Congrats! You’ve been released from the hospital and brought baby home! Now, besides trying to navigate the new challenges of bringing home a newborn, you are also probably navigating the numerous phone calls, texts and emails all asking the same question: “When can we come meet baby?” I remember so vividly, especially with my first, trying to get everyone over as soon as we could and feeling super stressed. But rest assured, I learned my lesson with my second child and here are my suggestions on how to deal with the wave of visitors who “just can’t wait to meet the new addition!”
- Give yourself time: Allow you and your family at least a few days to adjust to being home before welcoming visitors. You need time to get your sea legs and visits will be much more relaxing if you wait.
- Space it out: Once you feel you are ready for visitors, don’t feel like they need to come all at once or over the course of a day or two. Having people over and answering questions is exhausting after you have just given birth so allow yourself time. Try and limit yourself to a visitor every other day or space it out in time periods that work best for your family.
- Work around your new “schedule”: I use the term schedule very lightly as most new babies don’t have one but be on the lookout for trends. Does baby get super fussy early evening? Does baby sleep most afternoons? The better you know what your day looks like, the better you can plan for visits. Pick times of day that work best for baby (and you!) so that you can enjoy the visit as much as you can.
- Manage expectations: You just had a baby and there is no better time to be as blunt as you possibly can when letting visitors know what to expect. Don’t be afraid to be stern about hand washing instructions and turning sick people away. And don’t forget to go easy on your own appearance: you do not need to look like a supermodel for visitors. They should feel lucky if you get in a shower!
- Know your visitor: When planning your visitors, it’s great to anticipate what kind of visit it’s going to be. Is it a college friend you haven’t seen in a while who you will need to be “on” for or is it your brother who will hold baby while you shower and close your eyes for 20 minutes? Try and take advantage of the visits that are more beneficial to you and space out the ones that might seem like more “work.”
- It’s ok to say NO: Just like you shouldn’t be afraid to lay down the expectations, you shouldn’t be afraid to say NO. Maybe baby didn’t sleep at all or maybe it’s just a difficult day for you. Either way, if you feel like it’s a not a good day, go with your instinct and reschedule. The visit will be much more enjoyable for everyone if it doesn’t feel forced.