Rules for Visiting Newborn
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20 Important Rules For Visiting a Newborn

When someone close to you has a new baby, there’s no doubt that it’s an exciting time! I bet you can’t wait to see their new little bundle of joy. But, before you call the new mom to set up a visit, it’s crucial to know some essential ground rules for visiting a newborn. 

Having a baby is a profound (and sometimes sensitive) change for the new parents. Whether it’s their first or third baby, going through labor and delivery and bringing their new baby home is exhausting!

Therefore, knowing some basic rules for visiting a newborn is not only beneficial for you, but the new parents will appreciate it, too.

Let’s get started!

1. Don’t Do Surprise Visits

One of the most significant rules for visiting a newborn is to avoid surprise visits at all costs. Surprise visits aren’t a good idea because the new parents are getting used to having a newborn, and many things come along with that. 

For example, the new mom is healing, and both parents are probably trying to get as much rest as possible. Plus, if the new mom is breastfeeding, she and the baby are trying to get the hang of the frequent feedings.

Not to mention, many new parents are starting to choose to have no visitors after birth. It’s common for new parents to have no visitors for two weeks after birth, but many parents extend the no visitor period for up to six weeks. 

If you want to visit, it’s best to call or text well in advance to set up a time. 

2. Bring Something for the New Mom

When there’s a new baby in the home, it’s very common for the baby to get showered with gifts. And that’s perfectly understandable! But, ensure that you don’t forget about the mom when you visit. 

It’s almost guaranteed that the new mom will be exhausted, and showing her that you’re thinking of her will surely brighten her day!

Some great, simple examples of things to bring the new mom are her favorite food, drink, or candy. But, for even more fantastic ideas to bring a new mom, check out this post on how to make a new mom care package!

3. Don’t Forget About the New Dad

Similar to ensuring the new mom feels loved, you wouldn’t want to forget about the new dad, either! New dads can often be pushed aside while people focus on their new baby and healing partner. 

But new dads are going through a massive change, too! While their change isn’t physical, like for a healing/breastfeeding mom, new dads can endure a lot of stress after bringing their baby home. 

If you’re unsure what to bring a new dad, check out this post for some fun gift ideas. These suggestions are a mix of funny and sentimental, so they will surely be a hit!

4. Keep the Visit Short and Sweet

While you might be tempted to stay as long as you’d like to get as many baby snuggles as possible, it’s best to keep your visit on the shorter side. A quick visit is especially beneficial within the first few weeks after the baby’s birth.

Keeping the visit short is ideal because there’s no doubt that the new parents are tired. Plus, they are working very hard to get into a new routine and adjust to caring for their newborn. 

Also, you want to avoid staying too long and making the new parents uncomfortable. Sometimes it can be hard to ask guests to leave, and many new parents will wait it out instead of saying something.

5. Wash Your Hands After Arrival (and Before Holding the Baby)

There can never be too much hand washing when you’re around a new baby. That’s why this is one of the most essential rules for visiting a newborn!

For example, everyday items like your steering wheel or cell phone are covered in germs. Washing your hands when you arrive will help minimize the risk of spreading unknown germs to the new baby. 

Also, you’ll want to wash your hands before holding the baby. You may think it’s a bit much to rewash your hands, but I’m sure the new parents will be thankful (especially if they didn’t have to ask you to do it!).

Newborns haven’t had time to build up much of an immune system, so it’s best to take no risks and be extra diligent.

6. Don’t Visit if You Are Unwell

Holding off on visiting a new baby when you’re sick is one of the most commonly known rules for visiting a newborn. But, you’d be surprised how many people will still try to visit while they have a cold!

One thing to remember is that you might want to stay away until you’re entirely symptom-free. If you’re basically fine but still have a runny nose, it’s best to stay away until it clears up. 

Even if you’re not contagious, hearing cold symptoms like a raspy voice, lingering cough, or a runny nose can be nerve-wracking for new parents. 

7. Don’t Expect to Hold the Baby

While we’re on the topic of spreading germs, it’s good to keep in mind that you might not be allowed to hold the baby during your visit. But remember, that doesn’t mean anything’s wrong, or the new parents don’t like you!

There are many reasons new parents might not want visitors to hold their new baby, other than the possibility of germs.

For instance, if the new mom is breastfeeding, she might not want to give up the baby because she knows the baby will be hungry soon. Or maybe the new parents are trying to get as much bonding time as possible before returning to work.

Whatever the reasons, always remember that you’ll get to hold the new baby soon enough!

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8. Offer To Help Around the House

It can be a thoughtful gesture to offer to help around the house during your visit. Keeping up with daily chores can be difficult when adjusting to parenthood, so I’m sure the new parents would appreciate the offer. 

Now, don’t feel like you need to offer to clean the whole house. Simple tasks like offering to clean up the dishes or vacuum can be a great help!

9. Always Give a Crying Baby Back to Mom

Newborns can cry often; it’s their way of communicating! And nobody knows what their baby needs more than mom and dad. 

If you’re holding the baby and they start to cry, hand them back to one of the parents. Don’t try to figure out what’s wrong or suggest different possibilities as to why the baby is upset. Most times, the parents already know what the baby needs as soon as the baby starts crying.

10. No Kisses for the Baby!

Quite possibly, one of the most important rules for visiting a newborn is don’t kiss the baby! It doesn’t matter if you want to kiss the baby on the top of the head or their chubby cheeks; just resist the urge. 

