How to Cope with Visitors
You’re home with your new little bundle of joy and friends and family are already knocking on the door anxious to meet the new arrival, but you’re just not up for the company. How do you cope with these well meaning, yet sometimes uninvited guests?
It can be challenging having a new baby, especially if you’re a new mom dealing with a whirlwind of emotions and expectations. The first few weeks after delivery you are likely to be tired and cranky most of the time. The last thing you’ll want to do is entertain friends and family who stopover to see the new baby. And though you may be eager to show off your precious newborn, the flood of uninvited guests can be exasperating and overwhelming. Luckily there are several things you can do to ensure that you get the time you and your immediate family deserves to welcome your newest addition.
1. When you arrive home from the hospital you’ll want time to bond with your baby. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself and your expected guests ahead of time. So, a few weeks prior to delivery it’s best to state the rules you would like followed in regards to visitors and visiting hours. If you feel that you would rather have people visit while you are still in the hospital, let them know that you will accept visitors once the baby is born and you are out of recovery or even the following day if you think you may want to rest.
To prevent anyone showing up at the hospital unexpected you can announce your new arrival after giving birth. Depending on your preference, you could refrain from letting people know you are in active labor, unless you want a room full of visitors while you’re still recovering from delivery. Having a baby is an exciting time and many friends and family members may rush to the hospital to be the first to see your new arrival.
2. If you don’t want to personally have to confront anyone or potentially hurt anyone’s feelings, once you’re home with the new baby you can deter guests who call before coming by leaving a message on your machine. Simply state that you and your family want to enjoy some quiet time with your new arrival. Ask them to leave a message and let them know you will return their calls when you and your immediate family are ready for company.
In addition, you can leave a note on your door that let’s unannounced visitors know that you are not ready for company. A simple note such as: “Mommy and Baby are sleeping call and leave a message. We will call you back when we are ready to have company. Thanks for understanding.” (I left this exact note on my front door after the arrival of my first child. It worked wonders, and everyone was sympathetic and understanding. Some even commented in their messages that they hadn’t thought about how tired I was going to be.)
Never feel obligated to receive visitors. You may find that some family members and friends can be quite assertive and continue to call and show up unexpectedly. It’s fine to let them know that it’s a bad time and when a good time to visit would be. You must keep in mind, in addition to reminding some guests that you just had a baby and need your rest.
3. If you’ve decided that you want visitors, make sure that everyone entering your home washes their hands before handling the baby. The best suggestion is to have everyone entering to wash their hands immediately, this will eliminate the possibility of them spreading any germs, even if they opt not to hold your baby, but decide to squeeze his or hers cheeks instead.
Furthermore never feel as if you have to allow everyone to hold and fondle your baby. If you begin to feel uncomfortable with the passing around of your child, or anyone in particular cuddling for to long; etc. you can easily step in and announce that it’s the baby’s feeding time, then take the baby to another room in the house to give yourselves a break. Keep in mind too, that over stimulation can cause even the best babies to become irritable.
In addition you may want to limit your guest’s time. Many will intend on stopping in for a few minutes, but inevitably stay for an hour or more. The best possible way to handle this is to let your guest know upon arrival that you are only up to visiting for a short time. Chances are that if you are the first among friends and family to have a baby, it may not be evident to them that they shouldn’t stay too long.
4. And finally, sometimes people will offer to help, this usually translates into, “I’ll hold the baby while you clean, cook, or do whatever chores you need to do.” If you want the help, as you’re sure to find that you will need the help, then don’t be afraid to let people know what sorts of things they can do to be of assistance.
Most new mothers find the first few weeks at home with their new baby to be some of the hardest times in their lives. You’ll probably feel a little overwhelmed and your lack of sleep will leave you fatigued. Remember that if you don’t take proper care of yourself, you will not be able to properly care for your new baby. And rest assured that within a few weeks of bringing your bundle of joy home the constant flow of visitors will come to an end.