Know Your Limits | Fit Pregnancy

Ask the Experts

Know Your Limits

How can I set limits with guests after the baby is born?

A: 

You can enjoy visits from family without compromising your own well-being or that of your new baby. You just have to set limits for yourself and others. Try to lower your expectations, think "less is more" and do only as much as you want. Ask that no more than two family members visit at a time, or that each one bring something you need.

"I liked to tell people that their entry fee for seeing our new baby was a casserole," says Robert Sears, M.D., a pediatrician in Dana Point, Calif., and father of three. When people ask if they can do anything, say yes, and be specific. Ask them to walk the dog, pick up extra diapers or clean the kitchen. Let a family member help you by watching the baby while you go for a walk, soak in a tub or do yoga.

And if family members start pressuring you to visit them so they can see the new baby, ask your husband to intervene. "A father can tell people that you're trying to keep a calm, structured routine, that visits will be limited, and if you do stop by with the baby, it will be just for dessert," says Vivien K. Burt, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.