Top 10 Tips for Visiting a Newborn
When a our loved ones welcome a newborn into their family it is truly such a joyous occasion. Sometimes we get caught up in all the excitement and forget some key points in supporting and respecting them during their transition. Hopefully this pointers will help you help optimize their postpartum experience.
1) Wait for them to be home and settled. Aside from a handful of eager new parents, most really are not enthusiastic about a bunch of visitors while they're still admitted. This is the time for the new parent to rest post delivery and them to bond as a family. It may even be that they are trying to get the hang of breastfeeding. We never want to deter new parents from these things so it's best to let them get home and settled before asking to visit.
2) Ask first. Along with the reasoning in the first tip, it's important to wait to be invited or ask before dropping in. They may not be settled or they could have just had company, making your visit overwhelming. Overwhelming a new parent is the last thing we want to do so double check that it's a good time for visitors.
3) Come kid free. I'm sure they adore your child and would even welcome them with open arms, but leaving your children at home is proper etiquette because (especially older babies/toddlers) they can take attention from the new mom and baby. Sometimes they are loud and have a difficult time maintaining the peaceful atmosphere we try to encourage. Also, they bring extra germs.
4) Don't come empty handed. There are a couple reasons for this tip. For starters, it doesn't matter what you bring. Whatever it may be will tell your loved one they are being thought of. Whether it be their favorite flower to perk up the dining room or your best cooked dish, she will be grateful. Also, bringing a meal or a household item they might need (how much milk and eggs do you go through in your house?) can take a little weight off this new family's shoulders.
5) If you're health isn't up to par, STAY HOME. Seriously on this one. You showing up sick will be more like a burden than anything. They may feel more obligated to entertain/wait on you which is unfair to them. Not to mention the quality of a newborn's immune system. A common cold to an adult can be much more severe for a newborn.
6) Sanitize. Sanitize. Sanitize. This is a big one for the winter months in Central, New York. Illnesses are constantly circulating and even more widespread in homes with school aged children. Wash your hands constantly and refrain from smoking before your visit. Your loved one will be sure to appreciate it.
7) Lend a hand. No one is saying to go over there and clean their house. (although, if you're that kind of friend, let's chat) New parents have so much responsibility and they should be able to put their baby first. If putting that load in the dishwasher or switching out that load of laundry helps facilitate that, you are doing much more for them than you think.
8) Be modest. Don't go there assuming you have some unspoken right to hold their baby. Ask if they're ok with it or just wait to be invited to. And if that does happen, for the love of all things holy, DO NOT kiss that baby. DO NOT stick your fingers in that baby's mouth. On top of all of the communicable diseases and germs to be passed, it's just common courtesy.
9) Pay attention to mom too. We all know that babies are adorable, have an intoxicating aroma, (no, not in their diaper!) and we enjoy making sure they have ten fingers and toes. However, with that new baby comes a new mother and she deserves some attention too. Is she as happy and excited as she lets on or could she be a little down and need some TLC? How is she recovering? Does she need anything? It's so common to overlook the fact that a human being just went through something huge and is recovering when there is this beautiful new baby to dote over, but it's important.
10) Don't expect to be entertained. When you visit a newborn, expecting to be entertained could put unwanted pressure on a new parent. That or you might be disappointed because offering you a drink or acting hospitable is probably one of the last things on their mind. They will most likely appreciate you asking for a drink and maybe see if there is something you could grab/whip up for them.
*BONUS TIP* Do not interrogate. Birth is not all peaches and cream, not all babies sleep, and breastfeeding is not always beautiful. There are so many cases where new parents are not yet at peace with their birth experience or inability to breastfeed and mentioning such a topic could be a potential trigger for them. Even though your intentions are well, it could prohibit them from confiding in you in the future if it becomes more severe. Other times, they are a proud new parent and will share on their own.