Visit A New Mom Without Making Her Hate You
Your friend just had a baby! Of course you want to visit that little peanut right away. But before you go running to the maternity ward, spare a thought for your friend: She has just pulled the worst all-nighter of her life. Be a welcome guest, not a nuisance.
… ask whether you should visit the hospital or the home. Of course you want to see the baby ASAP, but this isn’t about what you want. Your friend is sleep-deprived, overwhelmed and inundated with visitors. Give her some breathing room by letting her tell you where and when she wants visitors.
… keep it short. You’re one of many who want mom and baby’s limited time and attention — so don’t overstay your welcome. You may land in the middle of a diapering emergency that dictates a five minute turnaround time. Either way, don’t stay longer than 20 minutes and gently nudge fellow visitors to leave with you.
… visit on the mom and baby’s schedule, not yours. Can you only visit between 2 and 4 p.m. when they’re both asleep? Too bad. Move things around if you have to, but make yourself available when the mom tells you it’s a good time for her. And if you absolutely can’t work around what you have going on – doctor’s appointments, important meetings, broken bones – then accept that your date with mom and baby will be delayed until schedules align.
… wash your hands! It doesn’t matter if you hopped out of the shower and came straight over in an air-conditioned car. Unless you wear surgical gloves gloves at all times, and change them frequently, you need to wash your hands. It’s basic hygiene around a newborn.
… offer to take the mom out for a big glass of wine/coffee when she’s able. She will be grateful for the promise of an evening out and some adult conversation with a good friend… but mostly for the alcohol or caffeine she’s been abstaining from.
… bring something/your friend’s favorite snack. Try bringing something useful; you will be appreciated for it.
… pick up the baby as if it’s your birthright. He doesn’t have to be held by every well-wisher who stops by as if it’s a game of passing the parcel. Ask mom or dad if you can pick him up, or better yet, wait for one of them to ask if you want to hold the baby.
… comment on the mom’s weight or check out her post-baby body. As a general rule, commenting on someone’s weight is rude, but it’s especially rude to a new mom. It doesn’t matter if she’s gained 5 kilos or lost 15; she is tired and she doesn’t need to be made self-conscious by judgemental words or looks.
… saunter in looking like you’ve stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine. Those sky-high heels and perfect makeup might make you photo-ready, but they’ll make a new mom’s eye twitch. Look, she barely has the time or energy to shower, and — did we mention she’s tired? Don’t make her feel bad for not getting glam to receive visitors.
… ask when the next baby is planned. Seriously, just don’t. It’s too early. (Also, it’s none of your business.)
… ask when the mom is going back to work. Or what the couple plans to do about childcare, playschools, or any other remotely logistical question or question about the future. She knows she has to figure these things out, and she’ll do so even without your concern. Right now, let her enjoy her new baby and make these decisions in her own time.
… be a demanding guest. Your visit should have the feel of a quick fly-by; don’t eat, drink, or do anything that remotely indicates that you plan on staying for a long time (or making new mom arrange snacks for you). It’s the best way of ensuring you’ll be invited back.