We are always excited when a newborn arrives into the world especially if mum and dad are close to you. However, since having my little one I have realised there are some serious do’s and don’ts about visiting the new arrival – most of which I never realised until I had Annie!
1. Don’t rush straight to the hospital
Lets be honest, giving birth is a tiring experience. Whether mum has had a natural birth or a c-section, she is going to be tired and adjusting to her new life as a mum with a newborn baby. Therefore when mum and dad’s phones start blowing up with everyone looking to be the first to meet the little one, it can become a little overwhelming. Often parents will want certain people to meet baby first e.g. their parents, siblings etc therefore it is best to ask when suits for you to visit. Finally, not all aspects of giving birth are picture perfect. Parents may have been advised that baby needs further tests or that there is a suspected illness e.g. out of 4 on my ward, 2 babies had suspected heart murmurs. Therefore if you are visiting remember to be sensitive.
2. Don’t arrive unexpectedly
Always arrange with mum and/or dad when it suits to visit. The day after arriving home we had 15 visitors in one day and it was insanely overwhelming. I remember curling up and crying to my mum like a child! Remember day 3-5 post birthing many mums get the “baby blues” so very little can tip you over the edge. Hospitals can also have strict visiting rules e.g. no more than 2 to a bed, therefore, if mum and dad don’t know your arriving, those that have arranged to come may have to leave early for you to come in.
Babies can also be very unsettled when they come home therefore certain times of the day for visits may suit better than others.
3. Don’t ask to hold the baby when its sleeping
Visitors get to visit, coochy coo over the baby and then leave but if the baby becomes spoilt i.e. being held whilst sleeping, mum and dad are going to be tortured after! I was very strict with Annie that she wasn’t to be lifted while sleeping and although some visitors weren’t happy, I had to do what was right for us and Annie.
4. Don’t take pictures without asking
This baffles me. Regardless if you are family or a lifetime friend, why would you take a picture of the little one without asking? Many parents now are choosing not to post pictures of their little one on social media so it is best to honour their wishes.
5. Don’t visit when you are ill
Again, this one baffles me. Why would you want to visit a newborn who hasn’t learnt to fight off illnesses yet? You should also make sure to wash your hands before holding the baby whether ill or not.
6. Do not stay longer than an hour
Hospital visiting is brilliant as visitors have to leave by a certain time but when at home visitors can come and stay for as long as they like! We have had visitors stay for up to 3 hours! Again, new parents are adjusting to a massive life change with their new arrival so staying longer than an hour can be very overwhelming and can disrupt their ability to get into a routine. Also, new parents are often so tired so holding a conversation for longer than an hour can be painful!
7. Don’t pass the baby from visitor to visitor without asking
This is my ultimate pet hate. When a number of people visit together, it appears to be socially acceptable to pass the baby around. I found myself so upset when Annie was first born at her being passed around everyone. No mum wants to appear rude by asking visitors not to have a nurse of the baby but she always has to think of her little one who now comes first.
8. Don’t visit late at night
Yes. People do do it. We had a visitor arrive at 10pm at night unexpectedly. Ehh hello??? This is why point 2 is so important! New parents are often shattered with adjusting to the night feeds and having a new little person who is totally dependant on them so arriving late can really upset the balance.
9. Expect to be treated as a visitor
Regardless of how baby arrived into the world mum and dad are going to be tired so do not expect to be lifted and laid as a visitor when you arrive to their home. They will not have had a full nights sleep since the baby arrived so as well as being tired they probably will not have had time to get a shop in or clean. Instead, offer to make the tea or think about bringing essentials e.g tea bags/coffee to help the new parents.