In last week’s post we discussed important points to keep in mind before planning to visit a newborn. If you didn’t see that post, you can read it here. Today, we want to emphasize things to remember during the visit.
Once you are there, paaalease wash your hands. Most parents will ask you to sanitize or wash, but it is nice if you beat them to their request! Since we are on the topic of germs, please resist the urge to kiss the baby. While it may be tempting seeing such a beautiful creation, it is no secret that many dangerous germs are transmitted through kissing. Read more about that here.
Question: What is worse than suddenly taking care of a newborn 24/7?
Answer: Taking care of that newborn 24/7 and then having to take care of many visitors.
Do not let the parents wait on you, not even for a drink. Parents of a newborn are in survival mode and are likely dehydrated themselves. Ask if you can get them a drink or even a bite to eat. If you notice dishes in the sink, go ahead and do them. Offer to put a pot of coffee on or make them some tea. It may seem something small, but it can be helpful to a mom or dad that may be overwhelmed and exhausted.
Having a newborn is downright exhausting. The last thing a parent wants to do is be interviewed about the baby’s birth, new life at home, and recovery from giving birth. Let the parents share what they are comfortable sharing. We have been told by many new moms they often want encouragement and support from their friends, rather than repeating the same interview over and over.
In the excitement of seeing a new baby, it is easy to forget the parents’ wishes. If you want to hold the baby, let them offer. Some parents don’t mind having visitors but may not want their baby held by others yet-- and that is okay! Also, if the baby is quietly sleeping, be respectful of that. It can be frustrating when someone wakes your sleeping baby, especially if you worked really hard to get them to sleep. Instead, use that rare quiet time to visit or offer for the mom or dad to take a shower. A few moments alone, just to shower, can be rare.
It is so fun to share pictures of cute newborns, but please ask before posting anything. Social media has really changed our culture, and although it may seem silly to mention this, it is something to remember. Some parents do not want their children on social media, and that is perfectly fine. Respect them for their choices; after all- it is their child. Do you want to take a selfie with the mom and baby? That may be the last thing a tired mom wants, especially if she hasn’t had time to get ready. Always ask first.
Parents are likely living their life in three-hour increments with feeds and other newborn tasks. Company can be nice at times, but keep in mind they are tired. It is nice to visit and see the new baby, but don’t stay for an extended period of time. If you are close, you are probably able to read them and know when it is time to go. They will appreciate your sensitivity and understanding.
Don’t forget to check up on the parents in 1-2 weeks and make sure they are okay. A lot of families are bombarded with visitors the first few weeks, and many friends and family members seem to disappear shortly after. Let the new parents know you are still around!
We hope you learned something when reading through these tips. We encourage you to share your thoughts on these or let us know what else you would add! Have a safe and happy visit!
Kayla Loschky, RN, BSN