For the media

Visitor boundaries with newborn babies

By The Health News Team | September 9, 2021
Woman wearing mask holding baby

As if enduring a pregnancy during a pandemic and managing postpartum stressors was not overwhelming enough, bringing home a newborn can present its own set of worries and challenges.

At least one worry can be lessened by setting healthy boundaries for well-meaning visitors before the baby arrives. Having a newborn is an exciting time, but it is essential to curb your visitors’ excitement by being clear and detailed on the boundaries you have established.

“Parents should always be careful regarding visitors with a newborn the first two months of life,” says Dr. Ahmad Bailony, department chief of pediatrics at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. “This applied pre-pandemic as well. Babies do not form their blood-brain barrier for about two months and so they are at risk for more serious infections until that point. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you cannot have anyone see your baby, but it does mean you should practice having visitors see them safely.”

Foresight, mindful planning, and timely communication with your partner and support system can help with navigating visitation expectations. Here are a few recommendations to protect the health of your vulnerable newborn baby.

Discuss your visitors’ vaccination status
“Vaccination, masking and having good ventilation, such as an outdoor environment, all help reduce the risk of getting a newborn sick,” Dr. Bailony says.

While you cannot control the exposure that is occurring outside of your home, you can regulate who is in close contact with your family. Having a respectful and transparent conversation about your visitors’ vaccination status can be reassuring that your newborn will be safe from potential transmission of COVID-19. Before your vaccinated visitors arrive, feel comfortable asking if they have been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive or if they are experiencing any COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms.

If your visitors are hesitant or choose not to get vaccinated, you may want to consider other ways they can still be a part of the early stages of your baby’s life. Some examples include scheduling a virtual visit, requiring frequent COVID-19 testing, and having a drive-by, outdoor visit while keeping a safe distance and wearing masks.

Limit your visitors
Try limiting the number of visitors to those who can offer you the most support during the first few weeks and advise others that you are taking the recommended precautions for your family. While this significant time is meant for bonding with your newborn, there may not be time for daily chores and meal preparation. Having designated visitors who are able to take on these duties can make the early days and weeks in your new role much easier.

Take precautions
Support your health and safety concerns with what you have available in your home. Have disposable masks accessible for your visitors along with hand sanitizer and an area for them to wash their hands often. As an added precaution, you can take their temperature before they enter your home.

“The good news is that serious infections in newborns are rare,” Dr. Bailony says. “However, with the delta variant we are seeing more children, including newborns, infected with COVID-19. I would still take every precaution possible to lessen the chance a newborn gets COVID-19, as newborns have weak and undeveloped immune systems. Of the children who get sick and require hospitalization, 50% will be within 1 year of age so the more steps taken to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection, the better.”

Prioritize your family
Everyone may not fully understand why you are choosing to set boundaries with the visitors you welcome into your home, but it is important to remember why you are deciding to push back. Whether it is respecting your baby’s sleep schedule or your personal need for self-care and rest, your mental and physical health should be a priority as you embark on this new parenthood journey.

For the news media: To speak to Dr. Bailony for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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