10 Tips for Dealing with Visitors After Having a Baby

Do you feel special when you’re pregnant? Well, step aside, Lady, because a baby is here and people love babies. The dilemma that comes with having this little rock star in your home now is that billions of people will want to come visit it. Some will be helpful some will not. So here are a few handy tips I’ve picked up along the way so you’re able to show your magnificent little miracle off to the world like Simba in the Lion King.

1. Don’t let anyone stay with you that you can’t cry in front of or you can’t tell to “shutup”

There may be a few people that offer to stay with you when the baby comes. This can be a Godsend or a shitshow. Really think about that person and how much you want them to see behind the curtain. You may be too tired to delicately say, “I know she’s not latching properly but I’m just trying to get the hang of it” and instead say, “See off? You need to fuck right to it!”. Decide carefully about who you want to be around 24/7 when your inner filter isn’t working at full capacity.

2. Spread out the visitors

People love to see the baby immediately, that, or they feel obliged to see the baby immediately. Either way, try to spread them out as much as you can so you can get settled and enjoy everyone’s company long after the fanfare typically dies down. Try not to book too far in advance either, you seriously may feel great the day after you give birth and feel like a back alley crack whore by week two.

3. Go to people that you think will over stay their welcome – don’t have them come to you

Sometimes this really isn’t their fault. I was one of these people before I had kids because I had no idea how tiring a newborn can be and would sit there gabbing on about some new bar I’d been to while staring into the vacant doll-like eyes of my best friend holding her newborn. I’m sure she wanted to tell me to shut my cake hole and get the hell out of her house, but just didn’t have the energy. These are the people you should meet for a coffee or go to their place. First of all, newborns are very portable because they eat, sleep and poop and that’s about it, so take advantage of this window when you can cart them anywhere and they don’t care. Secondly, it’s all on your terms when to pull the chute and you won’t have to drop the little hints that go unnoticed. By the way, some of these single people, elderly uncles, etc. are fantastic to be around because they are often just as self absorbed as a newborn and it’s sometimes strangely refreshing to talk about something other than babies.

4. Put them to work

Some people are just itching to help when you have a baby and you know what, let them. These people are like damn border collies and if you don’t give them a task, they get destructive and are liable to chew the leg off a chair or worse, start throwing stuff out. Let them do dishes, tidy up, clean the bathroom, take out the garbage, take your other kids to the park, whatever. Don’t want them seeing your gross underwear? Throw it in your closet and let them deal with the rest of the pile. Just leave *your* to-do list out and if they ask if they can help, just point them to it and tell them to help themselves if they feel like it. Not everyone is comfortable around babies but really want to help, so give them the satisfaction of doing something for you and just enjoy it and thank them profusely so they don’t start installing a sprinkler system.

5. Tag team

Remember the first point? That kind of applies to visitors as well. If they aren’t the kind of person you can lose it in front of, then have a buffer person with you to entertain or deflect if you need to pull a batsmoke. Just have these people over when your partner or close relative or friend is around in case you need to excuse yourself for an hour to cry on the bed for no particular reason (I did this…twice).

6. Partner plays the bad cop

If you think you’re second string to the baby, just imagine how your husband feels. As I mentioned in the New Dad Survival Guide, this is his chance to shine because I can gua-ran-tee you that there will be some tricky situations when visitors come; like the cousin that announces he’s just getting over the flu in passing conversation while holding your 3-day old infant. Or the great Aunt that insists that the baby needs to be brought out in a snow storm to meet her bridge club. Or the nephew that drops by and could “really go for a sandwich”. Dad (or partner, or side kick), it is your job to step up and say, “Oh, hell no.” You know why? Because everybody thinks a protective father is cute and everybody thinks a protective mother is nuts, so do everybody a favour and unhinge. This is also a perfect opportunity for an Al Pacino impression.

