August 21, 2010 (2:15 pm)

Mama Bear Rules For Visiting Kamea

by Kristen Suzanne

A lot of you asked me to share my Mama Bear Rules that I mentioned in this post. I sent this via email to family and friends who wanted to visit Kamea.


Hello Family and Friends,

I know you are all eager to meet Kamea and we hope to do that really soon. I’m still not sure when we’ll start setting up times for visits. Breastfeeding on demand and my need for rest (I only get a few hours a night) are my priorities right now. We’re also taking extra precautions due to the whooping cough outbreak until Kamea is six months old. I hope you all understand. :)

I have some Mama Bear Rules that I’d appreciate if everyone who visits kept in mind:

1) please take your shoes off (shoes bring in outdoor pollutants)

2) please wash your hands with soap – thoroughly – upon arriving

3) no guarantees on being able to hold her… even though she’s really cute! (If she’s nursing or fussy etc, in fact, I’m still learning how to nurse discreetly… be forewarned)

4) please keep visits short

5) no children (for now)

6) If you are sick, even just a little, or have been around anybody with the sniffles, please reschedule. Better safe than sorry. (Whooping cough can present very mildly in adults because they have stronger immune systems.)

7) If you’ve recently traveled, please wait at least a week. Longer if it was California (due to pertussis outbreak).

8) Adults/teens who are still in school, let’s try to arrange visits before school starts. Otherwise we should postpone until Kamea is out of the vulnerability window (6 months) Note to readers of this post… that smiley dude with the glasses is supposed to be an “8″ as in this is rule number 8, but it’s coming through as a smiley dude with glasses)

9) please keep visits to two people (max) at a time

Thank you in advance for understanding. As you know, we live an alternative lifestyle to a degree and I don’t want you surprised (or hurt) if we turn down invitations to various events for a while. We’re not germ-o-phobes, but we’re ftaking a few extra precautions.


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  • Lauren519

    These are great! I think I need to recreate this list for my visitors! :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thx :)

  • Guest

    I’m curious how you address people wanting to bring gifts. I’m guessing you’re particular (like I will be) about what kind of clothes, toys, etc. Kamea has. How do you tell people, “thanks, but no thanks” in a kind way. :)

    Also, I recently decided to get the Dr. Alkaitis travel samples (at your recommendation). I also use a Clarisonic. Did you find that the cleanser worked with it?

  • Maria (Tough Cookie)

    Great rules! Congrats on the new beautiful addition to your family xoxoxo

  • Maida

    Great list! Did you receive any negative reactions to your email? Our second is on her way any day now and we– I — will be imposing similar rules or will be more militant about visitors than I was with my first. I figure it's my house, so I get to make the rules, but I certainly don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. If I'm being completely honest, I wouldn't mind NOT having any visitors for a couple of months, but I know that will never fly. How did you keep visitors from bombarding you after Kamea was first born?

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I totally understand. It is your house and it's your baby. You are the
    one responsible for his/her well being… so be the mama bear you need
    to be. I didn't get any backlash. I think the reasoning is
    understandable and when it's communicated as “mama bear” that kind of
    makes it a little lighter, you know? Yet, the message is still the same.

    It was easy keeping visitors at bay when she was first born. We were
    so sleep deprived and getting the hang of breastfeeding… that's just
    the way it was – heck, we hardly answered the phone. We said we
    weren't ready for visitors and that was that.

  • Aggy

    I love that you always stand up for what you believe – very motivating! Great post!

  • Courtney Taylor Clay

    Very good list, Kristen!! I had no visitors at all with my son for the first two months, then only a few family members. Close friends started visiting occasionally when he was 3 months. He never even went anywhere in a car until he was 8 months! I REALLY enjoyed the close, intimate months we had, and I feel how powerful it was for our family bonding. Now he's so social and outgoing, and VERY self-assured!

