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Baby’s First Guests Keep Staying And Staying And Staying

My wife and I had a lovely daughter born about three weeks ago. It has not shocked us that many of our friends wish to visit; many of these friends live in the area, some as close as next door, and the most practical place to visit is in our home. While many of them have shown restraint, we have noticed that it is not uncommon for some visitors to stay ninety minutes or more. Some of these guests specifically wish to see the child awake. Others simply like to continue the visit longer than reasonable. I notice that young people–mid 20’s–without children and older friends who are of grandparent age, but have no grandchildren, are frequently the worst offenders. When you are trying to feed a baby every three hours, this is a significant chunk of time, and it frequently results in the disruption of the feeding schedule and mother or baby becoming irritated.

I have a commitment to offer guests hospitality, but I would also like to express our wishes that guests stay only a reasonable amount of time in a gracious way: do you have any suggestions?  0211-12


The first thing to do is create or buy a sign for your front door that says,  “Shhh….Mom and baby are sleeping!  Please do come again”, and hang it on the front door when needed.    Something like this:


When friends knock on the door, it’s quite acceptable to not open the door fully to them, inviting them in, but rather say, “Hmmm, Bob, this really isn’t a good time to visit the baby and Mom.  Is there another time you could come?”

One way to encourage visitors to leave is for Mom to get up and leave the room to nurse the baby in private.  Left to sit there for quite some time should dissuade lingering guests to go home.  Mom is under no obligation to let people into her “baby sanctuary” to talk with her while she’s nursing or changing diapers or rocking the baby to sleep.   When guests begin to get an clue just how involved baby care is, I think they’ll get the idea and adjust their visiting hours.




Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Echo February 15, 2012, 6:53 pm

    I’m really surprised at all the comments accusing new parents who don’t want to host drop-in visitors of being rude. If you’d just had your wisdom teeth out, would you be up for entertaining friends? If you’d just had a knee reconstruction, would you enjoy making tea and coffee and setting out biscuits?

    Edhla, your comment is a bit insulting. New parents don’t want to manage their visitors because the new mum thinks she’s too delicate, or they think their friends are going to poke their child in the eye or give them germs – they do it because they are exhausted, because their entire world has been turned upside down and they’re trying to get things back to normal as soon as possible, because they have a stack of washing and a sink full of dishes they’d like to get done, because they have a new baby that they’d like to spend time with, and a million other perfectly legitimate reasons.

    Sometimes I feel like just mentioning your baby is enough to have accusations of parental entitlement thrown at you. If you rang your childless friend and they said that now wasn’t a good time for a visit but later in the week would be better, would there even be a problem?

  • Vicki February 16, 2012, 11:00 am

    For that matter, sometimes the concern about germs is legitimate. A friend of mine is expecting a baby in about a month. She wants people to come visit afterwards (though it’s possible she’ll change her mind once the baby arrives; it’s her first, so there’s real guesswork on how she’ll be feeling right after giving birth). She has also mentioned that she is pushing her parents and her husband’s parents to get pertussis (whooping cough) boosters, and for other friends and relatives, if they have a cough, come back some other time. Pertussis can be minor enough in an adult that s/he may not even realize what it is; it can kill infants, and the vaccine isn’t given immediately after birth.

    Yes, she has invited me to visit, and I want to; no, I won’t be dropping in. We’ll pre-plan things, and I may also text her to confirm.

  • Silver February 16, 2012, 8:00 pm

    As an adult without any children or younger siblings, I did not realize until reading this that a 90-minute visit would be too much for a new parent. I honestly would have said that a two hour visit seemed pretty short to me, let alone half an hour. I hope that someone would just tell me that they needed me to get going, instead of leaving the room, putting a sign on the door or trying to drop a subtle hint. I and other childless adults have no idea about these things unless someone tells us.

  • Liz February 17, 2012, 9:21 am

    It’s perfectly acceptable to turn away an announced guest, if there’s an issue with them doing that. For when you do want people to visit, maybe the parents could do the inviting and specify a time? “come over for half an hour” or something to that effect.

    The first in my circle of friends will be having a baby this year, I’m a little nervous around this issue -if I don’t visit for a while to give the new mum some space I think she’ll be upset, but I don’t want to overstay my welcome either :S

  • Cassandra February 17, 2012, 5:11 pm

    For the people who are shocked that moms are
    Suggesting people be rude, some people really don’t get it when you are nice or subtle! There were many times I would mention going to take a nap with the baby and would hear oh just let me hold her one more time. Well if you have a baby on an every 3 hr feeding schedule, that one last time can screw up the little time u have to nap! I am in no way saying new moms are delicate or sensitive (which some are) but when your life is chaos and just flipped upside down and you are completely hormonal all you want is your normal back! As adults you should be able to tell when you are unconvincing someone and when u should leave!
    I still have friends who don’t get it! They stop by randomly with their kids just to kill time in between something they are doing. Even if I meet them at the door and point out its nap time or tell them some other plans we have, I get oh well we just need somewhere to go for 30 mins or whatever as they push their way inside! Sometimes you have to be rude!

  • Enna February 19, 2012, 1:24 pm

    @ Silver, you are clearly a consderate polite person if you would rather someone with a new baby told you it was time to go because baby needs feeding/napping etc. I think leaving the room and signs is more for inconsiderate people.

  • Mabel February 22, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Maybe if you want to see your friend and the baby, it might be a good idea to call or message first and let them get back to you with a time and date. I don’t drop in on anyone even if they don’t have a baby. People are busy and don’t always have time for unexpected guests.

  • Mabel February 22, 2012, 9:08 pm

    Oh for heaven’s sake…I meant to add, Congratulations to the OP and his wife!

  • Shnon October 4, 2012, 4:48 am

    @Echo, what an awesome rebuttal, you rock 🙂

  • SS June 2, 2013, 9:37 pm

    I just had a baby and I also havea 3 year old. I am exhausted and overwhelmed. To top it off, I have 2 sets of my husband’s friends dropping in for a 3 day stay at the end of the month!! Can you believe how inconsiderate people are? They plan to visit the area and are bringing their toddlers with them. I am terrified my newborn will catch germs or fall sick. Also, when I need to rest and do housework, my husbnad will have to entertain them. Why can’t people understand this is not a time to visit and stay overnight when we have had a new baby?
    I have tried to tell my husband this and he says he cannot be rude to his friends. I just want to cry.