The First Visitors – Another Etiquette Post

One of the great things about having a baby is that lots of people will want to shower him/her with love. One of the worse things about having a baby is that lots of people will want to shower him/her with love. Which is why I made the brave/stupid decision to not have help and/or visitors during the first two weeks after Baby A was born. While I don’t recommend this for everyone, if you have overbearing relatives this is a MUST. Anyway, other moms told me that time at the hospital is sacred time. If you want to learn as much as you can AND make lots of mistakes under the watchful eye of trained professionals, keep the guests to a minimum. So, I did the incredibly “rude” thing of not having people come to the hospital.

Dear friends and family. We are so excited to start our family. Please allow us some time to recover and catch our bearing while we rejoice during this new and exciting time. We look forward to inviting you after the next couple of weeks.

Honestly, that was the best decision of my life. There is nothing more humbling than being a first time mom the first few days after you give birth. Those few days were exciting, terrifying, amazing… When you give birth, all modesty goes out the door. My husband saw parts of me he’s never seen (literally and figuratively. lol) Breastfeeding is not innate and it is almost impossible for an exclusively breastfed baby to not lose weight shortly after being born. (I say almost because somewhere in the universe is some lady who knows somebody). Worrying about supply, having nurses check your underwear daily, wearing mesh underwear and humongous pads, being afraid to cough/sneeze too hard, wanting to pee without someone dictating how and when to do it… it’s pretty humbling stuff. Becoming a mom makes you both helpless and powerful all at once. It’s kind of amazing.

so you can imagine my surprise when my mother-in-law was sitting in front of my house JUST as I put my new little baby down inside of his crib at home. There is no bigger hell than having to entertain people you don’t want to entertain while recovering from birth. Waddling down the stairs with stitches and a newborn baby to see a woman who hasn’t been vaccinated carrying a tiny baby with no immunities… definitely not how I had planned on spending my weekend. Said person stayed for 3 hours!!!! Which brings me to a very important life lesson: TIMING IS EVERYTHING.

For the next few weeks we got surprise visitors (ANYWAY). Others waited for us to let them know when was a good time. Some were gracious and called first. Some stayed for relatively short periods of time. Some rescheduled if it wasn’t convenient for us. God bless these people!

If you want to visit a new baby:

  1. Please ask if there are any vaccines you should get. No seriously, I never realized how big of a deal this was until I had Baby A. While I know that some people refuse to get vaccinated, please keep in mind that that new mom is going to be extremely pissed to have to take her kid to the ER because “Hey, it was just a sore throat” or “My kid’s cold is practically gone.”
  2. If you bring something, make sure it’s practical/useful. Like lasagna. mmhmmm! I had a friend call to bring us a bag of Boston Market and DVD’s (so we didn’t have to make time to read) of the Happiest Baby on the Block and Dunston Baby Language. They stayed for 10 minutes tops and left. I love them.
  3. Wash your hands before touching baby. or better yet, don’t touch the baby at all. I don’t know how many hands I had to slap because they scratched my dog, wiped their nose, etc.
  4. Call to schedule a time and THEN call again before coming. Sometimes plans change. I get it, I’ve got a baby. But if I’m juggling nap time and feedings around your visit, be courteous.
  5. Be on time. (see above)
  6. If the baby cries, soothe it or pass it. Seriously, I had a visitor hold my child and giggle as he cried. While a screaming baby may be cute to some, do everyone else a favor and hand him back to mom.
  7. Know when to leave. There are times when guests can “make themselves at home”. These are not those times UNLESS you will watch baby while mom or dad sleeps, do laundry, make dinner, be useful. It’s hard keeping a baby alive and entertaining people that aren’t dependents at the same time.