7. Make them bring food

As my friend’s Jamaican grandmother used to say, “Don’t come wid you two long han”. Which loosely translated to don’t be an asshole and show up empty handed. Not only should you stagger these people, but try and get them to bring you food. I featured a brilliant website called MealBaby where people can pick a date where they bring you a meal. Not only do you get a dinner that you don’t have to cook, but you get to decide what dates are available so you can control the flow of people. Have them pop it over or sit down and share it with them, either way, they get a baby fix and you get some lasagna. I say win-win.

8. Treat it like an Out-of-Office Reply

Sometimes people think it’s nice to pop in to see how a new mother is doing if they haven’t had an immediate response to a message they left an hour ago. This actually isn’t too bad for the people you can tell to “shut up” because you can tell them if it isn’t a good time and their feelings won’t get hurt. For the rest of the population it is not cool to arrive unannounced at a new parents front door because there is no telling what kind of Stephen King nightmare is going on that day. To avoid these awkward moments, I like to treat it like a vacation. Change your voicemail and your email to let people know you’re kind of off the grid. It may seem like a no brainer to you but some people feel the need to constantly “check in”. Just have an auto-reply that says, “Thanks for your email (call). We’re just getting the hang of parenthood so forgive me if it takes a little longer than usual to get back to you. Don’t worry, we’re just fine and loving every minute of it.” I know this may be a little over the top and may feel like the equivillant of adding the dog’s name to Christmas cards (I love that actually) but it’s an easy way of letting them know they’ve been heard. * Obviously, if you’re alone and live in the woods in wolverine country, disregard this advice and be grateful someone is checking to make sure the cat isn’t eating your corpse.

9. Pre-Prep

Do you think Aunt Kelly is going to be a problem? Get your responses thought out NOW or start laying the groundwork NOW. If you think she’s going to show up on your doorstep the day you give birth then start telling her the story of a co-workers mother-in-law that showed up the day she gave birth and how awful it was and how you’re so lucky that your family just *gets* that you need a couple of days to settle in. Get an email ready saying, “Aunt Kelly, we can’t wait for you to see the new baby! I’m just getting the hang of it so can I give you a call when I come up for air so you can come over and meet her?” then hit *send* when she fires off the first email.

10. Go with the flow

Does Aunt Kelly still show up? Does your Mother-in-Law that you’ve never met fly in from the Ukraine and set herself up on your couch? Does your sister drop in everyday to tell you about the disgusting brunch she had or everything about her wicked pilates instructor? Roll with it and save your energy like a solar street light on a dimming switch. Ask Aunt Kelly to hold the baby while you go have a shower. Say “Diakuju” when your mother-in-law makes dinner then go lie down with the baby. Tell your sister she needs a fucking punch in the throat then apologise and blame it on your hormones while savoring the good vent. The best thing you can do with visitors, a new baby, and I suppose life in general, is just roll with it.

Even though you are now regarded as the remaining husk that brought this precious, perfect gift into the world – you will be asked how you feel as a courtesy but no one gives much of a shit how you are now so try not to ramble – it’s still your show, honey. So remember, choose your visitors wisely and enjoy the little star that everyone wants to see shine. For more thoughts from Amy Morrison, check out http://www.pregnantchicken.com.

Nurturing Mothers Lead to Physically Healthier Adults

Reviewed by: Rajeev Kurapati MD

Nurturing mothers have garnered accolades for rescuing skinned knees on the playground and coaxing their children to sleep with lullabies. Now they’re gaining merit for their offspring’s physical health in middle age.

Brandeis psychologist Margie Lachman with Gregory Miller and colleagues at the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Los Angeles reveal that while children raised in families with low socioeconomic status (SES) frequently go on to have high rates of chronic illness in adulthood, a sizable minority remain healthy across the life course. The research sought to examine if parental nurturance could decrease the effects of childhood disadvantage.

The team is working to understand the sources of social disparities in health and what can be done to reduce them. Funded by the National Institute on Aging as part of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study, this information will then be used to empower families through education.

