Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Do's and the Dont's.

I have read a few posts on what to do and what not to do when visiting a new mother and her newborn baby. This one is my absolute favourite. Every friend, family member and baby gawker should read this before visiting their new mother friend. It got me thinking of the good, the bad and the ugly things people did and said in my first few months of motherhood and I thought I would devise my own guide to visiting.

So here it is. Please read before clucking over to visit a new baby. If necessary, print it out and keep it in your pocket complete with highlighted significances.

Do not ask "So what do you do all day?" unless you want to screamed at. If you really are interested in what she does all day, ask in a different way for example "How often does he feed and sleep?"

Never visit empty handed. Come with something, anything. Be it a carton of milk, a loaf of bread, a block of chocolate or a borrowed DVD that can be watched at 3am.

Presents are great, although never expected. If you are going to buy, check for a colour preference first. Not everyone loves pink for girls and blue for boys. I remember my Grandmother asking if my nursery was going to be "Lemon or lime?" When I said red, she was speechless. That pink teddy bear in the shop may be gorgeous but it wont look pretty amongst a red adorned nursery.  

If the new mother is breastfeeding make sure she feels comfortable. When you arrive mention that you are happy to pop into the kitchen for a cup of tea for 10 minutes while she gets set up and starts to feed. In those first few weeks, feeding isn't as simple as breast + baby. There is a lot of mucking around with attachment and positioning. It can be more stressful if someone is watching you poke and prod your boobs around to fit in a screaming baby's mouth.

If the mother is not breastfeeding do not ask why. Unless your relationship is very very very close. Don't go there. Don't say a word.  

Make your own cup of coffee on arrival and one for the Mother too. She probably wont think to ask you and if she does ask you, it is out of courtesy. She doesn't really want to get up and make you a cup of coffee. 

Ask what needs doing and put it on your list for your next visit. Maybe take some clothes home to iron, get a grocery list and some cash from her and swing by the supermarket. Really listen to things she is saying. Does she need some meals cooked, is the housework stressing her out, does she just want to be left alone? Listen and take note. 

Think before you speak. Don't ask what the pain of labour is like, don't remark on how loud the baby's cry is, don't comment on her tired appearance. I once had a friend take my baby for a few hours and on return she happily exclaimed "That was so easy, staying home with a baby would be a bludge!". Please don't say that.

Do; respect boundaries.
Do; cuddle and coo over the baby
Do; give her positive affirmations.
Do; keep visiting if you follow all of the above!

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