Back when I had my first child in 2011, I was fortunate that I didn’t have to deal with the stress of a global pandemic, but I can definitely relate to a visitor free hospital stay.
At the time, my husband and I lived in a different state to our family and friends, so it was just the two (or should I say three of us) for a five-night hospital iso-break.
In the lead up to the birth, I felt like I would be missing out on a rite of passage by not being able to show off our precious firstborn to family and friends in hospital, but it turns out I gained so much more.
If you also feel a bit disappointed about not being able to have visitors during your maternity stay, here are some positives of the experience that you might not have thought about:
Your own rest and recovery
Having a baby can take its toll on your body and you deserve both the time and space to rest and recover. Not only have you grown a human over the past nine months, you have also given birth which is a huge accomplishment.
Having a visitor free hospital stay allows you to rest when your baby sleeps and prioritise your own recovery in those early days. I personally appreciated not having to host visitors when I was recovering from a C-section, managing surging hormones and grappling with the change in my breast size when my milk came in!
A baby bubble for you and your partner alone
Some of my most cherished memories were those spent with my husband and our new baby during our hospital stay - just the three of us. We were in our own little newborn bubble and were oblivious to what was going on in the world around us.
Going from a couple to a family is a huge step in any relationship and the time spent in hospital allowed us both to focus on developing the skills required to navigate our way into parenthood and benefit from our knowledgeable midwifery team along the way.
If you’re breastfeeding, the time spent in hospital is the perfect time to work on your skills with the support of your midwives. I was able to lean on my midwives to learn how to recognise signs that my baby wanted to feed, check that they were latching properly, understand how to balance out feeds on both sides and for general reassurance that my daughter was getting enough milk.
Without the distraction of visitors, I felt comfortable with learning how to breastfeed in my own private space, with the support of experts when I needed them.
No pressure of having to say ‘no’
Some people love the idea of visitors when they’re in hospital and others cannot stand the thought of it. I fell into the latter category and being interstate meant that I didn’t have to say no to anyone who would have otherwise paid me a visit!
Introducing the baby when you’re ready
By the time our family arrived from interstate, we were home and starting to settle into our new roles as parents. I felt much less foggy and hormonal compared to what I did in hospital and had gained confidence in caring for my baby. We were much more engaged with our visitors than what we would have been in hospital and are so grateful for all the support that we received. No matter when your family and friends meet your baby, their reactions will be priceless, regardless of whether they meet your newborn in hospital or once you’re home and ready for visitors!
By the time baby number two came around, we were back living in our home state amongst friends and family. That time I got to experience the revolving door of visitors and it was during those moments that I realised how much I loved and appreciated my first ‘baby bubble’ experience.