As a high need baby, Livi is very sensitive to stimulation and changes in her routine. While she does not really follow a predictable schedule, it seems to help her to know what will happen throughout the day.
She is also a light sleeper. We have to stop any (noisy) activities once she finally falls asleep.
Mainly for these reasons, we do not have many visitors at our house, especially overnight guests. We had both sets of grandparents stay for a few weeks after Livi was born as they all live pretty far away, but that was it.
Initially, we wanted to wait until Livi would sleep through the night before we invited anyone. But since that has not yet happened, we decided that now was as good a time as any to finally try it out.
Below are a few ideas that helped me prepare for the visit.
How To Prepare
1. Wait until the time is right
We waited until the toughest months had passed before we even considered having someone stay at our house. During the first 7-8 months of Livi’s life, we all struggled to make it through the day and the following months were not that much easier. It would have been unpleasant and too stressful for all of us, including any guests, had we had visitors back then. Once Livi turned one year old and started walking, things got a little easier for all of us.
Tip: It is hard to say no to family and friends who want to visit. But in the end you have to do what is best for your child and your own family. Decide when the time is right for YOU.
2. Plan ahead for difficult situations
Nap time is a big challenge in our house. Livi never falls asleep at the same time and I never know how long she will nap. Since she is a light sleeper, a house full of guests is not a good idea. We explained the situation and every day, my husband would take our visitors out for lunch and some sightseeing so that Livi could take her nap in peace.
Tip: Decide which parts of your baby’s day will be more difficult with guests around. Explain the situation and come up with a few solutions and suggestions for your guests. For example, is your baby easily distracted at dinner time? Arrange for an evening stroll for your guests or offer them to relax in the backyard.
3. Prepare your guests
Our guests were immediate family and aware of our situation. Yet, we still made sure they knew what to expect. Before Livi was born, we liked to sit and chat with our guests late into the night. Now, we need a very quiet house when we put her to bed, we try to avoid unnecessary noises once she is finally asleep, and after 9 pm there is not much going on anymore. We explained everything and offered different solutions. For example, we were not offended if they wanted to go out for dinner. Yet it was still difficult for them the first evening. Nobody expects the effort we have to put into everything.
Tip: If your guests are family or close friends, they are most likely already aware of your situation. But even then, it will be hard for them to imagine exactly what life is like with a high need baby. Explain everything before the visit and make sure they are willing to go along with it so you can avoid unnecessary conflict.
Continue to Overnight Guests: What To Avoid And Expect.