Trust me, by following these tips you can conscientiously become a helpful visitor, rather than an annoyance. While this seems harsh, remember that becoming a new mother is exhausting mentally and physically, and tolerance is scant. While a lot of mums will bluntly and bravely vocalise their need for privacy, yet many shy mothers (myself included) will stay quiet and polite.
Donít overstay your welcome:
10-15 minutes is ideal. Definitely do not go over 30 minutes, unless the mother has asked you to stay (and actually meant it.) Respect their privacy. New babies need breastfeeding often, and can take up to 40 minutes to feed. This skill has to be learnt, and cannot be done discreetly like how you see breastfeeding veterans in the cafes. Additionally, if the baby is sleeping, the mother should be sleeping. Take the hint. If she is starting to avoid eye contact; if the conversation is not flowing; if she starts yawing, or even starts looking at the clock - itís time to make an exit.
Things not to say:
ďItís all ahead of youĒ - Itís just plain annoying.
ďIt goes so quickĒ - Time doesnít fly when you have a screaming restless baby.
Never ever refer to the baby as Ďití. Apart from being extremely rude, it implies the baby is not a valuable human being. People who generally do this are people who donít like, or are not used to kids, and seem to find reason that saying Ďití is funny. Itís not.
Items such as dummies and formula can be unwanted, and its best to avoid them.
Teddy bears come in abundance when news of a new baby arises, and they take up a lot of room. Instead buy clothes that are bigger, such as 00 or 0, they will be much more appreciated. (Remember to consider the season.)
Wash your hands before touching the baby:
Germs, germs, and more germs. Your hands can harbour some very harmful microorganisms. Hospitals often contain sick, infectious people. If you touch the surroundings, you must wash your hands thoroughly before handling the baby. Furthermore, what can be a slight sniffle in an adult can be detrimental to a newborn. If in doubt, hold off on the visit. Donít take the risk.
Get a Whooping cough booster shot:
If in regular contact with the baby, get your whooping cough booster. In adults, whooping cough can be a mild chronic cough, which can go unnoticed. Whooping cough can kill babies. They rely on the vigilance of others to keep them safe until their first vaccination at eight weeks, and even then, they are not fully immunised until their third booster at six months. And please do not blow raspberries in a babyís face. It amazes me how people think this is appropriate and entertaining for a newborn.
Donít pick the baby up if asleep:
If sleeping, leave the newborn baby in peace. It will be appreciated by both parties, particularly if sleep is hard come by. Really, you should always ask permission when holding the baby, and never pass the baby on to a child.
When mum and bub have come home from hospital, donít just sit chatting on the couch for an hour. Be constructive. If you see that the dishes need doing, wash them up; put on a load of washing; sweep the floor; even come bearing gifts of food (such as cooked dinners). New mums will hardly ever ask for these favours, and will probably object to a guest cleaning their house, only because itís the polite thing to do. A helpful hand goes a long way, and living in a clean, uncluttered house relieves stress. It will definitely be appreciated.