Here we have put together some basic guidelines for visiting a new baby that you can share with your family and friends so that when they come to meet your newborn, it is clear to them. You can adapt and modify them to your liking, but we are sure that they will be useful for you to set the boundaries to your surrounding, which you will need when they are visiting your newborn baby.
- Ask permission before going to visit a new baby
Yes, you can’t go to see a new mother and baby at a time that works for you. No matter how close family they are, no matter how many years you’ve known each other. Always ask permission and strictly stick to the time they tell you. It may not be the time that works best for you, but it is certainly the time that works best for them, who are at the centre of this encounter. And if the proposed schedule does not suit you, ask for another possibility to make your visit.
- Arrive at the arranged time
It is important to be punctual. If you are told a certain time, be there at that time. And if you are late for whatever reason, don’t stay longer to make up for the time lost. This is an appointment that has a specific duration. If you don’t arrive on time, you’ve missed it.
- Bring something useful as a gift
Try not to come empty-handed. Bring a useful gift and focus on the mother. Surely the baby has everything it needs already, and remember that the mother is also the centre of this encounter, so don’t think twice if you want to give her a gift, she will appreciate it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the gift. If you cook, an extra portion of your creations, that you think or know she might like, will be a very welcome gift. And if you haven’t brought anything and you know the person well, make sure you offer help: do the dishes, take the dog out for a walk, get things from the shops, put on a washing machine or help in any other way.
- Do not use perfumes or scents if you are going to visit a new baby
Babies are born with underdeveloped senses, but their sense of smell is the most developed of all. Babies recognize their mothers by smell, and any strong, new smell that enters the house can confuse the baby or complicate feeding. So it is best that you go without any scents, even if it seems like a fresh and soft fragrance, don’t wear it.
- If you smoke, avoid smoking for a few hours
In the same way as above, the smell of tobacco is very intense. Hands, hair, mouth and clothes of a smoker smell of tobacco. For the baby, and for the mother, this can be very unpleasant. So if you smoke, avoid it in the hours before you go to see a newborn baby.
- Avoid negative comments about the mother’s appearance, the state of her house or the baby
If you don´t have anything nice to say, it´s better you don’t say anything at all. These are very complicated moments for families, and the state of the house is now not important or how the mother and the baby might look to you: “You don´t look well”, “You have dark circles under your eyes”, “Your baby has a very little head”, “how messy it is here”, “You still have a big belly”, “this baby cries a lot”, “does the baby need to feed again?”. If these were the things you were going to say as a visitor, it’s better not to say anything at all.
- Don’t try to hold the baby in your arms
No, the baby is not yours, and holding the baby is not something you can decide. If the mother feels like you can hold the baby, she will let you know. If she doesn’t ask you to hold the baby, don’t ask to do it. And never hold the baby on your own initiative. Other people’s babies are not to be touched!
- Ask if you can help with something or do something (especially if you have not accomplished point 3).
In a house with a baby there is always a lot of work, so if you can help the visit will be much more productive. If you’re offered a drink, pick up and wash the glasses when you’re done, if they have laundry to fold in sight, lend a hand,
- Don’t expect to be waited on
This is not a visit where the baby’s parents should play host, don’t expect them to take care of you, feed you or follow your conversation. Be prepared for the mother or both parents to have to leave you alone or they may not be listening to what you say. If you see that they are upset, nervous or uncomfortable, leave immediately, you know where the door is.
- Do not stay too long, or leave if you sense discomfort.
A good thing if brief is twice as good, so it is best to be very discreet and know how to say goodbye and leave shortly after being in the house. And of course, if you perceive tension, or the mother or the baby gets restless… leave, they will thank you for it.