Visitors After the Baby – 10 Tips

10 tips on how to deal with visitors after the baby arrives!

Do you feel special when you’re pregnant? Well, step aside, Lady, because a baby is here and people love babies.

The dilemma that comes with having this little rock star in your home now is that billions of people will want to come visit it. Some will be helpful some will not.

So here are a few handy tips I’ve picked up along the way so you’re able to show your magnificent little miracle off to the world like Simba in the Lion King.

Don’t let anyone stay with you that you can’t cry in front of or you can’t tell to “shutup”.

There may be a few people that offer to stay with you when the baby comes. This can be a Godsend or a shitshow. Really think about that person and how much you want them to see behind the curtain. You may be too tired to delicately say, “I know she’s not latching properly but I’m just trying to get the hang of it” and instead say, “See off? You need to fuck right to it!”.

Decide carefully about who you want to be around 24/7 when your inner filter isn’t working at full capacity.

Spread out the visitors

People love to see the baby immediately, that, or they feel obliged to see the baby immediately. Either way, try to spread them out as much as you can so you can get settled and enjoy everyone’s company long after the fanfare typically dies down. Try not to book too far in advance either, you seriously may feel great the day after you give birth and feel like a back alley crack whore by week two.

Go to people that you think will over stay their welcome – don’t have them come to you

Sometimes this really isn’t their fault. I was one of these people before I had kids because I had no idea how tiring a newborn can be and would sit there gabbing on about some new bar I’d been to while staring into the vacant doll-like eyes of my best friend holding her newborn. I’m sure she wanted to tell me to shut my cake hole and get the hell out of her house, but just didn’t have the energy.

These are the people you should meet for a coffee or go to their place.

First of all, newborns are very portable because they eat, sleep and poop and that’s about it, so take advantage of this window when you can cart them anywhere and they don’t care. Secondly, it’s all on your terms when to pull the chute and you won’t have to drop the little hints that go unnoticed. By the way, some of these single people, elderly uncles, etc. are fantastic to be around because they are often just as self absorbed as a newborn and it’s sometimes strangely refreshing to talk about something other than babies.

Put them to work

Some people are just itching to help when you have a baby and you know what, let them. These people are like damn border collies and if you don’t give them a task, they get destructive and are liable to chew the leg off a chair or worse, start throwing stuff out. Let them do dishes, tidy up, clean the bathroom, take out the garbage, take your other kids to the park, whatever. Don’t want them seeing your gross underwear? Throw it in your closet and let them deal with the rest of the pile.

Just leave *your* to-do list out and if they ask if they can help, just point them to it and tell them to help themselves if they feel like it. Not everyone is comfortable around babies but really want to help, so give them the satisfaction of doing something for you and just enjoy it and thank them profusely so they don’t start installing a sprinkler system.

Tag team

Remember the first point? That kind of applies to visitors as well. If they aren’t the kind of person you can lose it in front of, then have a buffer person with you to entertain or deflect if you need to pull a batsmoke. Just have these people over when your partner or close relative or friend is around in case you need to excuse yourself for an hour to cry on the bed for no particular reason (I did this…twice).

Partner plays the bad cop

If you think you’re second string to the baby, just imagine how your husband feels. As I mentioned in the New Dad Survival Guide, this is his chance to shine because I can gua-ran-tee you that there will be some tricky situations when visitors come; like the cousin that announces he’s just getting over the flu in passing conversation while holding your 3-day old infant. Or the great Aunt that insists that the baby needs to be brought out in a snow storm to meet her bridge club. Or the nephew that drops by and could “really go for a sandwich”.

Dad (or partner, or side kick), it is your job to step up and say, “Oh, hell no.” You know why? Because everybody thinks a protective father is cute and everybody thinks a protective mother is nuts, so do everybody a favour and unhinge.

This is also a perfect opportunity for an Al Pacino impression.

Make them bring food

As my friend’s Jamaican grandmother used to say, “Don’t come wid you two long han”. Which loosely translated to don’t show up empty handed.

Not only should you stagger these people, but try and get them to bring you food. I featured a brilliant website called Meal Baby where people can pick a date where they bring you a meal. Not only do you get a dinner that you don’t have to cook, but you get to decide what dates are available so you can control the flow of people. Have them pop it over or sit down and share it with them, either way, they get a baby fix and you get some lasagna. I say win-win.

