A new arrival is very exciting for friends and family and while new parents are eager to show off their gorgeous little person, visitors should be considerate of potentially sleep-deprived, sore and hormonal new mums who are doing their best to adapt with confidence to their new role. While all new mums will, no doubt, be delighted to see any friends and family pop in, there are a few things to keep in mind - just because it's a very emotional time once a tiny person enters your life! Here, Cow & Gate offer five top tips for new parents and visitors alike to consider when answering or knocking on the door to visit newborns.
Visitors are keen to meet new arrivals, but it's always best to wait for your invitation
New babies are so lovely, and the newer, the better! Those tiny little toes and hands that hold your finger, their cute, wrinkly arms, their mesmerising new baby smell and huge, adorable eyes that hold your attention. But that doesn’t mean you can call around unannounced, especially in the early days when baby is adjusting to life in the world and needs to be in their Mum’s arms. Send a card, email or message congratulating the parents on the birth, and mention that you’d love to meet the new baby when they’re ready, and then wait to be invited. Don’t turn up unannounced, as it may feel like an invasion of privacy as the new family unit adjusts to life together.
Stay away if the sniffles are on the way
New babies have fragile immune systems, and they are especially vulnerable to sickness. If you are feeling under the weather, even if it’s just a runny nose, stay away. Rearrange your visit when you are feeling better so you do not risk making a newborn baby unwell. Always, always wash your hands before handling a newborn and avoid kissing them, especially on the lips, face or hands which often go into their mouths.
Bring food as new parents need feeding too!
Adjusting to baby’s schedule can be hard work and a new full-time job, with exhausting overtime hours. As a result, many new parents struggle to find the time to cook, eat and wash up, at a time when healthy, nutritious meals are so important. Take some food with you when you visit the new parents, even if they tell you they don’t want anything. You could make a stew, a hearty country vegetable soup or even some fresh fruit – anything will be a help!
Don’t jump in for snuggles too quickly
We know it's hard, but ideally, you should wait to be offered a cuddle, when both mum and baby are ready and comfortable. If you arrive and the baby is asleep, do not wake up the baby, or expect the parents to wake the baby. Be understanding that you’ll have to wait until next time for a cuddle - there'll be plenty of opportunities to get one!
Know when to hand the baby back
This has to be one of the biggest peeves of new mums - when guests arrive and don’t want to give back or share the baby. Have a quick cuddle but remember to give her/him back to their mum where they feel most settled and safe. If the baby starts crying during your cuddle, no matter how short or long the cuddle has been, offer them back to the parents. Some parents may be happy for you to settle the baby, but for those who aren’t, it can be torturous hearing your baby cry in the arms of another.