Guide to Visiting a New Baby

Guide-to-visiting-new-baby

Since welcoming N to the world, we’ve had visitors. Not tons, but a few. I feel the need for a small public service announcement of sorts. Share this with all your friends and family. Your mom and mom-to-be friends will thank you. So will the daddies!

*Disclaimer: Not everything below personally applies to the visitors we have had. I am obviously incredibly thankful for any and all visitors (especially those who come bearing dinner). We are very blessed to have so many generous and kind people in our lives. Most of them know how to act around a new baby and a tired mom/dad. 

RULES FOR GUIDE TO VISITING A NEW BABY:

  • Do not tell us when you plan to arrive, ask us what day and time is best for a visit.
  • Do show up at time that was agreed upon. Do not show up late. DEFINITELY do not show up early–it won’t be pretty.
  • Do not show up around a meal time unless you are bringing said meal.
  • Do bring food. Lots of it. Make it something not incredibly fattening because the momma is trying to squeeze into her old clothes.
  • Do tell the mom that she shouldn’t write you a thank you card. Don’t worry, she probably will anyways.
  • Scratchy throat? Sniffly nose? Stay away. Far away. If you are immediate family, you may come if you are wearing a mask. I guess.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS. Just did? We don’t care. Wash them again. Or just forget about holding the baby.
  • Ask permission to hold the baby. Ask permission to touch the baby. Ask permission to burp the baby. Ask permission to feed the baby. We suppose you can look at the baby without getting permission.
  • Do expect the mother of the baby to be wearing sweat pants and a sweat shirt. If she isn’t wearing sweats, the proper thing to say is: “WOW! You’re in jeans! I am so impressed!”
  • Want to bring a present but unsure what to buy? Diapers. Size 1 or 2. Biggest box you can find. And don’t be stingy, get Pampers. Wipes are good too. Make sure they are unscented, please.
  • Do bring something for the sibling(s) as well. Not required, but the parents will think very fondly of you.
  • Do tell the mother how great she looks and how it hardly looks like she had a baby and how you wish you looked as good as her after you had a baby and how you’re sooo amazed at how quickly her body bounced back and how she doesn’t even look tired. And to top it off, her house looks amazing. Tell her she is a supermom.
  • Oh, and the baby? Cutest one you have ever seen. Duh.
  • Do not offer parenting advice unless very specifically asked for it. Even still, tread lightly. Remember the hormones. They are ugly beasts that control us.
  • If you still feel the need to offer advice, be prepared for dirty looks and snide remarks. Please don’t take them too personally. Hormones. Beasts. But seriously, shut up and tell us how cute our baby is, okay?
  • If you are a family member, offer to vacuum or grocery shop for us.
  • Don’t stay long. Please. Unless you’re vacuuming. We love you, but we’re very tired and entertaining is a lot of work.
  • Do know that we so appreciate your friendship and thoughtfulness, even if we seem a bit grumpy or forget that pesky thank-you card.

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90 comments

  1. Aw, N is such a cutie! I will definitely take heed of this advice when visiting friends with babies!

    PS you are a supermom.

  2. Great list :)
    It seems so long ago that my “big guys” were so tiny. Wish this terrific list was around then!
    Much luck to you and yours!
    xo
    Patti

  3. Congrats on the baby. I hope he or she gets his gratitude from his father.

    • I don’t know if you didn’t read the whole post or what, but I am very grateful for all of our friends and family who have visited. I made that very clear in my post. I also thought it was pretty clear that the post was meant to be fun and joking in nature. I’m sorry that you were unable to take it that way.

    • Dana – you’ve either never had kids or you would be the person this was written for.
      Everyone gets excited about new babies but sometimes forget that there are things that are and aren’t appreciated. This was politely worded but your response definitely wasn’t.

      • Actually, I agree with everything you said and I’ve always dropped off food, helped clean up, and basically done everything you mentioned in your post. It just comes off as mean spirited and if I was one of the people in your life that read that after seeing you and hadn’t followed one of your rules I would have felt bad. Everyone that visits you has loving intentions and the post is basically a slap in the face to the people who may have mis-stepped. It’s one thing to think it, it’s another to say it.

        • Glad to hear you are the perfect visitor. You may drop off diapers and dinner here any time you like. I disagree that it comes off as mean spirited and I would argue that every single one of my friends and family members would not take it that way. They know me well enough to kn0w that a) I’m joking around and b) I’m so very appreciative of every kind gesture and visit.

          Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I won’t be responding to any further comments as a debate of my intentions was not the point of this post.

