'8 Simple Rules for Visiting Newborns'
Updated: Oct 1, 2019
I figured that a post like this would help shed some light on some DO's and DON'Ts when it comes to visitor's etiquette and newborn babies. I asked a few mums close to me (and also on Instagram) to find out from real mothers what was an absolute 'no no' and what they enjoyed. Parenthood literally begins overnight; suddenly you're thrust into taking care of this precious little human until their adult life, and that can be hugely stressful and overwhelming. Not only that, some women have gone through hell and high water to get their child here: 24 hours+ of labour, or even years battling with infertility before their miracle baby arrives, and it's completely up to them if they have a few rules to follow when it comes to visiting their baby.
Remember: YOUR baby, YOUR rules! When it's your turn, you decide too!
Okay so let's jump right in..
1. Do Not Kiss the Newborn This was a popular rule amongst nearly all the mums I asked and I think this one should go without saying. Newborn babies have a weaker immune system and kissing can spread a magnitude of germs – even ones you have no idea you're carrying!
2. Don't Visit If You're Sick
"It’s a no brainer but we did have someone come with a bad cold and it was an awkward conversation!" – mum anonymous
As my fellow mama said, it goes without saying. Don't come when you're feeling under the weather, or if your child is. Trust me, they will not be offended if you have to reschedule; in fact it's the complete opposite.
3. Hand Sanitiser is Your Best Friend! On this same note, if you care enough about this newborn baby to visit, it's super important to protect this vulnerable baby from germs. So next time you visit a baby, try to bring your own hand sanitiser (and make sure mum or dad see you use it!), trust me, it makes the whole situation less awkward if the parents don't have to ask you to wash your hands first. If you forget to bring your own, once you arrive, let the parent(s) know you're going to wash your hands before giving this cutie a big cuddle – it just makes for a less uncomfortable conversation.
4. Never EVER Arrive Unannounced
"Don't feel pressured into saying 'yes' to people visiting straight away" "Unexpected guests threw us off as we were still so exhausted, tired and not prepared for so many visitors." – mum anonymous
It's very important to wait until the parents are ready before coming over to visit, and never, ever, ever arrive unannounced. The first few days, weeks, heck- ...even months can be a little overwhelming. So extend a polite invitation and congratulations on the newborn, and simply let them know that you'd love to visit, but only when it's good and convenient for them.
5. Respect Their Routine
"There was one time my little girl was sleeping and someone wanted to pick her up just so she could have cuddles" – mum anonymous
This is a popular rule with most mums. Getting a baby into a routine can be very taxing, and it's important that you try to work around the baby's schedule. I spoke to a mum who said she didn't accept visitors past 7pm. It's not just because of the sleeping newborn baby, but also the very exhausted parents trying to figure out this whole process.
6. Don't Criticise the Way a Baby is Fed.
I had a hard time breastfeeding. I felt so guilty when I had to give my son formula because I wasn't producing enough milk, and what made me feel worse was when friends and family would try to coach me on how I should position my baby to breastfeed etc. In the nicest way possible, leave your opinions at the door and have an open mind! Whether they choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, it's their choice. I felt uncomfortable breastfeeding around others and would often retreat into my bedroom for some privacy. Don't feel offended: it's just that 'mother choice'.
7. Don't Come In "All Guns Blazing" This isn't the time to be super loud; be sure to come in calmly. Loud noises can really throw a baby off, and most newborns spend the majority of their day sleeping anyway, so calm is definitely best.
8. When In Doubt, Always Ask! I think the overarching moral of this rule book is: always ask. Questions are good! Each parent is different; some are super relaxed and have no rules, and some (to you) may seem bossy with what appears to be all the rules in the world. Some mums prefer for visitors to wear a muslin before carrying their baby, so they don't have direct contact with baby's sensitive skin. Some don't mind you giving the baby a big smooch, but always ask!