Managing Visitors With A New Baby​

The holidays are quickly approaching and you’re likely wondering how to navigate the holiday season with a newborn. Not only can it be stressful to figure out how to keep your baby safe and healthy during this time, but also it is important to keep yourself safe and sane.

Start by discussing with your partner your concerns and boundaries when it comes to having visitors over. Try coming up with a safeword to signal when you feel as if you are overwhelmed, need a break, or are ready for visitors to leave. Being on the same page with your partner will help cut back on some of the stress that comes along with hosting family. It is so important to remember that you do not owe it to anybody to entertain them. Do not feel guilty if you are not feeling up to interacting with others. Do what’s best for you, listen to yourself and your body.

Health and Safety

With RSV and flu season quickly being in full effect, it is imperative that you take the necessary steps to protect your baby and family. Make sure that none of your visitors are sick, or have someone at home who is sick before coming over.

Hand hygiene is one of the best ways to stay safe around a baby. We often don’t realize how many germs we acquire through using our hands, so it is important to wash them frequently. Make sure all visitors are washing their hands and/or using hand sanitizer before holding the baby. By keeping sanitizer by the door and near where you are holding the baby, you can ask guests to sanitize when they enter and before touching your child. You also can keep a temporal thermometer by the front door and ask that they take their temperature upon entry. Ask visitors not to kiss the baby on their hands or face. Since babies love to put their hands in their mouths, we do not want to expose them through their oral cavity or nasal passages. Instead, let guests know they can kiss the baby on the back of their head or their belly!

Have a visitor who is coughing and says it’s allergies? Ask them to wear a mask to be safe. If you have a family member who smokes, ensure that they smoke outside and wash their hands immediately after. Before letting them hold the baby, put a blanket over them so that the baby does not directly touch the clothes that were worn while smoking. Also, cold sores can easily be transferred to babies, so make sure that visitors with cold sores wear a mask and as always, are washing their hands frequently.

Take Advantage of This Time

One way to keep visitors busy is by enlisting them to help out with tasks. Make a list on the fridge with activities you need help with. This could include washing dishes, doing laundry, or taking the dog on a walk. Family members often want to be of help when visiting, so having a set list prepared is perfect for them to know where their help is most needed. With the holidays coming up, ask for help wrapping presents or preparing food!

Allow visitors to watch over the baby while you take some time to yourself. Try to do a relaxing activity like taking a bath or a much needed nap. Do not feel guilty for taking a break, you deserve it.

If you are planning on having multiple groups of visitors, make sure to schedule a few hours in between to allow your family to destress, and have some alone time before the next group arrives.

How To Navigate Through Uncomfortable Comments

The key to responding to these comments is to educate. Here are some sample questions you may get asked as well as our responses to them:

  • “Are you still breastfeeding?” or “Oh, are you still doing that?”

Yes, breast milk does not stop providing nutrition to the baby. It actually is recommended you do so as long as you and your baby wants. The World Health Organization says a minimum of 2 years!

  • “Cover up! Don’t make the men in the family offended!”

Unfortunately, we have sexualized breasts in today’s society. Breasts are a means of food for infants, and are not meant to be treated as sexual objects. If someone is uncomfortable with you openly breastfeeding, they may excuse themself. However, if you want to breastfeed in private, that is totally up to you.

  • “Can I give the baby a bottle while you rest?”

If you have not given your baby a bottle yet, and you do not feel comfortable doing so, be honest. If you have given your baby bottles before and are comfortable with it, that’s fine too! Just make sure you pump beforehand!

  • “Oh you should give your baby formula so they sleep better.”

If your baby is gaining weight properly and you have enough milk supply, all your baby needs is breast milk. Formula is not necessary. Breastfed babies eat more frequently since breastmilk is more easily digested. Without the frequent removal of breastmilk, your supply will also begin to diminish.

  • “You should put rice cereal in the baby’s bottle.”

This is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. While some infants do need this for health purposes, you should not do so unless instructed by your pediatrician. This can actually lead to health issues like aspiration pneumonia.

  • “You can’t have that drink, you’re breastfeeding.”

You actually can! The best time to have a drink is while breastfeeding or right after feeding. Alcohol takes 2 hours to clear through breastmilk, and does not instantaneously go into your milk. If you feel the effects of alcohol before breastfeeding, that is when you need to pump and dump and have other breast milk already stored in advance.

  • “You need to sleep train, your baby should be sleeping through the night already.”

All babies are different. Some sleep 5 hours a night as early as 4 weeks, while others never sleep 5 hours a night. Part of this depends on milk storage capacity, or how much your breasts can hold and how much the baby can eat during the day. The more the baby eats during the day, the more likely they are to sleep longer at night”

  • “You are going to spoil the baby if you hold them too much”

This is not true! You cannot spoil a baby in this way. Especially the first 3 months after birth, this bonding is incredibly important. Hold your baby if you want to!

Remember, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed by all- that includes you! Do what makes you happy, set boundaries, and take some time to yourself this holiday season.

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***The information provided on our website is intended solely for general educational and informational purposes only. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician for any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have received in this information.***