New Baby 101: How to Ace The First Visit (Hint: Bring Cake!)
After nine months of waiting to meet the smallest member of the family, parents and friends could be forgiven for descending on a new mum and her baby like hungry ants on a melted ice cream. However, as most parents will agree, those first few precarious and emotional days are not always the best time to welcome a stampede of excited visitors into your home or hospital ward.
Making your first foray into breastfeeding as an exuberant Uncle Billy comes bowling into the room proffering a bunch of pink balloons is the kind of awkward situation that can scar a girl for life. Give yourself some breathing space by discretely sharing our First Visit Rulebook… or do the sneaky thing and get a friend or willing family member to share it for you.
The First Visit Rulebook
Figuring out how to sterilise a bottle or breastfeed a baby is tough going for a new mommy and daddy; meals are not a priority. A basic lasagne that can be heated and devoured in portions (at any time of the day or night) can be a godsend for a frazzled couple. Earn extra points for providing foods that can be eaten with one hand while mom and dad hold the new arrival in the other (crudité and dip; quiche, cupcakes).
Don't linger too long
New parents need time to adjust to the new normal. If you’re hanging around the house they could feel under pressure to entertain you and chat when they should be focused on enjoying this special time together. Some women would rather feed the baby in complete privacy, be respectful of this. Don’t outstay your welcome.
Don't hog the baby
During the first week, the new baby is the star of the show. This will not last forever, you'll have ample time for baby-holding later. If you do happen to secure a squeeze, be prepared to pass the tiny celebrity on to the next friend or family member who extends their arms. This is particularly important when it comes to the baby's parents; it doesn't matter if the baby is sleeping comfortably in your arms or you'd like five more minutes or you know best... you give that baby back! Like right now, before it gets awkward.
Keep your opinions to yourself
So the name Gobnait reminds you of goblins? Here’s some advice: Little Gobnait’s parents don’t give a rats arse what you think and this is not the time to suggest she may have inherited Aunty Margaret’s bulbous nose. Only offer advice on feeding or changing if the parents have asked you for it… even (crucially) if you’re the mother or mother-in-law. Never interfere.
Offer to do a crappy job; if you see dishes, wash them. Empty the dishwasher, make the tea, take out the wheelie bins. Be available for short bursts of time so mum can take a shower or dad can sleep or spend time with older children. Offer to walk the dog or run to the shops.
Calm it, Kermit
Remember that both new mum and new dad have probably not had much sleep. This might not be the best time to tell them about your promotion or dissect that amazing news story you heard on the radio this morning. These two just created new life, that's about as amazing as they can handle right now. Keep the conversation light, relaxed and mainly baby-focused.