I am an aunt! As of a couple weekends ago, I now have a niece to add to my list of little girls that I love. She is so precious and her momma (my sister-in-law) is doing an amazing job!
This post started as a list of advice for new moms and then I decided to change directions. New moms are already so overwhelmed (both positively and negatively if that makes sense) and who am to add to that by forcing my opinions? Instead, this post was inspired while preparing for my first visit with my niece. Here is a list of tips and recommendations for visiting new moms and new babies.
In no particular order…
Don’t stay long. New moms have better things to do than entertain company all day long. They could be napping (because they probably didn’t get much sleep the night before), eating (because they won’t have the chance later when the baby wants to eat every half hour), or just bonding with baby (one on one, without visitors). Don’t overstay your welcome or you won’t be asked back!
Offer to pick something up on the way over. Leaving the house with a baby involves many steps: put baby in appropriate outdoor clothing, put baby in car seat, take baby out of car seat because you forgot to check their diaper, change diaper and clothes because they pooped everywhere, put baby back in car seat, ensure diaper bag is stocked in case baby has another big poop in the store, bring diaper bag to car, load stroller in car, go back to the house to get car seat, load car seat into car, get into car and cry because going to the store didn’t used to take this much time or effort. Save the new mom the hassle and offer to pick up whatever they need.
Bring food. New moms hardly have time to eat let alone cook. Bring something for the freezer that can easily be heated up in the oven or grab some takeout for immediate gratification.
Wash your hands when you get there. Not all new moms are germaphobes but this one is practical. New babies have very little immunity and whatever bacteria are on your hands can easily make baby sick.
Factor in the baby’s nursing schedule. If the new baby is nursing, try to visit between feeding sessions. Not all moms are comfortable whipping out their boob with company over. You may be stuck sitting in the living room by yourself while mom nurses the baby in another room.
If bringing a gift, bring a gift receipt. This is especially true with clothes. Just as people have their own styles, moms have their own styles for their babies.
Offer to do a chore. Just something little like washing the dishes in the sink or putting folding a basket of laundry is helpful. Even if there is nothing to be done or the new mom refuses, you will look like a hero just for offering!
Don’t ask to hold the baby if they are sleeping. It is possible that it took 45 minutes (or more!) of rocking, swaying, dipping and jiggling for that baby to fall asleep. The new mom does not want the baby woken up in the middle of a hand off.
Don’t give advice unless it is asked of you. While the advice may be passed along with the best intention possible, the new mom will probably interpret it as coming from a negative place: “this person thinks I am an awful mother and doing everything wrong!” Not a good feeling. Everything is so new for new moms and it takes some time to figure things out and see what works for them and their situation. What worked for another baby/mom/family will not always work for another!
Don’t say anything negative about mom or baby. Even in jest, don’t even try this. New moms are hormonal and sleep deprived. They don’t want to hear about how they look like they got run over by a truck or how the baby’s ears are exceptionally large for their head.
Is there anything I’ve missed that you would add to this list?