There is a very good chance that people will want to visit when they hear the news of Baby’s arrival. Your reaction to that will vary, based on your personality, the difficulty of the labor and birth, and whether Baby decided that you should miss out on sleep for the birth. Some people want all the visitors they can cram into the room, some want no visitors at all for a while, and most are somewhere in-between.
Now, families and friendships are incredibly varied, so specific advice about what to do or say is probably useless here. You’re smart enough to apply some general guidelines to your situation.
The first, and most important guideline, is not to sacrifice rest or happiness of (in order of importance) the new mother, the new baby, or yourself to accommodate visitors. Visitors are great, but a woman who has given birth needs rest to recover, new babies need lots of rest, and you could probably use a little rest yourself. There will be plenty of time to see people after everyone has recovered more. It’s okay to say something like “Mother and Baby are doing fine, and getting rest that they both need. We’d love to see you. How about giving us a call after we’re discharged, and we’ll figure out a good time for a visit. The plan is for us to be discharged Tuesday.”
While you’re in the hospital, the nursing staff may be helpful in managing visitors. Then again, they may not. Check with your hospital or birth center in advance to be sure. If they are willing to help, just ask when needed. If there is someone you don’t want to see, or if you want to keep a visit short, ask your nurse to help–they have plenty of practice shooing people out without any hurt feelings. And even if there are hurt feelings, they’ll be directed at the nurse, not at you.
Now, if the nursing staff isn’t willing to help (some hospitals don’t allow them to), responsibility for being the “bouncer” is all yours. Good luck! Be polite but firm if you have to turn someone away or kick them out. Maybe something along the lines of “she [or Baby] needs rest. Thanks so much for coming to visit. I’m sure we’ll see you again soon.” Make sure–just as you did during labor–that you’re paying attention to the now-a-mother so you can help her out. She shouldn’t have to whisper to you that she’s tired or tired of some visitors–you should know just from watching.
As a side note, it may be a good idea to funnel calls through your phone. That helps you manage visitors, and it also helps protect the new mother from feeling obligated to get up from her nap to answer the phone.
Having people that love you/her/Baby come to visit and share your excitement is part of the fun of being a new parent, so enjoy your visitors!