Do You Want Visitors After Giving Birth?
Exhausted from her long and grueling labor, my patient sleepily snuggles her newborn son. I smile over the sight of her and her husband leaning over their precious infant, savoring those blissful moments of new parenthood, counting every finger and toe and breathing in the scent of new baby.
It’s one of my favorite parts of my job—watching those indescribable first moments when a mother meets her baby for the first time. It’s as if the world falls away in those moments—and it’s just you and your new baby. It’s a precious and beautiful time.
I watch it now as I quietly put the room back together, tucking away the delivery equipment and charting on the computer. A sort of hushed and reverent silence falls on the room as the proud parents enjoy their new addition and I smile to myself, watching the scene unfold.
Suddenly, the silence is broken as the door is flung open with a bang and grandmothers, aunts, and uncles pour into the room.
“Oh my goodness, loooook at him!” one boisterous family member coos. “He’s just beautiful! Can I hold him?” she asks, setting off the clamoring of who gets to hold the baby first.
While I know that there is nothing quite as exciting as sharing a new member of the family, as a labor and delivery nurse, I have to wonder—when is the right time for visitors after having a baby? Usually, I see family members waiting anxiously out in the halls and waiting room, bursting in as soon as the baby is born.
It can be hard for a new mother, so raw and exhausted from birth, to deal with the overwhelming task of beginning recovery from birth and the messy aftermath, while entertaining throngs of visitors.
- Talk to your family about your wishes for visitors before you go to the hospital so they are prepared.
- Consider asking visitors to refrain from coming to the hospital until they hear from you.
- Ask your nurse to limit visitors for an hour or so after birth.
- Hold off on announcing the birth (no Facebook!) until you are ready for visitors.
- Create a “safe word” with your nurse, in the event that you need rest while you are having visitors so she can help you.
- Ask your nurse to explain visiting hours for you to friends and family, so you can avoid any awkward conversations.
Most importantly, though, understand that the most important part of your hospital visit is ensuring the health and safety of you and your newborn. Don’t be afraid to be clear about what you need—even if that means limiting visitors at the hospital—and to share your wishes with your nurse.
What about you? Did you have visitors right after birth?