Everyone knows about those well-meaning-but-ultimately-intrusive family members, worming their way into the delivery room to witness the miracle of birth. As a result, you don't have to look far for advice on how to prevent this from happening, and how to deal with it swiftly if it does. However, no one really talks about how to handle unwanted visitors in the recovery room and, honestly, it's kind of a free-for-all. That's why it's helpful to know some ways to kick someone out of your postpartum recovery room.
When I had my daughter, my husband and I stayed in the delivery room alone with her (minus medical staff coming and going, per usual and as needed). My father-in-law did pop in for a brief visit (he happened to be in town and surprised us), but he was super respectful in that he admired the baby, said congratulations, and hightailed it out of there. After a few hours, the three of us were transferred to a recovery room where we could receive visitors.
To be clear, dear reader and brand new (or soon-to-be brand new) mom, this is about you. Birth is hard enough as it is, so you deserve to have the experience you want (to the extent safety makes that possible), and that includes everything that happens postpartum. You don't cease to exist the moment your baby is in the world, so don't feel bad telling an unwanted guest to hit the road.
Have A Post-Birth Plan
You've probably been advised to write a birth plan to indicate your preferences regarding pain management, tearing versus having an episiotomy, delaying cord clamping, initial feedings, and anything else you may or may not want to experience. It's a great idea to also list who is allowed not just in the delivery room, but the postpartum recovery room, too. That will help your birth team run some interference for you if you have unwanted visitors.
Send People To Fetch You Food
Hungry? Awesome. Send someone to your favorite taco truck, that just so happens to be clear across town. Really, sending the person to run any errand that takes them out of the room (or better yet, the hospital or birth center) will do the job. Plus, you just gave birth, so everyone has to do whatever you want. That's how it should work, anyway.
Breastfeeding is completely normal and natural, and the fact that people get weirded out about it is kind of ridiculous. However, if it's going to happen anyway (and you're planning to nurse), you might as well use other people's discomfort to your advantage. Nothing like whipping out a boob to make certain people skedaddle.
Say You Need A Shower
You know what else makes people uncomfortable? Getting naked. The first postpartum shower is kind of an ordeal, usually requiring an assist from nurses and/or your partner. It's a nice cue for your company to exit stage right. If they don't get out, they'll be looking at the business end of your hospital gown.
Oh, I'm so glad you came! It's been such an exciting... ZZZZZZ. Falling asleep in the middle of a conversation is a terrific way to let your loved ones know it's time to take a hike. Honestly, you'll probably be so tired you won't even have to fake it.
Blame Visiting Hours
Make sure you know your hospital or birth center's visitor policy so you can use it to your advantage. A lot of places keep the golden hour after birth as a sacred time where no one is allowed in. Sorry, guys, bonding. After that, keep an eye on the clock so you can let your visitors down easy when the facility says they have to go.
Make Your Partner Do It
Your partner is your advocate during labor and delivery, but also postpartum. If you're in pain, they should be getting you ice packs and Percocet. If you want to breastfeed, they need to make sure no one gives the baby a bottle. Likewise, if you want someone out of the room, your partner can do the dirty work. Remember, you just did a lot of work, and it was plenty dirty.
Tell Them To GTFO
If none of this works, feel free to just tell people to get out. It's not the most tactful, but at the end of the day, this is about you, your baby, and your family unit. It might hurt some feelings, but those will heal, and frankly, it's what they get if they can't take a hint.