Let’s be honest - there’s nothing quite like the excitement of brand new baby rolling into town. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or neighbor who has added a new tiny human to their home, you may be waiting on the edge of your seat to meet the new babe. Before you go running to get your share of baby snuggles, there are a few unspoken rules you should keep in mind when it comes to visiting a newborn and we’re going to break those down for you today.
- - First of all - when exactly is it okay to come knocking on their door? Ask when it would be a convenient time for them and never come over unannounced.
- - Definitely come with a practical gift in tow - you can never go wrong with food for a busy new family! Maybe pick up some fruit or something else fresh as they’re probably relying on the freezer for most of their meals.
- - Always lend a helping hand during your visit. Offer to take care of those dishes in the sink or throw in a load of laundry or even just to wipe down the counters - it will be much appreciated! Consider some one-handed snacks for mama!
- - Don’t take pictures of the baby or post them on social media unless you get permission from the parents. They may not have had a chance to share pictures themselves or just may not be comfortable with having their baby’s face on the internet, and that’s okay!
- - Don’t push the new mama to talk about her birth experience. She may have had a traumatic experience that she’s not ready to talk about yet, and hormones and exhaustion can make talking about the birth even more upsetting. However, if she does want to talk, be prepared to be a great listener!
- - If there’s an older sibling around, make sure to give them some love too! All the attention on a newborn can be upsetting to the new big brother or sister and they’ll really appreciate a bit of the spotlight on them.
- - Most importantly, do NOT step foot near that house if you are sick or have been recently! Newborns are so susceptible to bugs and the last thing the tired family needs is a sick baby! Even if you’re not sick at the moment, make sure to wash your hands often during your visit, and although it’s hard, avoid giving baby kisses! On this note, leave your kids at home - the presence of more children in the house can be overwhelming for the new parents, not to mention all the germs that come along with them.
- - Finally, don’t overstay your welcome - the new family is exhausted and is probably trying to stick to whatever bit of a routine they manage to put together. Keep the visit short and sweet while reminding the new parents that you’re only a phone call away if they’re ever in need.
These are our general guidelines for newborn visits. But if you are reading this in the present- 2020 has thrown us some whoppers. We urge you to be especially cautious around newborn babies and their families. Please respect boundaries if families are not welcoming to visitors at this time. In these unprecedented times parents are left making choices their parents, grandparents- heck even most of their friends have not had to make with a newborn baby. Give new parents grace! Ask them how you can support them right now. Ask them how they are doing.
Some ideas for socially distant support in 2020:
- - Porch or door front meal drop offs/meal trains that encourage parents to leave a cooler outside or with a defined drop off time from parents where they know they can easily get to the door and get food inside.
- - Gift cards to a local restaurant or delivery app for easy food/coffee/meal delivery. (Hello! A $5 Starbucks gift card sent in app MADE MY DAY Postpartum - it doesn't need to be big! Just thoughtful and practical.)
- - Sending or dropping off older siblings craft kits, activity boxes, etc. that show them a little love and may give mom and dad a break to relax
- - Offering to pick up groceries if the family is avoiding shopping trips/just because!
- - Checking in! It can seem so small, but loneliness amongst postpartum parents is high generally speaking, never mind right now when isolation is more of the norm. Send a sweet text, a voice message, a funny video- let mom/dad know you are on their mind and there if they need something!
If a family is willing to have you in their home or at their home, please make sure to respect their comfort levels. This may mean a visit outside, with masks, or other extra precautions that bring them peace of mind. Remember, this is not personal or about you, it is just a new family trying to make sense of the world their baby has entered and keep them as safe as they can!
Mama-to-be? Check out our blog post on why you may want to say 'no' to your visitors, here!