How to handle visitors after you have a baby

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby (or babies)! Naturally you want your loved ones to meet your precious newborn, but are you feeling reluctant to have visitors because of the potential health risks to your bub? Are you starting to feel pressured by friends and family members that want to come, and you’re not sure how to handle it?

The postpartum period can be a wonderful but overwhelming time, and you might have an endless list of fears and concerns right now. We know you have a lot of questions: When is it a safe time to receive visitors? What precautions should they take? Are they able to hold your baby? Should they have any vaccinations? Will breastfeeding protect your baby? What should your visitors expect when they come? How do you even let people know politely that you don’t want any visitors yet?

Remember that it’s your home, your baby, and your rules. You do what you feel comfortable with, and people should be understanding. As a parent, protecting and keeping your baby safe is your priority, so only you can make the decisions regarding visitors.

When is it a safe time for people to visit my newborn?

It’s advised that visitors should wait until a baby has had their 6 week vaccinations to protect their immature immune systems. There are very serious risks to your baby in the early weeks.

You might prefer to pop your baby in a pram and go for a walk in a park with a friend, so they can still see you and your baby from a safe distance. Another great idea is to put your baby in a sling or carrier, which makes it easy to control how close someone gets to them.

What precautions should my visitors take?

If you’re happy to have visitors in your home, they need to be 100% well. Even then, be aware that people can be asymptomatic and still be contagious.

Can they hold my baby?

You need to encourage friends and family members to wash their hands well when they arrive. For added safety, if you agree to them holding your baby, they shouldn’t kiss your baby on the face or hands. You might even insist on them wearing a mask, but that is entirely up to you.

Should visitors have any vaccines?

Anyone at all coming near you or your baby should have had a flu shot and the whooping cough vaccine prior.

Will breastfeeding protect my baby?

Breastfeeding can help protect babies from getting sick, and is particularly effective against infectious diseases. This is because breast milk contains antibodies and other immune protective factors.

What should my visitors expect when they come?

Resist the urge to entertain, and try to limit visits to 30-60 minutes. If they ask how they can help, let them know. It might be just to make you a cup of tea, to put some flowers in a vase, to entertain your older child, to hold your baby while you shower, to walk the dog, or help you fold those teeny tiny clothes. If you start to feel tired, it’s okay to be honest and tell them you need some rest.

How do I let people know politely that I don’t want any visitors?

Some people may be disappointed or outright annoyed that they can’t meet your little bundle just yet, but there are ways that you can let them know without upsetting them.

One idea might be when you announce your baby’s birth (whether it’s via a card or a social media post. Search Pinterest for cute ideas), you could add something along the lines of, ‘Looking forward to everyone meeting bub in 6 weeks time once they have had their vaccinations’.

You could also suggest that you’d be extremely grateful to have meals dropped off, or are happy for people to drive or walk past to greet your baby from afar. Reassure them that you’ll send regular photos to keep them happy. Their intentions come from a place of love, but they will just need to have some patience for now.

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