  • Jensanders

    Wow, this is really great Kristen. I never heard of “mama bear rules”. Did you create it? Or, have I been under a rock? It would have been great to communicate something to this effect after my two little ones were born. I truly love #1. We are a no shoes allowed household. Even though family and friends know this, they sometimes forget, so for my son's first birthday we put a sign on our door to remind everyone and it's working. Case in point – clear communication does the trick! Best wishes to you…I remember the adjustment period well… ;-)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    That's fantastic! The only time Kamea leaves the house is for doctor
    appointments. It'll stay that way for at least awhile during the hot
    season. Even after that… The only place I really go would be to my
    mom's or Whole Foods. Lol.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I have a sign too! Lol.

    I didn't get the term Mama Bear Rules from anything, so I suppose I
    made it up. But, the term Mama Bear isn't new when referring to us moms.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I love my Clarisonic with Dr. Alkaitis. I use both twice daily.

    Gifts… Good question. Here's the thing. One reason I didn't have a
    baby shower is because I didn't want to deal with that. I figured we
    didn't need a whole lot anyway.

    I'm pretty vocal about what kinds of things I use with Kamea for
    starters, so most people who would buy us gifts would know. Then, I
    registered on Amazon and told my mom, mom in law, and our best friend
    about it. This way, if people asked them about buying us a gift, they
    could direct them there. After all that, if you still receive a gift
    or two that you don't want, you can give it to charity. ;)

    Hope that helps.

  • Girlonraw

    I LOVE this! I will be cutting and pasting this when the time comes for me to use this!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    hehe! Awesome SS! :)

  • rjones31

    um, YES, you ARE, a total germ-o-phobe. Loosen up! Why do you eat healthy?? I do it personally to strengthen my immune system so I don't have to worry about germs! We don't use any soap around here, we go outside and in stores and get exposed to everything. and we don't get sick. If you do get whooping cough, it will be much less severe than is usual, will probably just appear to be a normal cold. If you have troubles with your immune system you might want to ease up on all your protein powders and eat from basic fruit, real food.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    If you follow my blog or my facebook updates you'd see that I eat very
    healthy. And we are protecting Kamea during her vulnerable time. Thank
    you very much. I'm following my maternal instinct. You can't top that.

    And, you don't use soap? Eew. Gross.

  • Ashley

    That's really cute! Did you email it out? I have to ask, how do you do it all and stay so organized?? I'm so jealous! I have 4 month olds and sometimes I don't even brush my teeth until 4:00 p.m.! :)

    After 2 months I didn't have any mama bear rules anymore. Unless someone looks sick or knows they are sick, I ask them not to hold but that's about it. They have been in a public pool and I let quite a few little kids from my work hold them and people think I am absolutely crazy! I don't blame you especially with whooping cough being so close to you, that's scary for sure. Most of my friends are like you so I'm going to send this to them so that they are prepared, they will love it!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Lol – ummm. I still need to brush my teeth today ;)

    I haven't brushed my hair. My scrunchie is all stretched out from
    wearing it non stop the past 8 weeks. Haha

    Thx for sharing your experience. I simply feel no pressure or desire
    to unnecessarily expose her at this age, ya know? Later on… sure.
    But not right now. Doing this gives me peace and that's priceless for
    this new mommy. :)


  • rachel

    good for you! my three are older now but i wish i would have been as brave as you when they were born! my first was born in november and we took him to the huge family christmas party just 6 weeks later….not fun! i was also only 20 and not as brave as i am now! you are an awesome mom so far:)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks, Rachel. I appreciate that.

  • Shannon

    Was this for your extended family/friends or did this include parents and siblings too??

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Our moms have been around since the birth so only some rules apply: 1,
    2, 6, and 7
    It applied to everyone else, including siblings, which is only one
    brother who lives near us. The rest are nieces, nephews, and friends.

  • Michelle

    I am a huge advocate of the 'lying in' seclusion period with your brand new baby for as long as you can plan, so this is great! It's remarkable people think this a rude thing to do especially when they don't have to go through the distress of caring for a sick infant when it is so easily prevented. This time happen once (with each child) and passes by ridiculously quickly. Bravo for you for actively protecting it for you and your daughter :)

  • Lisa Clark

    This is a good post. I've already warned people when we have the baby that I don't want many people visiting and no one holding at the birth center. Too many people at once leaves the baby vulnerable to so much. I am sure I will be sending out these rules to my family. My husband's mother wanted us to hop on a plane with the baby two months after I'm due to meet their whole family. No thank you. Especially in winter.

