So your loved one just gave birth? How exciting for you! But it may not be for the new mother or the newborn baby. So before you jump and grab your keys or hail a cab to go meet them immediately, here’s a list of what to expect + Do’s and Don’ts on newborn visits.
Expect Your Calls/texts To Go Unanswered
A new mother isn’t sitting there with her smartphone in her palm all day; she’s got a nursing baby in her arms or is probably resting, otherwise. Besides, the Effects of Radiation on Breast Milk and Breastfeeding Mothers is crazy!
With my babies, I keep my phone on silent + keep it far, far away, especially when we are nursing to minimise the effect of radiation.
*Sorry guys, I may text or call you back hours after you try to reach me*
Wait Your Turn
For most people, there is the immediate family waiting to get into the room and the savour in the first precious days of this awesome phase that the whole family is going through.
If you wish to visit the new parents at the hospital or their home, it’s important that you check about the best time to visit first and then go according to their time, not yours.
Plan your visit.
Visiting a Newborn: WHAT TO DO
Visiting a Newborn In Hospital
Plan your visit.
New mothers are sleep deprived, are weak or under medication when they are at the hospital. If you must, then keep your hospital visit short. Very, very short.
Instead of bombarding the new parents with calls and texts, check the room numbers and take directions from the hospital staff.
Visiting a Newborn At Home
Plan your visit.
If you are visiting a newborn and the new parents at their home then don’t just sit there and chat. Make yourself useful. Pick up toys that are lying around; help clean the home or volunteer to do the dishes. It’s never like the new parents want you to be their maid, but it is always thoughtful to ask if they need any help and get right to it.
Visiting a Newborn With A Cold Or Other Illnesses
If you feel you have an itchy-scratchy throat or a fever coming up, it’s best to stay at home. Even if someone else within your family is unwell, wait until everybody is hale and hearty to make your visit. Both the new mother and the newborn are vulnerable in the first few weeks of birth.
Don’t Wear Perfume
New mothers are still very sensitive to smell (as the sensory organs were already heightened during pregnancy) and it is the same case with the infants as well. Therefore, please do not bring overwhelmingly-sweet-smelling-flowers or douse yourself with perfume when visiting a newborn and new mother.
Before You Enter the Room
Take deep breaths to calm yourself.
Center and Enter.
You are about to enter another world where peace and quiet are a mandate. Whether you had a bad day at work, got stuck in the traffic or had food poisoning the night before; there is no need to bring that energy into this room where a new life has just bloomed. Prepare to witness anything – some shrill wailing, dirty diapers or nipples. Calm yourself.
After you Enter the Room
Go straight to wash your hands first. OR reach the nearest hand sanitizer and douse some into your palms – without being asked for it by the new mother or anyone else in the room.
Did you know infants can die if you handle them with unwashed hands?
Keep your voice low
As excited as you may be, calm yourself down and remember only to speak in soft “inside” gentle voice.
Phone on Silent/Vibrate
Speaking of soft voices, remember to keep your phones on silent or vibrate.
You do not want to wake up a sleeping baby.
Forget your kids
Speaking of gentle voices and clean hands;
for visiting a newborn for the first time, don’t bring your children.
Don’t post Pictures
This is a very intimate and a special occasion for the new parents. Don’t ruin it for them by invading their privacy like that.
Focus on the Mother
When you do get to visit, remember that the new mother (with the procedures, medicines, hormone fluctuations and an overhauled body transformation) will not be as focused on anything or anyone else but the baby. Keep the conversation centered around the mother and the baby.
Holding the Newborn
You don’t know how the baby is feeling – whether it’s hungry, sleepy or has just been fed. So for your first time visiting a newborn, lay low. You will, undoubtedly, have many more chances to hold the baby, later.
With Advice, Keep Mum.
Unless specifically asked, refrain yourself from giving any advice or opinion and just smile.
They might be first-time parents, but most people don’t need unsolicited advice about parenting
– especially if it is coming from people who don’t have children.
Visiting a Newborn: WHAT TO BRING
Try not to visit a newborn empty-handed.
If the new parents have practical baby shower gifts or have planned well ahead as most parents usually do; chances are, they have everything they need already.
If you must, then gift cards make the perfect gifts, anytime – new parents can use it to buy things they really need or missed getting otherwise.
Be gracious and bring the gifts home directly, instead of the hospital.
The new parents would already have many other things to carry home, apart from their new bundle of joy!
Practical Gifts For The Mother
- Fresh fruit
- Dry fruits
- Homemade soup or meals
- Relaxing Massage oils/bath essentials
- Lip balm
- Healthy Smoothies
- Red wine
- Cup Cakes
- Diapers or Baby Wipes
- Or just a beautiful hand written note would make a very special gift.
Practical Gifts For The Father
Yeah, don’t forget him! The poor guy is just as excited and relieved and nervous as the newborn and the new mother.
Bring him some cold beverages and make sure the food you bring the mother is enough for the father as well!
Talk to the guy 🙂 Ask him how he is feeling and if he needs any help. Your time and compassion make a great gift!
Gifts For The Sibling
While everyone else would get some gift or the other, it’s thoughtful to try to do something for the sibling as well. It could be anything, depending on their age. Most of all, your attention and inquiries on how they are feeling is a gift to them who may feel left out or forgotten otherwise.
What else would you add here?
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