Treat it like an Out-of-Office Reply*

Sometimes people think it’s nice to pop in to see how a new mother is doing if they haven’t had an immediate response to a message they left an hour ago. This actually isn’t too bad for the people you can tell to “shut up” because you can tell them if it isn’t a good time and their feelings won’t get hurt. For the rest of the population it is not cool to arrive unannounced at a new parents front door because there is no telling what kind of Stephen King nightmare is going on that day.

To avoid these awkward moments, I like to treat it like a vacation notification. Change your voicemail and your email to let people know you’re kind of off the grid. It may seem like a no brainer to you but some people feel the need to constantly “check in”. Just have an auto-reply that says, “Thanks for your email (call). We’re just getting the hang of parenthood so forgive us if it takes a little longer than usual to get back to you. Don’t worry, we’re just fine and loving every minute of it.”

I know this may be a little over the top and may feel like the equivalent of adding the dog’s name to Christmas cards (I love that actually) but it’s an easy way of letting them know they’ve been heard.

* Obviously, if you’re alone and live in the woods in wolverine country, disregard this advice and be grateful someone is checking to make sure the cat isn’t eating your corpse.

Pre-Prep

Do you think Auntie Barb is going to be a problem? Get your responses thought out NOW or start laying the groundwork NOW. If you think she’s going to show up on your doorstep the day you give birth then start telling her the story of a co-workers mother-in-law that showed up the day she gave birth and how awful it was and how you’re so lucky that your family just *gets* that you need a couple of days to settle in. Get an email ready saying, “Auntie Barb, we can’t wait for you to see the new baby! I’m just getting the hang of it so can I give you a call when I come up for air so you can come over and meet her?” then hit *send* when she fires off the first email.

Go with the flow

Does Auntie Barb still show up? Does your Mother-in-Law that you’ve never met fly in from the Ukraine and set herself up on your couch? Does your sister dro
p in everyday to tell you about the disgusting brunch she had or everything about her wicked pilates instructor?

Roll with it and save your energy like a solar street light on a dimming switch. Ask Auntie Barb to hold the baby while you go have a shower. Say “Diakuju” when your mother-in-law makes dinner then go lie down with the baby. Tell your sister she needs a fucking punch in the throat then apologize and blame it on your hormones while savouring the good vent.

The best thing you can do with visitors, a new baby, and I suppose life in general, is just roll with it.

Even though you are now regarded as the remaining husk that brought this precious, perfect gift into the world – you will be asked how you feel as a courtesy but no one gives much of a shit how you are now so try not to ramble – it’s still your show, honey. So remember, choose your visitors wisely and enjoy the little star that everyone wants to see shine.

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51 Comments

  • I wanted to let it be know there is a woman ripping off these articles and saying they are her own works to other moms. Her name is Becca if you see these posts please make it known! Plagerizim is wrong and discredits someone’s hard work!!

    • Yikes! Please pass along any links you find reposting our work so we can seek legal action. You’re right, we work so hard to create original content and it totally rots my ass when someone steals it. Thanks for the heads up!

  • With my first I was living in the UK and my mother wanted to come over for the bith. I just told her no, I wanted 2 weeks for my husband and I to enjoy our little girl and get used to the new dynamics. She was upset but I just needed to be honest with her. Second time around and we are now in australia. She knew that I wanted time alone again so they didnt meet my little girl till she was over a week old. this time she wasn’t upset as I think she understood by then why I wanted things this way and respected it…. Same with all other relatives/friends.ah!and no one visiting in hospital. Why do people think they need to be there as soon as the baby comes out. Go away! Don’t be afraid to speak up.if people get upset so be it but you won’t get back those special (and exhausting)few days with a new bub

  • Thank you so much for this article. I’m super nervous about my MIL overstaying and bringing people with her. I’ll definetly be bringing this up before the birth in some form or fashion. Lucky or not so lucky we move into our new home 3 weeks before baby so I’m hoping we can tire guests out with helping us move lol and others not be able to find our place for the drop by lol

  • I had the gall to say I wanted it to be just me, my husband, and the baby for the first 48 hours after birth. My mother-in-law straight up told me my birth/postpartum plan is wrong, and I have to let her be there because she let her mother be there when my husband was born. Now my husband wants us all to get family counseling to resolve our differences. I still want the first 48 hours to be just the three of us. My family is cool with it, so I can’t for the life of me figure out why MIL isn’t.

