The new parents’ guide to handling visitors

From the moment your bundle of joy finally arrives everyone, it seems, is eager to meet your baby. We are drawn to new life like a moth to flame.  Navigating through the post-baby visitor scenario can be quite tricky. One local Mom recalls having just had an emergency C-section and delivering her 6-week premature baby boy who needed to spend time in the NICU. She was recovering from anesthesia, hormones going crazy, blood pressure elevated through the roof, and trying to nurse her newborn, 4lb, 9oz baby. She felt overwhelmed to say the least. “I didn’t feel like visitors because I didn’t have enough energy to fake a smile while my baby and I were fighting for our lives.” While people mean well, their good intentions sometimes require guidance and boundaries. What are new parents to do??? Here are some practical, helpful tips to help you through this new stage in your life.

Navigating post-baby visitors: Tips for new parents

  • During your hospital stay, don’t be afraid to put a sign up on the hospital room door if you’re too fatigued or overwhelmed to accept visitors. The nurses at the desk will help redirect well-intentioned guests for you. This will take the pressure off of you or your spouse having to turn them away.
  • Ask a friend or family member to organize meals for you once you’re back home. Being able to anticipate visitors ahead of time can take a lot of stress off of a spur of the moment drop-in guest. Plus, you will love not having to worry about meals for a while.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you’re feeling the post-baby blues, in need of some advice or just looking for a shoulder to cry on, there are other moms and dads who have gone through this before you. Their wisdom and insight can be very valuable to you.
  • Let your spouse be the "bad guy." There will be some tricky situations when visitors come over and you will need your husband to be the interceptor. For instance, the visitor who offers unsolicited advice or the Great Aunt who wants to come over while still recovering from the flu. Your spouse can be armed and ready with a response while your hormones may be clouding your judgment and response time.
  • When visitors call or text to schedule time to meet baby, let them know what time works best for you and how long they can stay. An easy way to do this is to say something like “I would love for you to come over around 2. Baby usually naps around 2:30.” If guests are overstaying their welcome, tell them it’s time for baby to eat and get up to leave the room. Don’t be afraid to take charge of the visit and put down limitations.

Tips for family members and friends:

  • Be respectful! New Moms and Dads can be overprotective; this is after all the most precious gift they have ever received. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before reaching out to hold their baby. If you’re feeling under the weather (even if it’s just the sniffles) keep your distance until you have recovered 100%.
  • Don’t drop in unannounced. While some people might be okay with this, most new Moms don’t get time for a shower until late afternoon and they may be trying to nap with baby when they can. They’ve probably been up at least 30 times the night before. A simple text or call is a polite way to check in and make sure you come at a convenient time for the new family.
  • Offer to help. It’s a guarantee that Mom has a to-do list a mile long and she might just take you up on your offer to fold towels or hold baby while she grabs a shower. This kind of support will mean more than you know.
  • Bring food, coffee or baked goodies! Whether it’s frozen lasagna, hearty soup, takeout or chocolate chip cookies this gesture will be well received!
  • Don’t stay too long. The new family is likely still bonding with their newborn. Between feeding, diapering and sleeping they are probably exhausted and may not be up for entertaining visitors for longer than an hour at max.
  • Respect the new momma's privacy. Don’t assume she’s comfortable breastfeeding her baby in front of you. She may still be getting used to the process. When it’s feeding time, ask her if she would like you to leave the room.
  • Go solo. As tempting as it is to bring your young kiddos to meet the new baby, they add a whole new element to the scenario. Whether failing to use their inside voices, demanding your attention, grabbing for the infant with their germy hands the list goes on. Keep the first visit to just you and your spouse.

There you have it! Just a few tips to help new parents, friends and family members keep the peace and enjoy this new season in life.

About the author…Stephanie is living her dream job raising her two grade school aged children! From the day they were born, each stage in their lives has been her favorite.  Her lively son, and mini-me daughter are the greatest gifts she has ever received.