People love babies. When a new baby is brought home from the hospital, people seem to want to flock to the new mom’s house, bringing the baby gifts and flooding the new mom with offers of their help. While this might sound fantastic, (new things for the baby and people to help around the house), that’s rarely the case. Sometimes, close family and friends understand what is actually needed, (someone to do dishes, laundry, and make a meal or two), all while leaving the mother and the baby to bond, breastfeed on command, and just leave them with some peace and quiet. While help, gifts and company are always appreciated, unfortunately sometimes new moms and their babies just want as much peace and quiet as possible with limited visitors. After all, this is the new mommy’s and baby’s “baby-cation” and the time for her, (and even the new daddy), to adjust to being a new parent.
I can think back to when I had a new baby. People came over to visit to see the baby and bring him gifts full of love. While this was all great, it was also a little awkward. I haven’t always been open about trying to breastfeed in front of people, (toward the end I was doing it in public), and around this time we were still trying to get the hang of it. I was pumping and nursing, all which took a lot of time. I was also trying to recover from a cesarean section and an infected uterus as well, so I was on more medication and supplements than I could count. Seeing a lot of people was just not something that was at the top of my list right now. I could barely find time to take a shower, (any mother can certainly relate to this). It’s not that I didn’t want to see family and friends or have them meet the baby, but I wanted to take time to adjust to parenthood and bond with my baby first.
If you’re thinking about visiting a new mom and their baby, you should really consider the following first prior to visiting the new little one:
- Always call first: When thinking of visiting a new mom and her baby, calling first and asking if they are ready for visitors is essential. Sometimes when people know that a new mom is home with her baby, people just decide to drop by with their gifts. Just so the new parent/parents are not caught off guard, (i.e. if she is nursing the baby and wants privacy), calling and asking first is a good choice.
- Try to make it a short visit: When visiting, it is always a sure bet to try to make first visits with the baby short ones, unless the mother asks. This is different based on the mother and her preference, but new moms are usually not only exhausted, but want some privacy. A lot of visitors can often overstimulate a new baby and he or she can easily become fussy, (I experienced this with my son).
- Come to actually lend a hand: When people call and say they would like to come and lend a hand, sometimes lending a hand can be exhausting for the new mom. How? Well I don’t know if others have experienced this, but a lot of times people come and say they would like to help clean, but what really happens is the new mom is asked a bunch of questions about where laundry goes or where the glasses go and etcetera. While washing dishes and doing laundry is a huge, (and I mean HUGE), help, a new mom barely has time to brush her hair or take a shower let alone manage a cleaning crew. Let the new mom heal from childbirth and just put her dishes away in the cabinets where it is practical to do so and leave clean laundry folded in an area that is easily accessible, (i.e. not on the floor especially if the mom had a c-section). Don’t worry if she’ll be mad that they are in the wrong place. Trust me, her mind is occupied with other things.
- Easy food is helpful: If cooking is your thing, preparing a meal that can be frozen and just heated later is a great gift idea for a new mom. New moms don’t always have the time to take care of her or make herself or her partner a meal. Even make a breakfast soufflé for the morning time that can be heated up! Another good idea for a food item: if the new mom is breastfeeding, (or even if she’s not), make healthy snack baggies and bring them over when visiting. Buy a bunch of zip lock bags, carrots, celery and hummus, (or peanut butter), and pre-cut the veggies and put them in the bags. Then when the mom gets hungry from all of that breastfeeding, she can just go and grab the tub of hummus and a bag of veggies.
- “NO” on the negativity: When visiting a new mom, please make it a negativity free zone! Do not, (and I repeat), do NOT bring drama into their household. Fill it with love, kindness, and understanding. Now is not the time to criticize one another on parenting tactics or argue over things. The best thing that anyone can bring with them when visiting a new mother and her baby is love.