People who are low in socioeconomic status have worse health than their same age counterparts, a phenomenon called the social gradient in health. Modifiable factors play an important role, and we are realizing that things can be done to try to minimize these health disparities.

Clearly money and health care access are part of it, , but numerous studies show they play a very small role, as countries with universal health care have the same social gradient.

While they have looked at income in other studies, the team has found that the level of educational attainment is a more reliable indicator of socioeconomic status; people who have a college education do well in many areas, such as physical health, psychological well-being and cognitive function. Her team is looking for ways to reduce the differences, as not all lower-socioeconomic status people fare the same — some, Lachman says, are physically and cognitively active and have good social support, resources which seems to reduce their risks for poorer functioning.

Emerging literature reveals that many of the health problems in midlife, including metabolic syndrome, can be traced back to what happened in early childhood. The stresses of childhood can leave a biological residue that shows up in midlife, explains Lachman. Yet, among those at risk for poor health, adults who had nurturing mothers in childhood fared better in physical health in midlife.

“Perhaps it’s a combination of empathy, the teaching of coping strategies or support for enrichment,” says Lachman. “We want to understand what it is about having a nurturing mother that allows you to escape the vulnerabilities of being in a low socioeconomic status background and wind up healthier than your counterparts.”

The study has followed the same 1,205 people for over a decade. Nurturance was assessed with data and included questions such as: How much did she understand your problems and worries and how much time and attention did she give you when you needed it?

“We would like to try to use this information to bolster vulnerable families who are at risk for not doing well,” says Lachman. “Teaching them parenting skills to show children concern for their welfare, how to cope with stress, that they have some control over their destinies, and how to engage in health-promoting behaviors such as good diet and exercise — the things that could protect against metabolic syndrome.”

There still may be steps that can be taken later in life to reduce risk for those who are vulnerable, Lachman says.

Interestingly, in this study, paternal nurturing did not contribute to resilience.

“It could be that the results are tied to the particular cohort studied, and there may be generational differences,” says Lachman. “With this cohort, people who are now in midlife, fathers weren’t typically very involved. Paternal nurturance may play more of a role for the children of these midlife fathers who, in contrast, are more involved in the lives of their children and perhaps more nurturant.”

As the study continues they will be able to look at new generations of middle-aged adults who have had different parenting experiences.

Source: This information is reproduced with editorial adaptations from a press release issued by the Brandeis University. For more information click here.

Seeking Perfection Isn’t Always Great Goal for New Parents

Reviewed by: Rajeev Kurapati MD

Parents of newborns show poorer adjustment to their new role if they believe society expects them to be “perfect” moms and dads, a new study shows.

Moms showed less confidence in their parenting abilities and dads felt more stress when they were more worried about what other people thought about their parenting skills.

However, self-imposed pressure to be perfect was somewhat better for parents, especially for fathers, according to the results.

The findings are some of the first to show how the quest for perfectionism affects first-time parents, said Meghan Lee, lead author of the study and a graduate student in human development and family science at Ohio State University.

“Trying to be the perfect parent is a mixed bag,” Lee said.

“If you think you have to be perfect because of outside pressure, it really hurts adjustment. If you put these demands on yourself, it may have some benefits early on, but it is not universally good.”

Lee conducted the study with Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, associate professor, and Claire Kamp Dush, assistant professor, both in human development and family science at Ohio State.

This study is part of a larger, long-term “New Parents Project” that is studying how dual-earner couples adjust to becoming parents for the first time.

For this study, the researchers examined 182 couples who became parents between 2008 and 2010.

In the final trimester of the woman’s pregnancy, both spouses completed a questionnaire measuring their levels of both societal-oriented and self-imposed parenting perfectionism.

Societal-oriented perfectionism is “being concerned about what other people think about your parenting,” Schoppe-Sullivan said. It was measured by asking people how much they agreed with statements like “Most people always expect me to always be an excellent parent.”

Self-oriented perfectionism was measured with statements like “I must always be a successful parent.”

