A phone call from a friend or a cousin announcing the arrival of a baby may leave you excited and energized, but you should follow certain social etiquette if you are thinking of visiting the newborn baby. You should plan your visit keeping in mind that the new mom and dad need rest. Take a look at the tips for visiting a newborn, here
Babies are bundles of joy and they bring in loads of happiness. As soon as friends and relatives of the new mom and dad receive the news of the arrival of the baby, they get excited and rush to the hospital. They want to know about the health of the mother and about the weight and height of the baby and how he/she looks. They want to watch the ‘first smile’ or ‘first yawning’ of the baby. They want to touch the baby, clutch her tiny fingers, cuddle her and hold her. They want to congratulate the mom and want to convey their best wishes ASAP. But the newborn baby is so delicate that she needs a safe environment. Moreover, the parents might be deprived of much-needed sleep. So, when it comes to visiting a newborn baby and her parents, you should first think about their needs.
Etiquette of Visiting Parents with Newborns
Most of the time, the mother and the newborn baby are in bed. The new mom and dad need some time to adjust to life with a newborn. They may not get time to make the house look neat and tidy. The visitors should think how the visit can be helpful for the stressed parents. Here are some useful tips.
Visit Only if You are Invited: Whether you are planning to visit the newborn in the hospital or at home, just make sure you’re invited. Plan the visit only if the parents have extended an invitation to meet their baby.
Hospital or Home?: Only close relatives (the immediate family) and very close friends may visit the baby in hospital. Others may visit the newborn about 8-10 days after birth. The mother needs rest and time to bond with her baby.
Call Beforehand: Let the parents know that you would love to meet the baby at their convenience. Call them and make sure that no one else is visiting then and it’s not the lunch or dinner-time. Don’t plan a visit after 7 pm.
Don’t Visit if You Have Cough and Cold: If you are sick, even if it’s common cold, you should not visit a newborn baby. Infants are likely to catch the infection immediately. As the immune system of a baby is not properly developed, it is necessary to protect her from germs and infections. If you have recently recovered from fever and cough, or if you feel that you are going to have fever, you should postpone the visit.
Don’t Take Toddlers with You: As toddlers attend a play-school or a day-care center, they come in contact with several children. It is a fact that they often carry germs. This increases the chances of baby catching the infection. For example, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is quite prevalent during winter, is easily transmitted by coughing and sneezing and by hand-to-hand contact. It leads to respiratory illnesses in young kids. So, leave them at home.
Plan a Short Visit: You should not stay with the newborn baby for more than half an hour (A 15-20 minute visit is just long enough to congratulate the parents and enjoy the company of the baby!). Remember, you are not the only visitor and it’s tiring for the mother (and the dad too) to chat with the visitors, as she has to take care of the baby, breastfeed her, look after the household chores, prepare food, maintain cleanliness, etc. But remember, however tired the mother might be, she would love to introduce you to the new baby. So, don’t avoid visiting a newborn, thinking that the new parents must be stressed and exhausted.
Wash Your Hands: Infants have a weak immune system and so, they are likely to catch an infection quickly. As you enter the hospital room or home, you should first wash your hands. Use a sanitizer before holding the baby. This reduces the chances of the baby being exposed to germs.
Avoid Using Strong Perfume: Use of a synthetic perfume may prove to be irritating for the newborn, so avoid using it. The skin of an infant is very sensitive. The bodily systems are weak and the baby may develop health problems when exposed
Bring Something to Eat: The new mom and dad are already drained and you should not expect to be fed. Instead, you should bring some healthy and homemade food for them. The new mom may not have asked for any help, but you know that she needs nutritious food and rest. You may bring salad, banana cupcakes, fruity yogurt, a tray of whole wheat pasta, lasagna or enchiladas, porridge (they can heat up later), dry fruits, fresh berries and fruits, cheese and crackers, etc. Food served in the hospital is not always tasty. So, if you are going to the hospital, you can take lunch/dinner for the new mom and dad. They will definitely be grateful for the thought and the help.
Think How You can Help: At home, you can offer help in several ways. You can look after the toddler/older kids, if any. You can take them out, feed them, entertain them. If you can handle the baby well, then you can look after the baby so that the mom can enjoy a sound sleep after a bath. You can load the dishwasher and the washing machine, clean the kitchen, fold baby blankets, covers, arrange her clothes in the closet, etc. Call the parents in advance and ask when they need help. Ask them whether they need any grocery, vegetables, fruits, diapers, etc. You can bring some paper plates, or disposable plates and glasses, or disposable wipes for the baby.
Don’t Comment on the Physical Appearance of The Mother and the Newborn: It’s not fair to comment on the looks of the baby (shape of her head, eyes, jaw, nose, hairy skin, etc.). However the baby looks, for the parents, she is always cute and perfect. Similarly, don’t comment on the physical appearance of the mother as well. It takes time to lose weight. She might not even get time to style her hair and shape her eyebrows.
Take a Suitable Gift: As mentioned above, there are so many useful things that you can buy for the newborn baby. You may have already given a shower present but it’s nice to get a gift if you are visiting a new baby. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one, the thought is more important.
No Unsolicited Advice: You might have raised your own children efficiently, but every baby is different. People tend to forget one of the most important etiquette for celebrating the arrival of a baby that they should keep their opinions to themselves. If the new parents ask a specific question, then you may provide the solution to the problem but avoid a long discussion. If they are confused, it is better to consult the doctor. What worked for you may not work best for them. The parents know when to feed the baby and whether the baby is tired and needs sleep. And, let them decide when to resume work. While being supportive you need to respect
their decisions too.
Watch for the Signs: You might love to stay with the baby for half an hour, but if the baby starts crying, if the new mom and dad look really tired, if they start yawning, you should understand that they need privacy and rest. The new parents need to spend some time alone with their new bundle of joy. So, don’t stay too long.
These days, women are discharged from the hospital within two days of giving birth. They need sufficient rest and time to recover and to adjust with the new lifestyle. If you are thinking of visiting a newborn and her mom, see to it that you are not disturbing them and you are helping them in some way or the other. Visitors should think about the well-being of the mother and the baby. If the mother is happy, the baby would be happy and healthy too.