So many illnesses and diseases can spread through kisses, so you won’t want to take the risk. Even if you don’t think you have any illnesses to spread, you could still be a carrier of something and not know it. 

11. Help With Older Children (or Pets)

Like offering to help around the house, offering to help take care of (or play) with older children and pets can be a significant relief for parents of a newborn. 

When you have a new baby, finding a balance between all the kids/pets that need your attention can be tricky. Not to mention, having a new baby in the house is a massive adjustment for the kids and pets, too!

If other children are in the house, try to interact with them, too, so they know the baby isn’t replacing them. Or, if the new parents have a dog, for example, offer to take the dog on a walk to get some energy out. 

12. Offer Emotional Support to the New Mom

As I mentioned above, there are many changes that new parents go through, and it can be tough! But, it can be especially hard on new moms as their hormones work on getting back to normal. 

Offering emotional support to a new mom is a great way to let her vent to someone other than her partner. And if you’re a parent too, talking can show the new mom that she’s not alone in some of the things she may be feeling. 

13. Don’t Give Advice Unless Asked

Regarding conversation, try to avoid giving advice unless you’re asked. 

When you’re visiting new first-time parents, it can be tempting to try to guide the parents with how you think they should do things, but they are probably getting the hang of figuring things out for themselves. 

But, if the new parents ask for your help with a particular subject, by all means, help them out! It’s just best to know that your advice is welcome before sharing.  

14. Don’t Bring Other Guests Without Asking

When scheduling a visit to meet the new baby, you’ll want to be clear on who you’d like to bring with you. If you’re going alone–great! But be sure to verify with the new parents if you intend on bringing anyone else with you. 

Also, if you have children of your own you’d like to bring to the visit, make sure it’s ok first. Some parents don’t want the risk of too many people possibly carrying an illness or too much noise because newborns nap so frequently.

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15. Avoid Wearing Perfumes or Scented Lotions

Babies have such sensitive skin, especially newborns! Holding off on wearing anything scented will prevent the new baby from having an adverse reaction. Another reason to avoid wearing perfume around a newborn is that it can trigger allergies or asthma in the baby.

Another thing to keep in mind is avoiding thirdhand smoke from cigarettes. Check out this article to learn more about thirdhand smoke and its dangers.

16. Don’t Question the Parents’ Choices 

Similar to avoiding sharing advice, you’ll also want to steer clear of sharing opinions. 

For example, don’t give opinions on breastfeeding, sleep training, if you think the parents are ‘spoiling’ the baby and holding them too much, or even something as small as using a pacifier.

Parents give a lot of thought to raising their children, and chances are they’ve done their fair share of research!  

17. Don’t Share on Social Media

These days, you might not even think twice about posting adorable pictures on social media. But, it’s best to check with the new parents before you even take a picture. 

There are many reasons why parents might not want their baby’s picture posted online. For example, perhaps they haven’t shared anything of their own yet. Or maybe they don’t plan to post photos of their children on social media. 

Whatever the reasoning, be sure to respect the parents’ boundaries.

18. Turn Your Phone Off

Speaking of technology, turning off your phone during your visit might be beneficial. If you don’t want to turn it off, try putting it on silent to ensure it doesn’t ring and wake the baby.

Also, avoiding using your cell phone will allow you to give your full attention to the new mom and baby. Minimizing outside distractions will help the new mom feel even more cared for. 

19. Offer Privacy When Baby is Breastfeeding

If the new mom is breastfeeding, offer her privacy if she needs to feed the baby. Some moms don’t mind or might wear a privacy cover. But, some moms prefer to feed the baby without guests around. 

If the new mom needs to feed the baby, you can offer to come back another time, step outside, or head into another room.

20. Ask Thoughtful Questions

One overlooked rule for visiting a newborn is asking thoughtful questions. New parents often overthink many things, so asking questions that make the new parents uncomfortable should be avoided. 

Here are some examples of what not to ask new parents:

  • Are you breastfeeding? 

Breastfeeding can be a touchy subject for some moms, especially moms who want to breastfeed but are having trouble doing so. 

What to say instead: Your baby looks so healthy! How are the feedings going?

  • Is your baby sleeping through the night?

Again, sleep is another touchy subject for new parents as they surely aren’t getting enough of it. Not to mention, newborns need to eat throughout the night, so it’s improbable that their baby would be sleeping through the night. 

What to ask instead: How are you adjusting to the rough sleep schedule? Is there anything I can help you with?

  • Is he/she a good baby?

I’ll admit; the first time I was asked this question when my son was born, I knew I gave the lady a weird look. All babies are good! Some might have different struggles than others, but that doesn’t mean they are bad babies.

What to say instead: He/she looks so happy. You must be doing a great job!

  • Don’t you love being a mom? 

With all the changing emotions and hormones that occur after giving birth, it’s common for new moms to struggle. Asking if they love being a mom could make the new mom feel guilty if she’s been having a hard time. 

What to say instead: I know that postpartum can be challenging. How are you doing? 

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I hope you enjoyed these ground rules for visiting a newborn! Keeping these simple tips in mind can help the new parents feel more comfortable with visitors while also ensuring you have a great visit!

Before you go, check out these related articles:

What are your favorite rules for visiting a newborn? If you’re a mom, what was the most important rule for you? I would love to know in the comments below!

Rachel Sig 3

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