Three months after the birth of their child, the same couples answered questions about their adjustment to their new roles.

The results showed that the parents’ perfectionistic tendencies were associated with how well they adjusted.

Mothers who had higher levels of societal-oriented perfectionism also tended to have lower levels of self-efficacy about their parenting.

“That means they didn’t have as much confidence in their ability to perform their tasks as mothers,” Schoppe-Sullivan said.

For fathers, societal-oriented perfectionism was associated with higher levels of parenting stress.

Self-oriented perfectionism was linked to higher levels of parenting satisfaction for mothers, but it had no effect on their self-efficacy or stress.

For fathers, self-oriented perfectionism was related to better adjustment in all three areas: higher satisfaction, lower stress, and higher parental self-efficacy.

The researchers measured and controlled for two personality factors – conscientiousness and neuroticism – that are also linked to parental adjustment. For that reason, the researchers are more confident that parental adjustment is indeed related to perfectionism and not to other factors.

The data from the study can’t tell us why fathers were more likely than mothers to benefit from the self-imposed perfectionism, according to the researchers.

One reason may be that these fathers were highly involved in parenting, and having these high standards motivated them.

But Schoppe-Sullivan said the reason may also have to do with the fact that fathers still don’t carry the same burden for childcare that mothers do in our society.

“Some fathers may have these very high standards for themselves, but it may not be as hard for them to meet those standards as it is for mothers,” she said.

“Fathers generally aren’t expected to have as much responsibility for taking care of their children.”

Lee noted that this study examined parents just three months after their child was born, so it is possible that the role of perfectionism may change over time. Even though self-oriented perfectionism had some positive effects at this early point in parenthood, things may change.

“What’s going to happen to adjustment when these moms and dads start having problems and failures, as all new parents inevitably do? It may be that self-oriented perfectionism will no longer be a good thing in the face of these failures. We just don’t know yet,” Lee said.

Source: This information is reproduced with editorial adaptations from a press release issued by the Ohio State University. For more information click here.

How to Best Help Your Child Lose Weight: Lose Weight Yourself

Reviewed by: Rajeev Kurapati MD

 

A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota indicates that a parent’s weight change is a key contributor to the success of a child’s weight loss in family-based treatment of childhood obesity.

“We looked at things such as parenting skills and styles, or changing the home food environment, and how they impacted a child’s weight,” said Kerri N. Boutelle, PhD, associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at UC San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. “The number one way in which parents can help an obese child lose weight? Lose weight themselves. In this study, it was the most important predictor of child weight loss.”

Recent data suggests that 31 percent of children in the United States are overweight or obese, or between four and five million children. Current treatment programs generally require participation by both parents and children in a plan that combines nutrition education and exercise with behavior therapy techniques.

“Parents are the most significant people in a child’s environment, serving as the first and most important teachers,” said Boutelle “They play a significant role in any weight-loss program for children, and this study confirms the importance of their example in establishing healthy eating and exercise behaviors for their kids.”

The researchers looked at eighty parent-child groups with an 8 to 12-year-old overweight or obese child, who participated in a parent-only or parent + child treatment program for five months.

The study focused on evaluating the impact of three types of parenting skills taught in family-based behavioral treatment for childhood obesity, and the impact of each on the child’s body weight: the parent modeling behaviors to promote their own weight loss, changes in home food environment, and parenting style and techniques (for example, a parent’s ability to help limit the child’s eating behavior, encouraging the child and participating in program activities).

Consistent with previously published research, parent BMI change was the only significant predictor of child’s weight loss.

The researchers concluded that clinicians should focus on encouraging parents to lose weight to help their overweight or obese child in weight management.

For more information about weight loss programs for children and adolescents at UC San Diego, visit www.obesitytreatment.ucsd.edu or email Kidsweight@ucsd.edu.

Source: This information is reproduced with editorial adaptations from a press release issued by the University of California – San Diego. For more information click here.