The arrival of a new baby calls for celebration. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are excited when a new baby joins the family. Many new parents have an entourage waiting outside of the delivery room, ready to welcome baby. But is this helpful to breastfeeding? If it causes interruptions for mom and baby learning to breastfeeding, no, it's hindering the process. One study showed that new moms experienced an average of 54 phone calls and visits in the first 24 hours after giving birth. How in the world are tired moms and new babies going to learn this natural, yet challenging new skill with all of those interruptions? Research tells us that skin-to-skin time helps orient babies to breastfeeding, as well as increase milk-making hormones in mothers. This skin-to-skin time is especially important in the first few days after birth. When baby is swaddled and passed from person to person, mom and baby miss this opportunity to get to know each other and learn to breastfeed. Baby's weight may even suffer as a result of interrupted feedings.
If you are preparing for birth, set your expectations ahead of time. It's okay to say "no" to excessive visitors. Let friends and family know that you'll be happy to see them once you're home and breastfeeding is better established. Even then, watch baby's feeding cues and be careful not to space out feedings too much due to visitors. This is a special time for your family, and you'll want to savor every moment of mom and baby time.