Rethinking Visitors at the Hospital After Birth
When everyone hears that you’re going into labor, they all will be thrilled and ready to meet your new baby. Who doesn’t love a new baby?! You yourself may also be super excited to show off your new pride and joy to the world. Well, I wanted to share with you a few reasons why it may not be a good idea to have visitors at the hospital after giving birth. Ok, first, let me say that this doesn’t apply to everyone in your life. Of course, if your visitors are a part of your immediate family or your BFF, this doesn’t apply to them. I’m talking about everyone else. You’re only in the hospital for a few days after your baby is born (hopefully) so you may want to tell your other guests that they can wait. Here are a few reasons why you want to rethink having visitors at the hospital and why others can wait until you’re at home.
You’ve Just Had a Baby!
Labor is quite a ride. It can be long and hard or short and hard, but however it happens, giving birth is hard work. Pheew! Once your baby has arrived, it’s almost a guarantee that you will be hungry, tired and worn out. Even after a C-section, you won’t be feeling 100% like yourself because of all the medication in your system. You just went through major surgery and gave birth to a baby! Now think about it, when you’re exhausted and bleeding in different places, you probably aren’t in the best mood to “entertain” people. And not only that, imagine your vagina, rectum, everything down there hurting. You’re bleeding, you’re sore, you may have hemorrhoids . . . the list goes on. And your baby is brand new. Again, you just had a baby! Take this time for you and your partner to bond with your new baby. It’s a huge moment . . . which brings me to my next point.
You’ll Never Get Those Moments Back Again
Speaking of it being a huge moment, remember that you will never get this time with your baby again. Your baby will never be this brand new or this little ever again. Consider taking this time and making it private to simply drink in what just happened: You became a mom. He became a dad. Give yourself a few hours or even a few days to soak in and appreciate these moments before everyone else sees you and your baby. This is a miracle that has just happened. Even if you have a ton of kids at home, don’t you want to cherish those first few hours with just you, your newest baby and your partner? The noise, the opinions, the presents, and the love your family and friends will give you can wait.
Remember that you’re trying to nurse for the first time. Even if this isn’t your first baby and isn’t your first time breastfeeding, this is your baby’s first time so you need to take this time to get to know one another and figure breastfeeding out. If you’re having guests drop in to visit you all, they may be coming by when your baby is ready to eat. This is when you will need to ask yourself if you feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. Many women don’t want to whip out their boob while they have guests in their room. Imagine your dad, coworker, or your friend’s husband in the room and your baby is ready to eat. Many moms have told me, “I’ll breastfeed after they leave.” But this shouldn’t be so. Babies need to eat on their schedule, not ours . . . especially at the beginning if you want to establish a good breastfeeding relationship.
You may have thought that your hormones were wild during your pregnancy, but they don’t go away once your baby is here. You still have your fourth trimester, the postpartum period. The crying and emotional moments? Yeah, you may prefer to let those moments happen in front of people you are close to and comfortable breaking down in front of.
Plus, who feels great when they’re wearing a maxi pad the size of a boat, trying to poop, and dealing with chapped and/or cracked nipples and potentially huge and engorged breasts while trying to change a diaper for the first time and waddle around post-birth or C-section? Let me tell you, nobody!
Not everyone experiences major emotions/hormone swings post birth, but many women (if not the majority) do. This is why it’s nice to feel achy and emotional without a bunch of people around.
No woman wants to entertain guests while she’s tired and sore. Again, you just had a baby! Take this time to sleep as much as you can. Your baby will be waking every few hours to eat and poop so these first days, you should be resting and getting to know your baby without many interruptions. Soak in those moments though. As they say, the days are long but the years are short. And try to get some sleep as you can.
Home Sweet Home
I’ve noticed that many of my clients have said that a lot of visitors come while they’re in the hospital, and then not come to see them once they’re home. That’s when moms need the most help and that’s when it’s important for moms to be surrounded by support. Baby blues and postpartum depression do not usually happen while you are in the hospital. Again, you are only there for a few days. Yes, you are hormonal, but once you are at home, feeling lonely, tired, etc . . . this is when you want people to say hi and check in on you. This is why you should tell people to wait until you’re home for them to see you and your baby. They can wait a few days, right?!
No matter what you decide, I do want you to consider who you want to visit and when you want them to visit before your baby arrives. This way you can have an idea of what to expect and can control the chaos. And if you decide while you’re there at the hospital that you don’t want someone or anyone to stop by, don’t feel bad if you need to say, “Hey, I am having a tough time with nursing/ baby and I aren’t sleeping very well yet/ I’m not feeling very well right now. Can you see me in another few days?” You don’t owe anyone an apology for holding off on visiting. All you need to focus on is you and your family!
Things Visitors SHOULD Do While Mom is in the Hospital:
- Send her something while she’s at the hospital. Flowers are always nice and food is great! Either snacks or a meal is a wonderful gift since hospital food can sometimes not be the greatest.
- Offer to help watch her other kids while she’s at the hospital. She and her husband will really appreciate having some alone time with their newborn and the mom will love that her partners won’t have to leave her all the time to be with the kids.
- Offer to help with their pets! Take their dogs for a walk or offer to feed their dogs/cat/fish/whatever. It’s less trips that dad has to make so he can stay with his wife/partner and baby.
- Go to her house to help tidy things up. She will so appreciate coming home to a clean house. Just don’t rearrange things. She doesn’t want to go digging and searching for whatever she needs when she gets back.
- Stock her fridge with food and water! Make sure that the food is easy to heat up and prepare. Also, giving her a large water bottle or lots of bottled water for her to stay nourished and hydrated is the perfect gift for when she gets home.
- Buy her other kids some small gifts for when she gets back home with baby. Puzzles, coloring books, crafts, legos, anything that will keep them busy while she is with baby and/or nursing.
And HERE are some things that visitors could do that will really help once mom is back at home…