Parents often share their challenges about educating friends and family who want to come and visit once your baby comes home. The common misnomer is that if the baby is healthy enough to come home he/she can be treated like any other baby. The truth is that your baby is still premature and has immature lungs and an immature immune system making him/her easily susceptible to infections and other illnesses.
Following are some ideas to let your friends and family know you have to keep your little one protected and suggestions on how to utilize the offers to help from those around you.
Kathy: “I did not allow myself to feel guilty when telling people they could not come over to visit. My daughter did not see the inside of the grocery store until she was about age 2. Because people will always go to the grocery store even if they are sick. I also loved the drive thru carry out when I needed a Mountain Dew.”
Mehtap: “If you have lots of caring people around, make sure you have dinner lined up for at least the first week, which will be overwhelming and exhausting!! And ask friends and family to grocery shop for you.”
Amy: “Tell people to refrain from visiting. After 189 days in the hospital, we needed time to figure out our new family dynamics. I understand people want to see the new baby... But mom and dad need that time to bond with their child. They have missed out on this in most cases, due to being in a sterile hospital setting. Allow people to bring meals, with the understanding that they are greeted at the door, and they do not enter. Sounds harsh, but it was the best thing for my family at that time.
Sarah: “To help divert the awkward conversation with friends and coworkers about not being able to come visit at home I went online and ordered picture postcards with a picture of my baby at home announcing his homecoming and a thank you message for their support. I also included an update about how he's doing and explained no visitors for the first couple of months home. Everyone loved getting a photo sent to them and understood the message.”
Bonnie: “We found a letter on www.preemiecare.org that we could just download and email to our friends and family. We had triplets and this letter spoke specifically to the dangers of RSV and even gave us an infection control checklist for when we did have our select list of visitors over.”