Time your visit – ask her for a preferred arrival time. Morning tea or early afternoon always worked for me. You’ll avoid the witching hour and won’t impact sleep if new mum decides to go back to bed during baby’s first nap of the day. Tell her you’ll only stay for a short while so she’s not worried about missing out on a nap or getting any bits she’d planned to do that day.
Arrive on time!!! This is so key! I had visitors who said they’d come at 10:30am, I’d timed the baby’s naps for their arrival so that she would be already fed, awake, and happy. Then they’d show up 45mins late, the baby would get cranky after a short while and need a sleep shortly after, they’d talk through her crying when I’d really just need to take her into the room and rock her to sleep, by the time they’d finally left she’d scream for hours due to being overtired.
If you want to be the best visitor ever, take something with you EVERY time you go around. Sure you’ll take a batch of muffins or a delicious lasagne when you first pay a visit, but by your third or fourth time this new mother is still feeling swamped and all of those early days of support will be gone. I have an amazing friend who always brings treats for me and sometimes bub too, a barista made coffee can really turn your day around.
Offer to make the tea or coffee and get out the cookies. Don’t sit on the couch expecting her to be a bright bouncing host. Or better yet – bring coffee and cake with you!
Tell her she’s doing a great job. Baby still alive? Is she fully clothed and talking coherently? Then she’s doing a great job. Any extras and she’s doing an AMAZING job. Tell her that!!
Be yourself – new mothers feel really weird, a little bit like their old selves and a bit like their new self and nothing really feels right at the beginning. Talk about what you always have, she’ll be grateful to feel like her old self again, even for a bit.
Let her get it all out, literally and figuratively – boobs, tears and emotions, all of that scary stuff. If she feels comfortable confiding in you, you must be one of her special people.
Ask for baby cuddles, don’t take. I didn’t mind when people took Mackenzie from me without a word, but some mothers I know aren’t cool with it. That baby is hers and it’s her rooming in, bonding period. Be a little sensitive.
Help out, if she’ll be comfortable with it. My family friends did the dishes and folded my laundry while I sat on the couch cuddling my baby, it was heaven, but some people would not be cool with this. You’ll know if it’s appropriate or not.
Give advice IF ASKED and always be supportive of new mum’s decisions. Unsolicited advice for a new mum can shake her confidence in a hot second!!
Be healthy – do not EVER go visit a new baby when you are sick. This is not a joke. This is not a drill. I’ll always remember an old colleague of mine whose niece died (yes, you read that right) from contracting something when she was too young to be immunised.
Stay for long enough that you can catch up and keep her company, but not long enough that you overstay your welcome. This is common sense but so many people lack it!! Gauge her body language, and the baby too – there were so many times I’d put the baby to sleep and visitors would keep babbling on and on, I was too polite to ask them to leave so I could nap. If bubba is losing their shit that is your cue to leave, you’ve already stayed too long. Get outta there, quick!!
What tips would you add?
What was your best and worse visit experiences?