7 Rules for Visiting a New Baby

7 rules visiting newborn
Image via Jennifer Bruno

You are about to have a baby.

Moment of silence for your awesomeness.

You are about to bring a new person into the world!

And that means… you are about to get a bunch of visitors.

Does that excite or terrify you?

I teetered between both emotions to be honest.

You will be overwhelmed – whether it’s with love or fatigue or a need to pull your knees up to your chest and rock in the corner. So what you absolutely don’t need is an army of ill-equipped, well-intentioned, rubber-neckers hanging around. You need help. And a smile. And a compliment or nine.

As the person carrying the baby the masses will soon be fawning over, you have a duty – an unavoidable responsibility – to educate these loved ones before your baby is born, your hormones go haywire, and you send your mother-in-law home in tears.

So, here are the rules for your guests. Feel free to mass e-mail your entire address book. Or, you could just tape this to your front door? Hehehe.

You’re welcome.

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Image via Jennifer Bruno

Time Ain’t On Your Side:  When visiting a new baby, understand downtime is at a premium.  Sure newborns sleep a ton, but new parents (and new babies) are uncoordinated.  Feeding takes time, burping takes time, swaddling takes time… and before you know it, the cycle repeats.  Be sensitive to this.  Ask new parents what time you should visit, and when that time is set – stick to it.  Don’t be surprised, though, if your once perfectly planned time slot turns into a meltdown moment.  Newborns happen.

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Image via Jennifer Bruno

Don’t Come A Knockin’:  A good friend of mine visited me in my final month of pregnancy.  She brought minestrone for my freezer and made me vow not to allow a single houseguest to enter the premises without food in hand.  She’s wise.  The last thing on any new mother’s mind is meal prep.  Bring something.  Anything.  It doesn’t need to be five courses (cupcakes were key for me!).  It doesn’t even need to be food.  Paper plates should get you in the door.  Paper plates and a casserole should get you extra snuggle time with the baby.  Oh, and if there is an older sibling (or in my case, dog sisters), you may want to bring something for them too!

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Image via Jennifer Bruno

Wash Your Hands:  A non-germophobe can turn into an antibacterial bandit overnight when she brings a child into the world.  Wash your hands.  Even if you just did.  There are no exceptions.  Exposing babies to a healthy amount of germs is not your job.  Your job is to wash your hands.  And if you are feeling sick, your job is to stay away.

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Image via Jennifer Bruno

Mum’s the Word:  After you have a baby, there is only one thing you hear more in an average day than your new baby’s cries.  And that one thing is ADVICE.  Everybody has advice.  EVERYBODY.  Keep yours to yourself unless the new parents invite it.  Many people want advice.  Many people don’t.  Unless yours is requested, your commentary should revolve around how cute/smart/sweet the baby is.

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Image via Jennnifer Bruno

Lend a Hand:  After my baby was born, my mother-in-law did piles of laundry and scoured my shower.  My aunts did my dishes.  My mother walked my dogs and kept my Starbucks cup full.  My uncles offered to make returns at Babies R Us.  My friends brought cupcakes and helped me address thank you notes.  Those things were magnificent.  Offer to do those things.

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Image via Jennifer Bruno

Prepare for TMI:  A new mother’s body has undergone a lot.  Pregnancy and labor most likely stripped her of some modesty, and new parent fatigue has most likely stripped her of her filter.  Prepare for boob talk, labor play-by-plays, hemorrhoid updates, and a lesson in padsicles.  Google it. 

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Image via Jennifer Bruno

Be Nice:  If ever there was a time to pay someone a compliment, it is now.  Motherhood brings about a whole new world of insecurity and anxiety.  Tell us we are glowing, that we are naturals, that you are soooo impressed.  Tell us we are amazing, because seriously, we are.  And a few months from now, once we’ve gained a grasp of our new normal, you can stop playing by these rules and go back to treating us like you used to.  Or not.

What other guidelines would you like your guests to follow?

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7 Rules for Visiting a New Baby

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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43 comments

  1. Profile photo of life life says:

    great rules. i hope im not so tired after having my baby.

  2. Profile photo of T Mulnick T Mulnick says:

    My LO is three weeks and my visitors are driving me crazy. They have done none of those rules. Worst guest – my Aunt who has told me on two different visits (one just hours after birth) that I still have a belly. Well duh!!

  3. Profile photo of Ashley2marie Ashley2marie says:

    Showing this to my family for sure

  4. i love these rules i think i might have to print them out or something and hand them out to whoever plans on visting us when we come home.

  5. Profile photo of Jenifer Jenifer says:

    I love them I felt this way about all of them when my son was born

  6. Profile photo of Peejay Peejay says:

    I want to print these rules and give a copy to anyone who might possibly visit

  7. Profile photo of kalivt kalivt says:

    This is great! Things In learned from my first child, and good reminders for the one on the way! Will forward this to some first time moms I know to be.

  8. Profile photo of Phammom Phammom says:

    Forwarding this to friends and family thank you.

  9. Profile photo of sabrina sabrina says:

    I think the food thing is the most important. When I had my daughter, I was in no shape to cook and was grateful to anyone who brought food.

  10. Profile photo of DeniseR23 DeniseR23 says:

    Awesome. Good things to know.

  11. Profile photo of KaelinRae KaelinRae says:

    Washing hands is going to be a definite for my house, with all the younger siblings I have (the two youngest are in middle school) I can’t afford my baby getting sick. I would want to add "Don’t just pick up the baby". I’ve seen this happen before and the mother’s annoyed look. I would hope that people would wait to be offered a chance to pick up and hold the baby, or at least ask.

    • Profile photo of pumpkin pumpkin says:

      omg yes! i dont know why everyone feels they need to pick up the baby! im suffering from a really bad case of mama bear syndrome, so honestly i dont really like many people holding my baby (especially since hes been super gassy and fussy the past couple of days so keeping him calm is almost impossible) and he gets really fussy when hes passed around (granted i would too!) and i was getting super irritated at the hospital… he wasnt even 8 hours old when we were getting bombarded with ‘can i hold him?’ ‘why wont you let us hold him?’ ‘we are here to hold him’ JEEEEEEZ! good luck with getting people to respect your wishes, and hopefully it easier for you than me

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