This blog is written by Aliza Carr from Bumpnbub.
Having a baby is such a precious time for you and your partner, as well as your immediate and extended family and friends. As much as you want to share the excitement, joy and love with those around you, it is important to do what is best for you and your baby. Putting yourself first sometimes means disappointing others, and that is okay! Giving birth is one of the biggest physical and psychological events in your life that does take time to recover from, as well as the hormonal changes that occur for the days and weeks that follow. You should NOT feel pressure to let anyone come and visit you and your baby before you are ready and comfortable.
For first time parents, those initial days are a super special time to spend together with your baby, bonding and getting to know each other. We also know that skin to skin and frequent breastfeeding during the early days are key to setting you up for a successful breastfeeding journey and strong connection with your baby. Even for parents that have toddlers or other children, spending one-on-one time with your newborn before your family meets them is critical, as you may not get a lot of one-on-one time with your baby when you are home.
If you have your baby in hospital, you generally only stay for a short period of time and often this is lovely just spent with your partner and your baby. If you are wanting visitors in hospital, politely ask them to keep their visit short (30mins max), to allow you and bub time to focus on feeding and resting. You can ask your midwife in hospital to prompt your visitors to leave if they have overstayed their welcome! Babies can also get overwhelmed and overstimulated if they are passed around to a lot of different people during visits. Never feel guilty for not letting your visitors hold your baby, you are their safe place and often that’s where they would prefer to be.
When you are ready, of course invite your family and friends to visit, but it is super important you set boundaries and expectations of visitors early on, even before you give birth.
Suggestions of expectations you might put in place for visitors, include:
- Wash their hands before touching or holding your baby.
- Do not visit if they are unwell. Your baby’s immune system is low when they are small and it can take weeks for it to strengthen, even the smallest cold can make them unwell.
- Not kissing your baby on the face. Again, they have a low immune system and bub is more likely to catch a bug when being kissed on the face or mouth, and the cold sore virus can also be fatal for newborns.
- Ask your visitors not to pick up the baby without asking.
- You may request for your visitors to have their whopping cough and flu vaccines up to date before visiting, or alternatively waiting until bub is older before visiting.
- Ask anyone visiting you and your family in the postnatal period to bring you a meal to place in the freezer, or a coffee or your favourite food.
- If your visitors are coming to your house, ask for help while they are there – that is what family and friends are for, support! Whether it be doing some washing, preparing lunch or holding your baby while you shower, ensure they help you out during the visit.
- Your visitors need to hold and support you, so you can care for your baby.
Overall, there is nothing more important than you and your baby. Do what you and your partner feel comfortable with and what is safest for your little one. You only get one fourth trimester with your gorgeous baby; they will grow before your eyes, so take it all in, mama.
This blog is general advice only and does not replace the need for medical advice. For any questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider.