THESE are the 10 things to do when your friend has her first baby
It recently occurred to me that in the days before I had kids, I had zero idea how to behave around my friends who were becoming parents.
I'm sure I visited and everything but I'm not sure I was any real use to them, if you know what I mean?
I probably just rocked up - late, as usual - and cooed over the new arrival as any normal person would, and then went straight into the latest gossip.. about myself. There's a good chance I didn't smooch over the baby as much as I should have, nor ask my mate if she needed anything, like having me mind them while she went for a shower or a nap for example. I'm pretty sure I was just a bit.. emmm.. self-absorbed.
These days, with the benefit of maturity and having two kids of my own, comes a bit more sense. I am much more likely to get over myself and ask how everyone is doing, arrive armed with goodies to sustain them through night feeds and generally offer to do anything I can to help.
Here are a few tips I have picked up along the way:
1. It's not personal
Even if you are really close with the new parent, that doesn't necessarily mean you are going to get 'first dibs' on seeing the new arrival. Be patient - send your messages of love and support and wait for your invite. It'll come when they're all ready for visitors.
2. Don't jump the gun
If the couple hasn't made a public announcement yet, then you shouldn't either. Check your pal's social media pages before posting; 'I'm so happy that XXX has had a beautiful baby boy today! Can't wait to meet him!' Give them a chance, will ya?!
3. Be a doll
Think of something helpful to bring the new parents when you do come to visit. You will obviously want to pick up something nice for the baby, but what about something for mum or dad too? The two nicest things I received after I had my second child were: 1; two home-made dinners so we didn't have to worry about cooking for two nights in a row and 2; a voucher for massage AND an hour's babysitting. I'm not joking. I brought my baby and she was minded while I got rubbed - brilliant!
4. Leave your kids behind
This might be a bit controversial but I think you should avoid bringing your own kids to visit a pal's newborn. I know it's unavoidable sometimes but it sort of gives the new parents more work to do. They have to be entertained and watched around the baby and it can be a bit more stressful than it needs to be.
5. Tone it down
I am a total and utter loudmouth. I have a stupidly loud laugh which goes hand in hand with a stupidly loud voice and babies are really not into either. Try to remember that little babies will be easily startled and take it down a notch or two.
6. Hover that finger
Don't ring the doorbell. Or knock on the door. Send a text when you're outside saying just that: 'I am outside'. Do you really want to be responsible for waking that baby up? Do you?!
7. Park it
If this new-mum-mate happens to be your go-to person for all of your life problems, you might want to consider giving her a break from agony aunt duties for now. The last thing she needs to hear are all of your latest dramas - why not be a brilliant mate and spend the entire visit only asking questions about her welfare instead?
8. Your window is short
Don't stay too long. New parents are delighted to see you, they are thrilled that you care enough about them to come and see the addition to their lives. They will also be overjoyed to see you leave. This honestly isn't a reflection on you, more on their general state of being which is often elation, exhaustion and slight hysteria. An hour for a visit is more than enough and under NO circumstances are you to ask for a second cup of anything. That's an order.
9. Mind the boobs
As delighted as you'll be to see your new pal and want to give her a big squeeze, don't forget that her boobs are probably really sensitive at the moment so go easy on the big bear hugs ;o)
10. Stay in touch
You may have enjoyed a certain lifestyle with your mate up to the point that she started having kids. Accept that things will be different now and although you should definitely keep inviting her out to everything you're going to, you are honour-bound not to get pissed off if she can't make it OR if she has to cancel at the last minute. Them's the breaks at the moment but believe me, the day that the pair of you will go party like rockstars again will defo come around.