remember when my youngest was just 3 days old, a family member brought their 18 month old baby with them and stayed for 4 hours. They proceeded to feed him lunch (spaghetti) in our high chair, then left the mess for ME to clean up, then stayed long enough to feed him a second meal. How thoughtful! Not to mention it kept us from getting some much-needed rest. I just wish we had an advocate who had posted this sign on our door! Love it!

  17. miranda says:

    or you could avoid all that by not allowing people to come by unannounced. i asked people to text/call before coming just to double check that we werent napping. that is just a common curtesy even when i havent just had a baby…

  18. miranda says:

    or you could avoid all that by not allowing people to come by unannounced. i asked people to text/call before coming just to double check that we werent napping. that is just a common curtesy even when i havent just had a baby…

  19. This would have been so helpful for me. I have a huge family and everyone came over to visit. I was too hopped up on percocet and new mommy adrenaline to realize that I should have been sitting down and nursing my baby instead of serving people drinks and trying to vacuum up dog hair (post c-section- was I insane?) because I knew people would be coming over. I wish I had done things differently and ended up hitting a major wall of exhaustion and nursing difficulties that lingered for months. If I could do it all over again I would hide in my bed with my baby and let people come in to me in the bedroom, instead of putting on a new baby show for everyone. Live and learn- this sign helps to let people know that the mood of the house has changed and the hostess is taking a break!

  20. I attempted to read through all of the responses, but I caught myself shaking my head in disgust more than once. I am no troll, but I am a mother who had two difficult births resulting in emergency c-sections and both internal and external infections that required a long healing process. I didn’t have family knocking on my door, asking to help in any way, shape or form. It was me and my husband, as well as the nurses who came to tend to my wounds. I was depressed, withdrawn and found it hard to bond with my babies. That being said, I still wouldn’t post a note like this, basically demanding people clean or do other chores for me. I found it difficult to be around people at the time, but I didn’t try to limit visits from well meaning grandparents, aunts, etc. People want to see a new baby, but most people respect healthy boundaries with new parents. I’m all for proactive motherhood, speaking up, letting people know you need time to bond and recuperate, but that particular note is damn rude. It’s arrogant, selfish and condescending. I don’t care if it’s a template or not. If you have guests over and they OFFER to help out, then of course you could suggest a menial task, but how dare someone demand someone clean for them or they don’t get to hold the new babe? I don’t care if you’re a busy mother of twenty children, it was your choice to pop them out, so basically…deal with it! Don’t be a b**** about it when people come a-knockin’ to see baby number 45. Eventually people won’t come knocking because it will be obvious you’re not grateful for their visit. You just want free labour.

    • When my daughter Calanthe was born, I wanted to be with her 24/7. I didn’t care about the outside world and I didn’t want people helping me. I wanted to be on my own. My mother did come to visit a couple of times and she asked if she could do dishes. I was probably more hormonal than I intended, but I tried to be thankful but I resented the heck out of her because I couldn’t do it on my own. I couldn’t imagine telling her to put Callie down and get to work or to get the eff out!

      When Marietta was born, I was more relaxed, but I relied on my husband to do the day to day chores. His mom was in town, but she stayed at a hotel. She didn’t offer to clean or help out. She took us out to dinner once, but she would come by every day and hold Marie for half hour spells and I would just sleep. That meant more to me than any cleaning. Seriously. I think the midwife who advised this sh*t list should rethink her line of work.

  21. I LOVE this Jessica. As a mom of five I have entertained many guests after the births of my babies. It wasn’t until the last two that we decided the best place for me was under the baby and guests that expect to hold baby and sit while I work are NOT helping. This would have helped me set some gentle boundaries (and say “hey my midwife said so”). Also I’m horrendous at asking for help (all the time, not just postpartum) and most people who know me wouldn’t offer because I might seem like I don’t need it. Anyway. Love this. Not pretentious. Genius.

