Every mom is different. Some love having people around after childbirth, while others find it overwhelming, exhausting, and downright annoying.
If you belong in the latter category but your husband wants visitors after birth, you’re put in a tricky situation. So, are you obligated to have visitors after giving birth?
Despite the reasons above, some husbands feel that their wives’ obligation to have visitors after giving birth to a baby.
They believe that it’s the only “socially acceptable” thing to do and it’s “no big deal” to spend an hour or two around their family members.
But mothers, let me tell you this: you’re in no way obligated to have visitors after birth.
I understand that this is a decision that you both need to unite on, but at the end of the day, it’s you who carried your baby for nine months. It’s you who went through the pain of childbirth. It’s your body that’s left bleeding and battered.
I hate to say it, but your decision matters more than him.
Deciding to let people visit your newborn is a personal choice. Besides, it’s not as if you’re banning guests indefinitely. Your family will still get to see your lovely bundle of joy—just not immediately. And that’s okay.
That said, I know the feeling of wanting to please everyone, whether it’s your husband or your family members. No one can blame you if you agree to your husband’s wishes.
However, it’s important to set boundaries and come to a compromise that you can both agree on.
For example, you’ll agree for guests to visit but only if he does the cleaning, deals with the food, and entertains the guests. He’ll tell the visitors to not comment on your parenting, appearance, or emotional state.
This way, you’ll alleviate some of the stress you might be feeling while allowing him to show the guests your baby. He should support your needs 100% during this emotional and frankly exhausting time.
Only then would it be acceptable for visitors to come over even if you’re not in the mood to host.
Below, I’ll list several reasons to avoid visitors after birth to help your husband understand your point of view.
5 Reasons to Avoid Visitors After Birth
Giving birth to a child is an exhausting, painful experience. After all is said and done, looking presentable and managing visitors aren’t on the top of a mother’s bucket list.
She likely just wants to eat, rest, and hold the baby she’s been carrying inside her for nine whole months.
Unfortunately, some husbands don’t share the same sentiments. They’d want their family to see the baby as soon as possible, regardless of how their wives feel.
And though husbands can argue that it’s their right to make such a decision, it really isn’t. It’s entirely up to the mother to decide whether it’s okay for people to visit postpartum.
If your husband wants visitors after birth but you don’t, it’s important to make him understand your point of view.
Here are some reasons you might want to delay visits after birth:
1. Sleep and Recovery Time
After giving birth, you need some time to rest and recover. You’ll more than likely feel exhausted, and having visitors coming and going during the day will impede your chances of taking a nap.
Postpartum recovery doesn’t only last a few days, much fewer hours. You’ll need at least a full week of bed rest and several months of assisted recovery.
If you allow visitors after you’ve given birth, you’ll probably have no energy to greet them. Even if you do, that energy is better-spent snuggling and getting acquainted with your newborn.
If your husband wants visitors after birth, simply let him know that you physically can’t handle visitors. Ask him to put himself in your shoes; he probably wouldn’t want visitors either after giving birth to a small watermelon or having surgery “down there”!
Also, tell your husband that your body will do all kinds of weird stuff after birth that you’d rather deal with alone than with families, such as bleeding, vaginal discharge, urinary incontinence, and constipation to name a few.
2. Bonding With Your Newborn
As soon as I’ve given birth to my child, I wanted nothing more than to hold him. I felt like I was going to die if I didn’t spend every second of every minute with him.
That feeling lasted for months, but it was at its most intense postpartum. It was almost obsessive, how much I wanted my baby in my arms. I later found out that this feeling is completely normal, even encouraged.
According to research, the uninterrupted contact between mother and baby in the first hour of the newborn’s life is critical to his growth and development.
It not only promotes bonding and milk supply but also increases the production of oxytocin—AKA “love hormone”—in both the mother and child.
It’s called the “Golden Hour” for a reason: the time spent in this period is as precious as gold!
When your husband wants visitors after birth, he’s essentially taking away your Golden Hour.
That’s not good. Instead of focusing on your baby, you’ll be forced to make conversation with people and pass the newborn around. It creates a stressful environment that’ll prevent you from successfully bonding with your child.
Even if the guests wait till after the Golden Hour to visit, you certainly don’t want an audience while changing your baby’s diaper or learning how to breastfeed!
Moreover, family members are quick to point out what you’re doing wrong and offer advice, which in most cases aren’t welcome.
These comments can make you feel inadequate and sometimes even question your ability to take care of the baby—that’s what happened in my experience, at least. Your time is better spent snuggling and getting to know your baby.
Let your husband know the importance of the first few weeks of mother-baby bonding. The time spent with your baby in the first few weeks of life is special and precious. It’s an experience you’ll never get twice because every baby is different.
