Welcoming a newborn into the family is an exciting event, and after going through a rollercoaster of emotions, the best thing that friends and extended family can do is to offer emotional support to the new parents.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you give your congratulations to newly minted parents.
Tips For Visiting Parents with a Newborn Baby
Listen Unless to Empower
After a physically and emotionally exhausting experience, one of the most unhelpful things to do is to correct parents on what they should or should not have done. Be careful not to share too many of your own stories and unintentionally make the visit about yourself and your experience. The focus should always be on how they are feeling and what they need at that moment.
Don’t Give Advice Unless Asked
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It is discouraging for first-time parents to try “foolproof” methods only to see them not working how they expect or to have new “helicopter parents” telling them how to treat, feed and carry the baby. Instead, ask them if they have an idea on what they want to do and wait for them to initiate asking for advice before giving it.
Acknowledge the Mum and Siblings
Yes, the baby is the centre of attention many a time. However, if we are to be objective, the baby won’t remember you just yet. Take time to give attention to mum and any older child who is now taking on the title of older brother or sister. Ask them how they are feeling, what they are excited for and what they might be nervous about. Holding space will definitely be appreciated.
They Don’t Need More Stuffed Toys
Gifts are usually given with good intention. However, if you intend to get any gifts or items, asking the parents what they need before the delivery of the baby is your best bet. Anything that is bought after has a high chance of being a duplicate.
Do also be mindful when delivering gifts to the ward as it means that the parents are going to have to bring back all the gifts on the way back. Sending it to their home after they are discharged from the hospital might be a better option. Another great gift would be to respectfully ask permission to take photos and allow them to remember the moment.
No Need to Ask If They Have a “Good Baby”; All Babies are Good
What, did you expect a baby to cheat on an exam? Also, asking them if they have an “easy baby” is not very helpful either. You can’t change the baby either way. Help change some diapers instead.
Offer Practical Help
Start with simple acts such as not visiting the baby of you are feeling unwell and keeping your hands clean. You can also help out by offering to run errands or by buying meals. If you pay a house visit, help by washing the dishes or help clean the living room area. You can also offer help with a family pet if they have one.
Give Them Space and Time
It can be very stressful for new parents to deal with an influx of eager visitors. Instead of asking them when a good time to visit is, let them tell you when they feel like some company will be a good idea, and wait patiently until then. Don’t forget to continue offering practical help till you get to meet them and the new addition face to face!