It might be your best friend who has just given birth, or maybe it’s a family member – either way, visiting a brand new squishy newborn is something pretty much everyone enjoys. That newborn smell! Those tiny little fingers and toes! That face!
Before heading straight over, there are a few rules you need to follow for your visit:
1. First thing’s first; please – leave your toddler at home
The last thing a new mother feels like dealing with while still adjusting to her little human is someone else’s toddler. Toddlers don’t really get personal space, nor do they understand “be quiet” or “don’t touch that”. So do everyone else a favour and for the duration of the visit, organise alternative care arrangements for your toddler unless your new mama friend insists you bring them.
2. Don’t come empty-handed
New mothers are usually ravenous and exhausted. This combination means that any gifts of food would be ever so gratefully received. Think a freezable meal that can be eaten later, muffins for hungry-Mama when she’s got the munchies or even some fresh fruit. Most mothers wouldn’t say no to a fresh cup of coffee, either.
3. Offer practical help, not unsolicited advice
Actions speak louder than words when it comes to assisting a new mum. So when you visit, offer to do the dishes for her or ask her if she has any laundry that you could hang out. If by some miracle, she’s got those sorted – see if she’d be happy for you to watch bub while she has a long, hot shower, or at the very least, sweep her kitchen floor. Practical support is the best kind of support for a mum who has just had a baby and is trying to navigate this whole gig.
4. Keep it short and sweet
Most new mothers are running more on adrenaline than they are on sleep, as they adjust to their new life. Prolonged visits are not a good idea and can be overwhelming for a new mother. Keep visits on the short side – unless otherwise indicated by her.
5. Stay away if you are sick, or have been sick recently
One of the worst things that visitors can pass onto newborn babies is a sickness. So, even if you have been ill in the last few days but feel fine now, it’s best to stay away for at least a week. Definitely DO NOT visit while you are still sick.
6. Don’t expect to hold the baby
When you’re visiting a newborn, there’s a chance that you might get to snuggle them (after you wash your hands, of course!) – but there’s also the chance you might not. Not every new mother wants her newborn to feature in a game of pass-the-parcel, and that’s perfectly acceptable. It’s important to respect the new Mama’s boundaries. There will be plenty of opportunities for cuddles in the future.
7. Don’t kiss the baby
This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many visitors want to kiss newborn babies. Kissing a newborn can pass on germs and viruses which can make babies very sick – in some cases, it can be fatal. This is especially important if you have ever had a cold sore caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 1, which is very easily passed on and can be deadly for babies.
Following these rules not only improves your chances of being invited back, but you are also making her feel respected and supported. Nothing can prepare a woman for the feelings, emotions and, well … logistics of having a brand new baby. Having a visitor who comes bearing not only a meal (or two!) but practical support, can make such a difference to the postpartum experience of a new mother – who, let’s face it, probably feels the most tired she has ever felt and hasn’t been able to prioritise her own needs in days.
Join the Bump and Baby: The Fourth Trimester online event! With live expert sessions, FREE newborn routine guide & the chance to WIN a $500 Nursery gift voucher. Click here to find out more and make sure you don’t miss a thing!