Your birthing adventure begins the moment you go into labor. All your friends and family want constant updates to hear how you’re doing and to share their joy as you welcome your new baby into the world. Although it depends on each new parent’s preferences, it’s common to feel too fatigued and overwhelmed to really want a bombardment of visitors at the hospital or even during the first two weeks of welcoming the baby home. Here are some things to think about when it comes to inviting visitors after labor.
Reasons you may not want visitors around right away:
- You need REST. During the first three days after birth I was in the hospital where they poked me every 6 hours to make sure my preeclampsia was managed and they checked my blood pressure and reflexes every single hour of the day which meant NO sleep. Yes, I was a unique case, but I can still imagine if I didn’t have preeclampsia I still would have liked peace and quiet the first few days after delivering the baby.
- Your baby needs you. When you have visitors coming at random hours of the day, you aren’t able to give your baby the attention he needs immediately. If he cries, you have to figure out what he needs. Is he hungry or tired? Does he need a diaper change or to be burped? You will struggle to give him undivided attention to meet his needs if you have visitors around wanting to meet him, hold him, and chat it up with you. Breastfeeding is also a new skill you will have to learn with your baby which also requires lots of time, attention, and patience several times a day.
- Your baby needs to develop his immune system. If your visitors have any sort of illness during the weeks around your delivery you may want to keep them away. Even if they feel healthy they may carry something that they’re immune to. Your baby’s immune system is incredibly fragile and will need extra care during the whole first year until he gets all his immunizations.
- While you’re at home during the first few weeks you may stress out. It’s the tendency for women to want to host any guests that come over. You are in no shape to do this when you’re a brand new parent recovering from childbirth. If you have visitors during those weeks you may feel guilty for not being the host you want to be or you may be overwhelmed with having to play host. Of course I’m not including your friends or family who are strictly visiting to help out by cooking, cleaning, or caring for baby while you rest.
How to inform your loved ones that you need space:
- If you’re connected to family and friends on the internet, send an email or Facebook post that tells them you’re headed to the hospital and that you’ll post updates when you have a chance. But tell them not to call or visit until you have a chance to bond with your baby and recover from delivery. Your loved ones will typically be understanding and respect your wishes. In fact, I was sad not to get calls two weeks after delivery until I started calling family and they said they wanted to make sure I was ready to connect.
- You can also invite a select few people into your hospital room during or after you deliver. Some hospitals even monitor this and require your visitors’ names be on the list before they can enter your room.
- Ask the hospital staff to leave a note on your door with what hours you are welcoming visitors.
Do you have any other ideas that could help you keep visitors at bay without hurting any feelings? Share them below in the comments section.