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Setting Boundaries with Visitors During the Newborn Phase

Those first few weeks when you bring your baby home can be wonderful and an overwhelming time. Finding a routine, taking care of, and bonding with this new little person can make the days long and the weeks fly by. With this new experience comes new challenges. If you have friends, family, or neighbors wanting to visit and meet this babe and/or offer help, navigating how to do this can be challenging. We have some ideas on what to tell those well-meaning friends and family, ways to include them in this particular time of life, and encourage you that sometimes no thank you, or not right now, is enough. Remember, not all new parents feel the same about visitors; the most significant thing is doing what suits your family.

Some phrases to use during boundary setting:

"We are so happy you're excited to meet our newest addition, we can't wait to introduce you. As soon as we feel comfortable with visitors, we will make sure to call!"

"We are still getting settled with our newest addition, but we so appreciate you thinking of us! We would love it if you reached back out in a few weeks and we can see how things are then."

"We're so excited for you to meet our little one! Let's schedule a time to video call."

"We are hosting a drive-by meet-and-greet instead of having visitors right now. We are excited to say hi from a distance. Hope you can make it!"

"Ordering food for us is a great way to help right now! We would appreciate it!"

"We so appreciate your thoughts, but we would like to spend quality time together as a family right now. If you're planning to stop by, please text or call to ensure we're awake and accepting visitors!"

running into potentially unwanted guests? enter babywearing!

Sometimes, newborn days aren't as sacred as you may desire because of persistent guests. Someone dropping off a meal and didn't get the "leave it on the porch" memo? Big family reunion you don't want to miss? Holiday coming up with an overenthusiastic family member? Baby wearing is a great way to keep that baby attached to you! Baby wearing isn't *always* just about convenience. There is nothing like the perfect subtle message to those around you like baby wearing and keeping baby to yourself (this can go beyond the newborn stage as well!) Whether you're using a ring sling or a baby wrap, we've got tutorials for how to wear those itty bitty newborns. 

We asked our Hope & Plum VIP Facebook group members for recommendations on what they plan to do or did in the past when it came to setting boundaries with visitors with their newborns. Here are a few of their responses:

Set expectations as far in advance as possible. Whether that's preference for visiting or not, vaccination requirements, or what kind of help you prefer, having it already out there and established before baby has arrived makes it that much easier to 'enforce' once baby arrives. With covid the twins newborn phase is very different than our firstborn newborn time. I'm also much more comfortable this round being blunt and straightforward about my wants and needs. 

- Paige Abid

"I always told my family we loved company but a text or phone call ahead was needed, and if they wanted to help out - bring food! Not having to cook when I had my newborn was the biggest gift someone could give me." - Alexandria Dawn

"We asked for at least a 24 hour notice."

-Lorra Stone

"For breastfeeding mamas, Limit visits to 2 hrs or less until mom and baby have established a comfort level with feedings. It is stressful enough without the added pressure to “perform” for a crowd. Also, we know you want to snuggle baby, but the more helpful thing you can do is entertain big sister or brother so that they still feel the love while the rest of us settle in." 

- Megan Younge

"Skin to skin is really important for that first week, so have very few or no visitors so you can stay topless and keep baby close to establish bonding and milk supply. When you do decide to have visitors, so you can delay that first bath of baby’s for as long as possible, ask your visitors to come in fresh clothes without putting on any perfume or cologne. Hold baby for a couple of minutes then give back and don’t stay longer than an hour. The best way you can help is to clean/cook, not necessarily to hold baby." - Elisa Steele

"No kisses on mouth or face by anyone but baby’s parents. No smoking then holding baby in same clothes. Hold the baby for mom to shower/nap, but give back and then help with chores. Only mama feeds baby until supply established/mama feels comfortable handing off baby for bottle feeds. I’m pretty tough with my boundaries!" 

- Nichole Sanders

"Do NOT come over if you even suspect you are sick. I don’t care if it’s a cold. That can kill."

Wash your hands. - Katherine Vitlin

Whether you're a first time parent or caregiver, or this is your 4th babe bringing home, remember this time is for your family and for your comfort. What makes you the most comfortable may not be the same as what makes others comfortable, nor will everyone understand your boundaries and that is OK. Don't be afraid to say no or ask for help when you need it. This is a time in your life that goes so quickly. Enjoy those baby snuggles. Keeping them to yourself is not selfish. 

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