So you’ve welcomed your sweet, cuddly little one into the world – huge congrats!!
This is an exciting and joyful time for any new parent and one that you’ll look back on fondly for years to come (even the sleep deprivation part, we promise!).
Along with all of the delicious newborn snuggles and feeling more love than you previously thought possible, it is also a period of adjustment and recovery for the mother. There’s so much going on from the dreaded fourth-day hormone drop to navigating caring for a little one with next to no sleep and just generally trying to figure out a new groove.
All of these factors can make balancing the desire to share the joy with visitors and loved ones while ensuring rest and recovery for both mother and baby challenging.
If you’re keen to have people over to show off your newest addition (and maybe bring you some yummy food at the same time) we’ve got ten great tips on how to handle visitors after giving birth.
During the early days following childbirth, it’s important to establish clear boundaries. This doesn’t mean you have to say no to all offers of visits or help, it simply means communicating your expectations to friends and family in advance. For example, let them know when you would prefer for them to come over and how long you’d ideally like them to stay. Don’t forget to tell them that you appreciate them being excited to meet your little one and that you are looking forward to being able to see them more once you’ve found your feet. Anyone who has had a baby themselves should understand the importance of rest and postpartum recovery, after all!
Limit the number of visitors
While it may be tempting to accommodate all eager friends and family members, limiting the number of visitors is a great idea – at least at first. It’s perfectly ok to prioritise close family and friends during the initial weeks and delay larger gatherings until you feel more comfortable and have established a bit more of a routine. This way, you can also control the noise level, reduce the risk of infections, and prevent overwhelming your little one with a sea of guests who all (understandably) want a cuddle!
Create a schedule
Having a schedule for visitors can really help keep the stress at bay. Try allocating specific time slots for visits, so you can plan your day accordingly. For example, designate a few hours in the afternoon for visitors, while the morning can be dedicated to rest and bonding.
Prioritise your well-being
The postpartum period is physically and emotionally demanding for new mothers. Don’t be afraid to put your needs first and to say no when you need to – good friends and family will understand.
Additionally (and if you feel comfortable doing so) you can ask certain visitors to help out with chores, meal prep, or running errands. As much as the saying is overused, it really does take a village and yours is probably all too happy to help out.
Hygiene and health precautions
Newborns have delicate immune systems so it’s really important to establish good hygiene and health precautions during visits – something we are all pretty used to after COVID, anyway!
Politely request that all visitors wash their hands thoroughly before holding the baby, especially if they have been exposed to illness. It’s also a good idea to advise guests against visiting if they are unwell or have recently been in contact with someone who is sick.
And, as awkward as it may be to ask (especially with some of your pushier relatives), avoid people kissing your newborn. In Australia, it is also recommended that anyone who is going to be spending significant time with a newborn be up to date with their immunisations such as Whooping Cough. These measures help protect the baby from unnecessary exposure to germs and reduce the risk of infection.
Privacy and personal space
As new parents , it’s natural to want some private time to bond with your baby. Ask that visitors respect your need for privacy and personal space. Encourage guests to wait for an invitation before entering the nursery or the mother’s bedroom so that she can breastfeed or settle the baby in peace. Respecting boundaries and personal space can go a long way in creating a relaxed and comfortable environment for the mother, which in turn benefits the overall well-being of both her and the baby.
Outsource communication responsibilities
Managing visitors and their expectations can be overwhelming for new parents so you could try delegating communication responsibilities to a trusted family member or close friend. This person can then act as a point of contact for relaying information, scheduling visits, and providing updates to the wider group. This relieves the new parents of additional stress and allows them to focus on recovering and caring for their newborn. And, bonus, it means someone else gets to tell your pushy Aunt Carol that you’re not seeing any more visitors for the week.
Not all visits need to be in person! In today’s digital age, there are various alternatives to physical visits that can still foster connection and involvement. Encourage friends and family to connect via video calls or share updates and photos through messaging apps or social media. This allows loved ones to participate in the joy of your baby’s arrival without adding to the demands of physical visits.
Be assertive (but kind)
New parents often feel hesitant to express their needs and preferences out of fear they may inconvenience or even offend well-intentioned loved ones. However, it’s important to vocalise what you need during this time. Whether it’s requesting alone time, asking for assistance, or specifying visitor guidelines, open communication is key. Friends and family who truly care will understand and respect your wishes.
Aside from all of the tips for managing visitors, remember the purpose of their presence: to share in the joy of your new arrival! Don’t forget to celebrate this special time with your loved ones when you do feel up to it and enjoy all of the happy memories you can make. It can definitely be overwhelming at times trying to juggle visitors and their expectations but, at the end of the day, their hearts will typically be in the right place. How lucky your little one is to have so many people who want to lavish attention on them!
Welcoming visitors after giving birth can be a delicate balancing act, requiring consideration for the mother’s well-being, the baby’s health, and the overall family dynamics. However, by establishing boundaries, limiting visitors, creating a schedule, and prioritising your recovery, it can be a period of immense joy and happy memories for years to come.
Author – Kiindred
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones.
Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor to all things parenthood.