    • Dana,
      Clearly you don’t have kids . This is valuable information for people who have no idea how to visit a new baby. People should WANT to know how to be a good visitor, and how would they know if they have never been in that situation and no one has taken the time to tell them? Everyone who knows Rachel knows how kind and grateful she is, no one who KNOWS her would take this post the wrong way, even if they “broke” all the rules.
      And did you really just leave a nasty comment to a new mom on a post that you did even entirely read? Wow. That says a lot about your character.

  4. I can’t even imagine how exhausted you must be! Honestly, I’ve never had a baby, so whenever I visit a new mom I try to think of what they would want. So glad to know I have been on the right track so far:-) PS this makes me like you more.

  5. Great list. Friends of ours just had a baby, will keep most of this in mind. Especially the bring yummy an healthy ish food!

  6. This made me laugh…and grateful that our lo was born in the summer so at least we didn’t have to worry about cold/flu season. Two of my favorite gifts after she was born were things on your list: 1. A lady from church brought over a HOT meal an hour before dinnertime. She turned on my oven, put the food in there, put the salad together and put that in my fridge and put the ICE CREAM she brought into the freezer. Then she held the baby for 10 minutes, and left. 2. A neighbor brought us a jumbo box of wipes from Costco. Those are some of the best wipes ever.

  7. 1) He is beautiful! Congrats!!!
    2) Great list, very well-said, and NOT ungrateful :)
    3) I read your post on FB from yesterday, and ugh! On top of being sleep-deprived, you had to deal with the coffee mess (hope your computer is okay). I absolutely LOVED being a mom to new baby boys (twice), but the sleep deprivation is absolutely the pits. Especially with the second baby – you are tending to him but still have to go about your daily routine with the older one(s).
    4) Chin up, boobs out, move onward. You are a great mommy :)
    Have a wonderful day (I wish I were in your shoes again – they grow up so quickly!). xoxo

  8. haha I couldn’t agree with this more! Its so perfect! :)

  9. What a fantastic post! I wish I had given this list to a few people when I had my kids… each one of them caught a cold the first week because of visitors with germs my 2nd actually got quite scarily sick for a whole week thanks to a visit from a cousin with a runny nose and cough! And I kid you not… I had one friend comment “Awwww you still looked pregnant” 4 days postpartum when she came to visit and saw me in my yoga pants. Lets just say she and I do not talk anymore. It takes a while to get into those jeans!

  10. This is great! This list should be posted on front door before people come into the house. Having just gone through this ourselves a few months ago, I’d like to add:

    1) Do not visit with your kids. We like your kids, but they are germ incubators. Even if they stay away from newborn, they will interact with toddler and he’ll get sick and get newborn sick. If you can’t visit because you can’t get someone to watch them, we understand, we’ll see you in 6 weeks.

    2) When it’s announced Baby needs to eat, that is your queue to leave. Don’t linger in another room or outside (unless explicitly asked to)

    3) Don’t comment – at all – about Baby being up every 2 hours to eat (or more) day and night. We know we don’t sleep. We don’t need your sympathies. It’ll get better.

    =D

    Congrats again, enjoy every moment with the little one :)
    Chris & Rachel

  11. This is all SO true. Funny, but true! Our son was a premie and by the time we took him home we were exhausted from having to basically live at the hospital for a month and then incredibly paranoid about germs and visitors I wish I could have had this list laminated and hung on my front door. You’re doing an awesome job! Congratulations!

  12. First Rachel – congratulations on being a new mom! Second, great post! I wish I had posted this on my door for everyone who came by when I had my first. Being a new mom is exciting, exhausting and overwhelming, but so worth every sleepless moment. Enjoy and he is just beautiful!

  13. Rachel, this is AWESOME! It’s been over 10 years since I was in your shoes… but can still well remember. GREAT list! Made me smile this morning. Hugs to you and hoping today brings you rest and pjs).

  14. That picture? The cutest one, ever.
    Such a great post – funny and oh so true :) I remember all too well the over visitors. I had one person, who just happened to be at the hospital for something else, stop by and she stayed for 4 HOURS. I didn’t even know her very well!

  15. Gosh that takes me back. I can so remember those days. I know you have had 5 kids, but that doesn’t mean you know how to hold MY baby. ; )

    XO
    I am sure you look fabulous! Bags under the eyes build character. But, sleep rocks!

  16. Awwww yawny picture! I love this guide. I should keep a copy for the future where I have a cute lil baby :P

  17. LOVE THIS. Made me laugh out loud!! :)

  18. And don’t say if said baby is screaming, “aww somebody’s tired” in a baby voice, and yes someone is tired and its nit the baby!!!!

  19. I like women who are not afraid to speak their mind. Congratulations sweetie! Wish i could visit. This list is perfect and seems like it was taken from my head just 18 yrs ago. I just recently had a really mean comment too. Why don’t people just move on? They don’t have to agree with us just simply click to the next blog? Take care and get some rest!

