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How Soon Should You Have Visitors After Birth?

Cooing over your precious new baby is a thrill for your family and friends, but entertaining the masses is a drag when you're sleep deprived, unshowered and eager to hold the baby yourself. There's no set time at which you should welcome visitors. Your preferences and labor experience will dictate when the stream of new aunties and uncles can arrive bearing casseroles.

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Timing Visitors

After an uncomplicated vaginal birth, there's no medical reason that healthy visitors can't visit as soon as your baby has been checked, cleaned and is in your arms. That doesn't mean you'll want to see anyone in those first few hours when you're bonding with your baby and being attended by a flurry of medical staff. If you have a cesarean section, plan to hold off of visitors while you recover. You might feel groggy, sick and sore afterwards, and will need to stay in bed for at least a day, says KidsHealth. Keep visitors away for 24 hours, then play it by ear.

Scheduling Hospital Visitors

Before labor, appoint one person as the head of a phone tree consisting of close friends and family. That person can make calls when you go into labor and when the baby is born. To anyone who'd you rather not have visit, this point person can explain that you'd prefer to wait and have visitors once you go home. This person can also help schedule visiting periods for those you do want to see. Sick people should not visit you in the hospital, and young children who aren't the baby's siblings may not be allowed by hospital policies.

Scheduling Visitors at Home

Tell friends and family you are appreciative of the support but that visits need to be scheduled beforehand. HealthyChildren suggests placing a cap on the number of visitors you can accept at one time and keeping track of all scheduled visits on a calendar. To prevent anyone from overstaying his welcome, you might even put a cap on the length of each visit or let everyone know in advance that when the baby falls asleep, you plan to lie down too.

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Managing Visitors

Your priority is the baby, so don't feel pressured to entertain or feed those who arrive to visit. Perinatal specialist Dawn Kersula, RN, suggests pulling on a bathrobe when visitors arrive to remind them that you're still recovering and need rest. She also suggests charging "admission" to visitors. After Grandma gets an hour of snuggle time, she can repay you by walking the dog or emptying the dishwasher. Close friends and family members should be happy to comply.

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