    • Is it genius, though, really? Women have been helping women post-postpartum for centuries. It’s hardly anything novel. I find that the wording on this particular sign is crass. Most people realize what a new parent (mother or father) has to deal with and respects boundaries. You don’t need to list it on the door and bombard guests before they even make it to the doorbell. It’s absolutely ridiculous. If you want to weed out potential guests, then yes, by all means, post this in big bold letters. Otherwise, be courteous, but set healthy boundaries. If someone offers to help out, accept, enjoy your mini-vacay and be thankful. If they don’t, let them hold the baby, sit there, smile and nod and then after a while, suggest it’s time for baby and new parents to rest. They’ll get it. This sign just alienates you and makes you look like a pretentious primadonna. Women have been mothers since the beginning of time. We get it.

      • kathleen says:

        Tell that to my mother in law, she refused to leave, insisting me and my husband needed her help and advise because we were first time parents. I sat, I nodded, I hinted and asked her to leave in every polite way there is and she was oblivious. she stayed for hours everyday and made my postpartum period stressfull and exhausting. And she wasn’t the only one, most of my husbands family was like that. A sign on my door might have given them a clue. If I have to look like a “pretentious primadonna” to get a moment of peace in my own home and get to hold my baby, then so be it.

        • Why in $DEITY’s name didn’t your husband speak up and tell her it was time to leave?

  22. Omigosh, I would have loved this! We had relatively few people visit us but a couple of them stayed for HOURS and I wasn’t fit to be seen so most of the visit was spent with me locked in my bedroom while DH entertained. When family came to call all they wanted to do was hold the baby. Actually, that was the beginning of the formula/breastfeeding battle. Various people wanted to bottle feed him and I hadn’t started pumping yet. I let it happen a couple times and while it didn’t hurt my supply or damage our BF relationship I look back on the incidents with intense annoyance.

  23. I’m posting one last time because upon reading my last posts, I realize I am being harsh and critical. I am sorry for my “tone”. I understand the need for space, time to bond, to recover, to refresh, to regroup and begin your life with your new little blessing, but I personally find the wording of this particular note to be alarmingly over the top. I think it’s a tad dangerous to post personal family information about baby and parents on the front door, and I don’t think you should tell people what they should be doing to help. By all means encourage people to limit their visits if you need to rest or baby is fussing, but don’t demand that they do housework. I understand wanting baby to be close by, for bonding, insecurities that coming with being a new mom, etc., but it isn’t the end of the world if grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle/nice lady from church holds the baby for ten minutes. It gives you a break. You can just sit and chat with adults. It really does help on some level. I do think setting healthy boundaries with people is important as a new parent, but being stifling about it won’t get you anywhere.

  24. Breastfeeding is a very delicate relationship and it definitely takes a lot of time and patience. A new mother needs that space and time to develop that oh-so-important bond with her new baby, and she also needs to be surrounded by people who encourage, support and respect her. I get that completely and wish I had more people like that in my own life when I had newborns at home. That being said, nothing is perfect and a new mother needs to realize that as much as she loves her new babe and wants that closeness, the world doesn’t stop for her. People will want to see the baby. There will be expectations (if they’re ludicrous, ignore the nutjobs and carry on), and your focus cannot just be on the bond with your little one. That is not realistic. I think breastfeeding time should be one-on-one for sure, but there are 24 hours in a day. Sleep when you can, and if someone wants to visit, let them hold the baby. Go shower, sit, close your eyes, meditate, whatever. You can zone out a bit and people will understand, but they will not understand a note like the one mentioned in this article. You don’t have to be Super Mom, but you don’t have to be Anti-Everything else, either.

  25. I’m TOTALLY gonna put this sign up…specially with my mother in law…she doesn’t understand what help is…unless its having to listen to her mope and.complain about everything…and being that my hormones will be out of whack, by placing this sign up, I’ve given her fair warning that I’m in no position to deal with and listen to her crap 🙂

  26. I love this idea. We had a hard time getting my family to figure out that we needed help. If they could have all crowded into the delivery room, they would have. My husbands family on the other hand wouldn’t have needed a sign like this, because it was common sense.

    The thing I don’t get is why all the criticism about the wording? If you don’t like how its worded, but you still like the idea, then make your own, with wording that suits you. No reason to get all over each other because one person disagrees with another. If you don’t like the idea at all, then don’t use it.

  27. Cassandra says:

    I actually had a family member get mad and hang up on me when I wouldn’t wake my husband to go pick up said family member, unannounced, at a car dealership. Please note: our newborn was in the NICU and my hubby had been up for about 48 hours between the birth and aftermath……believe me, there ARE people out there who need a sign!

