I’m obviously not a “new” mom, but I did just have my third baby a couple of months ago, and I’ve learned a thing or two that I’d like to share with some of you who might need the advice.
There’s an etiquette to visiting a new baby. There are rules. Follow these rules, or suffer Mom’s wrath (which would be well-deserved):
- Ask about hospital visits well in advance. Don’t just show up and expect to be able to see the baby right away. Birth is hard no matter how it goes, sometimes some of us may not want visitors.
- …and always ask before showing up at home. Don’t just show up at my house once we’re home and expect me to host for you. Ask me first or wait for an invitation. Let me tell you that it’s okay. We both need to settle in, and I’m probably still recovering.
- Wash your hands. Every time you plan to ask to hold the baby, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. The last thing anyone needs is for a newborn to get sick because you were being lazy.
- …and just don’t visit if you’re sick. This one should just be common sense. No matter how much I love you and may want to see you, I don’t want you around my newborn if you’ve got germs.
- Bring food. Or offer to do my dishes. Vacuum for me. Mop my floors. Feed my cats. Offer to change the baby’s diaper. Take my older kids off my hands for the afternoon. Not only will you get my undying love and gratitude, but you will get thanked in newborn cuddles.
- Don’t comment negatively on my baby’s name. You hate it? I don’t really care, I don’t need to hear it. You can tell me how much you like it, you can tell me all about your great-grandfather’s brother’s niece’s step-daughter who used the name, you can even just say “oh, how nice,” but don’t criticize it. I’ve already filled out the birth certificate and you’ll just annoy me.
- Leave the advice at the door. Unless you’re being asked for your input, chances are that it isn’t wanted or needed. I’m tired. (And I’ve done this before!) If you’re coming to visit, just let me do my thing, I’ll let you know if I need advice on something.
- …and don’t be judgmental about my parenting choices. I don’t really care how you parented your kids, whether you diapered with cloth or disposable, whether you breastfed or formula-fed, whether you had a C-section or a vaginal birth, whether you had an epidural or not, etc. It doesn’t matter. Don’t judge how I chose (or am choosing) to do things.
- Be nice. I just pushed a baby out of my body, it makes me feel good to hear nice things about my baby – or me. Keep it positive.