Everyone will be knocking on your door when they hear that you’ve finally brought baby home, and can you really blame them? Babies are exciting even for the most distant relative and friends, and everyone wants to catch a glimpse of those chubby cheeks before time flies by and it’s too late. Additionally, your loved ones will come out of the woodwork to help if you’re lucky. For women who have been through pregnancies before, your birth will feel like the call of duty and many will be there with casseroles and family size salads to fill your fridge and make your life easier. The first week will be very difficult, and in many ways the constant visitors will only make things worse. I’ve heard of pregnant women telling people to hold off for an entire month before coming in troops to check out the little one. As it turns out, turning people away might be an excellent idea.

According to a recent study, women who don’t get enough sleep in the first few months after their pregnancy are more likely to suffer from severe postpartum depression. I know what you’re thinking – no one gets enough sleep in the weeks after her pregnancy. However, “enough sleep” doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sleep through the night. It simply means that you are not disturbed any more than you need to be. When visitors are constantly making their way in and out of the house, your baby will be alarmed and wake from his nap abruptly. A crying fit will ensue, and this could happen over and over during the course of a day. You’ll lose out on nap time with your baby, and your baby will be on an abnormal schedule that leaves him screaming and fussing more than usual. Postpartum depression is serious, and it could interfere with your ability to be the mom you’re trying to be, so make sure you don’t let others get in the way of a peaceful and maybe even restful first few months.

It’s hard to tell friends and family they can’t come over for a visit, but you don’t necessarily have to break the news so harshly. Consider setting up “visiting time” when multiple relatives come at once. That way, you’re not hosting all day for different waves of people and wearing yourself out. You’ll be glad you did.

Source: Signe Karen Dorheim et al: Sleep and Depression in Postpartum Women. Associated Professional Sleep Societies Volume 32 Issue 7 July 2009