I'm a woman who wants to help other women find their voice when someone has taken it away.
Visitors at the Hospital
Hopefully, your hospital will have some guidelines that your visitors will have to follow to ensure mom, dad, and baby's safety. We learned about the visiting rules at our hospital's orientation. (This was very beneficial for us).
At Jersey Shore Hospital, visiting hours were from 9am to 9pm and no children under a specified age were allowed into the maternity wing (unless sibling to the new baby). That was still a lot of time for people to just show up unannounced. Everyone always wants to see the new baby and shower them with love, but we also need to remember that it is important for the new mom to get her rest and for the family to start bonding. Below is a list of things to remember when your baby is due to arrive.
Send a Mass Text
Let everyone know that your sweet baby has arrived via text. Use a photo you've snapped and send a message with details of your baby to all who you will be expecting to visit. In the text be sure to let them know that you will reach out to them once you are ready for visitors. This sets a necessary boundary that you need a little time but that you are still going to welcome visitors. Those who will want to visit will probably send a text the following day to check up and you can invite or decline then. Our little guy was placed in the NICU which really limited visitors but that did not stop people from popping in on me unexpectedly.
Set Specific Visiting Hours
Since the visiting hours at our hospital were from morning to night it made it very hard to gauge when people were going to stop by. This is especially crucial for you moms who will want to start the breastfeeding process—set the visiting hours to whatever works best for you! You'll most likely want to set similar hours for when you are home as well so that your baby's schedule and yours does not get disrupted. Because let's face it: when your baby goes down for a nap the last thing you want is for the doorbell to ring and your dog to start barking.
Set Rules for When Holding the Baby
People can get extremely excited and nervous when being around newborn babies. Even people who have had children within the past few years can forget what it is like to have and hold a newborn. I wanted to make sure only immediate family was holding our guy after he was born (especially since he was an NICU baby). You'll want to make sure everyone washes their hands before holding the baby (obvious, I know. But sometimes people forget!).
A huge thing for me was that no one kissed my baby or put there face in his. Let people know what you're comfortable with to avoid any awkward situations where mama bear might emerge. But always remember if you feel uncomfortable, say something.
Visitors at Your Home
Once you are home with your baby you'll want to get adjusted and settled in before you have people over. Make sure you are comfortable with where you will be doing things and get a little routine down.
For me, breastfeeding was the biggest pain while worrying about visitors. I made sure to set myself up in the nursery since I was pumping so that if anyone had come by my pump was not just laying around. This was not something I learned right away and took a few awkward visits for me to decide to move it.
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Here are some more ways you can continue the visiting rules when home:
Keep the Visiting Hours Going
If you have set specific hours at the hospital try and continue the hours into when you get home and settled. Many times once we get home with our babies people are dying to stop over and hold your baby before you have had the chance to breathe. Be sure to let people know when you are ready to have visitors in your home.
How to Handle Visitors If You Have Pets
Pets are a tricky area when dealing with bringing home new members of the family. Be sure to introduce your furry friend to your baby before the baby comes home. A good technique to do this is to place the blanket your baby was wrapped in in-front of your pet on the floor. This allows them to get used to the new smell and allows you to see how they react to it. For us, our Golden Retriever smelled the blanket and took it to lay with him and licked it (which was a positive sign). He is great with our little guy and feels protective of him.
Once your furry friend is acquainted and your baby is home be cautious of having visitors over with your pet around. Pets, dogs especially, can be protective of new members of the family so you'll want to make sure your pet does not display any aggressive behavior.
Not Wanting Visitors
You can absolutely refuse to have visitors. This is your time with your new addition to your family. Discuss with your partner if you will be wanting visitors right away or if you'll want to hold off until maybe a week in? a month in? it is completely up to you. We had our guy right after Thanksgiving which placed us right in between the holidays and tons of family members wanted to come over to see him. We didn't feel that comfortable with everyone coming, as it can be completely overwhelming, so we held off with extended family until after the holidays and our guy was a month old.
It's Time To Go
Let your visitors know when it is time to go. Many times people are so excited and lose track of time while visiting. This can be especially important for you breastfeeding moms. Not to mention if you are a first-time mother breastfeeding- you might not be that comfortable breastfeeding right away while visitors are in your home. Let your visitors know that you appreciate them stopping by but it is time for your baby to eat or nap. After all, you are the one with your baby every day and you won't want to mess up any type of schedule you have him or her on if you don't have too.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
J Briceno (author) from New Jersey on January 31, 2019:
@Go4Gold Thank you for your feedback! Visitors can be tough at any time during raising a child but especially when we are first becoming moms or bringing home a newborn in general. Setting boundaries is the only way to protect our sanity.
Go4Gold on January 31, 2019:
Love this! I get lots of anxiety about visitors after baby and have a hard time explaining to family that I love them and I know they want to meet the bee addition, but they are .making me feel overwhelmed and not supported.