  • If i ever plan my second baby im never gonna let that ‘everyone present in the room staring at u struggling with breastfeeding’ kind of things happen again!!!! My agenda is to get all the privacy n rest even if im on my own with every chore!! Dear hubby is more than enough for me.. Thanks for this post i have so many ideas now 🙂

  • Wow, Kari, that’s actually pretty harsh. You made your own dad wait more than a week to meet his grandchild? No wonder he cried.

  • Fucking hilarious!! Thanks for being funny, vulgar, and informative all at the same time! I am going to get my husband to read the part where he gets to be the bad guy. Cheers!

  • Bad cops are soooooo needed. My little sister and her hubby live about a mile away from me which was handy when she had her boy this past June. Bro-in-law has a job where he’s frequently gone for 2-3 weeks at a time and it worked out that he was gone when their boy was born. Basically I spent the next few weeks taking care of their house and doing all the chores so little sis could rest and learn how to handle being a mom and running a household. JFC her mother-in-law was a witch. She and lil sis don’t get along as is and after baby was born it was horrible. The woman wouldn’t leave (I didn’t either but I was doing everything but spending cuddle-time with baby because that was lil sis’ job) and would spend the entire time bitching that I was there and taking care of the house instead of sis. She complained that sis looked too well rested to be a mom and sis should be doing more than sitting around while I did things. Saying things like where was my sister’s pride because I was the one taking care of everything not baby-related.

    It felt so good to lose my temper on that woman after a week and a half of listening to her bitching. Little bonus for my sister was that her mother in law decided she wanted nothing to do with me ever since so whenever her mother in law comes over when my bro-in-law’s out of town, I get a call to come over and visit. Keeps that mother-in-law visit short and the woman spends her time focused on me instead of finding shit about my lil sis to bitch about.

  • My husband has already organised that my mother in law is coming to stay for a week sometime after baby arrives. Thankfully my mum is aware how exhausting that can be for me so she’s primed that I might call her in a state or if I can manage it just show up on her doorstep with baby in the buggy lol. (She’s less than a mile away so it’s not far to walk if I can do it)

  • I just found your blog as I’m expecting #3 (we have a 6 year old son and 4 year old son). I so needed this when I was expected our oldest — my MIL was in the delivery room in less than 1 hour after our son was born! Also, there was one morning when I was nursing him at home, just the two of us, and she walked right in the front door without even knocking! I love my MIL but I wish that family and friends realize that having a baby is a huge change and mom, dad, baby, and any siblings need time to adjust.

    • Oh my gosh, this will totally be my MIL. She barged in on my SIL after her child was born and insisted we go as well. I had been at work the whole day so I had assumed the baby had been born earlier in the day. WRONG. I walk in with the family and SIL has her legs in the stirrups and sheet over her. She was still shaking from being in physical shock and having the nurse check her alien tore through her lady parts to’ up v-jay jay. AWKWARD. I felt so bad for my SIL. I would be mortified to have all my in laws in the room while I was still in between lady-bits checks and hadn’t even been wheeled to the recovery room. Luckily my hubby and I had our own vehicle and left much sooner than MIL. I know she will pull the same crap when we have our LO.

  • My inlaws come by constantly unannounced. They popped in a few days ago while I was on an hour and a half phone call with my supervisor in my pajamas. They asked if I was busy and I said very and THEY WALKED IN ANYWAY. If we don’t see them for a week or two they panic, think something is wrong and my MIL gets very depressed. I’m posting this on facebook but they don’t take hints and my husband has to be rude to make them understand things. Baby is due in 3 months and they already said they want to help. That’s great but their idea of helping is sitting on the couch. I think I’m going to live upstairs for a few weeks after baby is born and then I ‘won’t hear the doorbell because I must have been napping.’ I think that’s the only solution, that and locking the door during the day.

