Etiquette for Visiting a New Mother
By Smarty Guest Blogger, Laura N Sinai MD MSCE FAAP, Signature Pediatrics
I hear congratulations are in order! Your friend, sister, co-worker, or even an acquaintance just had a baby. Beautiful pictures are already making the rounds on Facebook, Instagram, and maybe even in an old-fashioned paper announcement. The whole family is smiling and fresh faced in those professional images. They look well rested and happy.
No matter how great those photos look, I can promise you the family is experiencing stress and significant sleep deprivation. It may be a fine time to visit, but here are some rules to make the visit a positive one for everybody, especially for the new mom.
2) Wash your hands when you arrive. Please.
3) Leave your children home. As wonderful as your children are, new moms do not benefit from added toddler whining, teenage attitude, or more infants crying. There is plenty of time for playdates in the future. Make this visit about her.
4) Don’t ask to hold the baby. Especially if he/she is sleeping. Many moms feel very protective and uncomfortable with others holding her newborn. Wait for her to offer.
5) Do hold the baby if mom asks! Some moms are so appreciative to have two free hands, even just for a few minutes. Once you’re holding the baby, you can suggest mom take a moment for herself. A quick shower? A bite to eat? A simple trip to the bathroom alone! Whatever she needs.
6) Bring food for the new mom. Consider texting in advance to find out what type of food would be most appreciated. Try not to accept no for an answer on this one. She surely hasn’t had time to cook or shop.
7) Do not expect to be fed or waited on. Do not expect mom to be a hostess. Do not eat their food. Most moms will remember their good manners and make offers. Always say no. She is being polite and her list of people to care for is long enough – even if it’s just 2!
8) Offer to make yourself useful: do the dishes, start or fold a load of laundry, clean up the toddler’s playroom. Especially if mom had a cesarean delivery, ask if there are tasks she isn’t allowed to do that you can do for her – like putting away heavy items, vacuuming, carrying a heavy object upstairs.
9) Pay attention to your surroundings. If mom is in pajamas and the house looks like a hurricane hit it, make your visit super brief. If you are staying more than 10 minutes, then go back to step 8 and start doing housework and help this new mom out!
10) Offer to run errands. Does she need more diapers? Groceries? Something from the drug store? Getting out with a newborn is tough and she will appreciate your gift of time.
11) No surprise visits. Call or text beforehand. Show up when promised and don’t overstay your visit. Mom is more tired than she is letting on.
12) Don’t be offended if mom asks you to wait a week or even a month before visiting. There may be a medical reason or it could simply be that she needs more time to adjust to the major upheaval that is a newborn. Do not take this personally. It isn’t about you, it’s about her.
13) Don’t forget to heap compliments everywhere. Love on the baby’s name, remind mom how great she looks and what a great job she is doing. Avoid “sympathy” comments that can be hurtful such as “you look exhausted”.
14) Talk about topics other than the baby. After the umpteenth visit discussing her newborn and hospital stay, mom might be eager to discuss what’s going on at the office, in the news, or with her favorite sports team.
15) Most important of all, sincerely ask mom how she is doing. Really listen to the answer. Resist the urge to compare or play one-upmanship with your birth story. Just support her. If all the above goes well she’ll invite you to come visit again!
Why Concierge Pediatrics?
Concierge pediatrics is a better approach to health care because the focus is on the patient. Our goal is to allow you to meet with your pediatrician in a pleasant, relaxed and unhurried environment. This provides plenty of time to ask all of your questions and discuss your child’s specific needs. We want you to feel like family so we treat you like family.
With Signature Pediatrics you will always be able to bring in a sick child to be seen on the same day and can schedule most other appointments on the same day or within 24 hours. Wait times have been greatly reduced or eliminated and you will experience little or no time in the waiting room. Even more importantly, once you’re with the doctor, there’s no rush. We will take the time to truly understand your child’s unique needs and offer the most thorough care and follow-up possible.
Please contact us today and learn how Signature Pediatrics can mean the difference between your child living and living well.
6115 Park South Dr. • Suite 105
Charlotte, NC 28210