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5 Ways to Get Rid of Postpartum Visitors without Offending Anyone: Advice for the mom-to-be

Birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, baby showers, etc.  Everyone wants to be prepared for the arrival of a new baby, especially when it is your first.  But, there is one IMPORTANT point, one DETRIMENTAL point, which most of your class instructors and friends with kids will neglect to tell you. 

Limit the number of visitors you are willing to see each day!

“Why would I do that?” you may ask.  “Don’t I want to have everyone share in the joy of having a new baby?”  “Won’t my family members get upset if they can’t spend every minute with the new baby?”

Let me describe my postpartum scenario for you.  If it not unlike most of my friends’ experiences after the births of their babies as well….that is, until I shared this advice with them.


This is what surviving a 20-hr labor looks like!When my son, Benjamin, was born, he was the first grandchild born on both sides of the family.  He was literally like Simba up on the mountain top being revered in all of his glory.  Family and friends from around the country flocked to our little home in San Diego to meet the first child of the new generation.  I, too, was mesmerized by this little being that I had just birthed a few days before.  


Everyone who came to visit in the hospital and then at our home wanted to hold Ben…. To smell his sweet scent and listen to his sighs as he slept.  As my visitors sat on my couch and relaxed with my sleeping son, what do you think I was doing?  Resting after my 20-hour labor? Napping after breastfeeding all night, with painful bleeding nipples? 

I don’t think so! 

I was sitting on my doughnut (so that my episiotomy stitches wouldn’t rip out), chatting it up with the crowd.  I was making sure everyone had something to eat or drink.  Now, to be clear, this wasn’t expected of me by my guests.  This was self-imposed hostess torture.  I felt it was something I had to do.  Everyone held my sleeping, gorgeous child, until he woke up and started to cry.  Then, it was my turn to hold him, soothe him, and breastfeed him. 

Pure postpartum exhaustionAfter everyone finally went home (a week later), I had an infection from my stiches, a nipple shield I was trying to wean from, and an exhaustion like I had never felt before.  I made a promise to myself then and there that this was NOT going to happen the next time around. 

As I learn from my mistakes (oh, and there are so many since I became a mom), I try to share a few gems so that others won’t succumb to the same mistakes I made.  So, here you go…

5 Ways to Get Rid of Postpartum Visitors without Offending Anyone

  1. Decide how many visitors you are comfortable with per day:  Have this discussion with your partner prenatally.  That way you won’t be persuaded after the baby is born (when hormones are topsy-turvy).  You might have to make an exception for family members, but that is up to you.
  2. Assign your partner or husband to be the bouncer:  After the baby is born, it is the bouncer’s job to answer the phone, not you!  His/her phone response should be, “We have already had a few visitors today.  Would you like to come tomorrow instead?”
  3. Ask visitors to bring dinner: You may laugh at this….my husband did.  But, whenever he asked someone to come another day, the visitor always replied, “Sure. What can I bring?”  Have the bouncer always reply, “Dinner would be great!”  My fridge/freezer was filled for 2 weeks!  It rocked!Time to unwind with my babe
  4. Have an exit strategy: Sometimes visitors stay a little bit too long and you may feel weird asking them to leave.  Remember, you need to take care of yourself!  Your body and your baby are depending on it.  As soon as I felt like I wanted my visitor to leave, I said I was feeling a little dizzy and needed to go lay down.  They usually got the hint and headed for the door.
  5. Don’t play hostess: Don’t feel the need to cook or clean your house before someone comes over.  Would they expect this if you had back surgery?  No.  So, sit down, snuggle that sweet little baby, and chat for as long as you want to.  Then, use your exit strategy and rest.

Did you limit your visitors after your baby was born? 

How did you limit your visitors without offending anyone?

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Reader Comments (5)

I hope I wasn't one of those visitors sitting on your couch, keeping you from resting! :)

September 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

After my mom came over and sat on my couch for what seemed like hours (and may well have been) chatting about inanities (e.g. Sarah Palin, DWTS), I sent out an email requesting people hold off for a while, or limit their visits to no more than 30 minutes. And, oh yeah, the baby would not be woken or passed around. I did offend some people, most of whom have more of less forgiven me, but I don't regret setting those boundaries one bit. Perhaps if I go for baby number two however, I will be a little more tactful/subtle.

October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Kathy, That was such a great idea to limit the visit time. 30 minutes seems super reasonable to me! Thanks for the advice!

October 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterRobin

One thing I've always hated is being bombarded with visitors and every single person wants to hold the baby, no one offers to bring us a dinner or grab a broom, we do it all ourselves. This time round is my 4th and I hope I am more assertive and stand up for myself. I really just want a few days of just my husband and children getting to know each other and relax as a family of 6. So thanks for this post its made me realise its not just me :)

October 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Some good tips, I especially like the dinner one. We didn't have so many visitors that it was a huge problem (one benefit of most extended family being overseas and my husband being an only child).

We did however have the problem of everyone wanting to hold our baby - against our wishes. She was born at the peak of the swine flu outbreak as well as a very severe local outbreak of whooping cough. That wasn't enough of an excuse for a lot of people who would be rather offended when we said no to them holding her - we're not talking family here. We're talking neighbours, workmates etc. Even the ones with a cough would downplay it, it was so selfish them putting their own desires above the health of my newborn.

That's all long gone now and I'm glad we were firm and stuck to our guns. I found that tucking her under blankets that were also tucked into the sides of the pram (as opposed to just swaddling) made it seem like too much bother and made a good excuse for not getting her out. I'd also use the "spewy baby that's just had a feed" excuse, especially when visiting the office. Other than that we just hid out at home with all the doors shut and blinds down.

So there's another tip for newborns, don't feel obliged to answer the door or phone. If they are rude enough to call round unannounced then it is no more rude not to answer the door.

October 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

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