It’s finally game day after a slow build of anticipation! Get set for an exhausting out of body experience, especially if it’s your first time.

The baby is arriving and you’re focused on your partner and child, but guess who’s currently driving 18% over the speed limit towards the hospital?

Most of your family and close friends will arrive to visit on the day, regardless if that was ever discussed. Texts and calls are flying around.

I’m talking mums, dads, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins you see once per year at Christmas with a slight cough who really shouldn’t be in the hospital.

It’s part of the game and it’s crazy how people react. It’s like a day at the zoo. People take a seat and camp out for the afternoon. It’s weird how much they make it about themselves, rather than the family that’s just had a baby.

It becomes a steady stream of visitors. Many will barely knock at the door. More of a barge the door open, place flowers amongst the other flowers and approach to become the 28th person to meet the baby situation.

Never mind that it’s been an extreme experience and all your partner actually needs is privacy and a chance to rest. You think she’s feeling super keen to host company all day?

This isn’t all a personal account of my own experience – trust me these are common themes shared by people across the internet. Talk to parents.

Alright so we’ll need some ground rules?

Yes. Definitely. You’ll want to put some parameters in place. Some of your family will ignore rules, because they’re not like those other visitors, but this goes for everyone.

If you decide that only immediate family are invited, tell the staff and that’s all who will be allowed in. You can also have nurses come and ask people to leave due to meal time or a need for rest.

Here’s some basics.

  1. Strict visiting hours
  2. Time limit for each visit, no all-day camp outs
  3. No taking the child away from the mother without asking
  4. Ask permission before taking photos or doing social media things
  5. Don’t bring along small (germ-carrying) children
  6. No sick people. Come on guys. Also wash your hands before entering
  7. No taking the child away from the mother without asking
  8. Be chill, calm and quiet
  9. Don’t knock loudly (you’ll wake the baby)
  10. Mum needs to feed the child? Leave the room
  11. Bring nourishing food the mum likes (hospital food isn’t the best)
  12. Don’t come in with scary stories about the dangers and risks faced by newborns

Nuclear deterrent – asking people to skip the hospital visit

If you really want to ensure some peace after birth, setting a rule like ‘immediate family only’ can establish a boundary.

Some people post on social media to let everyone know to contact them a few days afterwards to schedule a visit once they’re back at home.

Guess what? This can go down badly. Online forums are full of stories like this.

People feel upset and excluded. They have their own emotional stake in meeting the new baby, and it’s important for them to be part of the “insiders club” who attended the hospital.

Many will just rock up at the hospital no matter what. They’ll bring in a bunch of emotion to throw at you too.

Cool. People have their feelings and wants. But this is about your little family, and most crucially your partner and newborn. Whatever you want.

Maybe you’re down with an artfully managed full day of family visits. That’s fine. But it should be on your terms.

Inviting people to visit you at home in the days and weeks after puts the frame back into your control. Being in a hospital is already way outside of your comfort zone.

This arrangement can allow people to really help you out by bringing cooked meals and tidying up a little. One of the best gifts we received when our son was born was a delivered box of organic fruit and vegetables.

Genius! Genius I say.

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