Monday, September 19, 2011

Tips for Visiting a New Mom

A close girlfriend in town had a baby last week; and as I prepared to go meet the little fella, I thought about some of the ways people blessed us after Sam was born...

I've said this about weddings for a long time, but it is totally true about having a baby too - You will see the entire experience completely differently once you've been on the other side of it.  I'm sure every mom is different, but here are some tips for visiting a new mom based on my experience:

 Um... Don't take one of these?  Not that it isn't awesome, but she won't need it.  If she's anything like me, everyone will know she's a new mom by the bags under her eyes and the poop on her shirt. 

1. Call before you stop by.  Actually, a text is even better, because no new mom is just sitting by her phone... This puts the response in her hands and doesn't put her on the spot if she needs to say "no".  Either way, don't just pop in!

2. Offer to wash your hands as soon as you get there.   I don't know why, but I always felt awkward asking people to do this - like I would offend them or something - even though I really did want them to be aware of germs.  Luckily, Jeff was good at asking people for me, but I always appreciated it when people just did it on their own. I still do really. (Also, it's a good idea to be relatively clean for your visit.  Don't come from the gym or doing yard work.)

3. Don't expect to hold the baby; but if mom or dad offers, be sure to give it your full attention.  Even if you are an expert, new parents are nervous so sit down, use both hands, and support their bobble heads.

4. Take a meal.  We were soooo blessed by meals after Sam was born.  There was no way I had time to cook but boy was I a hungry mother! :)  The first few weeks I was all about casseroles and pasta, but  by week three I was really craving fresh vegetables and protein.  One of the very best meals we received was a Cobb salad with everything already cut up and individually packaged - we ate it for days!!  (Also, if at all possible, avoid anything spicy and take food in disposable containers so mom doesn't have to worry about the dishes.)

5. Keep it short.  Unless it is a really close friend or they specifically ask you to stay longer, keep your visit to about 30 minutes max.  Mama's tired!

6. Give Mom privacy when she is breastfeeding.  It is a whole new territory for her.  Use that time to take out the trash for her or see yourself out.

7. Pay attention to the dog - bring him a gift or treat if you can.   I'd imagine this goes for other kids too! 

8. Ask if she need anything and follow through. Some of the most thoughtful things people did for me involved quick texts that read "headed to Babies R Us, need anything?"  Veteran moms also lent me things that I didn't want to "invest" in until I was sure they'd work for us. 

9. If you bring a gift, insist that she NOT write you a thank you note and mean it! (I have a girlfriend who had her biggest postpartum breakdown after her mother-in-law delivered a carload of gifts from her friends.) She probably still will, but at least she knows you "get it."

10. Avoid giving advice unless she asks for it... And even then, tread gently. 

11. Truly excuse her appearance and the shape of the house - and try not to hate her if she really does have it all together. Her day will come. ;)

BONUS: Tell her how great she looks, and that you can't believe how much weight she's lost... Even if it's not true!

I'm NOT speaking directly to ANY of our visitors... About 99% of the time, people were/are WONDERFUL.  Most of the "advice" I'm giving is on things that people DID do for us, that I never would have thought about before having a baby.  FYI.


  1. All great tips...and I agree that you don't really know until you are the one on that side of the fence. I am expecting my first baby in March and would hope that each visitor would extend me these same courtesies. :)

  2. Great list! I felt awkward asking visitors to wash their hands, but I mean come it people, it's an itty, bitty baby! I also request people to take off their shoes in my home, but this is also a tough one for me to ask. Love the list. Sam is a cutie pie!

  3. As a new mom myself, I totally agree with all of this! Especially #1!!! And having a baby who had heart surgery before coming home, the hand washing was a must but I still feel awkward asking people to please wash their hands and make sure they have clean clothes on.

  4. I would also add that friends or family members who are smokers bring a change of clothes / shirt to change into before holding the baby...or better yet, be sure not to light up in the car on the way to visit the new mom and baby. I know this seems self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised...

  5. We are due the end of November and I just posted this to facebook lol, love it! all of those things are the way i feel now!

  6. Love this list, especially the part about the thank you notes. Those thank you notes hung over my head for months, until I began to dread receiving gifts because I knew it would mean finding time to write another note.

  7. I think this is a great list! The only thing I might differ on is that I actually liked it when people asked to hold my baby, because sometimes I'd forget to offer, and I liked that they thought my baby was cute enough to want to hold him enough to ask!

    Wow, that came out really confusing, but you know what I mean. :-) It's late, I should be sleeping, but instead I'm here reading your blog!

  8. Thank you for sharing this! I am definitely clueless since I don't have little ones yet, haha. My friends are starting to have babies, and it's great to hear it from your point of view.

    I'm glad I found your blog and I'm looking forward to reading more!

    Much love,

  9. Oh dear, I think I broke a few of these :-/ And I even know what it's like to be a new mom! GAH! Great tips, thanks for posting!


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