How to Handle Visitors After You Have a Baby

How to Handle Visitors After You Have a Baby

September 3, 2019

How to Handle Visitors After You Have a Baby

How to Handle Visitors After You Have a Baby
How to Handle Visitors After You Have a Baby

The much-anticipated birth of your baby is also a big deal for your family and friends. When the news breaks that baby is coming—or here!—you’ll likely be swimming in texts, calls and social media posts.

And odds are that a stream of visitors aren’t far behind. Relatives and close friends often want to have a part in baby’s arrival—either at the hospital (sometimes even in the delivery room) or in those first days at home.

Knowing this can help you set important, sanity-saving boundaries, says Joanna Cascione, RN, IBCLC, a postpartum mother-baby registered nurse and lactation consultant. “Once your baby is born, you and your baby and your partner are a family, and everyone else are relatives,” she says. “This is the time to prioritize your family. Everyone else is extraneous, unless they’re helpful.”

Every clan has its own needs—and its own quirks. Here’s are some strategies for ensuring that, in the moment, you’re able to put your new family first.

Make a List of How Vistors Can Help

Before the birth, sit down make a list of all the things that would be helpful for other people to do for you. That could be bringing over (or ordering!) food, walking your dog, throwing in a load of laundry, sorting through baby clothes—even holding the baby while you shower.

“Hang up the list, and then when someone comes over and says, ‘How can I help?’ hand it to them,” Cascione says.

You also might designate a best friend, new aunt or grandparent to help field requests to see baby pictures or schedule visits, so you can focus on your new family.

Set Clear Limits for Visitors Before Your Baby Arrives

If your mother-in-law would love to be in the delivery room, but the thought of it freaks you out, address that issue ASAP.

“This is just the first time that your family’s needs are going to be bumping up against your relatives’,” Cascione says. “If you avoid the conversation now about your baby being more important than your mother-in-law’s feelings, you’re just going to have it later. You might as well have it now.”

Resist the Urge to Entertain

During the first few weeks, try to limit visits to just 30 to 60 minutes.

If you have a partner, “they should be prepared to be a bouncer,” Cascione says. Also suggest guests to pitch in. “If they bring flowers, have them put them in a vase,” she says—and even get out that list, if necessary. In the meantime, baby is your first priority.

“If your kid needs to feed, feed your kid.”

It’s OK to Feel ‘Off”

Enraged by something your mom did? Counting the seconds until your high-school friend takes off? Unable to hold a conversation for longer than a few minutes? “Try to keep in mind that sleep deprivation destroys any sense of perspective,” Cascione says. “It also destroys any ability to be creative, so you can’t problem solve and may feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over and banging your head against the wall.”

If you gave birth to the new baby, couple that with the postpartum hormone rollercoaster you’re on, and you’re dealing with an emotional time. It’s something you should remind yourself of. And remember: it’s OK to be honest with your guests and tell them you need to rest or have time alone with your new family.


Sarah J. Robbins is an independent writer, editor and content strategist whose work has appeared in Consumer Reports, Glamour, Good Housekeeping and Real Simple, among others. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids.

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