Monday, 15 August 2016

DOs and DON'Ts for visiting a new mum

  • DO wait to be invited. Even saying ‘I want to come and meet the baby!’ can be too much at this point. Give them time. Even if they’re posting pictures online and appear to be out and about already, you don’t know the amount of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into producing each instagram shot or the hours of preparation that a thirty minute walk requires.
  • If you do get invited round, DON’T let her make the tea. Or him, if dad’s around. These guys are exhausted – even the happy, no complaints, make-up wearing parents. They’re all exhausted. Offer to make the tea.
  • DO offer to clean the toilet. Or if this is too gross and you’re financially able, gift them a few hours with a local cleaner. Nobody wants to ask someone to do chores, but all new parents’ bathrooms haven’t seen bleach in a while.
  • DON’T assume she’ll be comfortable breastfeeding in front of you. I’m the kind of person who is happy to get changed in front of someone they’ve met twice, but when it came to breastfeeding it took me on average five minutes to get the baby to latch on properly, and I just couldn’t do it if I had anyone watching – even my husband, because it interfered with my focus. Reassure her that you’re fine with her breastfeeding but that if she wants to step away or wants you to leave the room she should just say. Sometimes breastfeeding can take ages (an hour at each feed) so it might not be possible for her to feed in private and then get back to you, which is why I advise you
  • DON’T stay longer than half an hour. I know, thirty minutes is nothing – especially in London where the journey probably took twice that long. However thirty minutes is a very long time in newborn world. In those thirty minutes the new mum could have brushed her teeth/hair, napped, text her family, checked her facebook, or just lay down quietly, awake, enjoying the silence and lack of demands.
  •   DO wash your hands before you hold the baby.
  • DON’T expect the baby to be awake.
  • DO try to go with other friends at the same time. Not twenty people in one go, but it is easier for new parents to see more than one person at once, rather than having back to back non stop visits for weeks.
  • DON’T question what the parent does. ‘Is he not supposed to wear socks?’ ‘Is that position comfortable for him?’ ‘Does he always feed that often?’  Give it a rest, mate.

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