Pregnancy is a journey filled with so many emotions, but being pregnant during a pandemic brings on a whole new level of mommy worrying. It can be so uncomfortable to set boundaries with family and friends during the postpartum period even without a pandemic, but setting boundaries for your newborn is essential for so many reasons.
It can feel a little scary to be navigating giving birth during a pandemic. You might find yourself worrying about giving birth with a mask on, if your partner will be allowed in the room, or if you (or your beautiful new baby) might get sick while you’re there.
With so much that feels out of control, setting boundaries for your newborn is one way you can help make yourself feel calmer, while also ensuring the health and safety of your newborn.
Guest blogger Bailey Day is here today to help you feel more confident during this time with a great list of easy ways to set boundaries postpartum.
7 Easy Ways to Set Boundaries for your Newborn During a Pandemic
1. Figure Out What Is Comfortable For You
When you have a baby there will be heaps of pressure and expectations from family and friends who want to see your baby or hold your baby or kiss your baby.
If you got a knot in your stomach just reading that sentence, that is a sure sign you are going to need to set up firm boundaries around your newborn.
The first step to setting boundaries postpartum is to take some time to assess (aside from everyone else’s expectations) what you and your partner feel comfortable with.
Think about the support you will need while taking care of a newborn as well as the health and safety risks involved.
Make sure that those who you do choose to invite over are people you trust, people you want there and people who are going to help you. Don’t feel pressured to invite your mom’s aunts cousin Sally Sue because she loves babies and will be devastated if she doesn’t hold your “little blessing.”
You need helpers, not just visitors.
Don’t feel pressured to invite your mother-in-law if you know she is not following social distancing guidelines and you don’t feel safe.
You have every right to set up boundaries for your baby.
You are the one responsible to keep your baby safe. Don’t let anyone push you into something you aren’t comfortable with.
2. If You Can, Set Up Boundaries Before Baby Arrives
People will definitely get their expectations up (yes, even in a pandemic!) so curb their excitement by setting up boundaries around visiting your newborn as soon as possible.
If you’re able to, start even before your baby gets here. Getting started early helps family and friends know what to expect.
Stumped on how to go about it? It can be as simple as a phone call to a couple of close people, a Facebook post or a mass email. Outline what you expect from them and what you will be doing.
Be specific and clear with the boundaries around visiting your newborn. Don’t be afraid of offending a member of your family by asking them to wear a mask; remember, you and your family are the most important thing!
3. Remember Your Priorities
For some reason when you have a baby some people throw common sense about boundaries out the window. I think we’ve all heard horror stories about family and friends who have kissed a newborn on the lips!
With a pandemic, it can be even harder to help explain the need for increased boundaries with your newborn, especially when your loved ones are so excited to meet your new bundle of joy.
Not everyone is going to understand why you are limiting visitors, or insisting on masks or not letting people snuggle your new baby. And there will absolutely be some uncomfortable moments with pushback. Setting boundaries postpartum can feel challenging, but remember that your new baby is counting on you!
Searching for more postpartum posts? Be sure to check out these related posts that our mamas love! The 5 Things You Must Have for a Fast Postpartum Recovery and Postpartum Healing After Vaginal Birth.
4. Get Comfortable With Saying No
Because you are going to have to say it A LOT…and people aren’t going to like it.
After we brought our brand new daughter home from the hospital, COVID 19 had reached Canada and we had to take precautions. The boundaries we had set for postpartum weren’t going to work anymore.
All of a sudden we had to lay out new boundaries for our newborn. Our family had held our baby in the hospital, but now we had to tell them that we were not going to allow anyone to hold her. Not only that, but we also had to let them know that we would not be visiting them until we felt comfortable… and we only live 20 minutes away from them.
My mom used to call and ask if she could come over and help, and it was so hard to tell her no. Even after we did start allowing visitors again, it hurt every time I had to tell her she couldn’t hold her granddaughter.
Even though I knew I was doing what is best for my baby, I still struggled with it.
There WILL be uncomfortable moments and situations when you have to say no. There’s no way around it. Remember that you are making these choices for your family.
5. Plan Ahead
Kindness and forethought can go a long way. I found that the best way to communicate boundaries is to plan out what you are going to say before you go in and give people hard news.
Sit down with your partner and figure out exactly what you are going to say, as well as how you are going to word it. Decide how you are going to deliver the news (phone call, text, email etc) and then make a plan with your boundaries laid out.
If it helps, write a script! It will ease some of the stress and discomfort if you know exactly what you are going to say before the conversation gets started.
6. Communicate Your Boundaries Clearly Without Excuses
Setting boundaries for your newborn can be really tough. You might feel like you need to justify your decision, but you 100% do not.
Your parenting decisions are YOUR parenting decisions. The boundaries you put in place aren’t up for debate. You do not need to make excuses for what you feel comfortable with.
Something as simple as “we don’t feel comfortable with anyone other than my husband and I holding our little one for now,” or “we will not be visiting family or friends for the next little bit because we are social distancing” is more than enough.
7. Don’t Feel Guilty!
Easier said than done, right?
Sometimes it helps to repeat mantras:
- You are doing what is best for you and your baby.
- You are allowed to set up boundaries.
- Your baby is your priority.
No matter what people throw at you, or how hard they push back, you are doing the right thing by setting up boundaries for your newborn.
Becoming a mom changes everything. Even though you may be close with your family and love your girlfriends, nothing is worth the safety of your baby.
You have a right to protect your baby. You have a right to your boundaries. People who care about you should respect that.
I hope these tips help you with setting boundaries postpartum as you navigate the craziness of giving birth during a pandemic. Know you will absolutely experience some pushback, but that you can do this.
You are your baby’s voice. You are their protector. And try to remember that setting up boundaries for your newborn during a pandemic is just a really intense boot camp for setting up boundaries for your little one for the next 18 years. Good luck mama! You got this!
Bailey is a Jesus loving, kitchen dancing, silly face making new mom. She believes that behind closed doors we are all wondering if we are doing this right, but despite the stress and uncertainty motherhood can be so joyful in every season. Check out her blog at www.thatonebloggermom.com, and her Instagram!