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How to handle visitors after giving birth

Deciding who to invite to your baby's birth is certainly one of the most important guest lists you'll ever make. And with your due date fast approaching, friends and family may be excitedly asking who will have that first peek at the baby after he or she arrives. 

These tips can help you settle on your guest list for a hospital birth—and keep it manageable. To get you started, here are typical visitor policies for the following scenarios: 

  • Labor, delivery and recovery room. You may be allowed only one or two people at your side for your baby's arrival. Guests are limited to help you focus—without any distraction—on labor. One is a given—your labor coach—whether that's your partner or closest friend. 

    But before inviting guest number two—if that's an option—be aware that some hospitals have age limits. The extra person welcoming your baby may need to be at least 18 years old. 
  • Postpartum room. Once you've recovered from the hard work of labor, chances are as many people as you like can welcome your baby in the postpartum room. By all means, show off your baby and soak up these first introductions. They're precious. 

    But respect your needs too. You have the final say on who—and how many people—visit. And since most hospitals have visiting hours, let well-wishers know the best time to visit. Know, too, that some hospitals don't allow children to visit unless they're siblings of the new arrival. 
  • Waiting room. As you progress through labor, friends and family can wait for baby's arrival in a special waiting area. Still, some hospitals limit the number of people to ease crowding. If so, you might advise people to congregate elsewhere—maybe a nearby coffee shop. 

Privacy, please

Especially if you're breastfeeding, you may need plenty of private time with your baby. There's a learning curve for both of you when it comes to breastfeeding. So don't be shy about politely asking visitors to leave the room so you can focus on helping your baby latch. If you'd rather your partner or a nurse ask visitors to leave for you, that's fine too.

A delayed introduction 

As excited as you may be for people you love to meet your brand-new family member, sometimes the introduction has to wait. Newborns don't have a robust immune system yet. So it's important to discourage anyone under the weather from visiting. And to protect your baby from germs, all visitors should scrub their hands before any snuggling. 

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Reviewed 2/10/2022

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