    It is good about the shoes.. I live in an apartment with carpeting (EW) and we have not been so good about taking our shoes off. Even though I baking sodaed and vacuumed, bare feet will end up dirty walking around on it. Yuck.

    It bothers me that some people will make plans with me not telling me they are sick or ask me to hang out when they have sick kids knowing I am pregnant. I can't hide from everything, but I also don't want to be around someone who is ill intentionally.

    Hahaa about the just wanted to seem “hip” with the young ones ;)

  • Lisa Clark

    If you get sick that is one thing, but in a newborn it could be much more serious. Congrats Kristen on telling your family ahead of time in a non-confronting way and making sure your baby has a healthy development :)

    Soap is essential for not only washing away germs, but getting rid of grime that builds up. I don't use antibacterial soap, but I use soap. :)

  • Lisa Clark

    You can also register on This way you can tell people exactly what you want without having to link to it. I'm asking for some secondhand items, etc., so it has been convenient to let people know what I want. I'm thinking if someone gets me a toy made of something I really don't want my baby sucking on/playing with I will display it as a decoration or something like that.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    We usually use Dr. Bronner's soaps around here. :)

  • Anne12409187

    I think this is a bit over the top. I have a little baby as well, and when people come over, if I am worried about the baby – I just say that she's really fussy and it's better if she sticks on me today. But I am also happy to hand over my baby for a few cuddles. And at 11 months old, she has never had even a cold! Also – I had my inlaws and sister in law LIVING with us for a month, 2 months after her birth, which helped SO MUCH with breastfeeding. I was able to feed her, then hand her to my mother in law (who gave her more kisses than ever!) so that I could take a much needed nap. Sure she was exposed to more germs (my husband also works at a hospital as a med professor even got H1N1!!!!) but our daughter is strong now health wise. Breastfeeding strengthens immunity! Don't live in fear – embrace other's visits when you feel up to it – and most of all – let others help out so your job is easier!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I don't live in fear. I do let others help… our moms come over all
    the time. We're both thriving so I'm doing everything right. :)

  • Mphillips

    What about your birth story? Was it posted somewhere? I'm curious if you were able to follow your birth plan?

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I'm hoping to get it posted this month. Other projects (and Kamea!)
    come first. ;)

  • Amy

    I get it. My twins were born 5 weeks early and got RSV at 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 weeks and were in the NICU for 3 and 2 weeks. We were pretty clear about hand washing, no visiting with colds or if anyone in the family was sick. The twins are now 19 months and totally thriving. As moms we need to do what we think is best for our families.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I'm so glad to hear they're thriving at 19 months. Cheers to YOU! :)

  • Annie79

    This is great! Wish I did something like this when my daughter was born. My in-laws were the worst. My sister-in-law showed up at the hospital hours after my daughter was born even though we knew that she was recovering from a pretty serious illness at the time. In the end it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks. The only thing that matters is your beautiful little baby and your responsibility to protect her. Good for you!

  • bitt

    Thanks for this list. Having had periods of time where my immune system was weak, I can really understand where you are coming from. I got sick a few times from friends and other little kids (who were in daycares).

    I do worry about when I visit my sister (she's due to have a baby any day now). I will have to travel and fly to see her in about a month. Now I worry I will be giving the baby germs. Maybe I should wait a day or two after I fly then come to her house. Or at the very least change and shower before I touch the baby.

  • Sasd

    I like this. While I think it is a little full on I think it's great that you're being true to yourself and looking after your baby which is the most important thing. :) Good job!!

