Visiting a New Baby - The Must Read Checklist
Your friend or family member just gave birth to the sweetest new bundle of love - Hooray! The newborn photos are filling your online feed and your eager to go visit. Before you go visit a brand new baby at home, take a look at our top tips for being the *best* kind of visitor.
Timing Is Everything
People get super excited after the birth of the baby and are all hands on deck with offering help, food, and advice. But about 1-2 weeks later it seems that the buzz wears off and people might forget about the new family or assume they have everything together.
Support after birth is essential and YOU can be the village your friend or family member needs.
Reach out as soon as they are home about dropping in for a visit and include plans to stop by for an additional visit(s) in the coming 1-2 months+. Parenthood can be isolating and overwhelming and longer term support over the first 3-4 months can be lifesaving.
While we are complete advocates for this support, please keep in mind that some parents do want to protect a small window of bonding with their baby the first few weeks before welcoming visitors.. Respect each new family's unique baby moon and come for a visit when they are ready.
Before you visit, text the parents to see if there's anything you can grab on your way. Chances are that sweet new baby has kept them so busy that they haven't found time to eat a nutritious meal. Or maybe they just ran out of diapers. By offering to run an errand you are giving them additional time and space to rest and helping them cross one more thing off their to-do list.
After doting on the baby and getting some snuggles, make an effort to do one helpful thing around the house to lighten the load. Empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, refill the diaper station, fold some freshly washed baby clothes, walk the dog or throw in a load of laundry. Sure, mom may say "Oh please, you don't need to do that!" Just reminder her that all she needs to do is rest and bond with her baby, and it's your pleasure to help!
Keep The Sickness Away
This should go without saying -- but it unfortunately some people do need the reminder: If you have been exposed to anyone with a sickness recently or you yourself are sick, please postpone your visit until you are sure there are no germs to pass along. Newborns and newly postpartum moms have fragile immune systems and we need to keep them healthy and happy. So please don't be that person, who visits a baby with a runny rose.
Don't Forget About Mom
As postpartum doulas, our clients often tell us about their experience transitioning into motherhood and a common theme is that they feel forgotten. One way to help lessen this feeling is to specifically ask a new mom how she is doing.
Maybe she wants to unload or process a bit. Listen and encourage. Be a safe space. Maybe she wants some normalcy and would prefer to chit chat about things that have nothing to do with birth, babies or breastfeeding. Adult time is often missed by new moms and a having a friend drop by just to catch up can be the breath of fresh air she needs.
Hold The Baby
I know, I know... you're thinking, "Of course I'm going to hold the baby!". Maybe that's what you are most excited to do. Who doesn't love snuggling with a freshly born babe?
Here's the kicker, when mom hands you that beautiful baby, we want you to tell her that it's perfectly okay for her to squeeze in some self-care while you hold her baby. Maybe she's been dreaming about taking a hot shower in silence or eating a delicious meal (with two hands) and savoring every last bite. Perhaps she wants to drink a coffee while reading her magazine or close her eyes for 20 minutes. Moms may feel the need to play hostess and simply need a reminder to make time for their own wellbeing.