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'AITA for telling family I didn’t find their visiting and holding my new baby helpful?'

'AITA for telling family I didn’t find their visiting and holding my new baby helpful?'


"AITA for telling family I didn’t find their visiting and holding my new baby 'helpful'?"


We had our first baby recently, and had a lot of the classic offers to “help” that really only meant holding the baby. I get that this is helpful for many and can allow you to catch up on chores and avoid feeling touched out. If you like that, great!

In my case, I had a crash csection and literally couldn’t do any chores for a bit because I couldn’t/wasn’t supposed to get down on the ground, unload a dishwasher, push a vacuum, carry laundry or walk my large breed dog...

But I had no issues cuddling and feeding my baby and getting up briefly for diaper changes. I was lucky that baby also slept fine in his bassinet, so I had enough time for sleep, showers etc. in the early days.

“Helpers” who just wanted to hold baby mostly got in my way because I had to hobble away in private to feed, cover up more when clothes hurt the incision, etc. I was also trying to do as much skin to skin as possible due to supply issues. I basically just stared at them waiting for them to leave because I couldn’t do much else.

It didn’t help that they were mostly inlaws, since my own family lives far away, and I noticed quickly that even though we had a good relationship before, they really weren’t there for me - just baby lol.

I didn’t specifically ask anyone for help with chores, but I did make it clear that holding =/= helpful after some family members were under the illusion that they could come over frequently (bypassing my stated limitations on “visits”) to “help”.

No one jumped to volunteer to do things that were actually helpful, which is fine, so instead I hired out for cleaning, food, grocery delivery, dog daycare etc. But shoutout to my amazing SIL who was the exception and offered to exercise and generally give attention to our dog, though.

My partner’s family will still slip in passive aggressive or butthurt comments about how they weren’t allowed to come “help” with baby more. My partner has suggested that maybe I could have made other excuses to avoid the visits without bursting their little bubbles, and I guess that’s true… but honestly I was tired of fielding the requests.

He also wondered whether I could have just let them come over and think they were helping, and maybe I’m an asshole for this, but the idea of them coming over and mostly being a hinderance but then patting themselves on the back on the way out for “helping” irks me too much lol.

FWIW now that he’s a few months old, I let them come and visit whenever they please (which is often) and make it clear that NOW it’s helpful because I can actually do chores.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA - it is so important to put up your boundaries early here because family will keep trampling them as the children age. You had major surgery, skin to skin is so important, it's completely unreasonable that these people feel entitled to holding the baby when you need to have them skin to skin as much as possible.

Heartbreaking to hear how you had to hobble to cover yourself up because they couldn't stand to see you feeding your baby. Shame on your husband for prioritizing their feelings over yours. He should have your back and be prioritizing YOU.


Your partner is the biggest issue here. He should've told HIS family without you never needing too. I assume it was a lot of women who've had at least one child who should know better. You're always supposed to cook, do chores, bring food etc, so mom can bond with baby. I didn't miss the part where you tried to limit visits and they DGAF.

The OP responded here:


We struggled to stick to the “you handle your own family” in this case since I was the one at home while my partner worked. I do get that it made sense to have me field visitors, when it was mostly me being visited.

But yes, it would have been nice if my partner was the one to communicate that you are still just a visitor (not a helper) if you just want to come cuddle baby lol and the usual restrictions (don’t stay too long, don’t come too often, etc.) applied.


INFO: So from last sentence, sounds like the whole "helping" thing isn't a problem anymore? Are you asking if you were an AH for how you handled the inlaws in those early days? Is it still an issue w/ you and husband? So, assuming this is about the past but hubby's still miffed - everyone but you was an AH and hubby should get better at managing his family.

THe OP again responded here:


Yea it’s really just the odd comment that the in-laws slip in that makes it clear they’re still a bit salty. It almost seems like they want us to apologize for not letting them come over to “help” more early on, and it’s crickets when we don’t lol.

I think my partner secretly wishes I just tolerated the cumbersome visits because it would have made his life easier, and we had some tension about it in the early days, but outwardly he’s not undermining me or anything (to my knowledge).


Your problem isn't your family-in-law, it's your partner. Why isn't he helping you by handling his family? Why is this your job when you are dealing with your health issues and a new baby? You need to get him in line, no matter how much of a mama's boy he is. NTA.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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