The part about bringing home a baby that I probably spent the most time worrying over was the inevitable descent of family and friends on our tiny (and usually imperfectly clean) house. I'm not the most social person in the world (I'd rather lay on the couch and soak up baby snuggles than play hostess to guests), and I'm just enough of a control freak that sometimes letting people "help" means I just end up majorly annoyed that things were done the "wrong" way. That kind of attitude mixed with crazy postpartum hormones seemed like a recipe for disaster, so I wanted to make sure I did what I could to prevent it both times I brough my babies home from the hospital.
If this sounds familiar, I think the best thing you can do is to be honest with yourself, and with your family and friends. If you're not the type of person who loves a ton of house guests, acknowledge and respect that and then make sure you won't be bringing Baby home to a giant crowd. If you need someone to run interference for you--to manage your visitors and make sure they're not driving you nuts--be clear about what you need and then try not to feel bad about it. Settling into your new life with a baby is HARD, and there's no shame in wanting to do it at your own pace and without an audience.
I know there are people out there who don't have this problem, and to those lucky folks I say good for you. For the rest of us, though, my advice is to not be afraid to speak up to protect your own sanity in those first few days (or weeks or months) after Baby comes home. Experiencing the whirlwind that is birth and then parenting a newborn can be really rough even in the best circumstances, and if you feel more capable doing it without a peanut gallery of onlookers--as well-meaning as they may be--it's totally okay for you to want to protect that ideal. Maybe it means your in-laws have to stay at a hotel instead of in your guest room. Maybe it means limiting drop-in visits from friends to ten minutes. Figure out what arrangement makes you feel the most at ease and then ASK FOR IT. You've just given birth to a brand new human--you deserve a little special treatment!
Did you have a lot of visitors after you brought your baby home? How did you handle it? Did you welcome everyone with open arms, or did you have limits in place to keep things from getting too overwhelming?
Image © iStockphoto.com/Christopher Futcher