How To Handle Visitors After Childbirth
Having a new baby is a magical time. You are excited, and your friends and family are equally thrilled for you and the baby. They want to meet the little munchkin, congratulate you, and join in on the merriment. However, a swarm of visitors descending upon a postpartum mama and her bub can be both overwhelming and a health risk.
All a new mum wants after childbirth is to rest, recuperate, and bond with her baby. Don't feel guilty about wanting to set boundaries and limit guests during the early postpartum days. And if you're wondering how to go about it, this article will help you navigate this somewhat tricky situation almost seamlessly.
Here is the list of tips to help you deal with visitors after giving birth:
Tip 1- Inform People of Your Wishes Beforehand
When we picture a situation in our heads, we have the tendency to think of the worst scenario. For example, you might be imagining unruly guests overstaying their welcome. But the reality is most people are polite, understanding, and respectful of people's wishes, especially those of a new mother because even non-parents know how vulnerable this period is. So, if you let people know ahead of time that you won't be accepting visitors immediately after bub's arrival, it's most likely that all your nearest and dearest will respect your choice.
Tip 2 – Set Ground Rules
Let the guests know what is acceptable and unacceptable while visiting you and the baby. By establishing rules and enforcing them strictly, you will be able to manage visitors better. Wondering what we mean by rules? It can be anything from ‘no flowers please’ (strong odors) to ‘no flash photography’ (hurting baby’s eyes). Setting ground rules will help minimise your stress levels and also manage guests' expectations.
Tip 3 – Assign Someone the Role of Gatekeeper
Yes, you can set your rules and regulations and convey them to people but enforcing them is a whole other task you likely won’t want to handle once bub arrives. Your best bet is to assign a person who will make sure that every visitor abides by the given set of rules. That person (hubby, partner, close friend, or a family member) will be responsible for scheduling the visits, ensuring that no one lingers past the visiting hours, and so on.
Tip 4 – Spread Out the Visits
Entertaining too many guests all at once is a recipe for disaster. It can be chaotic, difficult for you to manage, and disruptive for the baby. It may seem like a good idea to invite everyone over for one day and be done with it all, but if you space out the guests (preferably weeks apart), you will get plenty of time in between visits to heal and adjust to the new role. And who knows? Maybe by the time your scheduled guest comes knocking, you might even appreciate the visit even more, as it will give you a break from your routine.
Tip 5 – No Need To Look Presentable While Entertaining Guests
Unwritten social rules like ‘one should look presentable in front of guests’, is ingrained in most of us, which is why you may believe you must clean yourself up, put on a fresh outfit and sort out the messy house. You really don’t need to do any of it. Your guests won't mind if your hair isn't perfect or if you have a bundle of clothes lying around. You will be tired and exhausted from sleepless nights and postpartum discomfort. So, if anyone is allowed to break certain social etiquette, it's you!
Bonus Tip - During the initial days when your breast milk first starts coming in, you may face frequent breast leakage. Wet spots around the nipple area can be a bit more embarrassing than simply looking dishevelled– so, don't forget to use breast pads inside your bra while you have guests over. You can order yourself a postpartum care package. This lovingly put-together box will include breast pads, the postpartum sitz soak and many more luxurious goodies.
Tip 6 – Accept Help if Offered. Better Yet, Ask for It Without Feeling Guilty
Visitors don’t have to be stressful after birth, they can be extremely helpful if you know how to ask. The trick is to never say ‘no’ to someone offering you a helping hand. If your guest offers to look after your baby while you take care of some laundry or take a bath imbued with healing postpartum sitz soak, say yes without giving it a second thought! Although, this example is only applicable to people that you trust enough to handle your little munchkin. You can also ask your guests to bring some groceries or pick up a pack of diapers on the way over.
Tip 7 – Take Bub’s Health and Safety Into Consideration First Before Accepting Visitors
Infants are significantly more susceptible to germs and viruses than adults due to immature immune systems. So, to prevent the exposure of your vulnerable new baby to harmful foreign substances, don't allow any guests who are or have been sick recently. Also, ensure that whoever is holding your baby has washed their hands with a mild soap, and finally, explicitly let everyone know that they are not allowed to kiss the baby.
Tip 8 -Politely Decline Surprise Visitors
Even after scheduling every visit and informing people well ahead, there will still be a rogue person or two who will pop up unannounced in front of your doorstep. Feel free to turn them away politely with an excuse, or simply say that you and the baby are not up for socialising right now. Yes, being direct can be a bit hurtful, but we are sure that person will get over it and understand your reasoning.
The birth of a baby is a joyous event, and hosting guests afterwards can be a pleasant experience if done correctly. Keep in mind that our advice on this topic is not exhaustive. Depending on your preferences, family dynamic, and health after birth, you may need to add or detract from this list. Although being firm and telling "no'' to well-intended guests is easier said than done, especially when you don't want to hurt their feelings, we hope with a little bit of tact on your part and our advice, you can avoid awkwardness while dealing with visitors.
– The Hermosa Co.