  • We are stationed on the other side of the country from our mothers and other family members. We even live on base so that no one can come unexpected 🙂 However, I made the decision to make friends in the area. I’ve known them since February and Baby #1 is overdue (40w3d). We’ve made it clear that we want NO company for the first month and my mother will be arriving Sept 17th for 2 weeks (she’ll be the first guest). Well these "friends" want to bring us food (which is AWESOME and we are very grateful) but I barely know them and don’t want them seeing me while I recoup. They aren’t getting the hint… Saying things like, "I’m not company lol," OMG I want to punch them in the throat. Or, "No I can have someone else with base access get me on and that way I get to see you," rudely translating as, "I don’t care what you want new mom, I want to see the baby since I haven’t held a baby in 18+years and I’m bringing you food so you have to let me in." Am I being selfish for wanting time alone with my husband and newborn when people are offering us food? I just want to be able to be comfortable and do whatever we want (sleep, walk around naked, just whatever).

  • I just found your blog today and I love it. I didn’t think anyone else with my sense of humor existed, but here I found hoards of them!! With my first son I straight-faced told people they would not be permitted entrance to my home to see the baby without a peace offering of diapers, wipes, or warm food. It worked out pretty well. Even the college-aged new Uncle could afford a pack of wipes. By the time second son came along I had a great network of other mums who prepared a frozen food shower for me (It was awesome! Seriously- BEST gift ever. They all included the recipes so I could make them again.)

    MIL & her MIL "dropped by" once when second son was only a few weeks old and immediately post moving (Who the fuck planned that shit?? Oh yeah. ME.) and wondered why I was still in my underwear and tee at 2 pm. She tried to play it off that it wasn’t weird… but it was weird… sitting in my living room in stretched out underwear and stained shirt, un-showered and smelly in the middle of packing boxes. I didn’t even get a phone call for that one. At least she calls now.

    Since I’m typing this as second son naps on my shoulder and I’m fighting off morning sickness (Surprise! Nursing will throw off your fertility cycle!!!), I may have to consider reinstating the entry fee gifts and hope for another food shower, too. Soon the adults will be outnumbered and I’m not looking forward to the ensuing chaos.

  • In the South, we have a tradition called a "Sip and See". It's kind of like a baby shower after the baby is born. (You can do both…) You set a time and time and have light snacks. This way everyone can see the baby at once and you get it over with. I plan on only allowing our immediate family and our child's Godparents over before this.

  • This is a fantastic post! You always give just the most perfect advice while making me snort whatever I'm drinking out my nose at the same time. Mind if I include a copy of this in my prenatal class packages? I have given many bits of advice along these lines to students and clients in the past, but you sum it all up so well and with such great humour, I think my students would really appreciate it. I'm still chuckling over, "Tell your sister she needs a fucking punch in the throat".

  • Lesson learned after #1 and applied to #2: Have a code phrase for your husband which means "get these people out of my living room now!"

    With #1, my in-laws came over and sat on my couch for hours and just stared at us. In order to breastfeed, I had to go hide in a bedroom, bored out of my mind and uncomfortable. With #2 I told my husband "its my living room dammit, I'm going to sit in it and breastfeed where I'm comfortable since I'm doing it 20 out of every 24 hours." So I would announce: "I'm going to feed the baby now" or "Its time to feed the baby" and that meant – "you have 5 minutes to get these people out". Luckily with #2 we have more room in our house, so my husband was able to take them to another room, but it really made all the difference.

    Setting expectations as soon as guests walk in the door helps too. "Hi, glad to see you! I was just getting ready to take a nap but we can visit for 30 minutes or so" Then you're not rude when you tell them to leave 30 minutes later, because you made it clear when they got there.

    And for the love of all things holy people, do not go visit anyone in the hospital after they gave birth UNLESS they call and say "Come visit us in the hospital!" Two of my husbands aunts just showed up at the hospital the day after my first son was born. Um hello, I don't even like you and I'm wearing a hospital gown that doesn't close in the back and I got 2 hours of sleep last night after 24 hours of labor. I've never invited you over to my HOUSE, why in the world would you come to my hospital room? Boundaries people, boundaries!

