The birth of your baby is an incredibly exciting time for everyone around you. Your family, your partner’s family and your friends want to be part of this special time. With the announcement of your baby’s arrival, comes the wave of “when can I visit?” from well-meaning family and friends.
The influx of attention and activity can be stressful for mammy and baby. However, many mothers fear they’ll seem rude if they refuse visitors.
In this blog post, we’re going to explore some ways to strike a balance between looking after yourself and your baby, while also keeping those you love involved in this exciting time.
Set rules before your baby is born
If you’re nervous about the pressure of everyone asking to visit at the same time, set some ground rules before the baby arrives, this takes some of the stress away from those first days.
Some examples of rules that could be communicated to friends and family before the birth include:
- No visitors for the first week
- No visitors, except your parents, for the first week
- Visitors stay for a maximum of 30 minutes
- Give 2 days notice before visiting
Or, anything that makes you feel more comfortable.
Appoint a gatekeeper
This person is in charge of managing the visitors, kind of like a bouncer on the door of a nightclub! Your partner, or whoever lives with you is the best person for the job as they know you and your new schedule best. Anyone who wants to visit can call them to arrange a suitable time. This saves you from having dozens of unopened messages on your phone.
Delay the announcement
There’s no rule that says you have to announce your baby’s birth immediately. You could choose to wait until you have had time to relax after giving birth and to bond with your baby before your phone goes into overdrive with calls and texts of congratulations, along with requests to visit you in the hospital.
Blame the baby
Newborns are easily overstimulated. Lots of visitors bring a huge amount of sensory information to your baby, including hearing new voices, smelling perfumes and feeling new textures as others hold them. As their brain is only learning to process and sort new information, they can quickly become very unsettled. Use this as an excuse to have fewer visitors in your home. You could even tell a white lie about your baby screaming the house down for hours when your last batch of visitors arrived (this might scare off some visitors – nobody wants to be the one who upset the baby!).
Don’t feel the need to entertain
In Ireland, you would think it was illegal to have a visitor in your home without offering them tea and biscuits. Resist the urge to accommodate your guests. Instead, tell them where you keep the tea bags, coffee, etc. and invite them to help themselves – if they’re any good they’ll make you a cup of tea too.
Embrace visits from those you’re most comfortable with
Certain visitors can really lift your mood and help you to keep your sanity while you adjust to your new way of life. Embrace visitors who you’re completely comfortable with. Maybe this is a friend who recently had a baby and knows the struggles. Many new mothers report feelings of isolation, so make the most of these special connections.
Don’t lose sight of your main priority
Right now, your main job is to nurture your baby and yourself. In these precious first days, you may be focusing on getting your baby to latch, dealing with soreness after giving birth, learning to take care of your baby, recovering from a stressful birth experience, struggling with your emotions as your hormones go wild, building a bond with your baby, the list goes on. There are enough important things to focus on without feeling pressure from visitors.