What NOT to do After Baby Arrives
- The birth of a baby is such an exciting time for parents and their loved ones. Although many of those loved ones have good intentions to be helpful, sometimes their well-meaning intents end up causing new parents more stress. Below are some of the DONT`S and INSTEADS so you can provide help and support that is actually beneficial to the new family.
- Don`t invite yourself to the hospital or over to the home of the family unless explicitly invited.
Giving birth and trying to care for a newborn is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Having unexpected visitors will only add stress for the new parents, who may want privacy during this time to bond and to rest.
Instead, send congratulations via text or email and tell them to let you know when they are ready for visitors. Don`t get all sulky if they don`t contact you for some time. The first weeks after a baby is born are sacred for the new family. It`s not about you so don`t take it personally.
If mom and dad say that you can visit whenever is convenient for you, always give them a heads up before you come over. Don`t drop in unexpectedly because you do not know if they are napping or enjoying some alone time.
- Don`t visit when you are sick.
Babies have trouble fighting off infection and I promise you will cause mom and dad high stress if they find out you are sick in the presence of their newborn.
Once invited to visit, decline the invitation if you have even the smallest inkling that you may be sick. I guarantee mom and dad will not take offense to you declining the invitation until you are feeling completely healthy.
- Don`t inquire about the lady parts.
Unless you are mom`s doctor or nurse, there is no reason for you to ask about how things are going 'down there'. This includes inquiring about the gory details of the birth. Mom may not want to talk about it, especially if the birth was difficult.
If mom wants to tell you about the state down under, she will tell you.
A simple 'How are you feeling' will suffice.
- Don`t tell horror stories
Mom and dad, especially if they are first time parents, are paranoid. They are constantly worried about their baby and have likely heard about all the scary things that can happen in the first weeks and months of life. This is not the time to tell horror stories you have heard or experienced yourself. This includes saying things like 'Did you hear about that baby who [insert horrifying statement here]' or 'Oh, my friend`s baby didn`t sleep for like three years. It was horrible'. These are statements you may be able to share with people who are NOT new parents and who may find them interesting without feeling additional stress.
This is the time that parents need encouragement. Saying something like 'Adjustments are hard but you will get it. It won`t be like this forever. Babies adjust to the outside world and things will get better and be just fine' is far more helpful.
- Don`t visit and just sit around, holding the baby.
Yes, babies are cute and so much fun to cuddle. Remember that mom and dad are tired and trying to get used to the new normal of having their little bundle of joy. Many times, visiting and just holding the baby the whole time is not helpful. Unless mom says that is the best way you can help her, look around and see what you can do to help. Do the dishes, fold some laundry, and entertain the older child if there is one. Make your presence useful to mom and dad.
- Don`t say 'Let me know if there is anything I can do!'
When you say 'Let me know if there is anything I can do' your loved ones are likely to say they are fine and don`t need help. It`s like an automatic response many of us regurgitate, even when we actually do need help. Sometimes new moms and dads don`t know what they need but are still overwhelmed with trying to adjust to a new schedule, run a household, and hold down a job.
Instead, say something like 'I`d really like to take [the other children in the home] for a play date', 'I`d like to come over and help with housework/yard work', 'I would like to bring you dinner on [insert specific night here]', or 'I`d like to come over and keep an eye on the kids so you can take a nap'. This list is not exhaustive. I would encourage you to look around at what mom and dad need the most and offer specific services.
For more advice and tips from Anastasia go to lifestonecenter.com