The Etiquette of visiting parents with a newborn
This week is all about essential tips for visiting a newborn i.e. What new parents would like visitors to know before coming over to meet their new baby…I hope it doesn't offend anyone. New parents will be so happy to see you and excited to introduce you to their little one, but visits can also be stressful and exhausting for parents amidst the sleep deprivation, emotions, birth recovery and demands from a newborn.
If you are a new parent, try to articulate your needs in advance - friends and family who have not had children won’t necessarily know how to be helpful (and those who have will benefit from a reminder!).
Wait to be invited - no randomly dropping in unannounced! Don’t be offended if they are not ready to have visitors for a few weeks. The first days and weeks are very precious and the new family are bonding and getting to know one another. A great time to visit might be when the mum’s partner returns to work after parental leave, which can feel a bit lonely as the excitement and intense emotions of the first few weeks wears off and normal life ‘resumes’.
Bring food - preferably cake, and a lasagna for the new parents’ dinner. I keep talking about these but Gower Cottage Brownies are the best brownies and were such a welcome gift when we arrived home from hospital.
Parents love gifts too. A nice bottle of something or flowers alongside a present for the baby doesn’t go amiss either, or something just for mum such as comfy new PJs or a relaxing bubble bath. A thoughtful friend sent me warming lavender disposable eye masks which were brilliant to pop on when I had a few minutes to rest. And a little something for the sibling who has just become a big brother or sister is the cherry on top!
Wash your hands as soon as you enter the house. New parents will be glad to not have to ask!
Keep germs away. If you or your children are under the weather in any way, rearrange even if it is just a minor cold or cough. Newborns have very fragile immune systems at this stage. The new mum will be so grateful for your understanding.
No kissing. Resist the urge to kiss the adorable new baby.
Text to announce your arrival or try a gentle knock... Avoid pressing the doorbell at all costs 😂
Wait to be offered to hold the baby. Don't be disappointed if you do not get to this time. Second-time parents might jump on the chance to have a shower/nap/pee but first-time mums may feel differently. And know when to give the baby back. It can be a big thing for a new mum ❤️. Also, if they have other children, an offer to entertain or take them out for an hour may be just what they need.
Stay for an hour maximum and leave before 5pm to let the new parents relax a little before the evening cluster feeding and settling begins. It’s a lot of stimulation for a tiny baby to meet new people.
Offer to be helpful. Make your own tea and do a quick tidy-up, washing up or dishwasher loading/emptying whilst you are waiting for the kettle to boil for example.
Resist the temptation to give any parenting advice. They will ask if they want to.
Go without your children if that is possible. It may be more relaxing for everyone for the first visit and means you can give your full attention to the new baby and parents.
I’d love to hear your tips ❤️