One of the topics many moms forget to address, as they plan for the birth of their baby, is the topic of well-wishers who want to visit after the baby arrives.  It is easy to think that being open to everyone adoring your new addition will fill you with pride and happiness, but you may find that having a stream of visitors in and out of your hospital room or home those first few weeks is anything but a blessing.
As with many birth situations you should ask yourself how you would react under similar conditions in you normal life.  For example, if you were to feel under the weather, and had a several tasks to accomplish that day, would you want an unexpected visitor dropping in to visit for a while as a distraction, or would you prefer to be left alone to recuperate and try to accomplish your tasks?

If you would welcome the distraction, then chances are that you wont mind having a few visitors drop by after your baby’s birth, just make sure you set aside time to sleep, eat, and bond with your baby without an audience.  If you think you would be more likely to want some peace and quiet to adjust to your new life, and bond with you little one, then it is best to set ground rules now.

Setting ground rules can feel like a challenge, especially when you know that visitors just want to help, and to celebrate with you, but it is important to remember that the most helpful thing loved ones can do is make you feel more comfortable after this big event, not less comfortable.  Start by letting those whom you think are most likely to drop by immediately after the birth, what your feelings are on hospital visits, be it that you would prefer no one to visit the hospital (unless specifically requested to do so), to telling them that you are happy to have visitors, as long as they limit their visit to no more that 15 minutes, and only if they aren’t feeling ill.

Once you have addressed the hospital, feel free to let everyone know your home visitation policy for the first two weeks after the birth.  For example, you might say people are free to drop by in the afternoons, but only if they call before they come.  Finally, feel free to put a sign up on your front door when you just aren’t up for visitors, something nice but direct “Sorry, but we are napping, please come back another time”.

Setting up visitation guidelines before the baby comes will help you feel more in control of you new situation, and it will help others feel as though they are not over staying their welcome, when they come to share in your joy.  And remember, you can always update your visitation policies if you find yourself feeling differently after the birth of your little one.