When your friend has entered that new sphere known as parenthood, it’s normal to be excited for them. However, in addition to a new baby, there is also an exhausted, hormonal and potentially quite sore new mum to think of. We know she’s your BFF and you’re itching to give her new bundle a squeeze, but there is still a protocol when it comes to visiting her in hospital. Here are the dos and don’ts of being a perfect visitor.
Drop by uninvited
She might be one of your dearest friends, but turning up to the hospital unannounced – and that includes the ‘I was just in the area’ yarn – is not cool. For the first few days after giving birth new mums are likely to be at sixes and sevens, doing their best to establish some kind of routine amid all the chaos. Ultimately, both she and hubby can do without unexpected (albeit well-meaning) guests popping in. If you’re that desperate to let her know you’re thinking of her, send flowers!
Wait for her to get in touch
Resist the urge to bombard her with phone calls in the first few days. And don’t be hurt if she takes her time to pick up the phone and call you. It’s not personal. She is just in the process of making one of the biggest adjustments of her life and might not be up to a chinwag just yet.
Put anything on social media
Don’t upload any pictures to her or hubby’s Facebook walls, because while you might be desperate to show the world that snap of you cuddling their two-day-old tot, they might not want 300 of their friends, relatives and people they haven’t spoken to since primary school knowing that they’ve just landed on Planet Parenthood. Give them a chance to announce the arrival themselves.
Send a private message of congratulations
Whether it’s by Facebook, text or email, it’s fine to send a message of support. They might not pick it up for a few days and it might take them a while to respond, but when they get it they’ll be touched you made the effort to ping them personally with your well wishes.
Turn up sick
Little ones have very delicate immune systems so if you’re not feeling 100 per cent, take a rain check on your visit. No new parent will thank you if you walk through the doors with a runny nose and make their newborn baby poorly.
Be conscious of hygiene
There are all sorts of beliefs about how letting kids get dirty and germy is actually good for their immunity. However, no new parent is going to look kindly on you putting that theory to the test in those first few days, so always wash your hands before handling a newborn baby and never (ever!) put your fingers in their mouths, washed or not.
Don’t be a drama queen
Everybody likes a good gossip, but now is the not the time to bring up your latest boyfriend drama or begin moaning about how your boss is a mega schmuck.
Tell the new mum she looks amazing, her baby is beautiful and that she has done an brilliant job. That’s all she needs to hear.
Pick up the baby without asking
You might have your own children, or perhaps you were brought up with oodles of siblings, but even if you’re an expert on everything from burping to bathing, you should wait to be offered a cuddle before diving in.
Know when to give baby back
Hogging the baby is not okay. Have a quick cuddle and then let the baby have some time back with mum, or let someone else have a turn.
Expect too much
New parents are often like the walking dead in the first few days so don’t be surprised if mum and dad aren’t the life and soul when you visit them. But rather than trying your best to fill every silence, simply keep the conversation light and easy so they don’t feel the pressure to entertain you.
Know when to leave
Sticking around at the bedside for hours at a time might be okay in the movies, but in reality an hour is the maximum you should spend when visiting a new baby. When they’re just a few days old, little ones are grizzly and their parents aren’t much better (you can thank late nights and latching-on frustrations) so be sure not to get under their feet.