A Nurse’s Guide to Visiting a New Baby

We all know that having a baby is overwhelming, but it doesn’t quite sink in how much it can change your life until you actually experience it. While new parents are excited to share their exciting news and show off their new addition, visits from friends and family can be downright exhausting for everyone involved during the early days. Whether you are visiting new parents still in hospital (which I don’t really recommend) or shortly after they get home, here are some ways to help out new parents instead of being a burden.

Wait to Be Invited

While it can be a fine balance between seeming aloof and bombarding them with inquiries to visit, it is better to venture on the side of caution. Having a new baby is a lot of work and such a huge transition for new parents, and it should be completely up to them whether they are up to hosting visitors. And don’t take it personally – If you’re not being invited, there is a very good reason for it that has absolutely nothing to do with you – whether it be that mom and baby are still figuring out the latch or mom still needs some time to recover after a particularly exhausting labour and delivery experience.

Trust me: They will call you when they are ready!

Feed Them

Everybody needs food, especially breastfeeding moms who don’t have time to make it. Whether you make a freezable casserole dish or stop at the nearest pizza joint on your way by, DO NOT visit a new family without bringing food!

Not sure what to bring them or make? Well, here’s a list courtesy of Pinterest.

Teriyaki Chicken Casserole

Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole

Dump-And-Bake Meatball Casserole

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Three Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna Rolls – for the vegetarians out there

There you go – No more excuses!

Wash Your Hands and Stay Away if You’re Sick

This is just common courtesy. I know that you’re probably very excited to meet your new niece or grandson, but if you have a cold or have just gotten over the stomach flu, it really is best to postpone your visit for a few days. A baby’s immune system is not fully developed after birth, making them very susceptible to becoming ill when being in contact with a carrier.

In addition, please make sure to start the good practice of having everyone wash their hands before touching the baby – including your children!

Bring a Gift for Siblings, Too

When it comes to older siblings, it can be hard for them to have all the attention being taken away from them by a brand new baby brother that they barely know. If you are wanting to give a gift to the baby when you come to visit, it’s a good idea that you have one for the older sibling. If not, be ready to witness an epic meltdown that these new parents will definitely not thank you for.

Lend a Helpful Hand

If you know the parents really well and they would feel comfortable if you did things for them, help them out! Do the dishes or a load of laundry, take the garbage out, clean the bathroom, and I’m sure the new parents will love you forever. However, if you sense that they feel uncomfortable with you dealing with their mess, then maybe you could surprise them with a maid service call on a later day. How amazing would that be?!

Don’t Make it All About the Baby

All too often, visitors flock to the new adorable bundle, revel at their tiny hands and feet and sweet cooing noises, while mom and dad are left sitting in the corner. While you want to show your interest in baby (of course!), all new parents struggle with this new transition period that they need to be supported through. Sometimes, all they need to hear is that they are doing OK.

Only Say Nice Things

I don’t care if the baby looks like it came right out of the “Coneheads” movie, if you disagree with the parents feeding choice, how they are sterilizing their equipment, their house looks straight off the “hoarders” show or if it is making you seriously uncomfortable watching dad change a diaper in slow motion- Just be nice! These new parents are sleep deprived, probably hungry (see the food rule above), and completely out of their element. Just tell them what they want to hear and you will most likely be invited over for baby snuggles again. Be sure to leave your well-intended “advice” at the door.

On the outside.

Like, on the road.

Don’t Make it About You

Growing a baby for nine months, giving birth and then taking care of said baby is a huge strain on new parents, and without a doubt they should be congratulated for their accomplishments. This is a very important time in their lives that they are sure to look back on for years to come. Let them revel in their glory and leave your personal stories and opinions out of it – at least for the first week!

Take Their Words For Gospel When it Comes to Their Baby

Every parent raises their children differently. While they may choose a route entirely different than your own, it doesn’t make it better or worse. The important thing is that you respect their decisions and even more important that you comply with them. This means no giving a fussy baby a soother when moms not looking, or taking the baby outside for fresh air if the parents are worried about baby getting too much sun. That new baby is theirs to take care of, however they see fit (of course if you have serious concerns with baby’s care then contact Children’s Aid Services immediately). Be respectful.

Know When to Give the Baby Back

If you want to torture a new mother, please, feel free to keep their baby from them while baby is fussy. Nobody is more in-sync with that tiny being more than her mom, so if she is needing some calming or feeding please give her back to the one who just gave birth to her! There is seriously nothing worse in my books.

