Wow a new baby is here!
Welcoming a new arrival in the family is such an exciting and wonderful occasion. It’s only natural that all your family and friends will be queuing up round the block to come and meet them.
It’s lovely to share the joy that your baby brings but newborn visitors can sometimes cause you a lot of stress. Visits can clash with times when you’re knackered, the house is a tip and your baby is sleeping and you REALLY need them to stay sleeping as you haven’t been able to sit down for hours.
Of course you want to welcome all newborn visitors into your home with open arms. You want to share the utter joy the newest member of the family has brought you. However it’s worth setting a few rules to make sure that the visits go as well as possible for everyone involved.
No sick visitors
Tiny newborns are very vulnerable. The last thing you need as exhausted new parents is for your new baby or either one of you to catch a cold or lurgy to hold you back.
The number one rule you should set for newborn visitors, is to insist that anyone who is ill delays coming to meet your newborn until they are better.
Check when a good time to visit will be
It’s understandable that your loved ones are champing at the bit to visit your new baby. But the timing of their visit can make a big difference.
There are some times of the day that you are better prepared and energised to greet newborn visitors. There are other times when you really would just prefer to be alone.
If you and your baby are getting to grips with breastfeeding, then you don’t want visitors mid feed when you have your boobs out and are struggling to find the best position. If you’re utterly exhausted and are looking forward to a much-needed snooze when your baby has finally nodded off, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing cartwheels when the doorbell goes to announce a new raft of newborn visitors.
If you’re feeling down and need a good cry then you really don’t want an audience. It’s hard to predict the best time for friends and family to pop round for their dose of baby cuddles, so make it a rule that they text or phone you beforehand to check it is a good time.
Please wash your hands
Newborn babies’ immune systems aren’t fully developed. If newborn visitors wash their hands or use hand sanitiser, it can help prevent any germs or infections spreading.
You might feel a bit neurotic insisting on this rule but most visitors won’t mind at all washing their hands before cuddles. So don’t be afraid to ask.
Cuddles but no kisses
An important rule you might want to insist on for newborn visitors, is that they can cuddle your newborn as much as they like but that they steer clear of showering them with kisses.
There have been several stories hitting the headlines in the media recently about babies falling seriously ill after being kissed by a visitor who had a cold sore.
If someone kisses a baby when they have a cold sore (even if they didn’t yet know one was emerging) then they can pass on the herpes virus. Tiny babies have low immunity and cannot fight the herpes virus.
While it might just result in an itchy and painful sore for adults, in newborns the virus can cause liver and brain damage and even death.
Babies may not get the herpes virus if they are kissed by someone with it, but if they do then it can have serious complications.
That is a good enough reason as any to insist on a no-kissing rule for visitors.
Don’t wake the baby
Every visitor is desperate for a cuddle with your gorgeous newborn. But if you have spent two whole hours beforehand trying to get them down for a sleep, then the last thing you want is to wake them again.
Be polite but insistent that if your baby is sleeping soundly and you think lifting them for a hug will wake them, that they will have to wait. And if your baby sleeps through the whole visit then they will have to be patient and come back another time for cuddles.
Make it short and sweet
New babies are so utterly adorable. It’s hard for newborn visitors to let go once they are snuggled in the crook of their arms. The household can be peaceful, the cuddles are lovely and there can appear to be very little reason to not stay on for hours enjoying the snuggles.
But new mums and dads are knackered. Any bits of quiet are golden chances for you to nap, or at least relax a little bit and gather your strength.
Having to be polite and present for visitors is quite tiring after giving birth. If your visitors know in advance that they should keep visits short and sweet then it works better for everyone.
Could YOU make the tea?
Usually when visitors pop round you naturally leap up and pop the kettle on, make everyone a hot drink and get out the nice biscuits.
When you’re an exhausted new mum then it’s only fair that you can rest your feet. Your more energised visitors can be the ones to put the kettle on and wait on you.
If you feel too awkward not playing hostess, then at least delegate this job to your partner instead.
Please don’t forget my older child
If you have an older child as well as a newborn baby, then they will probably be feeling a little jealous of their new sibling. It’s harder still if visitors swoop in and start fussing and enthusing over how adorable the baby is.
Explain to newborn visitors that your eldest is feeling a little overshadowed. Remind them to give the older sibling a lot of attention before cuddling the baby.
Please bring food not flowers
Often newborn visitors will ask if they can bring anything over. You might feel too polite to ask for what you really would appreciate.
Remember these are your family and friends. The people who really care. If you can find the bravery to pipe up and say “Actually I’d love it if you could bring round a dish of your famous lasagne, that would be amazing“, then you’ll be surprised how much visitors will be happy they are able to help.
If you don’t pipe up then chances are guests will bring flowers. Which are lovely, but not as lovely as an easy meal that you can heat up in the evening when you’re tired.
A secret code for when you’ve had enough
It’s quite hard to bring a lovely newborn visit to a close. As a new mum though you will find that you quickly reach your limits and want people to leave (however much you love them).
It’s not them, it’s you.
You’re eyelids are closing, your boobs are leaking, you’re getting so tired that you think you might lose the capacity for speech and your baby has been sleeping for so long that you’re desperate to get five minutes peace before the feeding, changing, settling routine starts up again.
Before a visit, set a secret code that you can convey to your partner. They can then start making noises to politely shoo visitors out of the door.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
After having a baby you’re probably feeling more than a little fragile. Your hormones are all over the place, you’re barely sleeping and you’re working day and night to care for this beautiful newborn baby you have in your arms.
It can be easy to to end up agreeing to visits that you wouldn’t normally agree to.
You may get talked into having that aunt over to see baby, even though she’s a bit poorly, or having those nieces and nephews round who may have chicken pox but probably don’t.
Remember it’s your baby, you’re their mama and you set the rules about what is safe for them. Don’t be afraid to be firm and you’ll be surprised how much people will understand.
And consider yourself as well.
You’ve gone through such an overwhelming task of bringing a baby into this world, and caring for a newborn is most definitely a 24-hour job. It’s OK to ask newborn visitors to work around what’s best for you. After all you’re the mama and you’re doing amazing.