Visiting a new baby is always exciting. Everyone wants to see the precious arrival RIGHT NOW.
But before you rush to meet the little one, there are a few important rules to note.
Some rules are common sense. Some you might not have even considered in your genuine excitement. Some you might think don’t apply to you… trust us they do! Some might seem different to when you had your own babies.
However you view it, and like it or not, if you want to stay in the good books of the freshly hatched family, here’s what you need to consider before visiting.
The rules for visiting a new baby are…
Do: wait to be invited
Rule one of visiting a new baby: do not visit until you are invited. No matter how excited you are to meet the new arrival, the first few days and weeks can be a period of huge adjustment, many visitors and not much sleep for the new parents. Wait to be invited to visit.
Don’t: rock up unexpected
Just to be clear: do not rock up unexpected. New parents may not have eaten, slept, showered or dressed recently, which can make for a very awkward and possibly icy reception should you rock up uninvited.
Do: bring some essentials
Rule three of visiting a new baby is make the parents life easier. Help care for the family by bringing some essentials, such as a bag of groceries or a home cooked meal. Something that can be simply heated in the oven is always appreciated.
Don’t: bring germs
A newborn’s immune system is still developing, so don’t visit if you are sick under any circumstances. The same applies to any of your own children you might have in tow with you. In preventing germs, always wash your hands before handling the baby.
Do: bring food
Bring some food to share when you are visiting so the new parents don’t feel they have to feed you. An easy to serve pre-cut cake is a great choice. Turning up with coffees is even better.
Don’t: expect to be fed
Don’t expect the new parents to host you – they have their hands full caring for a new little person already. Get your own cuppa, and offer to make one for them while you are there. There’s nothing worse for a new mum than making endless cups of tea for guests and feeling like you’re everyone’s waitress.
Do: bring presents
Bring a little welcome to the world gift for the new baby – and a treat for the new parents to celebrate this special time. Steer clear of huge toys (inconvenient to store until baby grows into them), large bunches of flowers that require vases.
Don’t: forget about the new big siblings
Yes you might be visiting to cuddle the new arrival, but make sure to bring a little something for the new big brother or sister. Becoming a big sibling can be a big adjustment, so help celebrate this step. Everyone will thank you for this thoughtful gesture, especially the mum who’s already watching her little one carefully for signs of the green eyed monster.
Do: hold the baby
But only if asked! Sometimes parents don’t want others holding the new baby just yet, and that’s ok. Wait to be offered and don’t be offended if you’re not.
Don’t: hog the baby
Yes babies are all kinds of adorable. But give the baby back. There may be others wanting cuddles, including the new parents. And if the baby gets upset, check if the parents want to be the ones to comfort them. Don’t be that person that everyone hates who monopolises the baby and doesn’t share in the experience for others they’re visiting with.
Do: love the baby
Share in the new parents’ joy and be enamoured with the new baby. They have been through a lot to bring this new bundle into the world and are justifiably besotted. Comment on the little things; the beautiful eyes, sweet fingers, tiny toes. Yes all babies are beautiful, but in the new parents’ eyes none have likely ever been quite so spectacular.
Don’t: wake the baby
No matter how much you love and want to hold the baby, never ever (ever, ever, ever) wake the baby. Baby sleep is precious – and gives new parents a few precious moments of rest. If the baby is put to sleep after you’ve been there for a reasonable time grab your bags and go. Mum and Dad might want a rest but be too polite to say so!
When you visit, it is a chance to help the new parents, not just hold the new baby. Ask what you can do. This might be a simple household chore or nursing the baby while the parent grabs a quick shower or snack. Hang out the washing, unpack the dishwasher, prep dinner.
Don’t judge. Being a new parent can be tough. There can be little sleep or time to do anything, and the new baby doesn’t come with an instructional manual. Don’t judge the state of the house, their mood, their coping, their appearance, their relationship or anything else. Just don’t judge. And if you notice something DO NOT SAY IT. Worse, do not offer unsolicited advice.
Be aware of when it’s time to leave. New parents often have many visitors, and with the demands of the new baby often have little time to do anything but endlessly, exhaustedly entertain. Have a wonderful visit, and leave before you’ve overstayed your welcome.