5 reasons a ‘month of silence’ after birth wouldn’t work

Twilight actress Nikki Reed and her husband Ian Somerhalder have vowed to take a “month of silence” following the birth of their baby.

Nikki and her Vampire Diaries actor husband welcomed a baby girl last week.

But before the arrival of her baby, Nikki revealed she would be banning visitors and taking no phone calls in the first months after the little one arrives

She said: “We’ll take the first month for ourselves. After the baby arrives, we’re doing one month of silence. Just the three of us, no visitors and we’re turning off our phones too, so there’s no expectation for us to communicate.”

Madness or genius

I can’t decide if this is a great idea or sheer madness at the thought it could actually work.

When you have a baby, people want to wish you well and, more importantly, check out the new baby.

I suppose if you’re a celebrity you can afford a wall of bodyguards around your home to keep the cooing well-wishers at bay.

But could it work for the average mum?

I just don’t see how I could’ve made this one work. It sounds lovely in theory. No one to clean the house for or make tea for. No pressure to make polite and intelligible conversation. No need to answer the door when you just managed to get the baby down for a nap. No need to get out of your pyjamas. No need to wash your hair.

The Somerhalders could be onto something here, but I’m not sure I could achieve a full month.

5 reasons a post-baby "month of silence" like Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder wouldn't work

What would put a stop to your month of silence:

Grandparents
You can turn off your phone, you can put a polite sign requesting no visitors on your door, but there is nothing that will get between a new grandparent and their newborn grandchild.

They would assume a ban on visitors couldn’t possibly mean them, they’re the grandparents after all. You will live to regret giving them that spare key.

The need to get out the house
It’s a fact that new mums are likely to kill and eat the father of their baby if left alone with them for too long after giving birth. All it would take is one flippant remark about being woken up by the baby crying and a new exclusively breastfeeding mum would pounce and devour.

In all seriousness, staying in one house with just your other half and baby for company would get pretty claustrophobic after the first week. You have to get out of the house, even just for a five-minute walk.

And you need to see and communicate with other people, a chat is great but you also need to make sure you’re not going insane. In those early weeks you feel like you’re the only one in the world feeling so overwhelmed and freaked out at this huge change in your life.

Finding another mum who feels exactly the same is one of the most reassuring things you can do in the early weeks.

The diligent NHS
I lost count of how many times I saw a doctor, midwife or nurse in the weeks after birth. There’s so many boxes the NHS needs to check and jabs and tests to be given to the baby that the visits feel constant.

Hunger
No matter how diligent I am about the weekly online shop, we always end up needing some extras. Add into that the confusion of being post-birth with a clingy newborn who is draining your already-depleted energy resources even more by feeding constantly. Nothing encourages hunger and cravings like breastfeeding.

I would be starving about five minutes after eating in the early weeks. As a result, we had to go out for food top-ups all the time.

The desperate need for reinforcements
You might make it two weeks, but after that you’ll be desperate to chuck some dirty washing your mum’s way and ask her to cook one of her amazing lasagnes while she’s at it.

Babies are tiny but they get pretty cumbersome when you’ve been holding them non-stop for two weeks. Having a willing pair of arms to take over for 10 minutes can be a relief.

Consideration for parents

After considering the reality of postpartum life for a new mum I’ve concluded that a month of silence is not only unrealistic, but it actually wouldn’t be as fun as you at first think it might be.

I’m instead calling for a “month of consideration”. Where visitors make themselves useful, people only ring the doorbell when invited and friends don’t call you on the phone when you might be napping. Also people would send food, lots and lots of food.

Actually, let’s make that two months.

What do you think about the idea of a month of silence? Do you think it could work?

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12 Comments

  1. amielizabethblog
    August 15, 2017 / 9:10 am

    When we had Florence I was out & about pretty much every day from day 3 and we had a long line of visitors at our door for weeks. I think next time we will definitely put a stop to visitors in that first week. It was an awful lot (still is nearly 3 months on) of pressure to constantly have people demanding your time and cuddles with your new baby. x

    • August 15, 2017 / 10:16 am

      It can be extremely draining. However well-meaning guests are, it does take effort on your part to have them over. I certainly think limiting the numbers helps a lot. Xx

      • amielizabethblog
        August 15, 2017 / 11:31 am

        Definitely. I am sharing this over on facebook later on 🙂

        • August 15, 2017 / 12:28 pm

          Thanks lovely! That would be great. Thanks for reading x

  2. August 15, 2017 / 11:50 am

    I think it’s a sound idea but when I had my first I struggled with breastfeeding and my sister was quick to come over with supplies,food, and support. Her words upon entering when she saw me was ” this is worse than I thought” lol. #twinklytuesday

  3. August 15, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    I think the month of silence would depend on the person (well, family) and the people that surround them… Whilst lovely in theory, like you said, I’m not too sure how realistic it is! After having our little boy we did actually take a week to be just us and adjust / connect as a family, with no visitors (other than medical). This was once we came home from our hospital stay, and we of course had visitors in hospital who came to coo over the new addition. I think people have well meant intentions when it comes to be around a family after the birth of a child, but it isn’t necessarily what everyone wants / needs. #TwinklyTuesday

  4. August 15, 2017 / 5:28 pm

    I thought this was a month of silence between mum and dad, which is when we didn’t really finish sentences and I referred to things as things because my brain couldn’t articulate the name. Yeah, grandparents would be peeved not to see the baby. You can stock up on most things though. I guess they’ll find out if this works and may not mean it literally, like going out for brunch because let’s face it while baby barely moves you need to make the most of that time and use the days wisely. #TwinklyTuesday

    • August 15, 2017 / 9:35 pm

      Haha, now there’s an idea! I was exactly the same actually, we grunted our way through conversations for a few weeks! You’re right, you definitely need to try to get out and make the most of those sleepy early days if you can x

  5. August 18, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    I agree with everything you’ve said! Also, it very much depends on how you birthed your baby and how you are postpartum. I had a section with Zach and I needed people around me to help! To make me food and tea and pass me my baby! Equally, with Oscar, I had an episiotamy and was basically laying months sofa for 9 days! I needed help to get up, and again, often Oscar was passed to me. I needed an army around me! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • August 19, 2017 / 6:44 am

      That sounds tough. Good thing you had help around you. It’s hard enough having a baby without the recovery post birth bit to handle too!x

  6. Tina
    October 12, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    Over here in Croatia it’s normal not to visit a newborn for at least a month (outside of immediate family or medical personnel). If anyone had shown up at my door after a week, I would’ve probably sent them away. And while I wouldn’t go as far as to say no phone calls and no going out for the whole month, I think it’s not a bad idea to tell people to text first to see if you have time to chat on the phone, and to have hubby do the shopping for a change. For the first week or so it’s definitely good to have someone there for you, to help with cooking and cleaning, to distract older siblings when Mummy is with baby, to keep an eye on the kids when mummy takes a shower… That first month is so precious, and stressful, and such a period of adjustment, whether it’s your first or seventh baby… Don’t get me wrong, if you want to have a party five days after giving birth, by all means, go ahead. But that has to be your decision, not people from outside your little bubble imposing on your time.

    • October 12, 2017 / 1:59 pm

      This sounds great! I think in the UK people perhaps think they’re helping by coming over quickly but don’t realise how hard it actually is to have people in the house. Totally agree with you here, it has to be your choice and no one else should take over. X

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