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Visitors to your newborn

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?

You decide

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.

Comments

I am glad that others agree that it isn't selfish to want people to stay away (for a few days at least) after the birth. I am due mid November, and shall be telling the grandparents only to visit the hospital / house on the birth day .... ALL friends (even the besties!) are to wait until about a week afterwards. This is my 1st baby - I MUST be strong!!
I've thought about it and told my fiancé that in the hospital its strictly parents, as my parents are divorced they will have to come separately and the hospital I am going to if everything is ok I will be out within 6 hours so I don't want a lot of visitors. Then when I get home I've said NO visitors for 48 hours so we can have time with our baby and settle into a routine. I am texting all family and friends to say they have to let me know a day and time so that i don't have everyone turning up at once. My fiancé's mum is REALLY excited, which is lovely and expected as its her first grandchild but I have a feeling she will want to be there all the time, so im preparing myself to tell her to back off a little and hopefully she will understand. Just worried that she will think that I don't want her seeing the baby and be funny with me. ANY TIPS ON THIS SITUATION?? Also I am a bit of a pushover to but I am telling my fella to make sure i stick to plan we decide on. :)
We've already told close friends that only family will be visiting us in the hospital unless we have to stay for a couple of days. We haven't really worked out what we'll do when we get home!
Well me and my fiance have discussed this subject a number of times and even the number of people at the hospital when he's first born iv'e limited including family members on his side and my side that aren't allowed at all untill im out of hospital. And i'm still deciding whether or not i want people comming round after a day or when i come out of hospital as i find i will find this very distressing as i feel me or my fiance won't have any alone time with our new born son. :)
i think alot of you new mums will just have to bite the bullet an state what you want to happen as when your a mum thats it your a mum for life and though time your going to upset people but remember its your baby speaking from a mother of soon to be four if your not happy with something someone has done then tell them they should respect you enough to listern
Our daughter Alex was in special baby care unit for the first 3 months of her life and our family is huge! The day I was coming home from hospital I was very upset & emotional at having to leave my baby and demanded my partner tell every member of family not to come near the hospital. The only person I wanted up was my step dad as he had been working away and hadn't seen Alex yet. Of course my mother in law went mad at my partner, going on about how my family was allowed up but she wasn't, there was no explaining to her why. She ended up turning up anyway and I was furious, I didn't need the hassle, especially the way we were feeling! Ended up having a serious talk about boundaries and my advice is have the talk sooner rather than later or you'll regret it x
Our daughter Alex was in special baby care unit for the first 3 months of her life and our family is huge! The day I was coming home from hospital I was very upset & emotional at having to leave my baby and demanded my partner tell every member of family not to come near the hospital. The only person I wanted up was my step dad as he had been working away and hadn't seen Alex yet. Of course my mother in law went mad at my partner, going on about how my family was allowed up but she wasn't, there was no explaining to her why. She ended up turning up anyway and I was furious, I didn't need the hassle, especially the way we were feeling! Ended up having a serious talk about boundaries and my advice is have the talk sooner rather than later or you'll regret it x
16wks now and startin to panick about visitors already! when i had my 12yr old i lived with my disabled mum who always had carers and visitors in,so i never had alone time. 2nd child 8yr old,was 10 days late and i was induced the day i planned to move house,this was very stressful as i had to leave friends and family to pack up and move my life for me. after giving birth both times,i felt i did not want ppl i dont know that well (even in laws) to hold my babies. i got very annoyed when ppl tried to tell me what to do and if they tried to do things for me. i think i will be like this again, now with my new partner and 3rd baby due 22nd sept i am stressed that i will be annoyed with a new set of in laws.
I already have a daughter but this is my partners first and we have discussed this at length, luckily he's on my side and we have said that we don't want any visitors in the hospital as we would like some time alone with our new little girl before we introduce her to her big sister in our own home to make our eldest comfortable with it also. We have decided that we will do the visiting if all goes well so we have the oppourtunity to decide how long we want to stay for and who we see in the first few weeks :) x x