  • "People love to see the baby immediately, that, or they feel obliged to see the baby immediately." Or, in the case of some, they feel that they FREAKING DESERVE to see the baby immediately, and it's an insult to them if they can't. I kid you not, my dad called me crying a week after my son was born and accused me of keeping the baby from him… I told him to give us a few more days to get adjusted to everything. Not even an hour later, he texted me with "Would tomorrow be better?" *facepalm*

  • Oh how I wish I could share this with everyone I know. However, I tried that with the "Letter for non pregnant persons" by posting it on my Facebook, and started WW3 with my husbands family. Though I have told my husband that I cannot be held responsible for anyone who gets offended by anything I say or do from the time I go into labor until the time when we no longer have the grandmothers in the house. I think that's pretty fair.

  • When I had enough of the visitors overstaying their welcome, I would find myself praying that our little one would start crying. Sometimes it wasn't soon enough, but whe she did she can get going quite quickly and loudly and soon everyone was scooting out the door. I know how to calm her down and was very relieved to have an emply house, even though I had a fussy baby. I love the friends who seem to have forgotten what motherhood was like because it was 20 years ago. They can keep talking through a crying fussing baby and frustrated mother, that is almost to her wits end with trying to calm the child and maintain a level head and look civilized and politely trying to say "Can't you see my baby needs my full undivided attention right now, she is trying to tell you to shut up and leave my house so she can have her momma all to herself." So please get out and lets try to talk tomorrow, if my LO will let me. So it's a little to late to send out flyers of this advice but it is quite humorous.

  • Ah, it felt so good to read this! It's just a relief to know that I'm not alone in wanting my space with a newborn. We're having our second baby this summer, and have definitely been laying the groundwork – especially since all of our family is out of town – to let people know that we're not going to be ready for visitors for a few weeks at least. My feeling is that that time is for our immediate family unit to bond, settle, and find and get used to our new normal. Yes, seeing a baby is fun, but the baby will still be there and be just as precious when we're all feeling a bit more like ourselves.

    • Well said Melissa, I have serious concerns that my UBER MANIPULATIVE mother in law will throw a tantrum and try to lay a major guilt trip on my husband after baby is born and I say no to her spending the week at our house or spending entire days there the first week. That guilt trip crap doesn’t work on me, but he falls for it easy and she knows it. 🙁

  • I actually envy people who had to deal with visitors. One week after my baby was born in November, we had a week-long command performance AT MY MOTHER-IN-LAW'S HOUSE. The place where everything I do is wrong, even though I have far more baby experience than she does. There are no words.

  • My mother, who is an excellent cook, came to visit and during her 10 days here, do you know what she cooked for me? One serving of scrambled eggs and toast. The rest of the time, I damned well had to shop for everyone and feed them!! My mother sat on the sofa, cradling my daughter and contentedly murmuring about how now she had "her baby", and alternated drinking tea and spilling it all over my sofa. Um, yeah.

  • I like the part about doing a chore or bringing food, I have a friend who's first baby was born in January and she seemed sooo overwhelmed with everything and when I told her that me and my hubby (she grew up with him so he's like a brother from another mother) were here to do whatever she needed it was almost like she forgot we existed and was like 'Oh yeah you are here!' I chalked it up to post-baby brain, I'm sure that's a thing right? I'm not even pregnant yet but I have a feeling my MIL's going to be one of those who wants to stay the week after the baby's here, not sure I'm cool with that, if I want to walk around the house with no shirt and baby hanging off the tit I'm gonna, I think it might be a big awkward if anyone but hubby sees that.

  • Once again, nail knocked right on the head 😀 baby 2 due on Monday and all of these terrible lessons were learned after baby 1, 3 years ago! This time I don't care if everyone gets pissy about having to wait to meet the baby- they can shove it! Put your feelings first, no one else will 😀

  • "Because everybody thinks a protective father is cute and everybody thinks a protective mother is nuts." YES YES YES!!!

    also, i totally should have changed my voicemail. everyone was calling and i was like, "GO AWAY!" and then everyone started calling more, since i didn't call them back- everyone asking, "ARE YOU OKAY?! IS SOMETHING WRONG?!!" dear GOD! GO AWAY! LET ME SLEEP!!

