Visiting a Newborn Baby at the Hospital Etiquette
We were looking forward to the arrival of Noah. Helga (the mom) is my best friend, just like my sister, so it's not a surprise that I waited for Noah's arrival as if he was a close family member of mine. It was a Wednesday morning, my phone rang, and I will never forget that moment because I was in the middle of a Skype conference call, when I got the news from Helga that Noah was born. I was so happy that both of them were healthy and okey, and it was such a great, emotional moment, that I started crying (luckily no one noticed, since the microphone can be muted - the benefit of online meetings :)) and then I returned to the call, and continued working.
I could not wait to meet Noah in person, but I knew that I had to be patient, and let Helga to allow me to drop by the hospital, and she did, so this is how I first met Noah (picture). The hospital corridor was full of mothers, babies and visitors, so at the end of my visit, when I said goodbye, I was sure that I'm going to write a blogpost about what are the dos and donts when visiting a mom and her newborn baby in the hospital.
Noah, I dedicate this post to you and your mom with much love.
Guidelines for visitors:
- Don't drop by unannounced! - While you may have the best intentions for a surprise visit, do not drop by like that. The baby may be out of the room for tests, mom might be nursing or being examined, or the family may need to bond and nap. There are also hospital guidelines for visitors that you need to be mindful of.
- Call ahead! - Even if you had a time scheduled to visit, call ahead just to make sure it's still a good time and to give the mom a heads up that you're on your way. Mom and baby have a lot of new things going on, so it is better to ask if the time is still suitable for them to pay a visit.
- Don't expect to hold the baby! - Are you serious? I know what you're thinking. The whole reason I came to see the baby was to hold him/her! Remember, this is mom and dad's first time with their new baby, and they need to bond first and foremost. A mom may not feel comfortable having someone else hold their new little angel but might feel awkward saying no. Wait to see if the parents offer for you to hold the baby.
- Wash your hands! - Even if you just washed your hands and you know you are clean, put the parents at ease and wash your hands right away. On the corridor there are many sanitisers, use them!
- Bring food! - Mom has been eating hospital food and dad has been either praying for hospital food or eating whatever fast food is near the hospital. They want food. Bring it. (I brought chicken with rice, cocoa snail pastry and apple juice for Helga, and she appreciated it a lot!)
- Be positive and complimentary! - Towards the mom and the baby. There are many things you can say with the best intentions that may be taken the wrong way. Mom especially is dealing with a lot of physical and emotional changes, so be aware of that- she also will not look someone, who just spent a wellness weekend away. Tell the mom she did an incredible job, that the baby is adorable, and all those nice things. Even if your relationship with the mom would allow you to say the truth, please don't.
- Don't give advises and don't question parent choices! - If the mom is breastfeeding, don't tell her bottle feeding is easier; if the mom is bottle feeding, don't preach about breastfeeding. If you are anti-epidural, do not lecture about how un-medicated birth is best; if the mom had a c-section, do not tell her the glories of your natural birth. Now is not the time to question the parents' choices, and in fact, it's never really the time.
- Celebrate the baby, praise the mom and be happy for the family! :)