How To Be An Excellent Post Partum Visitor0
Back when my sister had her first baby I packed my bags and headed over for a visit. It totally did not occur to me that I should be planning on being somewhat helpful and let her sit and nurse and recover from pregnancy and birth. I have a fuzzy memory of cleaning her bathroom once, but other than that I did a lot of visiting and she hosted. Yeah, I was that post partum visitor. The unhelpful one that has no clue what it takes to be a savvy guest/visitor to someone who is welcoming a new baby into their family.
Reflecting on my overall lack of helpfulness is sort of intriguing to me, as I’ve always considered myself quite thoughtful when it comes to other peoples needs. Which is probably why I make a great bedside RN, but thats another blog post. It wasn’t until I had my first baby that I realized what it takes to be a great new baby visitor.
Let us get down to basics! There are very obvious things that should be the basic rules when visiting a brand new baby and their family. I’ve already admitted to my pre-baby flawed ways but don’t think I became an etiquette expert once I had my first baby either. More to come on that, so read on!
1. Always bring food when you visit, even if you have to buy it or pick it up at a to-go counter. Food is wanted and welcomed enormously during this time. Also, do not expect the new mama to make you ANY food or fix you ANY drinks during your visit. Am I right? Amen! That being said, don’t do what I did one time with a girlfriend of mine. Don’t promise to bring food and then not follow through. You will feel like an absolute ass despite your busy life. Pick something up, it doesn’t always have to be homemade. Lesson learned.
2. Keep your visit short! It was probably a big deal for her to put on pants and she is dying to whip them off and get back into post birthy lounge mode. Or, maybe that was just me? Needless to say, a long visit that is never-ending is exhausting for tired people. Especially those learning to breastfeed who require 101 pillows positioned just right to get the job done.
3. Ask her about her birth story, but don’t talk too long about your own right now. One day down the road the attention will shift back and you can compare stories with all of the depth that you want. Right now it is all fresh in her mind and she will want to share it with you.
4. If she has other children in the house, take them out for a walk to the park in lieu of a visit. She will adore you more ways than you possibly will ever know. Unless you also have children, in which case you will totally get it.
5. The big one…don’t just come over to hold the baby. I’d like to follow that up with don’t be a baby holding hogger. Spread that newborn squishiness! The ultimate visitor will even suggest that the new mum sits and holds the baby while she does a little tidy up or takes the other children out to play. If you are that visitor, you are amazing.
6. If you are going to be an overnight guest, pick something up and clean it. Don’t ask her though, just do it. Fold that laundry pile that is heaped on the couch. Unload the dishwasher or take the dog out for a walk. All of these things will earn you visiting brownie points and you will be invited back for sure.