  • I love this and, like the previous poster, it's just a shame it's too late for us and our 28mo. My MIL is no longer with us, but I have 5 SIL, the eldest of whom was particularly annoying. IF we ever decide to do it all again, I'll be having laminated copies of these sent out with the baby shower invites.
    Also, 'See Off? You need to Fuck right to it', my new fave expression!

  • I got so much crap from some of our family members for spacing out the visits from out-of-towners in the early postpartum period, but it was the most brilliant thing I planned when pregnant with my son. …That and the part where we didn't call anyone to tell them he was born until 24 hours after. Thanks for writing this post!

  • I loved this! I wish I would have read this before my now 20 mos old was born. How about adding to the list that all MILs should leave the room when the lactation consultant is present. It's hard enough learning to breastfeed, but I don't need judgement and people staring at me to put even more pressure on me.

  • Oh, thank you for this- I laughed and then posted it for the 100 people I know who are pregnant right now! It amazed me 4 months ago how people felt entitled to my home. So many were helpful, MealBaby was amazing, but so many were HORRIBLE. Came over and refused- flat REFUSED to chip in and help at all. Next time, there will be arrangements made in advance: You want to see the baby- pick a chore, and pick up dinner.

    • that’s why I don’t want to have mealbaby set up. I am kjnd of a picky eater, and I know many of the people that would be bringing food would be bringing things full of gravy, salt, and stuff they think is amazing but makes me want to just gag!

    • You are so lucky! My husband’s whole nosy ass family lives in town. So I’m sure they will all be inviting themselves over once baby is born. I’m not afraid to the B who says "we need some time to adjust to parenthood and bond with our little one before we have visitors". My husband is WAY nicer than I am, so he will prob have everyone over unless I block it.

  • My otherwise wonderful BIL and his girlfriend showed up four days after baby #2 got home from the hospital. They made their own bed, they found their own towels, BIL choked in his WASPy terror at seeing me breastfeed–all lovely. Then the second day they were here, they decided to make us a fancy dinner from the Thomas Keller cookbook they got us for Christmas, except, whoops, my BIL doesn't drive, and his girlfriend was tired, I suppose from the neverending pressure of being young and unencumbered by children, so she took a four-hour nap while my husband and his brother drove all over town getting the recipe's obscure ingredients, and guess who wrangled newborn and toddler? Then of course they couldn't find their way around our kitchen, so my husband ended up fully participating in dinner prep, while I wrangled some more. And the recipe took forever. We ate at 10 pm. I was in tears, praying for the pizza gods to hear me.

    I think they probably both still think they did a wonderful thing for us. However, they are wrong about this. New rule I'm enforcing with baby #3–unless you've had a baby, you're not staying over until I get my company face on (a few weeks post-birth, at least).

  • This is exceedingly useful information to have. I fully anticipate being relegated to the "useless" bin once Baby Dub arrives in July, so being armed with tips on how to entertain the throngs of folks coming to eyeball my spawn is going to be handy. Very handy indeed. Many thanks for your humor and insight.

  • So we have developed a battle plan in this house for when the baby arrives. We are informing everyone ahead of time that after the baby is born, we just need a few weeks to settle in to our new lives. Then we have planned an introduction party at my parent's house. We blocked out two hours on a Saturday, and when the time is up, we leave. That way we don't have to worry about people overstaying their welcome or having to cope with them when we don't want to (my husband and I are notoriously anti-social). We also disconnected our doorbell. All of this done, and the baby isn't due for another 3 months. Sometimes my anal-retentive nature serves us well.

  • I needed this four months ago, and translated into Spanish. MIL showed up not even one hour after we arrived home from the hospital and brought about 10 people that we didn't know along with her. At least she brought food. And my husband took them all on an excursion to Walmart so the baby and I could nap.

    • FIL and his wife and their 4-year-old met us at our house coming from the hospital, brought no food and stayed way too long! I’m still ticked 7 months later.

  • "See off? You need to fuck right to it!"

    New favorite saying EVER. Other than that, thank you for this. I may do like the previous commenter and forward this to everyone I can think of in prep for the baby coming in June. Go ahead and get it out of the way.

  • Would it be rude for me to forward this to everyone I know? Or maybe print off a bunch of copies and stick them in a box in my front yard like a real estate listing? I am not looking forward to the barrage of people and would love to head them off at the pass.

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