I often get asked how to handle visitors when you first come home with your baby. When asked this question, expecting couples are not typically looking for recipes and party tips. They are concerned, as you might imagine, with germs and the stress of hosting when you’ve got a three-day-old baby.
There’s such a range of feelings and circumstances that can accompany the first week postpartum, I find it difficult to give a sweeping answer. Some of us are more private in the way we experience live-altering events like having a baby; others feel depressed if the world is not involved. It also depends on who is coming over. Some people expect lunch if they’ve driven 45 minutes. Others bring it. Also, how was your birth? Is this your first? Are there other kids to care for? So many variables.
But the question I want to address today involves the situation whereby brand new parents want to welcome visitors to see the baby, but worry they won’t be able to maintain hosting energy at an unpredictable, possibly sleep-deprived and transitional time.
I’ve found that it can be hard to not “host” even when the most generous people come over to help. Here are some ways to make visits as stress-free as possible.
1. Put a clear time limit up front to avoid extended stays.
2. If you want your visitors to hold the baby, great, but don’t feel obliged to pass your baby around.
3. Don’t feel compelled to schedule visits before you’re ready. If they’re friends, they’ll understand.
4. Stay in your PJs. Or at least don’t feel like you have to dress up for visitors. You JUST had a baby, a robe is acceptable.
5. Keep refreshments to the bare minimum. If people bring things, you can put them out but you can also just as easily say thank you and put them away for later.
What are your hopes and worries about those first visits? Any other tips from seasoned parents?