Don’t Wear Out Your Welcome

Even if you are the most helpful visitor on the planet, you can’t stay forever. Mom probably won’t want to nap when there’s visitors around, and it is exhausting having to be “on” when in reality most parents want to lie on the couch in their pyjamas, cuddle with their baby and watch some terrible reality TV series that they aren’t actually paying attention to.

So there you have it, folks! 11 ways to stay in the good books when visiting a new baby. Follow my advice, and I’m sure that you will be asked over for visits again and again.

Just be sure to keep that food coming!

zzzzzzzzz

 

 

 

 

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when visiting a newborn baby? Please leave your opinion in the comment section below.

Visiting a new baby

 

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TheMamaNurse

Hi! I am a Registered Nurse on a unit that encompasses labour and delivery, postpartum, medical, surgical and palliative care in a rural hospital in Ontario, Canada. I am a mom of two and am passionate about women's rights, mom and infant care, parenting and nursing. I hope to create an educational, entertaining and highly relatable resource for women around the world. Thanks for stopping by! Xo, The Mama Nurse

24 thoughts on “A Nurse’s Guide to Visiting a New Baby

  • May 16, 2016 at 8:33 am
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    This are great tips! This time I want a really calm experience. I didn’t have visitors last time and I want it like that with this baby. It’s just so overwhelming.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm
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      It can be super overwhelming, especially when you already have kids at home! But at least the more babies we have, the more we know what we need to survive!

      Reply
  • May 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm
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    Spot on tips here! Bring food, help where you can, because you’re not just meeting the baby but are helping Mom catch her breath. You certainly don’t need to be coming over and expecting her to be a good host, so if you visit, espect to be useful.

    Reply
  • May 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    These are such great tips! I especially love how you say to wait to be invited over, and not to forget the food. That was awesome to have. Also, it is so important for everyone to wash their hands, and to make sure they are healthy. I had twin preemies, so I had to be vigilant about this.

    Reply
    • May 17, 2016 at 1:41 pm
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      Oh you definitely would have to be then! I’m sure it was quite the whirlwind for you, with twin preemies!

      Reply
  • May 17, 2016 at 1:31 pm
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    These are great tips. I always bring food to friends. It’s essential! I’m due with my first in July and I’ve already had to set up a few boundaries as I know I’m someone that’ll need a bit of space early on.
    Catherine Short recently posted…Second Trimester MusingsMy Profile

    Reply
    • May 17, 2016 at 1:40 pm
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      Well congratulations! Great idea setting up boundaries beforehand. Then everyone knows what to do and there shouldn’t be any awkward moments 😀

      Reply
  • May 17, 2016 at 1:32 pm
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    Oh my gosh, YES. This is such a great guide! Our youngest is just a year and a half now so I remember very well how awkward the hospital visits were. There was a melt-down by his big brother too out of jealousy and fear (understandably)! I made sure to have a little gift bag (or “busy bag”) for Big Bro, and said it was from his new baby brother. 😉 Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
    • May 17, 2016 at 1:39 pm
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      Thanks so much for reading, Tawni! It is such a difficult transition for older siblings. What a great idea to include a busy bag for Big Bro!

      Reply
    • May 17, 2016 at 8:32 pm
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      Happy to hear it will help others. That’s what this site is all about. Thanks for sharing! 😀

      Reply
  • May 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm
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    Yes take a parents word for gospel. I nursed my son BUT my family wanted me to give him formula and even gave him a bottle behind my back. I was so mad.

    Reply
  • May 17, 2016 at 4:39 pm
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    Food yes bring food! Nursing moms have no time to cook…and probaly don’t need another baby blanket anyway. Come bring a breath of fresh air, social interaction, and food. Of course say how cute the baby is.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2016 at 12:52 am
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    These are such great tips. I remember when my sister in law delivered, the uninvited guests would keep coming in and most would overstay their welcome. All this only led to the mother and baby being disturbed. Now that I’m in my second trimester, I just hope people know these basic things for when they come to visit.
    Sharing this post! 😀

    Reply
  • May 18, 2016 at 10:05 am
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    Love these tips! The meals this is a total must, especially for mamas who have had c-sections. I had 5 c-sections, and to not have to worry about meal preps was just awesome. Two of my sisters are pregnant right now, and I want to try out the lasagna rolls for a meal prep for them. Definitely sharing this with everyone I know.

    Reply
  • May 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm
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    Thank you so much for this list- I have many family and friends due in the next couple of months and (while everyone handles it differently) this is a great reference not only for those visiting but for those expecting the visitors:)

    Reply
  • June 16, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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    Oooof. Having visitors gave me such anxiety after Jack was born. You’re like, is it worth it to shower today?
    I love the idea of bringing a gift for the sibling! I’ve never thought of that before. So smart. Stealin that tip!

    Reply

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