Okay, so I’m not exactly a “new” mom, seeing my oldest is now 4, and had I written this then it would have been more along the lines of “STAY. AWAY. and send coffee, booze, chocolate, and massage gift cards from afar.” But I just had my second baby and am slightly less neurotic this time around, so I feel I have a little bit of knowledge to share on the topic. The following is my advice for visiting a new mom:
1. Don’t show up unannounced. Hospital, house, wherever. Just don’t do it. I don’t care if you’ve been best friends since the third grade, this is not the time for surprise visits. And always ask what time works best for them.
2. Give them a couple days to get settled before visiting. The first couple days home from the hospital can be completely exhausting and chaotic. Unless they specifically tell you to come over, give the new family a couple days to get acclimated before dropping by.
3. Don’t expect to hold the baby. This may sound crazy, as most visitors are eager to snuggle the new addition (understandable because they’re adorable and smell incredible), but my first child was what you’d call a “spirited” baby, which roughly translates to “hot freaking mess.” The kid cried almost 24/7 and only wanted mom, so on the rare chance he wasn’t crying, the last thing I wanted to do was hand him over to someone else, almost ensuring that he would have a meltdown and I’d have to calm him down all over again. So if mom wants you to hold the baby, she’ll likely offer.
4. Don’t overstay your welcome. Unless you are asked to stay, don’t stick around all day. New parents are exhausted and don’t need to worry about making small talk with you while secretly wishing they were taking a nap. Close friends and family can typically get away with longer stays, but if you’re some random co-worker, neighbor, or acquaintance, keep it under an hour.
5. Bring something. I actually didn’t mind if people didn’t bring anything when visiting, but some will tell you this is a must. My go-to’s are usually things like coffee and bagels–something you know people will like and is easy to eat with one hand–but other options include meals, a gift for the baby, gift cards, or wine.
6. Be cool about the feeding of the baby. If mom is breastfeeding, there is a good chance that she will be excusing herself at some point to feed the baby or you will be seeing a lot of boob during your visit. Don’t complain or make a big deal out of either or you won’t be invited back. If mom is formula feeding, don’t be a moron and ask why she isn’t breastfeeding or offer suggestions on how she can boost her supply. If she wants to share this information, she will.
7. Wash your hands. You are a human being and you carry germs. Wash your hands before holding or touching any newborn.
8. Don’t visit if you’re sick. Speaking of germs, stay far away if you’re feeling under the weather. There’s a lot of things newborns can’t be vaccinated for until they are a bit older, so it’s best to play it safe and postpone your visit until you are feeling 100%. This goes for sick kids as well.
So there you have it. Follow these few bits of advice and new mom will not only be grateful for your visit, she may even invite you back;)
What tips do you have for visiting a new mom?