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    Minimizing Visitors in the Hospital

    Gretchen Moody RN, IBCLC, Community Education, Lactation and Patient Experience Coordinator 01/19/2018

    Can you believe it’s here? The day that your baby is born has finally arrived! Friends and family are excited and eager to meet the new addition to your family. Grandmas can’t wait to get their hands on that sweet baby and they will…in time.

    Have you thought about what that first moment will be like? You will finally meet the little one who has been in your belly for 9 months. It may have never crossed your mind that you may need a “plan” for your visitors, but you do. Even the well-meaning new grandparents can unknowingly cause feelings of anxiety or stress.
    As a mother myself, I wish I had known the importance of those first few hours after birth. I wish that I would have told our own family that my husband and I wanted that time with our new baby for ourselves. New-parents should have those first few hours to bond with their baby without the distraction of several people in their room.  Fortunately, The Women’s Hospital offers the “Magic Hour.” This is where patients have the opportunity to have the first hour after baby’s birth with no visitors. It gives mom and her significant other the opportunity to bond with baby alone. Once that time is over, however, you should consider what you wish for your visitors in the hospital.

    As a nurse, I see how new parents become overwhelmed very quickly. This makes me want to help empower you to tell your visitors that you want this special time with your baby. It is time you can never get back. I have seen so many mothers become overwhelmed with all of the necessary interruptions in her day from nurses and doctors to meals, paperwork and more. In addition, you have friends, family and co-workers coming to visit. It can sometimes seem the flow of visitors in the hospital never stops; everyone wants to meet your new baby.  So, what can you do as a mother to minimize your visitors in the hospital?•Before the baby is even born, have the person hosting your baby shower start a meal train Instead of coming to the hospital to meet the baby, among many other visitors, they will get one-on-one time with you and the baby when they deliver your meal once you are home.

    • At the Women’s Hospital we offer “The Magic Hour” immediately after baby’s birth. During this time, baby is placed skin-to-skin with the mother and stays there a full hour or longer if the mother wishes or if baby hasn’t breastfed yet. This is time for you and your significant other to meet your little one. You will want privacy and time to simply soak in what had just happened: You became a mom. He became a dad. Knowing all of this, educate your family before baby is born. Let them know ahead of time that you will want a few hours to cherish these moments before all the craziness of people, opinions, and presents come pouring in on your little world. If family knows what to expect, they should respect your wishes.
    • Are you going to breastfeed?  If you are, you will want time to nurse without the distraction of visitors. Even after the first feeding, you and the baby will still need time to learn each other. It’s easy to miss feedings trying to entertain visitors. Don’t feel guilty asking visitors to leave when it’s time for a feeding.
    • If you do have a hard time asking your visitors to leave, don’t be afraid to let your nurse be the “bad guy.” She can tell the visitors they need to leave or even put a sign on your door so you, dad and baby can rest.
    • Don’t tell everyone that you are going to the hospital when you are in labor. Only tell those who you truly want there after the baby is born.  Knowing ahead of time about the “magic hour,” you can even have your significant other contact these special people in your life right after baby is born to allow you the family time that you are seeking.
    • Be cautious what you post on social media when you are at the hospital. As excited as you are to announce your new baby, many who are close to you may take an announcement post as an open invitation for visitors. Everyone will be dying to meet the brand new baby and may forget about the exhaustion that takes place when the new baby arrives.
    • Also consider limiting your visitors for a few days after arriving home. You can have a family member or a hired helper to assist you with things like cooking and cleaning so that you can concentrate on you, your baby and your significant other.  Limiting those visitors for those first few days can help provide additional rest for both mom and dad as you’re getting used to your new family!
    • After baby’s arrival, you will be emotional; your hormones will be up and down over the next few weeks and you may find yourself crying and not knowing why.  Too many visitors will add to this stress. Limiting your visitors will help you establish your “routine” with your new family.
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