So I know everyone wants to beat down the door to be the first to see a new baby and decide for themselves whether or not the father is really who the mother says he is, however, I urge you to approach this momentous time in someone else’s life (yes someone else’s) with the poise of Emily Post. There is always that one friend or relative who oversteps boundaries when it comes to a newborn, and while those lines are different for every parent, I encourage everyone to err on the side of being too polite and caring (I know, I know, this doesn’t sound like me at all:))
Do’s (with permission)
- Go over to the parents’ house while they are still in the hospital and stock their refrigerator.
- This can be a huge help to new parents who are in a daze and unlikely to take good care of their nutritional needs.
- Once you are given the green light for a postpartum visit:
- Make it short. New mommies are getting into a groove and sometimes that means going topless to let their nipples breath. That is not something you need to interrupt.
- Touch base an hour or two before you arrive to see if there’s anything you can pick up for them: giant maxi pads, stool softeners, bourbon, etc.
- Take food. Even if it’s not mealtime, you can bet that the new parents will always welcome food and/or booze depending on the couple.
- Text or email instead of calling.
- There’s nothing worse than just lying down for a nap while the baby naps, when your phone won’t stop ringing with people wanting to hear all about the new babe. Be kind. Message before and schedule a time to chat.
- Offer to give the new parents a few hours away after they've had a week or two to settle in.
- It’s so easy to get stuck in the cycle of baby as new parents. Help them break it up by offering to come over for an hour or two while they go out to grab a coffee or glass of wine alone and decide whether or not they still like each other.
- Don’t show up to the hospital right after mommy has delivered the placenta
- Unless you were given specific instructions to attend the cord cutting, then a hospital visit should not be on your list
- Don’t give unsolicited advice or opinions to the new parents, even if you are super savvy and have a blog;), bite your tongue until you are asked for your opinion and be sure to give gently.
- Examples of what NOT to say (taken from real life experiences):
- We never had to use a pacifier.”
- “Let me show you how to quiet a fussy baby”
- “Do you really think it’s a good idea to use a rock-and-play? I heard they cause brain damage.”
- “Strange, our baby slept through the night from the very beginning”
- “Can’t you just give her water? Why are you breastfeeding so much?”
- “Do you want some tips on how to lose your baby weight?”
- “You need to just sleep when the baby sleeps”---this is one of the most annoying because it’s not that a mother doesn’t try but if she wants to eventually wash off the aftermath of childbirth, then she will not be able to close her eyes every time baby does.
- Don’t show up at the house unannounced. No really. You’re not welcome without a blessing from the new parents.
- Don’t bring your little germ aka your child over to visit a newborn, specifically a firstborn.
- Even if you practice the very best in hygiene, kids are gross. No need to risk getting mommy or infant sick .