6 Things New Parents Secretly Wish Visitors Would Do
Life changes after having a baby, and as a visitor, it’s only polite to be courteous and to think of the new parents and their baby’s needs.
While you might be used to visiting your friends and wining and dining till late hours, it’s just not going to the same (or possible even) with the new mum’s feeding schedule for the baby, or with the newborn crying from time to time and needing diaper changes.
Chances are, they're feeling a little frazzled from the transition of welcoming a new family member. The last thing you want to do is burden them with the pressure of entertaining guests. So make your visit a helpful one. If you’re a parent yourself, you’ll probably remember what it was like having a newborn. But even if you don’t have children of your own, it’s not hard to be proactive and help out the new parents in small, thoughtful ways.
Here are 6 things we recommend:
1. Call ahead to see if you can do some shopping for them
Don't just bring yourself - bring something that can help the new parent! For instance, Dad might be back at work already and the new mum might not have the time or energy to do a grocery run. Before you visit, ask if you can bring anything over – diapers, groceries, her favourite cup of coffee, or just even chocolate and magazines. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
2. Bring hot food or something that can be frozen and reheated
It’s always a huge relief knowing that you don’t have to cook dinner, something that the new mum will hugely appreciate. Even if home cooking is not your forte, bring fresh fruit at the very least.
3. Respect the new parents' boundaries
New mothers, especially first-time mothers, want things to be done in a particular way and honestly, that’s their prerogative. If they want advice, they’ll ask you for it. But until then, it’s only polite to be respectful of her methods. For instance, if she would rather not have visitors hold the baby, that’s ok, don’t make a big deal out of it. But if she asks you to hold the baby while she takes a quick shower, go for it.
4. Do chores discreetly
New moms, and again first time moms in particular, may sometimes feel like they’ve failed at being superwoman if they ask for help. So instead of telling a new mum to call you when she needs something done, tell her what you can and will do when you come over to visit. That way she’ll be looking forward to your visit and you will also feel like you’ve helped without bruising her ego.
A word from the wise: you're not just visiting the baby, you're visiting the parents. Instead of volunteering to hold the baby while the new mum washes the dishes, offer to help her wash up so that she can get some snuggle time with the little one.
5. Take the older sibling on a playdate
New parents always feel guilty about spending almost all their time with the new baby and neglecting the older sibling a little. Offer to take the older child for a fun day out so that the child is happy too, and the new mom can focus guilt-free on the new baby and herself for a few hours.
6. Keep the visits short and whatever you do, don't drop in unannounced
Dealing with newborns is unpredictable enough without surprise guests dropping in. Always check first if it's okay that you visit!
Try keeping visits to an hour, max. While you might have done a lot to help out the new parents when visiting, be mindful of the time you spend with them.The new mum will more than likely be tired and sleep-deprived already. Her baby might cry, might need to be breastfed, or might need a diaper change during your visit. She might feel a little awkward having to juggle baby-care while making small talk with you.
So ask her how she’s feeling. If she’s up for you to stay and chat for a while, then do that, otherwise making regular, but shorter visits will also be appreciated.