  28. I understand the need for a sign like this. Since my family is so stinking nosey, I knew my parents would want to come in from out of town and stay with us with our first, so we requested nobody visit until she was at least 6 weeks old! Sure, we could have used the breaks/help, but when they stay with you, it is not helpful or a break and my mom would have been all up in my business! My baby got admitted to the hospital on her first birthday and I had to fight my mom to hold her (the kid has seen her twice and she assumed that she wanted to be held by nana when sick, wtf?) So yes, I definitely understand!!

  29. Also, when LO was born, my mom was mad that I didn’t answer the phone to tell her that she had been born/what her name was. DH had sent a mass text that she was here and she was 12 minutes old and my mom got pissed that I wouldn’t answer the phone to talk to her about what her name was!!

  30. This is a great idea! We don’t have any relatives living in state and our out of state family can only come for so long. Definitely saving this and using it whenever the next baby comes. I’m indian and in our culture, the new mother is to do nothing but nurse, bond with baby, and recover for the first 40 days after birth. Here in the US, it’s often lost in translation. In some cases, it’s just not possible. As someone said above, mothering the mother isn’t something very common in this culture. It’s not pretentious, it’s not rude. It’s smart. If you think this list is anything else, don’t use it.

  31. This kills me…I’d never use the sign, not because I’m offended- but because I don’t have that type of support group. My family wasn’t there like this. Yes, they were present at the hospital, showered us with gifts- drove us home upon release. One of the best memories I have of bringing my son home was after my mother had left, my husband and I looked at each other and said “what do we do now? It’s just us.” And it was. Just us three. Learning how to juggle the joys, diapers, tears and everything else. I’d kill for the opportunity to use this with my peanut we’re currently expecting. But I won’t need to. I’ll come home to my husband and son- and it will be the four of us. Just our family to learn each other and welcome her into our lives. To call names and say those things about a note is crazy… stop being jealous that others may need to limit the endless amounts of visitors they have, their popularity should not reflect on how you feel about yourself. Being slightly green about never needing this sign doesn’t cause me to defame it, only understand it more. Jessica (and others) had too much going on, whereas I had nothing- only the comfort of bonding (ALONE) with my baby.

  32. Sigh, so much angst over a sign. Too bad adults (parents no less) can’t realize that we all have such different lives and experiences that to judge and harshly criticize based on our own frame of reference is very uncouth and just makes our own view look bad (think negative campaign ads).

    Anyway, I like it Jessica, and kudos for not lashing back at the haters. I had an ok support network but only one person ever offered to do anything other than hold the baby, so when my best friend had her baby 3 months later, I visited her twice just to do the dishes, she was very grateful! Another thing that might help some people is to have your husband (or in my case my lovely sisters) be the “bad guy” if necessary to tell you that you should go to bed or whatever when they can tell that you’re fading. I didn’t have anyone that got offended, but I know there are those people out there!

  33. Danielle says:

    I love the idea of the sign, but I feel that the verbiage and listing of chores *is* condescending. I’m sorry, that’s just my take on it. I think something more lighthearted might be better might be better?

  34. Whether you do, or don’t like this note- suck it up. I had a total of two family visit and two friend visits when I had Teralynn. Thank god my sister is a home birth midwife, she stayed two weeks after, taught us about bottles and breastfeeding and cleaned my toilet four times a day to cut down on the risk of infection. No one who visited ever asked for a glass of anything or a plate of food, but the rest of both of our families wanted us to pack up and visit them. What kills me is that we did, the push for everyone to have a piece of your baby (and by proxy a piece of yourself) is weird. I sat on my hands numerous times while my child was passed from hand to hand, all I wanted was her back but felt unable to express myself, or really move. With the exception of my sister, no one offered to help around our house (which would have been a blessing). I think this note is a fine idea if you have the sort of situation where you will have many visitors, I’m not planning on worrying about it much with baby no. 2. So I guess my point is- appreciate the people who care about your welfare and that of your family and child. I know many of my relatives cared about our well being but couldn’t be bothered to come over or call. It would have been nice, but life is life and we’ve done well.

  35. Thanks. I needed a laugh. The sign is a joke right? You really wouldnt have the audacity to ask someone to clean your bathroom, RIGHT???