With the main event looming, it’s time to discuss crowd control. Once your partner pops, it’s your job to man the door and manage those cheek-squeezing visitors. You can’t blame them for wanting to meet your baby, but after reading this article, you’ll be able to tactfully turn away the uninvited, and put to work the chosen few. Plus, if you ace it, you’ll collect a few brownie points along the way.
Make a plan with your partner for the days when she can’t control her emotions, let alone a crowd. Once it’s in place, it’s your role to keep the visitors in check. Chat to your partner about:
The waiting period, aka ‘The when’
The first few days are sacred for some, and fair play for others. Chat to your partner about how long you want to wait before opening the floodgates. The decision is totally up to the two of you – but make sure not to overdo it. Your kid has a lifetime of cheek pinching ahead of them. And remember, you only have a few days of professionals willing to take that kid out of your hands so you can get some much-needed sleep. Make the most of your time in hospital: rest, learn the ropes, repeat.
The guest list: aka ‘The who & where’
Get yourself a newborn, and suddenly people will be lining up to sniff it. In order to sort your actual friends from the nosy neighbour three doors down, consider splitting your list out into groups:
- MVP’s: The select few who are allowed to melt over your baby in the hospital suite. Dot this list with your closest family and friends. Basically, people you can be yourself with (i.e. those you can cry in front of, or tell to bugger off without fear of hurting their feelings).
- Second pick: People who would always be there for you, but who your partner would rather not see before they can bare to put pants on. Consider holding these visitors off til you’ve made it home. Once your all settled in, invite them over few and far between while you adjust to your new (sometimes non-existent) routine.
- The bench: Reserved for your extended tribe, from your colleagues to Great Aunt Olive. It’s not that you don’t love these people, they’re just not in your day-to-day life. Top tip: meet these ones on mutual ground, like out for coffee. That way things won’t get awkward when you excuse yourself for a nap.
- The signal, aka the ‘Make them leave’: Some people just can’t take a hint to go home. Time to devise your own. Come up with a subtle* signal your partner can give you when they’re ready for the visitor to leave. (*Subtlety optional.)
The Door Policy
Whether you’re door is swinging open, or you’re only letting the professionals inside, here are two foolproof policies to live by:
- No sick, contagious people: Telling sick people ‘no’ might feel crap (especially if your mum has a cold), but it’s infinitely less crappy than dealing with a sick and miserable newborn. To be on the safe side; no people who live with, know of, or even saw a sick, contagious person on the train.
- Hand sanitiser upon entry: Leave the germs outside the door, please, thank you.
Extra Credit Tips
- Accept practical gifts: Milk the visit for what it’s worth and let people bring you practical things. Instead of presents for the baby (they can wait til you get home), think about what your partner might want. Ask for a home-cooked meal, a wheel of soft cheese or a trashy magazine.
- Put them to work: Don’t fall into the trap of playing host when visitors drop in. Tell Polly to be a dear and put the kettle on herself. Got a load of washing? “Thanks, can you please deliver folded tomorrow?”
- Reschedule last minute: This is the prime of your life, when you can cancel plans and blame the baby for being a flake. Don’t feel bad about pulling the pin last minute, people will understand.
- Have a timeframe in mind: It can be useful to have a rough timeframe in mind for visitors. Obviously, keep them longer if you and your partner want them to stay. Use this one as a guide.
- Go with the flow: Sometimes it’s easier to save your energy and roll with it. You can’t control or perfectly time every visit. Remember, they may only get an hour with your new baby, you get forever.
Send them this
Still feeling anxious about setting your boundaries? Try piggybacking the good news message and tell them while they’re smiling.
Try: ‘Introducing baby [name]. Mum and bub are doing fine, but my designated squeezing hand may take some time to recover. Will text you when said hand is ready to wave at visitors, and baby [name] is ready to meet them.’