We have been pretty strict with visitors, ds is our first and we wanted immediate family only so we could bond with our baby and get used to being a family. one friend who we had told we would contact when we were ready for visitors came round and barged past dh to try and see the baby. We stopped her and had to reinforce that we were not ready for visitors and would let her know when we were. I understand people are excited but i find it selfish of people when they try and turn up unannounced and uninvited.
After being estranged from my biological mother from me being about a month old, we met again when I was 8 months pregnant with my first son (I was 21 at the time). Our relationship is strained to say the least as I cannot bond with her at all and she tries a little too hard to make up for the past. She also has serious mental health issues which makes her pretty hard work at the best of times. We were chatting recently as I have just found out I'm pregnant with baby no3 and it turns out after the birth of my second son she thinks I had a spot of PND cos I more or less has to kick her out of my house after she well outstayed her welcome (she was there for three hours after I'd arrived home from hospital). She cannot understand that I might have been a little tired and overwhelmed. So this time I have made up my mind I am going to be firm with not just her but all visitors. Luckily the majority of my family all understand not to outstay their welcome and when they are visiting they tend to help my around the house. It is a tricky subject as we all love to cuddle a newborn, but you have to be firm and say when enough is enough!! Good luck everyone. P.S. I have actually invited my MIL over (she lives abroad) to be with us at the birth and after...must be mad haha!!!
i found that visitors to my two week old daughter, was a help but then i felt as tho i couldnt bond with her or be myself around people when i did have hold her as i felt i was being watched, i dont feel as tho im distant because when she cries i am willing to cuddle, talk and interact with her, but visitors straight away, unless kept to a minimum can make you feel that way. i do want to show her off, but i also want time for us to bond together also. i wish i had read the tips first.
The tips have made me feel so much better as I was starting to feel guilty that I didnt want vistors straight away! I just need to push the washing up bit abit more now I think when they do come!
whats an acceptable time for people to visit?
I had my Dd who's now 2 after an easy pregnancy and birth. Unfortunately she had breathing problems and ended up staying in hospital 4 a wk. I felt at the time that all I wanted to do was bond with my baby and adjust to life as a new mum. My mil had other ideas! She also has the ability to override everything my hubby says or does! Including our visitor screening system, inviting people to our house without asking. And arriving unannounced to pick fault in my parenting and untidy house! We don't have a bad relationship but at times it is still strained. My advise is to stick to your guns and remind those who question u that, you are the child's parents. And stay strong as a couple.
I had my little girl on the 1 may this year. I wanted to come out of hospital the same day but they wanted me to stay so i felt I had to. my husband doesn't drive so my mum and dad came to pick us all up. in the car on the way home they asked if we could go to my grandparents and i felt fine (fat but fine lol) so agreed. after that I went home and made up some bottles and had a well deserved cuppa tea as the hospital one was rubbish!! my mum and dad stayed for a while then we all took our dog for a walk. when we got home my mum asked what we would do for tea that night and said i didn't know so invited us to there's tor tea which was lovely. I hopped into the car and first drove to my mother-in-laws as step father-in-law had not seen little one then went to my mums got home at around 9ish. on the second day friends all came over, they all asked first but i was glad to see people it was lovely people were happy for us and wanted to help. the next day we went out for the day so i didn't have any recovery time but felt i didn't need it, strangely i was full of energy and didn't feel bad or anything, just a bit sore when i peed. so really i didn't get many visitors, we all did the visiting xx
I found having a "panic button keyword" helped a lot too. After having a C-section and coming out of hospital I didn't want flocks of visitors round so my husband and I came up with a key word that didn't sound out of place, but allowed me to let him know visitors had outstayed their welcome. I worked really well and I've had a peaceful few weeks getting to know my new son while still enojoying having visitors round.
