At the hospital: To visit or not to visit?

On Saturday night we had our hospital tour.  Uh, ohmygosh, we’re having a baby in like a month.  This is craziness!

Overall, we liked the L&D floor a lot.  We keep hearing from everyone that the nurses are amazing at our hospital, and on the tour today the whole place was very clean and calm, which was reassuring.  The labor/delivery/recovery rooms were great, although the post-partum room was VERY small.  Like matchbook small.  I don’t have a clue how anyone except John would fit in there with me.  Which is why it alarmed me a bit when my dear husband brought up the issue of hospital visitors (non-family members).  I wonder, do people actually visit a woman in the hospital who has just given birth or do they just stop by the house later on?  I was under the impression that family is who comes to the hospital but maybe I just made that up.  I need your help people … what is the normal policy on hospital visitors?

And while I’m on the subject let me just say for the record that I’m not entirely sure I’ll even WANT visitors at the hospital.  After all the lovely wonderful birth stories I’ve been told I’m thinking that learning to breastfeed and crashing out for a nap at every opportunity will be my number-one priority while I have nurses around to help me.  And my stay will be short if I have a normal vaginal delivery … only 2-3 days.  Does it sound selfish that I’d rather wait until we get home and the dust has settled to receive well-wishers? 

I’m stumped.


12 thoughts on “At the hospital: To visit or not to visit?

  1. larmar says:

    we only had one family visit. they were good friends of ours (and also who was taking care of the dog). we don’t have any family in the area, so they were the only ones who came. but it was nice to have some quiet time. those couple of days will go quick, i promise. you will have plenty to keep you occupied without everyone stopping by. plus… considering you just blew out your vagina and your boobs will get more attention than they have your entire life, and not just by you, you may want the privacy. 🙂 even if we had family around, i doubt i would have wanted them all to drop by until we got home.

  2. A'Dell says:

    I told the husband that people can come to the hospital but there are no guarantees that I’ll be up for visitors – especially lengthy visitors. He seemed ok with that and promised to play bad cop for me.

    That said, I have visited girlfriends in the hospital before. I always call in advance, stay for no more than about ten minutes and tell her that she looks AMAZING. I hold the baby, snap some photos and deliver a lasagna to their door the day after they go home.

    I think short and sweet is the best method – shows you care but isn’t taxing on the new parents.

  3. Mandy says:

    A friend/co-worker just had a baby and us girls at work sort of debated whether we should go see her in the hospital. We decided to promising ourselves that no matter how much we wanted to gawk at the baby that we’d stay just a few minutes and if the baby wasn’t in the room, we’d simply give her our love and see the baby a different time. The friend that had the baby is a pretty private sort of gal but we didn’t want her to think we’d overlooked it. So we just sort of showed up with flowers and she welcomed us with SUCH open arms. I think she was a little surprised we even came but at the same time all she wanted to do was show off her beautiful baby. She was all smiles.

    What I’m saying is: I bet you’ll want to brag. No matter how tired you are. 🙂

  4. Liz says:

    The only person I’ve visited in the hospital after delivery is my sister. Never my girlfriends.

    I’m really kinda glad that even family isn’t coming until later when we’re at home so that we’ll have that time just the three of us to adjust and whatnot.

    Also? Our hospital tour is this Saturday and my Dr. told us to fill out admission paperwork while we’re there. Talk about reality check… It’s coming soon, isn’t it, Manda? Where did the 9 months go?

  5. Morgan Swanson says:

    I would hope that people (non-family) would have the sense to wait till you get home to visit. I mean, really, with all the hospital staff coming in every two minutes to check on you and the baby and the general ick that is going on in your lady parts, you don’t really want people around. You have ENOUGH stuff to worry about – trust me – you do not want to have to entertain guests as well. (This is coming from someone who felt well enough to go home less than 24 hours after Baby #2’s arrival!)

