Little Routines, Gillian Stewart

Visiting a New Baby
Gillian Stewart, Sunday, May 03, 2015

As we all share in the joy of the safe arrival of the little princess, I am sure the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be looking forward to some family time on their own.

We all love seeing a new baby but it seems that once you have had a baby, everyone wants to come round. Friends, neighbours and family get in touch and want to come over immediately. They can then disappear for months!

There is this huge urge to rush and visit. But please hold back. Try to control your urge and put the family's needs first. Be considerate. There is plenty of time to see the baby.

Having worked with many mothers and their new babies I have seen how exhausting and stressful visitors can be.

There is never a good time to visit in the early weeks. What is a good time one day, will not necessarily be a good time the next day.

I have listed ten tips for you to consider before visiting:

Always ring or better still, leave a message before you visit. Never just drop in.
Don't take your children with you.
Don't go if you are unwell.
Remember the visit is to help and not spend time with the baby.
Offer to do an errand or chore.
Stay no more than twenty minutes and don't expect tea or coffee.
Wash your hands and use anti bacterial gel.
Do not expect to hold the baby. Wait for the mother to offer.
Do not disturb the baby if asleep. It will be the mother who has to deal with a crying baby when you have left.
Never criticise. This will only make the mother feel inadequate.

Meals are always well received. Leave a meal to reheat. Take a cake or biscuits.
I shall always remember a neighbour of mine turning up on the doorstep after I had my third child, with a pasta dish and chocolate cake for all my family. She stopped for thirty seconds and never crossed over the threshold. So kind and thoughtful.
Also the friend of a family I was with, who dashed in once a week with meals for the freezer and left immediately as she was always parked on the double yellow lines outside!
This is just the sort of help any new mother would embrace.

So, be the kind and thoughtful visitor. The baby is here to stay. There will be plenty of opportunities to visit after the precious early weeks and when tiredness is not quite such an issue.