There’s nothing like a new baby to get visitors flocking to your door. Having a baby is a time for celebration and everyone will want to congratulate you and meet the new member of the family.
But a houseful of guests isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect homecoming, especially if you are tired, recovering from the birth, or just need some quiet time to adjust to your new or bigger family.
It’s a good idea to think about how you’re going to manage the inevitable stream of admirers before the star of the show arrives.
Agree a plan
Agree a plan with your partner in advance of the birth:
- Who will be welcome immediately or in the first week or so?
- Who might have to wait until you’ve got close friends and family out of the way?
- When do you want them to visit and how long for?
- Will guests be welcome in hospital?
- Do you want your mum/mother-in-law to stay when you first come home, after your partner finishes paternity leave, or not at all?
This is not the time to worry about offending anyone – it’s up to you who is welcome in the very early days, and when. If you do decide you’d like time as a family – or ‘babymoon’ - before everyone descends on you bearing pale blue or pink parcels, tell family and friends in advance so they have time to get used to the idea. First-time grandparents in particular may need to be physically held back from wrestling their grandchild from you as soon as you leave the delivery suite!
On the other hand, you might feel so excited that your baby is finally here that you want to show them off to everyone immediately, as mum-of-four Coral did: “With our first we were crazy - we were so excited, we arranged a party in our hospital room! I was so overwhelmed and tired I didn't know what to do with myself. Needless to say with the next three we kept visitors to an absolute minimum and staggered it. I think that it’s best to give people time slots and tell them that they can't stay long.”
Mum of twins Mel, who was in hospital for a week after the birth, says visitors were managed by her partner “on a fairly strict rota”. It can be enormously helpful if your partner can act as the ‘gatekeeper’, not only managing who comes and when, but canceling if you are just not up to it, and making sure people don’t hang around for hours.
Whether you view visitors as an opportunity to introduce everyone to your pride and joy as soon as possible, an inconvenience, or as life-saving helpers with the baby and around the house, the most important thing is that visitors in the early days are on your terms. There will be plenty of time for cuddles in the years to come.
Tips to manage visitors to your newborn
- Tell people to call first, or wait for an invitation.
- Ask them to help, by making tea, washing up, or sorting laundry.
- Don’t feel you have to get dressed or even out of bed – this is your recovery time.
- Don’t feel obliged to pass your new baby around if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.
- Take advantage of visitors to hand the baby over and have a rest.
- Don’t tidy up for visitors.
- Tell people in advance if you'd prefer cakes or meals to flowers or gifts.
- Have a stash of biscuits in the house before the baby arrives.