The first week after having a baby can be an exhausting and crazy time. It’s a week of firsts where you are learning how to feed and care for your newborn. Pre-birth, visitors can be an exciting part of the after birth experience where you can show off your newborn. But the after-birth reality can be quite different to what is expected and managing visitors can cause anxiety and unnecessary stress. After three births, here are my tips on how to manage visitors when you’re in hospital after birth.
Before the birth, it’s important to discuss with your partner who you would like to visit in hospital. It’s tradition for close family members to meet your baby within the first couple of days of birth. You may extend the welcome to close friends. But this list can change after the birth. If you have experienced a traumatic birth and are having issues with feeding or not getting enough sleep, visitors are the last thing you want to have to deal with. Don’t feel pressured to have any visitors. Be firm and tell people no visits while in hospital. Don’t worry about the judgemental backlash or what the no visit curfew will incur. What’s important is knowing what you want.
Most visitors should sms or call to find out when the best time is to come and visit. Make use of the hospital’s visiting times. The scheduled visitation times are there for a reason: they are limited so you and your baby can have adequate sleep and time to get to know each other. If you choose not to have any visitors, let them know when they ask via sms.
If you experience unexpected visitors, this can be difficult to manage, but be civil and explain the visit may need to be brief so you can get your rest. Most visitors will be courteous when you are upfront. Put them to use so you can do some things for yourself. Get them to hold the baby while you have a cup of tea or have a shower.
When organizing a time for your visitors to visit, recommend a time when they can hold the baby while you eat a meal. I wish I had done this with my third baby. My husband was at home looking after our older two daughters and whenever my meals came, I needed another set of hands to hold my baby so I could sit down and eat. My meals would go cold while I tried to settle my baby. Visitors can be the step in partner to help, so invite them to visit at a time that will help you.
I have heard of mums who prefer their visits to happen in the first week at hospital because it avoids them having to put on a morning tea spread for their visitors adding extra work to an already busy week caring for a newborn.
Either way, visitors need to visit when you want them, not when suits them.
How did you manage your visitors when in hospital after the birth of your child?