Take this chance to spend time with your little one and savor every second without the interruption of others.
3. Overwhelming Emotions
It’s quite common for mothers to experience a wide range of emotions two weeks after the baby is born. They feel overwhelmed, excited, and full of love, but at the same time anxious, vulnerable, and distressed. They’d be laughing one minute, and crying the next.
This mix of emotions is caused by hormonal shifts in the body and brain. Hormones go haywire during childbirth, then crash back down to pre-pregnancy levels immediately after birth. It’ll take at least five days to return to “normal” levels, but it can take longer.
Some even develop postpartum depression (PPD), a disorder that can cause unexplainable feelings of extreme sadness, despair, indifference, and/or anxiety.
It’s understandable that, when visitors come, the mother wants to be as welcoming and warm as she can. However, that’s sometimes just not possible.
Instead of greeting her guests with a smile, she might burst into tears or become angry. This might cause misunderstandings that are otherwise avoidable.
A mother has a lot on her plate already; regulating her emotions around visitors shouldn’t be one of them.
4. Possibility of Infection
Newborn babies are extremely susceptible to disease, bacteria, infections, and parasites in the first two months of their lives.
Their immune systems aren’t adequately developed just yet, so it’s up to their parents to place them in a safe, secure environment.
Masking and good ventilation help, but it’s probably not something you should risk—especially if those planning to visit are sick and/or tend to spend a lot of time outdoors.
It’s not only your baby you should worry about, either.
Delivering a baby can leave your body vulnerable to disease and the like. Postpartum infections—such as UTI, endometritis, puerperal mastitis, etc.— are extremely common after childbirth.
It’s for this reason that mothers are advised to limit their visitors in the hospital. Some doctors even recommend no visitors at all for at least two weeks after birthing a child to reduce the chances of infection.
5. Creates Stress for Mother and Child
Visitors can create stress for not only the mother but also the child. You probably already know that babies easily get overstimulated by their surroundings. They’re swamped with more sounds, sensations, and experiences than they can cope with.
Having multiple people coo and hold your baby might very well terrify him or at least stress him out. Babies want peace and quiet more than anything else, so loud noises, bright lights, and people should be avoided as they can confuse your baby’s senses.
And then there’s you, the mother. You’re probably feeling a hundred times more stressed than your husband.
Unless you don’t mind going into detail, your guests probably have no clue how overwhelmed, tired, or anxious you’re feeling. Don’t get me wrong, some visitors can be extremely helpful and supportive (thanks, mom), but others create more work and stress for you and your husband.
Hiding your emotions—even for just a few hours—can be damaging to your psyche. As such, it’s best to delay the introductions until you’re ready to host people and answer intimate questions.
If you’ve decided to have visitors come over after giving birth, you’ll need to set some ground rules for a seamless visit. Here are some tips for managing visitors after birth
Tips on Managing Visitors After Birth
Be Selective With Your Guest List
When managing visitors after birth, be selective. And when I say ” selective,” I mean only invite those you’re most close to and wouldn’t purposely cause issues.
You don’t want any negativity during the visit, and you certainly don’t want to deal with the stress it comes with.
Also, let the guests know that you don’t want to deal with “surprise” visitors. Ask family or friends to call first and arrange a time and date to come over. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed by the number of visitors you’ll be getting.
Let Your Guests Help
As a host, you don’t want your guests to do anything. However, this is a completely different case. You’ve just had a baby—it’s okay to need some (or a ton) of help!
Accept offers of help, regardless of how “inconvenient” they are to your guests. Let them make your lunch, tidy up the place, or take care of your baby while you take a nap. They wouldn’t have asked if they didn’t genuinely want to help!
And even if they asked out of obligation, they surely understand how hard it is to take care of a newborn baby. Don’t feel guilty or inadequate; jump at the chance for some help!
Set Clear Limits
Before you invite guests over, it’s important to set clear limits. If you don’t want them holding your baby, let them know beforehand. If you want to avoid certain conversations, let them be aware.
If an extended family member keeps making “jokes” and flippant comments about your baby or pregnancy, don’t hold your tongue. It’s not your responsibility to make your guests feel welcome when they’re not doing the same effort.
It’s also important to set time limits. Limit visitations to 30 to 60 minutes every week or so and only if they called in to visit beforehand.
If your husband wants visitors after birth but you don’t, voice your thoughts. It’s okay to refuse, especially if it’s for your and your baby’s wellbeing.
While having visitors can be a wonderful idea if they want to help you as a mother, it can also cause unwanted stress and overwhelming feelings.
Have a heart-to-heart conversation with your husband and let him know that they can still visit—just not straight away. Good luck and congratulations on your birth or soon-to-be birth!