  20. I has to read this out loud to my husband, we were dying laughing. SO TRUE!!! I could have used this when my babies were born. I could add a few addendums : Don’t insult the baby’s name to the baby in front of the mom ( yeah my MIL did that), Don’t show up unannounced when the baby is 2 weeks old, plan on staying with the new parents, and making the mom so incredibly uncomfortable that she wants to get a restraining order on you ( yeah that would be my brother in law) Don’t show up with food JUST for the father of the baby and not the mom ( yeah in laws again) don’t show up with bags of your own snacks and food and sit in front of the tv watching what YOU want to watch and never offer to help with anything, then complain about the food the mom cooked for you ( instead of showering, sleeping etc) (yup in laws again)
    So YES I have so much love for this post!! I have shared with a few new mom friends too!! Love you girl Baby N is adorable!!!

  21. Your baby is a precious little bundle of joy!!

    This post was helpful for a person like me who does not have kids. And I’m glad to see you’re sticking up for yourself!!! I saw your comment on FB btw.

  22. PREACH IT, SISTER! I had a couple show up three days after I got home from the hospital with my daughter, at 6pm with their sick 2 year old and they didn’t even bring food or any sort, even for their kid. Then, when I said, “I’m thinking about ordering take out,” they said, “Oh, we ate.” FOR ME! I AM BREASTFEEDING AND STARVING! I was a little cranky. Oh, and Please people: flowers are a terrible gift. I don’t need another thing to take care of. For reals.

  23. I love this list. After having family fly over to see us after our baby was born, I definitely gotta agree with, don’t stay long!! Unless your my mom. :) And yes, food is so important, I didn’t cook for months!

  24. YUP! TRUTH!! I actually had someone come to the hospital the day my little one was born and stayed 4 hours. 4 HOURS!!! I was exhausted. So annoying!!

  25. this is such a helpful post for someone who does not have kids, have friends who have kids or are about to have kids. You just saved me from bunch of hormonal ladies coz i would probably be doing one of those listed things or have already done it :( loved the tip about wearing a mask for immediate family members lol.

    and your baby is the cutest :)

  26. This made me laugh – gotta love how clueless how people can be!

  27. Oh how this reminds me of having a baby. I can totally relate to so many of these!

  28. I just love you to pieces and even more for writing this. I love it! And I love N (and E!)

  29. I think that every mom is wanting to write a post like this! Simple guidelines but we enjoy having the company.

  30. WASH YOUR HANDS!! If you sneeze, wash them again. if you look at them, wash them again.

    Whenever I am around brand new babies you would think I had OCD like Jackie Boy in As Good As It Gets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44DCWslbsNM

  31. Thank you for writing this tongue-in-cheek list! As someone who doesn’t have kids but has lots of friends who are having babies, I often find myself in the position of wanting to help & congratulate them, but having no idea what would be most helpful / appreciated by them. I’m proud of myself for figuring out the “Stay away when sick” and “Bring food” rules on my own though! I always, always bring food :)

  32. Very cute post, Rachel. Sorry for the above mean comment. I can totally relate to everything on this list!

  33. Wish I was close enough to visit and bring healthy food. The baby is fabulously gorgeous like his mama. You’re a rockstar girlie! oxoxo Robin

  34. this is hilarious! it made me laugh so HARD! i can totally relate to this post… with 4 kids. your baby is so adorable! thanks for this post. i love it! :)

  35. Rachel- love this post! After having 2 friends have kids this year I wish I had known this before. One of my friends did the Food Wagon thing (sign up for a date when to bring over food) this way the parents are prepared. Glad to see you posting and handling the kids well all by yourself- mothers such as yourself amaze me! Congrats (again) on the little one & many hugs to your family!

  36. Ok, this is officially the best post I have read in a LONG time. LOVE it… Hope you’re doing well with your new little one!

  37. I’ll bet you look fabulous right this very minute, your baby is seriously cute (not just saying that to follow the rules) and you are Supermom. As for being ungrateful (re: above comments), it was VERY clear to me that this post was written tongue-in-cheek. Those who take offense have either never been a new parent or are likely rule violators.

  38. Great post Rachel! You just wrote what all of us moms have thought and wished we could say… but with class and hilarity. Love ya girl! Ps… N is a total cutie pie!

  39. Congratulations on your sweet baby! And this was a GREAT list! I’m having my first in June. I should probably save this list :)

  40. The only point I disagree with you on is:

    “Do bring food. Lots of it. Make it something not incredibly fattening because the momma is trying to squeeze into her old clothes.”

    You just pushed a baby out of your hmm-hmm. You deserve all the macaroni and cheese you can eat.

  41. Thanks for the heads up. I appreciate this right before I’m planning to visit a friend with a new baby (esp the part about a little something for their older child)

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