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Visiting a Mama and Her Newborn: The Do’s and Don’ts
One thing every new mother can count on after childbirth, other than experiencing exhaustion and a barrage of hormonal flux, is visitors. Friends and family flock to congratulate parents and meet the new addition. While the well wishes and congratulatory messages are always appreciated, there are a few important pieces of etiquette that are important to follow.
Bring Food. And don’t be skimpy with the quantity. You might over-analyze what type of dish bring. Do they eat mushrooms? Do they like garlic? Are they following the paleo diet or doing the gluten-free thing? Do they want dessert or are they going to be worried about how many calories a chocolate chip cookie contains? While it’s great that you’re thinking of others, know that if the choice is between bringing something that might not be their favorite, or bringing nothing, the former option is the correct one.
Wash Your Hands (In Plain Sight). It doesn’t matter if you washed them right before you got there, that new mama has to see you do it. Her hormones are running her maternal instinct and when it comes to protecting her baby she is hyper-vigilant. Show her that you are at least sort of vigilant about keeping her baby safe too. It’s the courteous action to take.
Tell Mama She Looks Great, and That Her Baby is Adorable. Even if they both look squishy and puffy and chunky and leaky. Trust me, Mama knows she looks a wreck, she needs to hear that she doesn’t look as bad as she feels. And she most definitely thinks her baby is the most beautiful being on the planet, so don’t you dare indicate that you might think otherwise.
Bring a Small Gift. For the baby, or for her. Diapers, baby shampoos or books are always good choices for baby. If there is an older sibling, consider bringing a small gift for the big kid, maybe even instead of the gift for baby. Body washes or salt scrubs are an excellent gift to remind mom that she deserves a bit of pampering as well.
Ask if There are Any Dishes You Could Wash. Or sinks you could scrub. I’m not saying don’t get your baby snuggles in, because you definitely need to fill your nostrils and your soul with that delicious newborn baby head scent. However, after getting your fix, you can offer mama the chance to sit and relax with her baby while you do some of those tedious chores.
Now that we covered what to do, let’s make sure to go over what not to do:
Try to Soothe Her Fussy Baby. Yes, I understand that you might have had children of your own and you had your little tricks and tips that worked to soothe them. But remember, this isn’t your baby, so those secret remedies are unlikely to work. More importantly, with every cry that her newborn makes, a mom feels a jolt of lightning shoot through her. She has a biological need to hold and comfort her own and withholding that from her causes physical distress. Hand over that colicky baby at once!
Stay Too Long. In case you’re not sure what that means, it means half an hour or forty-five minutes. An hour and you’re really pushing that line between friendly and fun, and exhausting and annoying. Don’t be annoying.
No one intends to cause discomfort or stress when visiting parent and baby, but sometimes it happens inadvertently. Follow these simple rules to be sure your actions align with your good intentions when you go snuggle that new little bundle.