I had a boy in January 2011. Apart from my close family, everyone else was told to stay away. He is our first baby and I was terrified of my 'in-laws' trooping in at the hospital. Luckily my husband stayed strong when dealing with them and we got 2 weeks peace before they came round. My family were round alot but I found it relaxing to hand him over and go wash or get the house tidied while he was looked after by people I trust. To all parents to be, stay strong and remind your visitors that its 'your' family time.
i had my baby on 3rd feb by cesarian and my family really helped me specially my sons who are 12 and 10 .And even i kept so much stuff in advance. so it is really helped as it was cesarian i need lots of rest.
This is really helpful, my husband is really good in this situation and he is very straight so people don't argue with him. I leave all this bit to him as I am always too tired and even more so when breastfeeding, he is a god send. This is our 3rd so we know what to expect now :-)
I had my baby on the 25th Nov this year, im 25 and live with my soon to be husband who is aged 32, this is our first child together but he has a little boy someone else aged 5. I have to admit i wished i had grown a pair (so to speak) and told people to stay away or even told them to arrange a time with us as we just had a house full of people and i had a pretty long and painful birth.... i was still trying to recover and didnt want everyone seeing me looking lets say not at my best..... i think next time i will take this advice and tell our large familes to give us time to adjust next time and hopefully i will feel less stressed and upset by everyone just decending on the house, my midwife came each day for the first few days due to my stitches and she was helpful and didnt stay to long just making chit chat.
I've had a chat with my parents as lots of people have adviced that we keep everything to a minimum for the first few weeks. We're both really nervous that everyone will decend and we will not be able to cope. Our problem is that my parents live in france and my husbands are ab 1 1/2 away so will all want to stay with us. This is our first and we want to enjoy it and organise ouselves before were swamped by visitors
I'm having my 3rd child by ceserean sec so I know how difficult the recovery is & remeber how stressful it was with visitors with my last 2x I am dreading it!!! I am one of those people who cant say no & worry about upsetting people & unfortunatly my husband is no help in this area either as he gets so excited himself he can't wait to show the baby off & forgets about how I feel in the process! I really want to have a diffrent experience this time but i'm not couting on it.
Im dreading this too as this is my first baby dont no how im gonna feel after giving birth?? So if im tired and recovering all i want to do is rest and not have a stampede of people coming in to see baby and pass him round like a toy especially if hes napping just want peace and quiet for the first day or so. Want some bonding time me,hubs and baby :-)
me and my husband have already spoke about this and we have decided that we are tellin peopel to ring before they come and telling them that they cant stop long as this is our second child and we would like time with our 2 kids alone before the eldest goes back to school after the christmas holidays and we want him to have a bond with his brother/sister before he goes back 2 school :) x
You're lucky, my future mother-in-law takes him off me and tells him that he's his mum
THANK GOD Im not the only one worrying about this, Im due the mid Dec, so along with all the keen visitors, were getting invites for Christmas to 'help out'. I just want some peace and quite after the birth. My husband is on side with this. I hope people will understand were not trying to be unsociable and that we'd like to get to know our baby before everyone else plays pass the christmas parcel with our 1st child.
This worries me alot too! Really dnt want my baby passed around like a pass the parcel either .. especially when im going to want lots of rest. Id rather it just be me him and the baby for a few days so ive got time to get used to it. Its going to be really hard to try and tell people no tho !
This is the one thing I will dread the most..... I want piece and quiet for the first few days and we have a very big family some of which need more the gentle persuasion. I don't like the idea of loads of people coming round when my baby is napping and them wanting to play pass the parcel with him. One thing I will be doing to stop some visitors over staying there welcome is asking them to tidy up a bit as i know how messy babies make your house :D.
im also a pushover but this is very helpful n amsure my partner will help out wen i say i dont want visitors or to keep visits to a minimum. i guess we'll see wen the time comes. x
Very good tips, I am a very sociable person with lot's of friends, I was actually wondering what I would do when the baby arrives.
im very scared about this as im a push over and i no my family will be upset but i really want the baby not to be passed around how do i tell them that i dont like upsetting people