Visitor Etiquette 101

April 27, 2019

Be The Best Visitor:
Etiquette 101

The baby is here and you are excited as can be to meet the new little one!

But when is the right time to stop by?

What should you bring?

What should you do?

You want to show your support but don’t want to hold the baby. Or you have baby fever and can’t wait to hold the baby.

Not to mention that parenting, in general, can be a sensitive topic with many different views and practices.

We put together this article to give you some of the "best practices" when visiting the new family and meeting that new baby. Stick to this, and you will surely be invited back!

Visitor etiquette when visiting the new family and baby:

  1. Visiting the hospital: Unless you are an immediate family member or the bestest of best friends, just don’t. Most hospitals have a required security clearance, and any visitors will have to be on an approved list. Even if the hospital is a relaxed one, the mother may be trying to learn to breastfeed, being tended to, or resting. These are the most vulnerable of times, and she really is not in any position to host or smile for the camera.
  2. Visiting at home: Please be patient. The best course of action is to send a courtesy “congratulations, can’t wait to meet the baby” note, and wait for the family to invite you over. When they are ready, they will let you know. If they go radio silent, please respect them. You are still loved, and no one can replace you, but this is not about you. This is about giving the family some time to adjust to their new routines.
  3. What to bring: It is best to not come empty-handed. Ask beforehand if the family would like some food or anything from the store. A latte, smoothie, or even a candy bar can go a long way.
  4. What to do: This may all depend on your relationship with the family and their comfort level with you.  
    1. You could offer to help with the dishes or pull in the trash can, run an errand, or sit with the baby while the mother takes a shower. If you cook a meal for the family, please be mindful and clean up afterward.
    2. Do not stay too long. An hour's visit is just the right amount of time. If you are invited to stay longer, then, by all means, do so, but do respect the family and especially the baby’s napping schedule.
    3. Do not wear strong fragrances or perfumes, as this may irritate the baby and mother’s senses.
    4. Do not expect to hold the baby. Speaking from first-hand experience, we were not too quick to let anyone hold the baby.  
    5. If you do hold the baby, make sure to wash your hands first.
    6. DO NOT COME OVER SICK. Even if you think it’s “allergies”, it might not be, so it's safer to not come. The same applies if you have a sick child or partner at home. It is safer to wait until everyone is feeling well. The last thing a new mother needs to deal with is a sick newborn, or falling sick herself.

Above all, the best advice is to be respectful. Let the new mom drive the conversation. If she wants to talk about her birth story, let her. She really should have a monument erected after her for what she just went through. Please do not compare her right now to anything less than a saint.

Remember that your role is to offer support and tell her how amazing she is. At this time, she has many mixed emotions flooding through the gates. Even the most well-meaning comments can easily be taken the wrong way, so hold any non-supportive comments back.

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