Never show up without checking in first.
Do NOT just “pop in for a visit.”
Mom and baby need ample warning time before you arrive for your first visit with the new baby. And while you are at it, send a text instead of a phone call. That way mom is free to answer whenever she has a spare moment, and not put on the spot when you tell her you are five minutes away. Always ask, and don’t be offended if the family says they aren’t ready for visitors yet.
Never spread any germs.
If you have even the slightest cold symptoms, do not try to visit with a newborn. In fact, if you have been around anyone who was sick in the last few days, postpone your visit until you are sure you didn’t catch anything. Newborns have very sensitive immune systems, and you don’t want to be the one to pass out baby’s first cold or hospital visit!
Never demand to hold the baby.
Wait to see if the parents offer. If that happens, wash your hands, snuggle that little bundle of love for a few minutes, and then pass baby right back into their parents loving arms. New parents can have a lot of anxiety over people holding the baby, so unless they ask you to hold them, keep it short and sweet.
Never arrive heavily scented.
If you are a smoker? Save the visit for when the baby is older. Wearing heavy perfume after work? Stop at home for a shower first. Newborns are extremely sensitive to odour, and some can react badly to overwhelming scents.
Never overstay your welcome.
New parents are tired, overwhelmed, and still trying to get the hang of things. A brand new mom might want privacy when breastfeeding, and both parents might feel flustered with so many eyes on them. Keep your eyes and ears open and take cues from your hosts. Keep your first visit short!
Never kiss the baby.
Not on the forehead, not on the cheek, and especially not on the lips. While rare, kissing newborn babies can spread diseases like Herpes and Whooping Cough. Just don’t do it, ever.
Never bring your own kids along.
For that first visit with a newborn, leave your own kids at home. You want to focus all your visiting time and attention on the baby and new parents, and not wrangling your own brood. Having more kids in the house creates more work for the new parents, and it will not be appreciated.
Never post photos online (without asking).
This is a huge no-no. If you take photos, make sure you get full permission to share them before posting anywhere online, even if your profile is private. Many new parents don’t feel comfortable sharing images of their tiniest family member so soon after birth.
Never speak without thinking.
New families are ultra sensitive about nearly everything. What may seem like an innocent comment (wow, that baby really looks a lot like Uncle Fred!) may be taken the wrong way by an emotional mom or dad. Really keep up the conversation by asking questions about the baby and how the family is doing, instead of making statements that you may regret later!
Never give unsolicited advice.
Do you have six kids of your own so you feel like you are just brimming with good advice? While that may be the case, now is not the time to start offering it to the family of a newborn. They need time to figure out how things work, and if they want advice, you can be sure they will ask for it.
By just taking a few minutes to prepare yourself, you can avoid making any of these common mistakes when visiting the newest baby on the block. One last piece of advice: don’t show up empty handed! New parents love nothing more than a warm meal (or hot cup of coffee!). So wash your hands, don’t wear perfume, and get ready to enjoy a quick visit with your fresh new friend or family member!