How to handle visitors
Friends and extended family might have been giving you some breathing room during the first week, but don’t be surprised if the visiting requests start pouring in. Only problem: where there’s people, there’s germs.
While it’s true breastfed babies receive her mother’s antibodies, you can't get around the fact that newborns are much more susceptible to illness than adults. While some parents (understandably) find their inner germa-phobe during this time period and ban outside visitors altogether, there are some ways you can take visitors but reduce the risks.
Make it a rule that everyone must wash his or her hands before holding your baby - it's the single best way to prevent illness. Obviously never let someone come over who is sick - and feel confident to turn anyone away if they show up obviously unwell. Visits from your friend’s children should be kept to a minimum, as they are more likely to pick up germs at school, the park, etc.
Have some hand-sanitiser around the house for visitors, but never put alcohol-based hand sanitiser on your newborn’s hands. After your visitors leave you can wash your baby's hands with a little soap and rinse off with water, or wipe them over with a baby wipe. Limit the amount of visitors in a room, which not only caps the amount of germs around your baby, but also helps preserve your sanity. Even with all of this prevention, you can still expect your baby to get four to 10 colds within the first year.
Finally, only take the number of guests that you can handle. Everyone should respect your space and needs. You should also take advantage when your guests offer to help. Feel free to let them make tea and coffee, hang out a load of washing or sit with the baby while you rest.
Written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading pregnancy and parenting resource.