The arrival of a baby into the world is a big event not only for the parents, but also for the people who are close to them, from family members to friends or co-workers. Everybody is thrilled about it and can’t wait to meet this cute little person that has brought so much joy and happiness.
With all this overflowing enthusiasm it’s easy to forget that for the baby’s parents this is a very special and sensitive period. They’re still trying to recover after an exhausting birth and learning to adjust to their new lifestyle and people are already assailing them with a million questions and planning to visit them. They’ve just welcomed the most important person in their lives and they are probably overwhelmed by all the major changes they’re going through, so right now what they need is all the peace and quiet in the world, as well as a lot of understanding and support.
So instead of joining the crowd of people putting pressure on the parents and asking to see the baby ASAP, take a minute and read these basic rules that will teach you what to do if you’re planning on visiting a new born baby.
Don’t make it about yourself
It’s understandable that you’re eager to see the baby and cuddle him as soon as possible, but remember that you’re one of the many, so don’t make it a tragedy if you’re not able to see him right away. When the parents are ready, you’ll get to congratulate them in person and snuggle the little one. And when you do, try not to make it about yourself and don’t act like it’s an ordinary visit and you’re the guest that has to be entertained. It’s all about the baby and his parents and everything should revolve around them. Instead of talking about your problems and interests, focus on their needs and be mindful of the questions you ask.
Try to understand the parents
As much as the parents appreciate your desire to visit them and show them your support, sometimes they simply need time to themselves and are not ready to entertain guests. While some moms will be thrilled to receive visits straight away and socialize with everyone, others might need a little more time to recover and won’t be as eager to share their happiness with the rest of the world. Whatever the parents’ choices are, you should try to understand them and respect their decisions. There’s really no reason to get offended and make the parents feel bad about refusing visits. You’ll celebrate together when the time is right.
Don’t come unannounced
To continue the idea above, the only ones that can decide when the time is right are the parents, therefore unplanned visits are a big no-no. Even if you happen to be in the neighbourhood and think is a good idea to drop by for a short visit, try to resist the urge. Don’t put the new parents in the awkward situation of being forced to act like they’re happy to receive your visit, when all they really wanted was to be left alone with their precious little baby. To avoid making everyone feel uncomfortable, always call before you visit, and when you call, let them know that it’s alright if they are not in the mood to see anyone.
Don’t come empty-handed
If you’re making the trip to the newborn’s house, make sure you don’t go empty-handed. You don’t have to buy an expensive present to show how much you care, but bringing new baby gifts is definitely a nice gesture. You can buy something practical like a set of clothes for the baby or you can simply bring some flowers or some comfort food for the new mom. Another great idea is to ask the parents if they need something in particular. They probably already have so many baby onesies they could open a children’s clothing department, but they might need some extra diapers though, because you can never have enough of those when you have a newborn.
Mind the germs
A baby’s immune system is not as strong as that of an adult and they can easily get sick, so you must take extra caution when visiting a newborn. The golden rules are:
- Don’t visit a baby if you are sick, if you’re simply feeling a little unwell or if you’ve been around sick people lately
- Don’t come with your kids, even if they’re perfectly healthy
- Make sure to wash your hands when you arrive and wash them again before holding the baby
- Don’t kiss the baby, even if it’s hard to resist
Don’t offer unrequested parenting advice
Of course, you want to show your love and support and be as helpful as you can, but this is not the time to show off all your baby knowledge and share your wisdom with the new parents. Even if you’re an expert on kids, you shouldn’t assume that the mom wants you to teach her how to hold or feed her baby, unless she asks you to. Instead of showering the parents with advice on how to care for their baby, try to talk less and listen more. They’re going through a new and challenging stage in their lives and if they want to share their thoughts and feelings with you, try to be a good listener.
Keep it short
The parents might be happy that you came by, but it’s quite obvious they’re a little busy and probably sleep-deprived, so try to keep the visit short. Don’t expect them to have the energy and the disposition to entertain guests for hours and don’t be offended if they sometimes forget there are other people around. They’ve got a baby to feed, diapers to change and survival naps in between. You’ve seen the parents, congratulated them, met the baby, listened to the stories, now it’s time for you to go. You’ll come back again soon when things have calmed down a bit.