Establishing Boundaries for a New Baby

Having a new baby is an exciting time, but can also be overwhelming and stressful as you begin to navigate parenthood while trying to balance the needs of your own healing and learning, as well as baby's needs, and the expectations of well-meaning friends and family. Setting boundaries with loved ones in advance can sometimes feel challenging, but communicating your needs, concerns, and wishes upfront can often lessen the stress after baby is born. 

If you have desires, wishes, rules, or boundaries you would like to have honored regarding visits with your newborn, I recommend a firm yet loving approach that is communicated ahead of birth. Don't feel guilty enforcing the boundaries you feel are in the best interest of you and your child --- physically, mentally, and emotionally too. Below is an example of a few boundaries new parents often would like to establish and how to communicate them in a way that its clear and kind.

“As baby’s birth approaches, we know how excited everyone is to meet her. Please understand this is a very exciting time in our lives, but also one that comes with plenty of anxiety, stress, and worries too. Please bear with us and give us grace as we begin navigating parenthood. We are sending this list of boundaries we expect all our friends and family to follow when coming to see baby, and these will apply to all visitors. We are kindly asking that you respect these boundaries, and if doing so doesn’t seem possible, we ask that you please refrain from visiting until you can support our choices.” 

1. Please keep your face away from baby. We know babies are just so darn kissable, but breathing on or kissing a small baby can come with major risks to her health. No kissing will be allowed on any part of her body. 

2. Please refrain from the use of perfume/cologne or other strongly scented products (hairspray or certain laundry detergents, for example) before visiting. For those that may be smokers, we ask that you refrain from smoking prior to arrival and bring a clean change of clothes to wear while in our home. Babies often have very sensitive skin and lungs, and we want to avoid any possible triggers.

3. We will ask all visitors to wash their hands upon arrival in an effort to prevent spreading germs that are too big for baby to handle.  If you have recently been under the weather in any way, we kindly ask that you postpone your visit. What might seem like a minor cold or allergies to an adult can be devastating for a baby, and we know you value baby's health and well-being as much as we do.

4. All visits need to be prearranged, as we will be juggling sleep schedules, nap needs, feeding needs, and more. Drop in visits will add stress we do not need. 

5. Please make arrangements at a local hotel for the duration of your visit. Our top priority is tending to baby’s needs, and hosting overnight guests is not suitable for us at this time. 

6. We know how cute babies are and the desire to show them off, but at this time we are asking that no photos of baby be shared to social media. If you would like to take pictures of/with baby, we ask you to savor these memories for yourself rather than posting them.

7. We ask that when holding baby phones and other devices be placed to the side and to enjoy that time with baby undistracted.

8. While we know holding baby is the highlight of a visit, please understand that we are all navigating new territory. Please ask before reaching in to take baby. There may be times where baby simply needs to be with mom or dad and not passed to others. If this occurs, please know we are not trying to keep baby from you, but there may be other ways you can help us in the meanwhile.  

9. Becoming a new parent is definitely a learning process that comes with an overload of information, and our choices or ways may be different from others. While usually well intended, sometimes receiving lots of advice or recommendations can feel difficult to process. If we have questions or challenges we would like your help with solving, we will ask for your input or guidance. Please be gentle with us as we learn, and refrain from offering unsolicited advice. A kind assurance that we are doing a great job will mean more than you know.

Jordan Clapp is a Certified Integrative Nutrition & Holistic Health Coach who focuses primarily in the areas of women's health, hormones, thyroid, and autoimmune concerns. Her mission is to help women feel and function their best without giving up their lives. As a busy mom herself, she knows the challenges that exist when attempting to juggle your own needs and health amidst the demands of mom-life, household needs, career responsibilities, and more. She is committed to helping her clients find sustainable strategies for long-term wellness by meeting them where they are at and helping them get to where they want to be. 

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