How to Manage Visitors With a Newborn Baby
Mum-of-three, nurse, midwife, and founder of Lila Jasmine fourth trimester workshops, Renata Lardelli offers her thoughtful tips and well-informed advice.
Having a baby is incredibly exciting for everyone who loves and cares about you – they’re dying to hear the announcement, to check in on you, to shower you with well wishes, care and attention, and while that is thoughtful and lovely it can be very exhausting for new parents. Let me offer three tips for managing visitors and creating boundaries with your newborn baby.
For some, a steady stream of visitors after you’ve given birth can take its toll, it can be tiring hosting and holding conversations – quite often you’re exhausted, half-dressed and still getting to know your newest and littlest love. For others it’s the best bit – either way, before giving birth I encourage you to take time to consider how long after delivery you would like visitors – immediately after, the next day, or perhaps wait a few days? Who would you like to visit – family only, friends and family, friends and family and your next-door neighbour? How long do you want people to visit – 30 minutes or 3 hours?
If you feel like frequent visitors will be overwhelming, consider instating your own visiting hours at a time of day that works best for you. Create a pre-written message reply in your notes folder for easy access when people make contact with you. Share it in your family and friends group chats or even add it to the bottom of your birth announcement. Something like (words below) will suffice and this wording gives your visitor a clear timeframe to visit and an expected duration, highlighting the need for them to be punctual:
Yes, baby X is here and is so scrummy but we’re all a little tired. We’d love to see you – if you can visit between 11 am – 12.30 pm that would be great. We’re normally ready for a feed and family nap at 12.30 pm. We’re being hypervigilant so if you could sanitise on your way in we’d be so grateful. Can’t wait to show baby X off. X
And here are just a few more quickfire thoughts and ideas:
- Pop a note on your front door with times and rules, and make hand sanitiser available.
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, have someone be the gatekeeper.
- Remember that you can say no and you can cancel.
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED
Your visitors are dying to know how to help you. When they make contact with you, they will ask if there is anything you need, so be explicit – they’ll appreciate the direction and specificity. Do you need more wipes, bread, or breast pads, or are you dying for coffee or sushi? Or do you need someone to snuggle the baby so you can shower? Does your washing need hanging or folding? Or, do you just need company?
Saying yes and accepting help can be difficult for a lot of us but try not to deny people who care for you the opportunity to do something kind and helpful. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone if you need something – make it a part of your postpartum plan to create a list of contacts you can call on in a time of need. Here are a few responses to inspire you…
- Thanks so much for checking in. We’re all doing ok but X goes back to work tomorrow and I’d really love some company for 30 minutes and a coffee from X if you’re free sometime this week.
- I really appreciate you bringing us dinner tonight. The baby is napping and I’m going to take one too. The door is open, would you mind just leaving it inside the door and I’ll message you when we’re less tired for a baby snuggle? We’re so very grateful. Thank you.
- Can’t wait to show you baby X tomorrow. Lunch sounds great, no tomatoes please – I hate those. Maybe you can snuggle while I eat hands-free and take an extra-long shower.
- See you tomorrow. We’re pretty sorted but I’ve run out of milk, would you mind grabbing a bottle of oat milk on your way – any brand is fine! Thanks so much.
THANKS BUT NO THANKS
Family and friends are well-meaning with their offers and advice, it mostly always comes from a place of love. This is your baby and you know what that means – it means you get to do things however you want, so ignore what doesn’t sit well with you and, if it’s golden, tuck it in your back pocket for later. Consider people in your life who have similar values and opinions to you or people who have a parenting style you appreciate – lean to them when you have problems, questions or concerns or trusted resources and the rest is water off a duck’s back. Follow your heart!