Visiting Someone With A New Baby
A loved one of yours has just had a baby and it’s time for you to go to their home and visit. You want to be helpful and you also want to meet the perfect, new baby. So what is the etiquette? How can you be helpful without overstepping?
- Bring a dish you know they will love, even if the new parents don’t ask for it. Caring for a new baby is a full-time job and new parents often struggle to find the time to cook and clean up afterwards. Bring the meal in a dish that they don’t have to worry about returning, such as disposable dishes or inexpensive Tupperware.
- Ask before heading over if the new parents need anything from the store while you’re out (diapers, nipple cream, pads, nursing pads, etc) and ask if there is a particular brand they like.
- Pick something you can do to help out around the house (sweep the floor, put away clean dishes, toss the dirty dishes into the dishwasher and turn it on, etc. You know your friend best and some people are horrified at the idea of having someone else clean up for them, so say something like, “I’d love to help you out by putting these dishes away. How would you feel about that?”
- Don’t stay very long. Unless they have specifically asked you to stay longer, try to limit your visit to 30 minutes to an hour.
- Wait to be offered to hold the baby and wash your hands before doing so (even if you had just done so before leaving your house). Don’t monopolize time with the baby and know when to give him back.
- When she is discussing her birth story, listen without judgment. She may be telling you something that horrifies you, but she feels quite positively about it. Don’t put negative emotions where she does not have any and don’t downplay any negative emotions she is having. An example of this may be “At least you have a healthy baby.” or saying “It’ll be okay.” Also try to avoid telling them they won’t get to ________ for a long time.
- Bring a gift for any older siblings and spend time with them before fussing over the new baby.
- Offer to walk the dog, feed the cat, and change the litter box.
- Don’t give advice unless you are expressly asked for it. New parents get unsolicited advice from everyone they meet from the time they find out they are pregnant. Be the one person they don’t have to hear about it from.
If you would like to help, but are too far away, pay for the services of someone who can, such as a postpartum doula, a diaper service, or a meal delivery service.
We want to hear from you! What things did your visitors do that you loved or didn’t care for?