If you are expecting your first baby soon, you may have started to think about what those few days in the hospital look like. You might be picking out your matching Mommy & Me outfits (like any of THESE adorable options!), you might be picking out what snacks you are going to keep on hand, or who is in charge of making that first phone call to family to let them know your little one has arrived. It also is important you and your partner communicate about what you are each expecting visits to look like from family and friends.
Understand the Hospital’s Policies
Before you can even discuss what each of you want when it comes to hospital visitors, understand the rules and regulations the hospital already has in place. Double check that your hospital is allowing visitors in general, some hospitals established the no visitor policy during COVID and have yet to go back to “normal” procedures. They may have designated visiting hours, or require COVID tests before moving past the front desk. Most hospitals, especially now, have certain policies in place they are expecting you and your guests to follow.
You can reach out to the Labor & Delivery floor at your hospital, or attend one of their baby preparation courses where they will provide you with those details and more. Understand & respect their policies, and pass that information along to your family and friends as well.
Discuss Appropriate Visiting Hours
Assuming your hospital is allowing visitors again, and assuming they have their own established visiting hours – discuss your expectations with your partner. Even if the hospital allows visitors as early as 7AM, you might decide you don’t want any visitors before lunch. While visiting hours may go until 8PM, you might know you want a few quiet hours at the end of the night with your new family, and have everyone leave by 5PM.
This is your time to embrace being a new mom, and a new family, so don’t feel guilty if you set clear expectations for your visitors. Also remind your friends and family that these expectations may change once all is said and done, as your labor and delivery may go differently than expected, your baby may need to spend time in the NICU, you may be struggling with breastfeeding and need help all day long with a lactation consultant, etc.
You & Your Partner Should be Respected
You are the new mom & this is your new family – you are now in control and make the rules. If you are exhausted and want your visitors to head home, feel free to communicate that. If you had a much more difficult labor and delivery then you were anticipating, and don’t feel up to visitors at all, that is okay too.
Hospitals can be overwhelming for anyone, let alone for a new mom who just experienced the wildest ride of her life. You will be home soon, and your family and friends can meet your little miracle in the comfort of your home if this is the route you choose. Don’t let any family member make you feel guilty for setting boundaries and sticking to them.
Communicate the Logistics of Your Hospital Stay
You have probably already talked about most of your expectations for labor and delivery with your partner, but don’t forget to discuss logistics when it comes to visitors. Will you require family and friends to test for COVID before coming to visit? Will you limit the number of visitors you want in the room at any given time? Do you only want adults to come visit and let all younger kids meet the baby at home? Should family and friends leave all gifts at home, to not bombard your hospital room? Be sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to visitors, and be open to communicate as things arise during your hospital stay.
A new baby is such an exciting time for you and your partner! You may have waited months or years to even get this far, and now you are weeks away from your life changing forever. It should be a positive & uplifting time, and visitors at the hospital most certainly should not cause you any added stress. Communicate with your partner, communicate with your family and friends and establish clear expectations to manage any and all visitors. Congratulations Mama, you are about to meet your new best friend!