An Open Letter to Guests

(I wrote this a while ago and it appeared in a whole bunch of major newspapers when the Royal Baby was born in 2013. It was also featured on NPR’s website,, and many other sites!)


I wish someone would make this for ME!

Family members and friends will flock to your house when you have a new arrival. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO BE A HOSTESS. People who want to come will have to understand that you are not putting out snacks and keeping them entertained. I like to run interference for my clients with their guests, encouraging Mama and baby to take time for themselves. I also tell them to use me as “the bad guy” to preserve family harmony:: “Oh gee, sister-in-law, we’d love for you to come over and judge us right now, but my doula says I have to take a nap.” “Hi friend, Can you please bring your 3 kids over another time? We’d love to have them touch their germy hands all over the baby but our doula is here right now showing us how to do a bath.”

Print this out and hang it on your front door, so your well-meaning but clueless guests can see it when they come to visit. Don’t forget to fill in the blanks!


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Dear Guests,


Thank you so much for coming to see our new addition(s), and for bringing your smiles, gifts, and good wishes. Thank you, also, for leaving your germs at home! If you think you may be sick, we’ll have a visit by waving at each other through the window. We also greatly appreciate the hot or easy-to-heat-up meal you’ve brought us, and the fact that you plan to keep your visit nice and short.


We’ve had a busy few days/weeks around here, so please excuse the mess in the house and the fact that I am still in my pajamas. Help yourself to a drink of water, and while you’re in the fridge, feel free to throw out anything that looks past its prime. You never know what we might grab in our sleep-deprived state.


If the baby and I disappear for a while, we have gone to take a nap. Feel free to grab the vacuum from the _______________ or throw in a load of laundry (located ___________________). If I suddenly disappear while YOU are holding the baby, I am probably in the shower. Not to worry, I will be back in 2 hours or so.


I may need to breastfeed while you are here. If this offends you or makes you uncomfortable, I keep some blankets close by for you to put over your head.


While we find it very interesting to hear your stories about what things were like when you had your babies, please keep your advice to yourself unless asked, especially if it comes with an air of judgment. We have enough information coming at us, and we are doing ok, thanks.




_____________(Mama), ______________ (Daddy/Partner), and _________________(Baby)


What was the best thing a guest did for YOU when you had your baby?

(Photo from )

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