When little man was born, we limited the amount of visitors we had at the hospital.
During the actual labor and delivery, the only person in the room with DH & I (aside from the hospital staff) was our doula. When I was getting ready to push, my parents drove to the hospital and waited in the waiting room. After little man was born, we had a little time to ourselves as a family of three and then brought my parents in to meet little man.
My mom with a very small little man the day he was born
For the rest of our hospital stay, the only other people to visit were my sister and one close friend who works with me at the hospital where I delivered, who happens to be a mother of three and a rock star at breastfeeding and all things baby. All other friends and family were asked to please refrain from visiting until we arrived at home.
(To be clear- we love and welcome DH's family at any time like my family, but they are all long distance- much further than my family's proximity which doesn't happen to be very close either- so they are unable to be with us at the drop of a hat when I go into labor. Also, our close family happens to be extremely helpful and would be welcome to stay for a much longer time than they are able to, sadly!)
And, around our area, we don't have boatloads of friends just knocking on our doors. We keep a few very close friends and appreciate them grandly, but also appreciate our time with a new baby as sacred.
While limiting our visitors only to close or immediate family members and close friends (and for us- this number can be counted on two hands) is somewhat isolating at first, it is also extremely helpful as a new family and especially as a new mother.
Emotions are high during that period of time for me. I didn't want my child constantly being passed around like a hot potato, nor did I want to have to give up holding him all the time. I wanted to bond with my child and offer my husband time to bond with his new child. I wanted the main people our son to know initially to be us, and us only.
I also highly recognize the benefit of allowing myself to heal and recover from the birth while not feeling like I had to put on make-up or get dressed or have the house clean all the time. Because I know myself, and when we have visitors, I do feel the need to do all of those. And, as a new mom, just the act of cleaning your home or getting yourself presentable can be exhausting.
For our little family, limiting the amount of visitors also meant that I didn't have to be uncomfortable all the time. As a new mom who had just begun our journey to breastfeeding, I was often in nursing tanks and schlumpy pajamas- basically anything that was comfortable and had easy access to my breasts. With only extremely close family and friends visiting, I didn't have to constantly worry about who was seeing what and would little man latch or would I get let-down while I was so tense.
It was just comfortable.
It seems though, that whenever I speak to friends, not many have the same experience of limited visitors after birth, and actually most have a seemingly opposite experience. Many of my friends have at least 10-20 people visiting at the hospital, with loads more to follow once they return home, including family and friends. I see pictures on social media such as Facebook or Twitter where new baby is in the arms of about 30 people in the first few days, everyone getting in their picture with the sweet, squishy, little one.
While I find nothing wrong with that amount of visitors should the new mother and father appreciate and accept that as their normal circumstance, I find that it would be an extremely uncomfortable situation for us. I am noticing more and more frequently though that we are the exception rather than the rule.
With new baby, we plan on the exact same scenario if we end up birthing in the hospital. My parents will come down to watch little man while we're in the hospital, with DH splitting his time between hospital and home and staying home at night with little man. My sister may come depending on her work schedule and holiday schedule to see the new baby again. DH's family has discussed coming out when new baby is a few months old to meet her at that point. And we will have some friends stop by the house after we're home from the hospital.
Overall, I'd consider that a pretty private postpartum time.
How many visitors did you have in the hospital or at home in the days and weeks following your child's birth? Would you or have you done anything differently with a subsequent pregnancy?