Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have welcomed their baby, so we thought it was the perfect time to run through a little thing that is ‘newborn etiquette’.
If you weren’t aware, yes that is actually a thing and yes it’s something you should be across when it comes to visiting a friend or family member’s new bub.
Some may think that having rules to see a newborn baby is completely over-the-top or ridiculous, but in reality, most new parents would really appreciate if you followed a couple of basic guidelines during your visit.
Wait until it suits the parents: As much as you can’t wait to go gush over the newborn bub, don’t pressure a visit. Unless you’re very close family or friends, wait until mum and baby are out of hospital and back in their own home. They’ll let you know when they’re feeling up for visitors.
Don’t turn up unannounced: Chances are that you’ll just end up just being a nuisance if you knock on the door while the parents have other plans like feeding or nap-time, in mind. Best to wait until they ask you over.
Don’t expect to hold the baby: Understandably, new parents may be sensitive to letting their precious child be passed around from person to person – especially if they’ve just got them to settle down. So don’t expect to hold the baby on your first visit.
Know how to handle the baby
If you are lucky enough to hold the baby, don’t scare the parents (who are probably already tired and anxious enough) by being reckless.
Never kiss a newborn: Chances are new parents don’t want to see your germs all over their child. But more seriously, it’s best just to avoid kissing a newborn anywhere as a precaution after cases have emerged where babies have become very sick and even died from contracting the herpes virus by an adult carrier.
Don’t be a chew toy: Teething babies love to gnaw, but resist! Don’t go putting your fingers, rings or hands in the baby’s mouth (even if they are clean). Find something that the parents will approve to soothe the little ones need to nibble.
Be aware of germs
Always wash your hands: It’s just common courtesy to give your hands a wash before you approach a newborn, especially if you’ve come from public transport and have been holding onto a grubby train handrail.
Don’t visit if you’re sick: While it should be common sense, sometimes excitement gets the better of us. However you really need to check your health and the health those around you before your visit. Even if your partner is the one that’s sick, it’s best to stay home.
No vax, no visit: Some mums may ask guests to get vaccinations such as the whooping cough vaccine before visiting the baby so make sure to always check. And if this is the case, respect the parent’s wishes, otherwise wait until the appropriate time that you can visit (usually after six weeks).
Watch what you say
Smile and hold your tongue because some topics are officially off limit.
Don’t snoop or criticise: Unless you’re super close to the parents, don’t go probing into their nursing situation or parenting style just to throw your two cents in – unless the parents are open to speaking about it of course.
Tell them they’re doing a good job: Being a new parent is tough, so a little positivity and encouragement goes a long way. The horror stories that you might have experienced with your newborn are probably not going to help an already anxious new parent, so read the situation carefully and make sure to tell them they are doing a great job.
Don’t guess the sex: Determining between a boy and a girl at that age can be tough, but if you try to assume a baby’s gender and get it wrong, you will likely just offend the parent.
You shouldn’t be there for you, you should be there for them.
Bring something useful: No one wants to show up empty handed, but if you’re bringing something it may as well be something more practical than a soft toy. Food is always appreciated, otherwise you can see our other ideas here
Don’t expect them to be your host: This is not a normal visit, new parents are exhausted, and very likely sleep-deprived, so be understanding and whatever you do, don’t be judgemental.
If it’s not a good time, go home: They might have invited you around but pay attention to the signs, if the parents or bub are looking exhausted or agitated, it may be best to just to head home.