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As birth has evolved over the years, it’s pretty common to follow some non-negotiable rules for visiting a newborn!
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I say non-negotiable because it’s not up to the visitor to decide which rules to follow. ESPECIALLY, if you’ve been there, done that before!
It’s important to be respectful of the new parent’s wishes & privacy during this time.
After all, birth is a very intimate time in a couple’s life. A new chapter in which they become parents. Not a chapter in which they’re supposed to share their new baby with the world.
So, if you’re a new parent and you have visitors asking “When can I visit the baby?!”, take a look at these rules for visiting a newborn and let them know which ones they ABSOLUTELY MUST FOLLOW!
15 Rules for Visiting a Newborn Baby
1 – Remember that visiting a newborn baby is a PRIVILEGE!
If you have a visitor constantly hounding you to see your sweet little bundle of joy and you’re just not ready, remind them that visiting your newborn is a PRIVILEGE, not an automatic-right!
I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true!
Having a baby isn’t just about the baby. It’s about the parents adjusting to parenthood, mom adjusting to her new body, new baby and raging hormones.
So don’t feel bad if you need to put your foot down a little and let them know they need to wait until you extend out an invitation.
2 – Don’t show up unannounced
I don’t know about you, but baby or no baby, I HATE when people decide to show up unannounced.
Especially as a new parent. You have a baby to care for, probably aren’t getting any sleep, trying to keep up with household chores and having a surprise UNPLANNED guest is not cool.
If you have friends or family members who are notorious for showing up unannounced, let them know this is definitely not the time for that!
3 – Ask if the new parents would like some food or snacks
Let’s just be real here, if you didn’t prepare yourself some easy to heat freezer meals, you’re likely eating out a bit more during those newborn days.
It’s ok though, it happens.
Plus, nothing says LOVE like a nice warm ready-made meal, right?!?!
Be sure to let your visitors know if you have any dietary preferences or restrictions (or cravings) so they can arrive with the goods in hand!
4 – STAY HOME IF YOU’RE SICK (or are showing signs of getting sick)
This is a big one. It probably should be number 1. It really should.
As a new parent, please DON’T feel bad for asking your friend or family member to stay home if they’re sick or have been around lots of sick people.
Your little baby has a sensitive immune system as it’s still slowly developing, so if you need to put your foot down to ensure your baby stays germ-free, you do it, mama!
As a visitor, be extra mindful when visiting newborns (AND pregnant or postpartum moms) if you’re sick, getting sick, or just getting over a sickness.
The last thing mom needs is to get sick while running on no sleep AND caring for her baby (then worrying about passing it onto her baby). Last thing a pregnant mama need is to get sick potentially risking her unborn child’s health!
So, if the word SICK sounds all too familiar to you right now, turn around and stay home. Please.
5 – Always, wash your hands
Washing hands is a MUST when visiting a newborn. Not because they’re germophobes, but they’re little immune systems aren’t fully developed yet!
In an effort to prevent passing along any germs, ALWAYS wash your hands before holding baby!
When our son was in the NICU, we couldn’t even enter the NICU ward until we scrubbed our hands/arms. So, it’s not just a silly made-up rule.
Fun fact, “Handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea 2, 3 and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia“, according to the CDC’s article about handwashing!
6 – Refrain from making comments about mom’s appearance
Listen mama, unless you are normally a glam yourself up each day kind of girl, DO NOT FEEL PRESSURE TO DO YOURSELF UP FOR VISITORS!
It is the visitor’s responsibility to be understanding and empathetic to the fact that:
- you just birthed a baby
- are tired as F***
- are still recovering
- don’t have time to be self-conscious about your looks
So if you’re visiting a new mama and her baby and find the urge to ask why she “looks so tired” or “why she looks like she was just hit by a bus”, it’s because she is tired and she feels like she was hit by a bus.
Bite your tongue and say something uplifting such as:
- Wow, motherhood looks so great on you!
- You look amazing!
- You’re doing such a great job!
7 – Be respectful if mom needs to nurse or feed her baby
As a visitor, if you hear mom say “Looks like you’re hungry” to baby and she’s kind of awkwardly standing around, you can take that as your cue to head out.
Or if she ends up stuck in another room nursing or pumping and things are taking a while, you might want to ask if it’s ok for you to stay or if you should head out.
Those early days are crucial for mom to build up her milk supply and the added pressure of trying to speed up a nursing/pumping session could be stressful.
Recommended >> Life-Saving Breastfeeding Tips for Beginners!
8 – DON’T expect their home to be super clean
One of the first things that often fall on the END of the list of things to do after having a baby is household chores.
If you go to visit baby and notice the house is a bit disheveled, don’t make a comment.
Most parents KNOW their house is a bit messier than usual, but there are too many other things going on for it to be a priority at the moment.
9 – Show support by asking “How can I help?!”
As a visitor, it’s extremely important to be supportive!
Ask the new parents “How can I help ease the load for you?”. I’m not even sure anyone asked us that when we had our son, except for my mom.
Some easy ways to be helpful include:
- Offering to hold the baby so mom could sneak in shower or eat some food
- Ask if there’s any chores they could use a hand with while you’re there
- Are there any errands you could help them do?
- If they have other children, play and entertain the other children to cut mom a mini-break
10 – DON’T add fuel to the fire when you visit
One thing that can be frustrating as a new parent, is when a visitor comes over just to criticize and pry for information to use against them.
A good example is asking if mom is breastfeeding. If she says no, the visitor may be inclined to press for more information. If she says yes, they still might press for more details.
The bottom line – DON’T go visit new parents and their newborn just to add fuel to the fire (fire being the challenges of adjusting to parenthood).
11 – Don’t kiss the baby
Kissing baby is a no-no UNLESS the parents give you permission.
I know, they’re stinkin’ cute with those squshy little cheeks, but it’s too easy to pass germs to a newborn.
So even though it’ll take lots of willpower, just don’t do it!
12 – Never, ever, wake a sleeping baby!
This is huge. NEVER EVER EVER wake up a sleeping baby!
I know they’re adorable and you are visiting for some baby snuggles, but if baby is sleeping, be respectful and let them sleep.
That also means, do your best to be mindful and be quiet when talking, don’t play videos with your volume all the way up and just try to be overall quiet so you don’t wake up the baby.
13 – Always ask if you can bring your kids during the visit
Don’t assume you can bring your kids. Kids tend to be primary little germ transporters since they like to touch everything and likely haven’t mastered the best hygiene techniques.
So before visiting, ask the parents if it’s ok for you to bring your kids. If they say no, please don’t be offended. Be understanding and respect their wishes.
14 – Hold back from giving unsolicited advice (trust me, they don’t want to hear it)
Although it might be tempting to give your parenting advice or opinions on certain matters, this is another area to refrain from.
Unless the new parents specifically ASK for your advice, it’s best to keep any unsolicited advice to yourself.
Recommended >> Things NOT TO DO after giving birth
15 – Don’t overstay your welcome
I know, it sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people show up to visit, get comfy and can’t take a hint to leave!
As much as mom is probably thrilled to have a visitor, she also needs her space. This goes for both parents actually.
So if you get to the point where they’re desperately dropping hints for you to leave, take em’ and go!
And if you really just care and want to be kept in the loop, just check in with them with a quick text or call. Ask how things are going and how you can help with anything! If they need the help, I’m sure they’ll let you know 🙂
Looking for more newborn and postpartum tips/advice? See below:
Rules for Visiting a Newborn
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