Infant visits and family gatherings - FamilyEducation
Infant visits and family gatherings
12/14/2009 at 13:10 PM

My first grandson is now 8 weeks old. My daughter-in-law and son have not yet taken him anywhere except for his doctor appointments. He has severe reflux for which he takes infant Zantac and Mylicon, also Thrush which spread to his intestines but is now slowly getting better. He needs a lot of sleep due to these issues and is fussy a lot of the time he is awake. I go up once a week, spend the night and the entire next day, giving my d-i-l a much needed break and her mother spends one day a week also.

Because of the baby's issues, my d-i-l does not have much energy for visitors as she is always exhausted. The one time her sister came over to "help" she insisted on bringing her children, 2 1/2 and 5, who are very disruptive. Her sister spent the entire visit tending to her own children and did not leave until my son got home and suggested she go. My d-i-l has now told everyone they cannot visit with children, can come 1 or 2 at a time and stay for no more than an hour. This is causing hard feeling in her family and now with the holidays, they expect my d-i-l and son to bring the baby to their big family gatherings and are getting upset that they will not be attending. They all also want group pictures with the baby.

Any suggestions on how to explain/deal with/smooth over the situation without her family's feelings being hurt? Everyone on my son's side of the family has been understanding of the situation.

Just support your daughter in law. She has had the guts to stand up for herself, and it takes a while for people to get used to other people being adults. Don't get in the middle of it.

Right. I think you should just stand behind your d-i-l and son. It's their child and their decision, (especially if it's her side of the family).

Sounds like mom and dad already know what is best for their child. Once the parents have made up their mind the rest of the family needs to respect that and at least make an attempt to understand. Rather than them being focused on the child, this extended family seems to be more focused on tradition, and having some pictures taken. I don’t think it is the job of these two new parents to try and smooth over anything. These people are all adults; they should be able handle the absence for one Christmas. I remember when my oldest was born. My wife’s father would show up at the hospital unannounced and just barge in the room without as much as a knock. I would scoot my chair in front of the door hoping he would take the hint, not even close. As we were leaving the hospital and taking baby home for the first time, her dad said “I’ll follow you” to which I replied “Where?” He was planning on coming over for a visit. There had been several hints, and I was trying to keep the peace, but he was unrelenting. I finally told him that mom and baby were going home to bond and rest without interruption. We would call him when we were ready for company. He never stepped foot in our home after that. If I would have known he was going to react in such a childish way, I would have said something years earlier. Writing that reminded me of that very day. We came home and kind of looked at each other and didn’t know what to do next. We were so worried and protective of him. We both slept at the foot of the bed with our hands in his bassinet. The slightest cough prompted a call to the doctor or on call nurse. Throughout the first night we both kept checking to make sure he was breathing, neither of us comfortable with actually verbalizing our thoughts, but we both knew. New parents can be over protective, but it is their right, and duty to do so. They should be able to have their first Christmas with their new child without any guilt or hard feelings.

You are exactally right, her family's idea of tradition seems to be more important than the wellbeing of the infant. My d-i-l's other sister called her last week asking what is "wrong" and why she is "keeping them from the baby". My d-i-l explained that with the baby's health issues, the doctor has recommended limiting his exposure to people. RSV is one of the highly communicable illnesses mentioned by the doctor. Her sister said "you are just being selfish and rude", hung up and now won't speak to her or my son. Her whole family thinks she has post partum depression (she does not) and some have suggested she "get help for being so overprotective". I am fully supportive of my son and d-i-l and agree it is their right and duty to protect their child, who already is dealing with health issues. Very sorry you went through that negativity with your ex f-i-l. My own parents had little interest in my children, who were grandchild #10 & 11, and did not visit until my daughter was 3 months old. Your description of your first day home with your son sounds like my son and d-i-l with my grandson. I hope they have the same powerful memory you have of that time.

