Ah, that newborn you’ve been dying to see since your sister/friend/loved one announced that they were expecting – the baby’s finally here! Before you swing by the hospital to be one of the firsts to get a glimpse (and a whiff) of this new beginning, you might want to consider the following tips for the sake of the parents and the infant:
- Call it in. Having a newborn is both an exciting and overwhelming experience for the parents. Ensure that when you show up, the newborn’s folks know that you’re visiting. Coming unannounced has a surprise factor, yes, but it leaves the parents especially the tired mom off-guard. You might be walking into an adjustment period when it’s inconvenient for everyone to accommodate you.
- Come in batches. Now that you’ve given a heads up, see to it that the parents will not be entertaining a bunch of people the same day of your visit. This could make the baby fussy too, not to mention that the mom needs rest as well.
- Check your health. Feeling under the weather? You might want to put that visiting schedule on hold. You wouldn’t want the baby to get exposed to whatever you’re down with. If it would take a while before you’re back in a baby-safe state, you may simply extend your greetings and excitement to the couple and re-schedule.
- Talk to your kids. Sure, you’re ready to introduce your little ones to their new playmate and they’ve been bugging you about it too. Let them know that the baby is still trying to immerse itself to this world, and it might take a while. It’s best to bring just your spouse with you. Handling a crowd would be too much for the parents, and imagine if they have to host kids too!
- Bring a welcoming gift. It’s nice to give the baby something useful and special. Prior to buying anything, you can ask the parents if they prefer specific items for the baby so the gifts will not come in doubles or go to waste. Congratulate the proud parents by giving them something thoughtful too! Perhaps nourishing, replenishing, or pampering products would be great for the mom, and something entertaining yet educating for the dad!
During the visit:
- Disinfect. Hold it in for a little bit more – do sanitize first when you get to the room. Look for the nearest sink or reach for your alcohol or other germ-cleaning agents.
- Talk softly. Let the loudest sound in the room be that of the baby’s. It’s difficult to keep all the gigil inside alright, but consider the intense recovery three people in that room are going through. Keeping it to a minimum helps heaps. It would also be sensitive of you to avoid asking too many questions and trying to go into every birthing detail if the mom or dad is not initiating the sharing. Also, avoid giving unsolicited parenting advice or “physical remarks” especially to mom!
- Ask permission. Before even scooping the little one from the bassinette or mommy’s arms, do get her consent first. Maybe the baby just dozed off, or it could be time for nappy change and feeding. Resist the strong urge to cuddle and give loving kisses too. If you’re itching to share this beautiful miracle on social media, make sure both parents give you the green light first.
- Help out. See if anything in the room that needs attention aka unfolded clothes, undone packages, etc. Ask the parents if you could assist them in some way. They’d appreciate it if guests look after themselves and go the extra mile by extending their hands to do some work. Thirsty? Do not wait to be served. You could simply tell the folks that you’ll be getting it yourself if they’re okay with that.
- Go ahead. Do not overstay your welcome. Limit your visit to at least an hour. Giving the parents breathing space to adjust and enjoy the new addition to the family is probably one of the best gifts you can offer. You can always catch up later on. Remember that this is not about you. You could also bless the family with love and prayers even when afar. Let them know that should they need anything, they can tap you and you’ll free up some of your time for them.