After the Baby Arrives: Handling Visitors and Protecting Your Privacyby Katlyn Joy | October 13, 2011 8:18 AM
After months of expectant waiting, the baby has finally arrived and everyone who knows you, or sometimes merely knows of you it seems, wants a glimpse of your newborn.
In years past, new mothers stayed in the hospital longer than today. Today, Mothers are far from fully recuperated when back at home. Just because you've been released from the hospital doesn't mean you are ready to play hostess to an endless parade of well-wishers.
While manners and your loved ones' feelings are important, the health and well-being of your growing family is the priority.
While at the Hospital
Let the hospital staff run interference for you whenever possible. They can limit the number and hours that visitors may visit, or can curtail a visit to make sure you and baby are getting rest. Talk to the nurse on duty ahead of time about any concerns you have.
Let loved ones get the word out. You needn't pick up the phone and call everyone in your contact list. When your partner makes the calls, have him inform everyone if you'll be receiving any visitors at the hospital or if you'd prefer to wait until you've all gotten settled into home.
Don't let shyness delay nursing sessions. Let people know it's feeding time. Most will realize that's a private time and leave promptly. If you must be more direct, then do so and say, "It's time for Sophie to nurse. Thanks for coming by, though. I really appreciate it. We'll give you a call when we are home!"
Leave an answering machine message or post a note on the backdoor for more regular guests advising them of when you will be receiving visitors.
Make a webpage or on your social networking site, post all the pertinent facts about baby, the arrival and what day and times you'll be receiving guests. Putting up some adorable pictures will probably help delay some insistent visitors as they really want to see that new baby's face most of all.
Have a signal worked out with your partner. This will be the "OK, I've had enough," signal. It could be a phrase or action so long as you both know what follows.
Blame it on the doctor. If you want to cut visits to a minimum, lay the blame on the pediatrician or the ob-gyn. They won't mind taking the heat for you. "Sorry, the doctor says we need to limit the socializing for the first weeks."
If you are a push-over and find it hard to let someone know you are tired or overwhelmed, then have an enforcer, be it your mom, spouse or a friend. They will step in and say, "Hey, I think Sue needs to go lay down for a bit."
If you have a huge amount of well wishers, consider letting relatives hold an afternoon drop-by barbeque and getting it over in one big swoop. Just don't get pulled into cooking, cleaning or otherwise preparing. Only consider this if you know you have people who can carry it off all by themselves. Even with that, you'll likely need to catch a bit of rest every now and then. Let your partner host the guests and show off the baby while you are showering, napping or plain escaping.
If despite your pre-emptive moves, you still have unexpected guests, don't be afraid to be firm. "I'm sorry, we're not up for visits quite yet. I've not yet been cleared to receiving callers by my physician."
Don't try to play hostess following childbirth. Offering friends a bottled drink is sufficient.
Don't feel like you have to answer every phone call that pours in over your cell or home phone. You mustn't be a slave to everyone's whims. They will definitely understand that you might be busy changing or feeding baby, or just plain pooped. And if someone is not so understanding, well.that's just their problem, not yours. Your first priority is your family not rude people's feelings.
Deflect questions that make you feel uncomfortable. Some people are a bit freer with personal information than others. Don't feel pressured to detail why you had a c-section, whether or not you had an epidural or how long you plan to breastfeed. This is your family business and you can politely change the subject when such topics arise. For those who are nosy and insistent on questioning, simply say, "I'd rather not discuss that. Thank you for understanding."
Finally, don't feel like you are resigned to the fact your new baby will be passed around like a sack of potatoes and slobbered over with kisses. You can step in and again make the doctor the bad guy. Say the doctor wants to limit how much the baby is held and keep kisses to the little piggies rather than the face.
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