I hope they stand their ground. The thought of the baby being passed around while not feeling good is bothering. Not to mention the possibility of picking up a new illness when his little body is already overtaxed with current issues. The parents would not be able to enjoy their time there worrying about their son. Not to mention its always easier to take care of a sick child at home, where he can be put in his crib to sleep and not have 20 relatives come in to peek at the sleeping baby. As for my ex-fil I didnt see it as being anything negative. The relationship we had before I said something was negative. He had a hard time with me as a person. I dont usually tell people this about myself, but, I have very strong opinions, and can be quite stubborn. He was not comfortable with me telling him no. He didnt like that I rode motorcycles, hunted, and taught his daughter how to shoot. We were complete opposites. Anyway whatever happens I hope this little guy has a great Christmas. I hope these new parents are not burdened with guilt for doing what they believe is right for their child. And I also hope his health issues will be resolved soon.

Update: Thursday afternoon my d-i-l's sister dropped in unannounced this time, for another visit, bringing her 2 y/o. My d-i-l was caught off guard and the 2 y/o raced into the house all excited to see his baby cousin and ran to the baby's seat and kissed all over the baby before he could be stopped. When they were there for a short while, she noticed her nephew cough and her sister said all innocent, "where did that come from?" My d-i-l suggested they leave and her sister got all upset and begged to stay saying she cannot understand why my d-i-l does not care about her and her children any more. A few minutes later her nephew coughed some more and my d-i-l insisted she leave. Today I went to their house along with my d-i-l's mother and her mother told us the sister had to rush the 2 y/o to the ER late Friday night because he was having difficulty breathing. The child has a severe viral bronchial infection and was tested for possible RSV!!!! My son, d-i-l and I are so upset!! They said no wonder her sister has not called or told her about it!!! I am going to stay out of it, and am so hoping my grandson does not become ill from this selfish and thoughtless action by her sister.

Yikes. One thought I had was if they want to see the baby, maybe sending some pictures through email would make them happy. If they did that it would be an extra extra nice gesture, because they don't owe them that by any means. I remember my youngest son had his collar bone broken at birth and we weren't to let people hold him. My sil's mother reached out to hold him and I said I'm sorry, but drs orders to not let him be passed around and held. I think at first she was a little upset, but she understood when I explained about his tough delivery. Regardless of what others think, you do have to be protective of your baby. If they are polite and explain, then noone should be mad. Tell you dil to lock her door and put a note on it no visitors.... sick baby is sleeping. They "should" be respectful of her wishes. When I saw your post I wondered how your grandbaby was making out, because I remember posting when he was having problems with eating. Glad they figured it out. Good luck and continue to support her and tell her it will be ok. only

Pictures and personal notes form the baby have been sent thru email to all family members, and frequent Facebook updates. The most frustrating aspect is that this sister is an RN and she still ignores the possible negative medical aspects of exposing my grandson to a sick child. The level of selfishness is astounding to me.

Update: On Christmas Day, my d-i-l's mother went for a planned visit to see the baby, bringing her 5 y/o niece (whose 2 y/o brother does have RSV) without letting them know the child would be with her. After 10 minutes of working to prevent her niece from climbing up to get into the baby's face, they took the baby upstairs. Before leaving, her niece told them her mommy is right, they are mean. My d-i-l's mother has not been back and her sisters are no longer speaking to her. My d-i-l is very hurt and at a loss as to how to repair the situation. Any advice?

So sorry to hear. My first thought is she is allowed to say no visitors and people should honor that.... why do they so badly want to give her a hard time? If I were her I think I'd wait it out awhile. What they are doing is manipulating her into feeling poorly and allowing them to come when they want and that shouldn't be. If she can swing it without their help I'd tell her to give it at least a few weeks, so the baby gets stronger and hopefully the child with RSV is better as well. Good luck. only2boys

Her sisters have not helped her at all. The one time her older sister came over to "help" she spent the whole time caring for her own two unruly children. They want to take happy family group pictures, visit often at their whim and expect invitations to eat a meal my son has prepared. If they ever actually helped, the intrusions would be easier for her to accept. This family treats babies like they are dolls or puppies and their primary objective is to have pictures which they can display.