12 Tips on Handling Visitors After Birth
Congratulations on your new bub (or soon-to-be new bub)! This is such an exciting time for you, your partner and your nearest and dearest as you introduce them to your new bundle of joy. Some parents find the experience a comfortable distraction from their routine, however, some find it overstimulating and overwhelming for the baby and themselves. Both feelings are normal! Keep reading to discover our 12 tips for handling visitors after you’ve had a baby.
Why is it important to prepare for visitors?
Whether it’s visitors at home or visitors in the hospital, preparing for family and friends to meet your new baby ensures you and your bub’s needs are met. Things to consider:
Health & Safety
For you and your bub, having set boundaries will avert sicknesses as well as limit stress and anxiety.
Mum, you have just given birth – allow yourself to rest and if having visitors drains your energy, it’s better to turn them away.
Setting clear boundaries will help your visitors understand the wrong and right ways to meet your new baby and what they can do to help.
Preparing for visitors: before birth
- Discuss with your partner what visits will look like with a newborn.
Prior to giving birth, have a conversation with your partner or support network about how you would like visits to play out. Do you want visits at the hospital or only at home? What is the hospital’s visitation policy (especially with COVID-19)? Who should you expect to visit from out of town? Outline your expectations early to avoid any unclear assumptions from either party.
- Speak with your friends and family prior to giving birth.
Being honest with your close friends and family is essential to protect yourself and your new little family (and hopefully avoid any bickering). If you’re feeling anxious about the swarm of attention once the baby is born, consider not telling people your exact due date.
- Ask your partner to manage visitors.
Asking your partner, close family member or friend to manage who is visiting when, with what and for how long, preserves your mental energy so you can focus on being a mum. Often, calm quick visits are easier to manage than hours of conversation. Remember, it’s totally acceptable to be selective about who you wish to visit during the first few weeks.
Preparing for visitors: once the baby is born
- Let people know about preferred days and times for visits.
Announcing preferred days and times to your friends and family limits unexpected ‘pop-ins’ and allows you to prepare for their arrival. Assigning certain times for visitors also ensures you have enough time for one-on-one bonding with your new baby.
- Be clear on your wishes by preparing a list of things people can help with.
Don’t be shy, accept the casserole, batch of biscuits or offer to do the laundry. Making a list of household jobs or small errands can be the best way to receive help. By being clear, you’ll avoid unwanted assistance in areas that are needed.
- Be prepared for unwanted parenting advice.
“I had a 28-hour labour,” “My child was 10 pounds,” “It wasn’t that bad was it…” The comments are inevitable. People love to relate to other people’s experiences and motherhood is high on the list. Although it’s often frustrating, just know it’s how people express their love and care – and who knows, they might have some great insight!
Navigating unwanted visitors
- Empathise visitors’ excitement, but suggest it’s not a great time.
It’s understandable people are excited to meet your new baby, but if it’s too soon, not a good time or simply someone you don’t want to introduce to your baby – thank them for their effort, and advise them to come back another time.
- Cue them to leave when it’s time.
Try using subtle, yet direct cues such as, “Thank you so much for coming, I have to go breastfeed now,” or “I’m quite tired, I’m going to try and put the baby down for a nap and get some sleep as well, thanks for visiting.”
- Suggest a new time in the near future.
It’s a nice thing when people express their interest in meeting your new baby, but if you aren’t prepared to socialise, it can be an overwhelming experience. Simply ask that you meet at a better time in the not-so-distant future.
Reminders about visitors after birth
- Prioritise you and your bub.
- Ask people to stay away if they are unwell & request vaccinations for the first 6-weeks of visiting.
- You don’t need to entertain people – you have enough to think about!
In the end, how you handle visitors after birth will come down to your preference and how you’re feeling on day-to-day basis. While it can be overwhelming with the amount of loved ones who want to meet your little one, we hope that with the help of these tips, you create your own visitors plan that works for your family!