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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am concerned about the mothers who are released so quickly from the hospital after childbirth -- often as soon as 24 hours after delivery.

My daughter just had her first baby, and after a difficult delivery and complications, they sent her home after three days. Once she was home, she had to tend her infant, breast-feed every two hours, take a sitz bath every four hours and sleep when possible. Well-meaning friends and relatives who wanted to see the baby rang her phone and doorbell constantly.

When I had my babies 20 years ago, we had four- or five-day hospital stays, and these stays provided something we don't have today -- controlled visiting hours. Guests could come, see the baby, give you a few hugs and go home. Now, the new mom has to answer the door and telephone and entertain people who were not considerate enough to phone and ask if Mom wanted company.

Some friends and relatives were more considerate. They called ahead, brought food, ran errands, and sent notes and gifts.

The first couple of weeks are usually hectic for new moms, so Abby, please tell these well-meaning people to never "drop in" to see the new baby. Call ahead to see how things are going, and if you set up a time for a visit, please be on time. -- CONCERNED GRANDMOTHER

DEAR GRANDMOTHER: Thank you for a valuable letter. And may I add when you visit a new mother, please don't stay too long. Some folks feel that because they had to drive an hour there and an hour back, they are entitled to stay for at least three hours.

DEAR ABBY: I travel frequently, both as part of my job and for pleasure. I have stayed in many really nice motels and hotels and have yet to figure out one thing I have found to be very annoying. Why do the housekeepers tuck in the sides of the top sheet and blanket?

If I'm staying at a hotel, the last thing I want to do is remake my bed -- and when I turn the bed down, both the top and bottom sheets come out. This is infuriating.

I have told the staff at the checkout desk, and they look at me like I'm a bit daft. I'd appreciate it if you would publish this with an answer, if you can get one. -- RUTH ANNE YOUNG, JONESBORO, ILL.

DEAR RUTH ANNE: Any traveler who has ever had to tear a bed apart in order to get into it will understand your fury.

According to a spokesperson for the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, the "old school" of thought is that tucking in the top sheet and blanket projects an image of neatness and cleanliness. In many upscale hotels, however, "turndown service" is provided -- which includes not only removing the spread and turning down the bed, but chocolate on the pillow, closing the drapes, dimming the lights and replenishing the towels.

WORDS OF WISDOM: "He that has a trade has an office of profit and honor. A plowman on his legs is higher than a gentleman on his knees." -- BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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