  6. maggie says:

    I’ll be the Contrarian here and suggest visitors, even the non-family types, might be nice. I totally didn’t think I’d want anyone around, even family, but we had heaps of visitors and it turned out to be such a blessing. I think, for me, the hospital was such a foreign place that it was great to have familiar faces and people to make you feel like yourself. And even when we got home, we LOVED visitors. We wanted to show off the baby, plus you have someone to hold the baby so you can take a shower, someone to make lunch for you, someone to ask you how you’re doing, someone to make you feel like you’re not cooped up in breastfeeding jail. I never felt like I had to entertain anyone, but maybe that is because we have awesome friends/family! My two best friends were over all the time making sure I was eating and showering and napping and running out to buy me nursing bras from Target when I realized, “gee, should have bought those beforehand…”

    That said, you really don’t know until the time comes!

  7. Nora says:

    No one can tell you just what to do…. you know you and what you can and can’t handle and NO ONE can be mad at you for not wanting visitors if that’s what you decide.

    I will paint two pictures of the aftermath of both deliveries of my kids.

    Daniel: labored overnight (as in NO sleep) and the minute they wheeled me in to my regular room, there were 10 people in there. Some of my family, but mostly his dad’s family. They stayed all day. They never offered to leave as I pulled out my boob for feeding. They never offered to leave as I got up and down to go to the potty or try to eat my meals. THEY STAYED ALL DAY. The result: Daniel didn’t eat enough and ended up on a feeding tube his first night and I held him about 5 minutes that day.

    Bethany: Born in the evening, only mom and Daniel were there besides Brian and myself and mom took Daniel home after an hour or so. Over the course of 3 days I only had two friends visit and my aunt and grandmother. It was BLISS!!! I could nurse in peace and recover and get out of the bed to go to the bathroom without an audience.

    The main difference was that I let people know ahead of time that I’d love to see them after we got home, but I’d prefer for us to have some peace and quiet in the hospital. I also didn’t announce it to the world until we were home. I only called a few friends and close family and then made the major calls/emails after we were home and settled. Worked really well.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Emily says:

    This isn’t helpful advice at all, but I need to tell SOMEONE what happened to me at the hospital, which was that I gave birth, announced it on my website, and the next day a guy I knew from high school BUT HADN’T SEEN IN ABOUT 8 YEARS read my blog and SHOWED UP IN MY ROOM.

    It was so awkward. SO SO AWKWARD, I can’t even tell you. Just don’t let that happen, and you’ll be ok.

    I actually liked having all kinds of visitors, even beyond family, because they don’t expect you to get out of bed or look presentable or anything. When you’re at home, you’ll have to offer them refreshments or a clean place to sit or something and who has time for that when you have a new baby who’s screaming at you?

  9. Lily says:

    I’m not going to state my preference here, since I already know it differs from yours. You were there to visit at the hospital when my firstborn came into the world. Some points to keep in mind: I don’t think there’s a nationwide policy on visitors post-partum. Second, breastfeeding takes practice AND a newborn will likely nurse at least every two hours. With my vaginal birth and no complications, they would have sent me home within 24 hours, if it weren’t for the fact that we were waiting on Victoria’s test results. The doctor had signed a release for 1-something the next day. I will say I appreciated having our pastor come and briefly pray with me post-partum.

  10. KATHY V says:

    We were having this same debate ourselves. While I am all for a few people visiting for very short periods of time, My husband is the type to cal everyone in the world the minute it happens. Our hospital does recommend keeping the visits short and limiting the number because of tiredness, breastfeeding practice, and just getting acclimated to the new baby. So when you decide, let me know what worked well and what didn’t so I can prepare myself.

  11. mom says:

    Well, you will have lots of family there from out of town (hopefully Little Buddy appears when we do!) and in a small room so that is a consideration. It may, also, let others “off the hook” if they know there is no rush to get to the hospital. It might be more relaxing to “hold court” in familiar surroundings,” though it is, also, nice to let people do what they feel. Sometimes it is very touching to experience a visit from someone you wouldn’t expect.

  12. rachel says:

    Visitors depends on what you are comfortable with. I was so tired I really only wanted my closest friends there. I couldn’t say no to my in-laws even though I wanted to. My family lived too far away to visit.

    With your husband being a minister, I would recommend limiting it to close friends. Also, don’t be afraid to ask people to leave, you can always say it is time to nurse or have a nurse ask them to leave.

    We have a couple of older ladies from church who tend to hang out in the hospitals unless someone “kicks” them out.

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