This blog post is about new baby visits. In the Netherlands it’s traditional to visit the new baby and parents as soon as possible after the birth. Most parents send a birth announcement card in the first few days after their child’s birth, and once the card is received it’s a green light to come and visit and bring gifts! Friends and family will phone up and make a time to come and visit. Some families are now starting to arrange parties to which everyone can come and meet the baby at once, which means the first weeks are less busy.
Meet-the-baby party, or new baby visits?
(and what about the presents?)
I’m sure the first week with a new baby will be very special. Not necessarily in a ‘everything-is-going-to-be-wonderful’ way, but more because EVERYTHING is suddenly different. Suddenly there’s three of you, you’re probably not sleeping at night, you’re trying to get breastfeeding going, and who knows how you may be feeling after the birth. To be honest, I don’t really feel any desire to have a daily schedule of visitors coming by. I understand that many people will be curious, but I think I’d rather just spend the first week in a little cocoon with Denny and our little girl. Of course our nearest and dearest will come around, but as far as we’re concerned it can be limited to that (we love company, but in this case…)
More and more people are having ‘meet-the-baby’ parties, and we can definitely see the advantage to doing that. Everyone comes, at the same time and place, and by the time we have the party I should be feeling better again. The disadvantage is of course the cost, but we think that’s worth it. 🙂
The only ‘problem’ remaining is the gifts. Gifts are wonderful, and they are part of it all, but what if people give you things you’re never going to use? Or clothes in a size in which you already have loads of? Or something which is totally not your taste? In Belgium (and some other countries) they are more organised: they work with a birth registry. You go to a store and create a list of things you need and want, and everyone can order a gift from the list. The only disadvantage is that you can only buy gifts from that one store, and there are usually not many inexpensive gifts to choose from. In Belgium it’s normal to give a gift with a value of between 50 and 100 euros, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable obliging people to spend that much.
Then Denny had an idea: we’ll make our own ‘registry list’. Not a list which you’re obliged to choose from, but more of a suggestion list. On our birth announcement card we’ll list a link to a page on my website, and a password. On this page, our baby will introduce herself, tell you how much she weighs, what time she was born, and you’ll see some photos of her. In this way, everyone will be able to see her. Well, everyone with the card and the link. We’ll also let our girl tell you things about herself, like the fact that she loves real cuddles, but already has enough cuddly toys; that she’s sure to love Disney when she’s bigger, but doesn’t need Disney prints on her clothing; that she’s already got more than enough outfits in a newborn size; that her mama loves to read to her etc. In this way we can give some direction to the gift-giving, because let’s be honest: it’s just a waste of money to give a gift which will never be used, for whatever reason.
The only thing we still need to try and prevent is people congratulating us on Facebook before we’ve announced the birth ourselves. (I absolutely CANNOT understand why people do that! Why do people do that?!?!)
How did you do it? Visitors at home, or a party? Did you have a registry?
“Beschuit met muisjes” Traditional Dutch, a treat you eat when you meet the baby.