  • Jennifer

    Being a parent is the toughest thing we will ever do. Our children are a gift from God given to us to take care of, protect, nuture, etc. We need to do that in the way we see fit. Though I didn't handle my babies newborn times the same as Kristen, who am I to judge her. This is what her and her husband think is best, so that is what they do. When we began to homeschool our boys, (we have four), it was very unpopular with family, but we continued because we did what we thought was best for our kids. They are now thriving, amazing, fun, happy, and smart boys. It would be wonderful if mom's could come along side each other and support each other even when they don't agree with each other. Being a mom, especially a new mom, is hard enough, but if we could respect and honor each others standards, it would make things a lot easier. I commend you Kristen for doing what you think is best to protect your baby and sharing that with others that they may also benefit.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I wholeheartedly agree… we
    should join together. No two babies or family dynamics are the same,
    and as such one parenting style does not fit all. Have a great day!

  • Alina Vladimirova

    Hi Kristen!

    I LOVE your rules! I don't think they are over the top at all. In Russia, where I am from originally, a mom and a baby stay at home for the first month with absolutely no visitors allowed. Parents are even encouraged to wear hospital masks when holding the baby (yes, even the mother), especially is the father has to go to work every day.

    I sometimes catch “Baby Comes Home” on TLC when I visit my friend (no cable at my house, thank God :) ) and it horrifies me to see a two-day-old babies being visited by a flock of family members who walk into the house, with their shoes on, not washing their hands, and going straight to the baby! Amazing how unaware people are.

    Thank you for keeping this blog running – I'm picking up lots of ideas and making a baby wish list :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    That's such interesting information. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Kate

    When I had my daughter, my list was extremely close to yours. I said NO to visitors for the first 3 months and when they did come I had them all go wash their hands before even coming close to the baby. I even had to tell my husband's mom to STOP wearing her perfume….it was ridiculously strong. I always got weird looks and I know for sure rude comments because they would actually try to convince me that I was over-protective. When I questioned a relative for bringing over her young daughter with a runny nose they actually thought I would believe them when they said she was not contagious! Sorry for the rant but people are just clueless, you know? They were all offended when I told the young girl not to TOUCH the baby. But of course I was the one who ended up appearing rude. I wish people would just understand that a new mom and a baby need their time to rest and get settled!
    One question though… How do you protect Kamea from “doggy” germs? I have a small breed dog and the dog goes in and out of the house, licks everything, etc.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks for sharing your story. And… good for you!

    About our dog… he doesn't go near her really and doesn't lick

    anything that touches her so we're okay with him just being the way he

    is. He does go in and out for the bathroom and walks, but there really

    isn't anything we can do about that, ya know?

    Have a great day!


  • Ashley Gotschall

    What a great idea to send out a mass email! We are also very “green” and organic and my husband's mother who is the polar opposite and smokes was (very unfortunately) not able to hold baby because of it. This was one of the hardest things for me because although we're not close, it still broke my heart. Too bad this healthy lifestyle is considered an “alternative” lifestyle.
    P.S. I'm a reader of your original blog but I'm loving this one as well!

  • mamabear

    I totally understand Ashley, we wanted the same rules for our little baby. We told grandma that she has to air out, change clothes and wash hands before cuddling the baby and she plainly just refused to hold the baby if she has to go through all this trouble. I am really sad because of this, as she lives with us and she held the baby once since she was born. She is now 2 months.

    Kristen, I wish I had that list. My IL family came to visit at our house right about when I was due, even though we warned them that we don't want to have a house full of people and kids when the baby is born. But they came when the timing coincided with their vacation, not caring much about what was convenient to us. They came anyways and overstayed their welcome after I delivered, by making fuss about leaving the house and making us feel like criminals about it. We arranged for alternative accommodations for them, but they refused to leave unless it was to go to a hotel (which they made us pay for). When they came to visit the baby the next day, my husband insisted the kids and adults wash their hands. After they left, a big family feud started where half of them are not talking to us and half are mad because we had the audacity to ask. People are allowed to like as they wish, but what get me, is when they have the audacity to tell you how YOU should live your life and run your household.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Wow. So sorry you had to go through that, especially during such a

    trying time like postpartum. :/

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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