9 Nonnegotiable Rules of Visiting a Newborn
When the first friend in your group has a baby, it can be overwhelming to know what exactly to do when you want to go meet your new squad member. But it's important to remember that newborns are delicate creatures, and their parents even more so. Visiting the family, no matter how closely related or emotionally tight you are with the new parents, requires sensitivity, planning, and adherence to a specific set of rules. But don't freak out yet! There is a way to stop by respectfully that'll make sure no one feels too pressured or overwhelmed. Just follow these guidelines, and you're sure to be invited back again.
And if you're the new parent (congrats!) worried about your loved ones' historic lack of boundaries, send them this list today! You'll have a more peaceful re-entry into your new life with your little one.
Schedule your visit in advance, and don't push if they're not ready for visitors.
Every new parent is different, but most need some one-on-one time with their new addition before they are ready to introduce him or her to even their best friends. Respect that timeline, whatever it may be, and simply ask if they're ready for visitors. If not, check back a few days or a week later. When the answer's yes, suggest a few times that will work for you and let the new parents decide what will work best for them.
Work around their schedule and be on time.
New parenthood is an exhausting, sleep-deprived, overwhelming time. If you've been given the green light on a specific time to visit, it's important to remember that time was probably chosen carefully to fit in both parent and baby's schedule, so be punctual. Not early, not late.
Don't stay too long.
Smart parents might tell visitors in advance that they are only up for a short visit, but even if you're not given a specific window, you should plan on keeping your visit short and sweet. An hour is probably about right, unless the parents beg you to stay longer.
As a new parent, it feels almost impossible to shop, cook, or even feed yourself, so bringing along a meal — home cooked is fine, but a bag of sandwiches from their favorite takeout spot is equally acceptable — is a must. Just make it easy on them by not sending pans or Tupperware that need to be returned.
Wash your hands and ask before you pick up the baby.
No matter how irresistible that baby is or how recently you washed your hands before your arrival, just lather up again when you get to their house. Also, remember that the baby may have literally lived inside your friend body just days before and they're probably still feeling a bit possessive. Be respectful and ask if you can hold the baby. If after a few minutes your friend is looking uncomfortable and itchy to get baby back, pass baby back immediately.
Offer to let the parents take a shower or nap.
If you're close enough to the parents that they'd feel comfortable leaving you unsupervised with the baby, offer to take over for a while. A quick shower or nap can create a world of difference for a new parent. If they decline, however, don't push it.
Just say "no" if the parents asks if you want anything to drink or eat.
You are there to help and check in, not to be served. If you're really dying of thirst, get up and get that water yourself.
Don't come as a group, unless you asked in advance.
You'll probably enjoy your visit a lot more if you come solo and can focus on the new parents and baby, but if that's not a possibility, make sure you ask in advance — especially if you'd be tagging along with other kids. And if you up with a fever or a wicked cough on the morning of your visit, reschedule.