We get it … it is super exciting. Your friend, family member or colleague has just had an incy wincey teeny tiny new-born. So, you want to head over as soon as possible and greet the little poppet.
Even if you had your own teeny tiny person – you have most probably forgotten that those first few weeks are hard, and you are sore plus in a strange daze of chaos.
First main and most important rule – YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LET THE NEW MOTHER DO ANYTHING FOR YOU WHILE YOU HOLD THE BABY.
Remember the above, then, add these rules onto those and you will be ‘golden’.
One doesn’t just ‘drop-in’
One hilarious, but totally true story was a new mother whose mother-in-law popped in endlessly until the new mother resorted to hiding behind the couch when she arrived. She didn’t realise that said mother-in-law could walk around and look through the window where she was discovered, pretending to be invisible. It ended up with a hard conversation.
Check before going, and then a couple hours before you head over – check again.
But don’t assume you shouldn’t visit
Some people may tell you ‘don’t visit the mother for a few months’ however, as one mommy said when she followed the advice that she shouldn’t visit a new mother for at least six weeks. She realised it was totally the wrong move when she did go and see her friend who had wanted her support and to see her.
Check with your friend / relative, maybe they would like a visit.
When you visit, be useful. I remember being in a complete dream world in the first few days of bringing new baby home. My aunt and friend pitched up at the same-ish time. They totally took control, unpacked my hospital bag, looked through the clothes to find what would fit the baby (she was much smaller than I thought) and packed the fridge and left, like magical fairies.
Be those people – do something! Make tea, unpack the dishwasher, check what is in the fridge food wise, pick up the groceries on the way.
Entertain the older ones
If this is a second or third, you would be the best star in the world if you could entertain the older kids. Even if you aren’t into kids – just take them out for a milkshake or just a walk or play in the garden, you can do it!
One mother said ‘What I found very helpful with my 2nd baby. My sister in-law always offered to pick up and drop my eldest from nursery school when she could. Saved me having to pack nappy bag etc and carting the baby with to go fetch him’.
Don’t assume you can hold the baby
This is a tough one. Of course, you want to immediately snatch the little person up. But you can’t, unless the mother offers for you to hold the baby. Some mommies become very protective and don’t like other people to hold their new-born, and that is just the way it is.
Don’t stay too long
30 min … max. Possibly 45 min if you are being super useful. If the baby isn’t crying and isn’t feeding the mother will be wishing that she could also be resting because in a few short minutes baby will be crying or feeding.
A few ways to be invaluable
In response to my request for what people should know about visiting newborn and mommy herewith some ideas
- ‘Bring food’. One less thing to think about … one bright spark even suggested ordered uber eats.
- Wash your hands before you touch the baby (before the mom has to ask you – and they will)
- Be gentle! (Sounds like odd advice but some people can be surprisingly rough)
- Please never-ever kiss any baby … ESPECIALLY on the mouth. When you are a mama it is the most freaky thing how many people try kiss them. Having a baby is tough – having a baby with the herpes virus (read some poor mother’s experience here) or a cold is far tougher!
Most of all .. remember rule number 1
Under no circumstances EVER is the new mother allowed to make you tea or host you. She may wave in the general direction of the kitchen or something that needs to be done.