The quick answer: When you’re comfortable!
There simply isn’t a general, one-size-fits-all rule on when to welcome visitors after baby arrives (let alone who gets first dibs on newborn snuggles!). But here are some things to consider as you and your partner decide when family and friends can come to meet your little one.
Should People Come to the Hospital to Visit My New Baby?
New mamas have varying opinions on whether or not to invite loved ones to visit them at the hospital following the birth of their baby. Some prefer to rest, recover and wait until they return home to accept visitors, while others enjoy a visit with close family and friends at the hospital right after baby arrives. Remember that bringing a life into the world is a lot of hard work, and you deserve time to rest and get into the groove of motherhood. Between feedings, diaper changes and nurses and doctors checking on you and baby, there’s a lot that happens during your stay. So if you’re not up for a visit, it’s ok to say no.
No matter your feelings on the topic, hospital protocol comes first. Make sure that you understand how many visitors or companions are allowed to join you during your stay, what the visitation hours are, and if there are any screening requirements (temperature checks, etc.). View up-to-date Women & Babies Hospital visitation info.
When Should I Let Visitors Come to My House to Meet My Newborn?
Once you’re home, you’re in charge! And while it’s exciting to introduce your loved ones to your new baby, here are a few things to consider before you open your doors to visitors:
This is the most obvious concern (for good reason!). Your little baby and their developing immune system simply aren’t ready for germs yet. In fact, a newborn’s immune system isn’t considered to have adequate function until 2 months old! Feel free to be a mama bear, It’s up to you what you ask of your visitors. And if they can’t follow your rules, they don’t get the privilege of meeting your little one just yet. Consider asking your guests to make sure they…
- Are up-to-date on vaccines: Newborns don’t have fully developed immune systems, making them particularly vulnerable to infections. Because of this, anyone who is around babies (including parents and siblings) should be sure to receive the following routine vaccines at least two weeks before meeting baby:
- Flu vaccine during flu season
- Whooping Cough (Pertussis) vaccine (called DTaP for children and Tdap for older children and adults)
- Stay away if they’re sick: Visitors with symptoms of any illness (cough, cold, fever or flu symptoms) should keep their distance from your house until they’re fully recovered.
- Wash hands frequently: It’s always a good idea to ask visitors to wash their hands upon arrival, and before holding your newborn. Follow your instincts on when and how often to ask guests to wash up
- Let baby have some space: Maybe you feel comfortable with certain visitors coming to see baby, but aren’t sure about letting everyone hold your little one just yet. And that’s fine, mama! Feel free to set limits. You can ask them to avoid close proximity to baby’s face, and it’s up to you whether or not you want visitors to hold baby. Be sure that if you have a partner, they’re on the same page about the rules.
- Bring/wear a mask: During flu season, or a pandemic, anyone holding baby should wear a mask.
Don’t put your own rest and recovery aside for the sake of guests; you’ve been through the ringer! Make sure you’re feeling good physically and emotionally before welcoming visitors. The last thing a sleep-deprived new mom needs is to feel overwhelmed with people in her home.
And even if you’re excited for your loved ones to come meet your baby, visits can still be tiring. Don’t hesitate to set limits. When you’re ready for guests to leave, a simple “I think baby and I need to go take a nap now; thank you for coming to visit us!” should be more than enough to wrap up a visit.