Yay! There’s a new baby or one on the way. If your friend or family member recently had a baby or will very soon, odds are they need or will need your help. People, are you listening? We. Will. Need. Your. Help! Therefore, when you visit, after we have Baby #2, there are some things to keep in mind so that your visit isn’t stressful nor a hindrance. For all the parents of a newborn out there, myself included, I’m sharing 15 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Parents with a Newborn.
1. Visit When it’s Convenient for the Parents
Remember, the parents are adjusting or re-adjusting to life with a newborn. They are exhausted! More than likely, they are also trying to set a routine that works with their current schedule. Don’t just drop in, ask when is a good time to visit. Also, don’t overstay your welcome. Try limiting your visit time to about a half-hour or so unless you’re helping out around the house or with errands.
2. Visit Only If You’re Willing to Help
We will have an eight-year-old who is in school and a newborn. Juggling school, a newborn, becoming acclimated with breastfeeding, etc., there will always be something to do. So please, offer to help out. I mean we may decline the offer, but the gesture goes a long way. If you see laundry and dishes piling up, offer to wash them. If you see the bathroom or other spaces need some tidying up or the garbage needs emptying offer to get it done. Also, before your visit, ask the new parents, especially the breastfeeding mom if there is anything they need for you to pick up. Just be helpful and not a hindrance.
3. Don’t Expect Parents to Bring the Baby to Visit You
If you live less than 30 minutes away, please don’t expect us to bring our newborn out in the cold to visit you. It’s selfish, especially if you are able-bodied and drive.
4. Don’t Make More Work for the New Parents
For some reason, people think that they are to be catered to. Parents with newborns do not have time to prepare food, clean up after guests, etc. If that is what you expect, we’d appreciate it if you didn’t visit.
5. Bring Food
Listen, cooking is probably the last thing I am going to have time to. If I am anything like I was when I had my Mini-Me eight years ago, I was a “ravenous beast” due to breastfeeding. Having one less meal to cook would mean the world to me.
6. Visit When You Feel Well
I am giving birth during the dead of winter. Please do not visit if you are sick or if you’re just getting over an illness. Newborn’s immune systems are not fully developed. What is a minor cold for us can be tough for them to deal with. So don’t be selfish and come when you’re ill. Just wait until you feel better.
P.S. My Maternal-Fetal Specialist recommends that anyone coming around the baby should have the Whooping Cough Vaccine because it is a deadly disease for babies.
7. Wash Your Hands
Again, this will be cold and flu season, so wash your hands before holding the baby. Don’t worry, there will be hand sanitizer on deck.
8. Keep Your Lips to Yourself
I don’t even know why I have to say this. Don’t kiss people’s babies! There have been so many heartbreaking stories about defenseless newborns dying from a relative’s kiss. Don’t kiss them not even on their hands, especially since babies also put their hands in their mouths. Speaking of things in mouths, it’s also not a good idea to stick your fingers in a baby’s mouth, ever!
9. Don’t Bring Your Little Kids to Visit the New Baby
Smaller kids, especially those in daycare or in school settings are full of germs. Plus, they can sometimes be a hindrance, jumping all over the place, not listening, which leads to added stress that parents with a newborn do not need. Leave them home once the baby is older than three months and once the parents have developed a routine.
10. Ask Before Taking Photos of the Baby
Babies are cute, and it’s exciting when a new life comes into our lives, but be respectful of the parents and the baby’s privacy. Don’t take photos of the baby without asking. Definitely do not share them on social media or with people you know the parents are not “cool” with or even speak to.
11. Don’t Share Photos of the Baby … Period!
This is something I am CRAZY about. Our job as parents is to keep our kids safe. It’s ridiculous that before kids are born they already have a digital footprint, exposing them to risks of identity theft, humiliation, various privacy violations, future discrimination, and more. Call me paranoid, crazy, weird, whatever, I will take it. But I will not share photos of the new baby on social media. I ask that family and friends respect that wish as well, and not share her photos. When she is ready, because I believe in children have autonomy and should give consent, there’s a possibility. But until then, no images of Baby #2 on social media period!
Related: 5 Reasons Not to Post Your Child on Social Media
12. Don’t Expect to Hold the Baby
I am not sure why people are always surprised that newborns are mostly sleeping and/or eating or they’re fussy from being overstimulated; therefore, holding the baby is probably not an option. Yeah, newborns are pretty much boring. So just ask the parents, if it is okay.
I’ll be breastfeeding again, which means Baby #2 will be on the boob a lot, the odds of you holding her will be slim. Please don’t be one of those [ignorant] people ignoring feeding cues and/or suggesting giving a bottle just so you can hold the baby longer. If breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, don’t come or step out of the room.
13. Acknowledge the Big Sister (or Brother)
Although our daughter begged for a sibling, we know it will be a true adjustment for her. She’s going from being the only child who had all of our attention for nearly nine years to having to share it with a baby who requires a lot of our, mostly my attention. Congratulate her on graduating to a big sister, and if you want, bring her a gift.
14. Keep Your “Advice” to Yourself
As if dealing with adjusting to having a newborn isn’t hard enough, you have to deal with unsolicited advice, old wives’ tales, and comments about weight or cleanliness of your home. Before you say anything, just ask yourself if it is helpful or hurtful. If it’s the latter, keep it to yourself. As a matter of fact, unless we ask for advice on something don’t offer it.
15. Respect the Parent’s Wishes
However crazy a request may sound to you from a parent of a newborn, your only choice is to respect it even if you don’t understand or agree. Remember, we are trying our best to protect our baby as much as possible, especially since it took so long for us to get where we are.